TIDAL Rising 2015
The hardest part of keeping up with new music is spotting that fresh new act on the verge of making waves.
We’re constantly holding our ear to the ground to pick up new vibrations, but there’s a lot to sort through. Some bands are hyped beyond their merit, others pass through the net like ghosts. Time may be the ultimate judge, but there are few things more satisfying than being the first kid on the block to pick up on the next big thing and watching it blossom before your eyes.
We’ve picked out five new artists to watch in 2015, representing a chromatic variety of sounds and expressions. We’ll be following up with these acts, who are all set to release their debut albums sometime in the next 12 months. And, as ever, we’ll keep sharing new discoveries as we find them throughout the year.
Ibeyi (pronounced “ee-bey-ee”) is a French-Cuban duo consisting of 19-year-old twin sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz.
The sisters’ father was Anga Díaz, the famous Cuban percussionist and member of Buena Vista Social Club. After his 2006 death, the twins (then 11 years old) began studying Yoruba folks songs and learning to play his signature instrument, the cajón. They sing in English and Yoruba, a West African language that travelled to Cuba in the 18th century via the slave trade (“Ibeji” translates to twins).
Their minimalist sound merges artifacts from their heritage with their eclectic love of classic and contemporary music. They cite Frank Ocean, James Blake and King Krule as influences. Ibeyi were personally signed to XL Recordings by label head Richard Russell in 2013. Their self-titled debut comes out this February.
Musical disagreements seem to fuel their best songs, and although there is plenty more screaming during writing and rehearsal sessions, it melts away when they get on stage…Naomi, the impulsive, energetic party girl, looks after production and percussion, as well as bringing her love of hip-hop, dancehall and electronica to the mix; Lisa-Kiandé, the more studious homebody, listens mainly to old soul and jazz artists, and concentrates on the compositional side. (The Guardian)
Future Brown is the all-star quartet gathering artist-composer Fatima Al Qadiri, Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda of synth duo Nguzunguzu, and J-Cush of club music label Lit City Trax.
Together they make for a threatening multinational collaboration that finds a sweet spot between avant garde soul, dark-flavored hip-hop and underground electronica. A more truthful description is that we’re not entirely sure what Future Brown sounds like, but it’s got the right ingredients and swagger to leave a mighty crater.
The crew signed to Warp Records just this fall. Their first single, “Wanna Party,” guests Chicago rapper Tink, another rising talent to keep an eye on this year. Future Brown’s debut album, which is said to host a diverse list of featured vocal talents, is set for release February 24.
The story behind Future Brown’s name is a good one; as member Fatima Al Qadiri told The Guardian earlier this year, it involves a friend’s magic-mushroom trip and subsequent experience of a color that doesn’t exist in our current temporal plane—a fitting vision for a multi-ethnic crew whose fusion of grime, R&B, and futuristic club music defies linear narratives and holds up the metaphorical melting pot as a kind of gold standard for the global underground. (Pitchfork)
Tobias Jesso Jr.
As the archetypal story goes, Tobias Jesso Jr. left Vancouver for Los Angeles with dreams of making it. He eventually gave up those notions, resigning to make a living playing bass for The Sessions and pop singer Melissa Cavatti.
By the time his visa was set to expire in 2012, Jesso experienced a week that changed it all: His girlfriend broke up with him, he was hit by a car while injuring his bass playing hand and having his bike stolen, and he found out his mother had cancer.
Returning to Canada, he learned the piano, started singing again and began writing songs about his stay in California. In the process he grew into a singer-songwriter in the tradition of ‘70s icons like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Billy Joel. “Hollywood,” the first single from Goon, his forthcoming debut, is a nostalgic yet original piano ballad about broken hopes and dreams in the City of Angels.
Goon will be released March 17th on True Panther. The album was recorded over the last two years and features production from Chet JR White (formerly of Girls), Patrick Carney (Black Keys), and Ariel Rechtshaid (Vampire Weekend, Haim, Sky Ferreira).
Of his early single, “True Love,” Consequence of Sound wrote, “Once again Jesso performs solo on piano, relishing in the nostalgic qualities of the lo-fi recording. He softly coos with a comforting tone over lightly played piano chords, creating a sound reminiscent of some of Paul McCartney’s own solo work. Throughout the course of the song he details the doubts and triumphs of young romance, finding the characters asking each other difficult questions like, ‘Do you need me like I need you?’ Jesso’s simplistic approach gives weight to his bittersweet lyricism, making for a stirring ode to his definition of ‘true love.’”
William Phillips, a.k.a. the London producer known as Tourist, started out circa 2010 remixing tracks by Ariel Pink and Memory, later giving a similar treatment to Sharon Van Etten and others. More recently he contributed to Jessie Ware’s sensual single, “Pieces.”
After signing to Disclosure’s Method Records label last summer, Tourist released a string of higher-profile indie remixes (Haim, Chvrches, Sam Smith) in the lead-up to his Patterns EP. Although no date is set, his debut full-length is expected sometime this year.
Tourist demonstrates a superior knack for weaving emotional resonance into his often slow-burning and theatrical productions. Explaining the intentions behind his scrumptious single, “Wait,” Phillips told The Fader, “I wanted to try and write a piece of music that was intricate and delicate but still quite intense and beefy.”
Tourist seems to be teetering on the edge of a breakthrough a la Disclosure or James Blake, and his music occupies some nebulous territory in between those two realms. The London electronic musician has just shared his latest track “Wait,” which leans a bit more toward the Blake side of the equation. It’s a moody piece of minimalism that’s built on simple piano notes and sweeping synths that explode in the last minute into a satisfying breakdown. (Stereogum)
New York singer-songwriter Luke Elliot emanates the aura of a classic rock ’n’ roll gentleman, with the refinement of Jerry Lee Lewis and Bob Dylan, and the grit of Tom Waits and Nick Cave.
In this densely populated musical territory, it’s difficult to stand out without offering something special, but Luke Elliot has got it all: a burning energy, a cool, wiseguy attitude, a classic look, a penchant for piano and a great voice. And his material just seems to get better as time goes by.
Elliot released his debut EP, Death of a Widow, back in 2010, and has gradually built up a name for himself, locally on the East Coast – and as far away as Norway, where he has already performed several times and sourced members for his backing band.
A second EP, Provisions, was released last summer, and earned him many new admirers, including legendary producer John Agnello (War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth) who signed on to produce Elliot’s debut full-length. That album, which is currently under construction, is expected to be released sometime this fall.
An outstanding follow-up to a superb debut, ‘Provisions’ offers further proof that Luke Elliot is destined to be a force to be reckoned with, and soon. Elliot possesses obvious ability when it comes to varying tone and temperament, as he proves so adeptly… Incidentally, the aforementioned “To Feel Your Love” is not the Dylan song of the same name, even though Elliot shows he can emulate the Master’s art of imagery ever so succinctly… Elliot’s melodies are often probing and austere, but they never remain at arms length… an astute blend of suggestion and seduction. (No Depression)
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