Ten Artists You Need To Know

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Every year, I listen to thousands of new artists. Most are good, but I wouldn’t call them memorable. Some new acts are truly atrocious. But let’s not waste any time talking about them.

Let’s focus on 10 artists who are about to change musical landscape as we know it. Want an example? Think Hozier in 2014. As you scour the festival line-ups this summer, keep an eye out for these artists. They will give you hope for the future of music. Here are names you need to know:

1) Tobias Jesso Jr.

The shaggy-headed indie folk pianist hails from Canada but don’t hold that against him. He’s great. His album Goon is one of the most underrated ones of the year.

2) James Bay

The British singer-songwriter is the artist that inspired this post. After seeing him at Austin City Limits last year and watching him open for Hozier at Irving Plaza, I made sure to catch his headlining gig at the Bowery Ballroom a few weeks ago. I was so impressed that I’ve been listening to his first full-length album Chaos and the Calm non-stop for weeks.

PS: check out his cover of Alicia Keys’ classic “If I Ain’t Got You” – powerful stuff.

3) Leon Bridges

If you close your eyes while listening to Leon Bridges, your mind will conjure up an image of Sam Cooke or Otis Redding singing in an old school bar. Do I need to say any more?

4) Pickwick

The Seattle-based rock band is going to be huge. Listen to the tracks in the playlist, and you’ll understand why. What a voice. What a sound. So much passion.

5) Houndmouth

Good news – they’re awesome.

Bad news – you’re late to the game. The New York Times wrote about them last week and they’re performing on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight.

Final Verdict: Shut up and listen.

6) Josiah Leming

As a 17 year old, Josiah dropped out of high school to travel the country to play shows will living out of his car. A few years later, it all seems to be paying off. He has the makings of a raw Bob Dylan (I hate to throw that comparison out but it’s undeniable). Here’s to you, Mr. Leming.

7) BØRNS

I know what you’re thinking. What is that band name? I had the same question. Then I listened to some of his tracks and the rest was history.

8) Hyde & Beast

Comprised of two drummers, H&B create a sound that is simply undeniable. I’ve listened to their track “Keep Moving” about 20 times this week. And it’s only Tuesday.

9) Curtis Harding

Soul music at it’s best. In 2015. Who would have thought?

His album is one of the best of 2015. Better yet, one of the best albums in recent memory. You’ll be listening to this guy for weeks.

10) Benjamin Booker

Watching BB perform, I couldn’t help myself but envision shades of Gary Clark, Jr. Not too shabby.

 

“Got It” – Marian Hill

Marian Hill

Marian Hill is an up-and-coming indie duo, hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Consisting of singer, Samantha Gongol and producer, Jeremy Lloyd, the duo recently released their debut project, “Sway”, on February 17th.

Gongol and Lloyd label their music as “Sax-ual”, a clear pun, and it’s easy to see why. With a classic blend of jazzy blues, mixed together with a Lloyd’s contemporary 808 production and Samantha’s silky smooth voice, Marian Hill is destined for stardom.

Listen to the standout track “Got It” below.

“Road To Perdition” – Jay Electronica

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If you don’t know who Jay Electronica is, quite frankly, I don’t blame you.

With potential so great, it could amass to quite possibly the Greatest Hip-Hop MC of all-time, Electronica has gone virtually unheard of after signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label back in November of 2010.

Electionica, born Timothy Elpadaro Thedford, exploded onto the Rap scene after dropping two crazy hot Just Blaze produced tracks, “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit B”. After eight months under Roc Nation, Electronica announced in July 2011 the completion of his first studio album, “Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)”.

Four years later, there’s no album to speak of.

On March 6th 2015, “Road to Perdition”, a track featured on the supposed tracklist of “Act II” was leaked onto the internet. Instead of letting the masses listen to sub-par audio quality, Electronica released a high quality version for his eagerly patient waiting fans to enjoy. With powerful lyrics that Electronica is known for and an odd blend of Jay-Z and Ronald Regan audio samples, the song is a joy for Hip-Hop heads.

One can only hope the age of Jay Electronica is finally upon us and the release of “Act II” is soon to follow.

Listen to “Road To Perdition below:

“Know Yourself” – Drake

Drake

It feels wrong to just glance over the most talked about release of 2015, by arguably the hottest mainstream artist out at the moment. But fear not though, I come through bearing that straight hip-hop fire.

Drake’s newest project, “If You’re Still Reading This, It’s Too Late”, was marketed as an album, but is in fact a massive 17-track mixtape. The rumor mill will have you believe that Drake dropped this as an album, to finally get out of his Birdman-signed Cash Money contract, but who knows, I’m no conspiracy theorist.

Fact is, this mixtape certainly could be an album, it’s that good.

Here, Drake puts his R&B persona on hold and unleashes his aggressiveness, with dark, hard-hitting beats and aggressive lyrics that prove he’s on top of the Hip-Hop world, like him or not.

Take a listen below to “Know Yourself”, one of the many standout tracks on, currently, the year’s best mixtape.

Produced by Boi-1da, Vinylz & Syk Sense.