Even if you feel like 2017 has been owned by one god awful song Despacito, there remains a lot of other music out there to explore. From Spotify playlists, YouTube rabbit holes, Bandcamp threads, the blog world – yes they are still out there – and SoundCloud (for the time being), there’s no greater time to be seen and heard.
From the dreamy house of Shinichi Atobe and Smerz to the political overtones of J.I.D. and K Á R Y Y N, these artists are building their fan base, brick by brick, without the help of Pitchfork or big budgets, aligning themselves with a newly found D.I.Y. independence. It’s refreshing.
We picked a crew of new artists emerging as bedroom producers, cross-referencing sounds from different genres. Armed with low overheads and great technology [see Steve Lacy], a lot of these artists now emerge from live canyons that are The Great Escape or SXSW. Both remain the most direct way to catch new music before they get their marching orders into the mainstream. It’s a brave new world. Have a look for yourself below:
He kept his identity silent only until recently unveiling it a DJ set in Tokyo. He released his debut record, From The Heart, It’s a Start, A Work of Art back in June, a damn fine piece of melodically detailed house from start to finish. Enjoy alone in your room at 4am.
Home City: Tokyo
For Fans Of: Leon Vynehall, Bicep, Andy Stott
He’s the 18-year-old guitarist from supergroup The Internet, but you could describe him as something altogether different. Steve Lacy, like a lo-fi urban Mac DeMarco, stripped of any goofiness offers up some bedroom deliciousness, full of Californian sunshine and smooth pop. If that ain’t enough he’s produced a Grammy Award Winning LP with Kendrick Lamar on his iPhone!
Home City: California
For Fans Of: Thundercat, Frank Ocean, Shuggie Otis
It feels like noir hip-hop just got another serious ambassador. J.I.D., menacing and intelligent. In his latest video Never he isn’t afraid of bringing back rap as the original art of social protest. He just signed to premier hip-hop label Dreamville and amassed millions of plays registered to his name.
Home City: Atlanta
For Fans Of: Savage 21, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul
It’s as if you are instantly transported to a smokey cocktail bar in Brooklyn with the music of Nick Hakim. As a new artist with a mysterious energy, he backs this up with an extremely well-executed set of songs. Mixing a finely tuned ratio of psychedelic jazz, dream pop and a dash of blues, his debut LP Green Twins came out in May this year. It’s already on our top ten of 2017.
Home City: New York
For Fans Of: Jamie Isaac, D’Angelo, Otis Redding
Okey came out this year and slipped by a lot of people’s radars. It’s got late night Berlin written all over it. Sultry, intimate and head heavy. Just signed to XL Recordings, stay tuned for a lot more from this Scandinavian duo Smerz. Their tune Craig is on constant repeat.
Home City: Copenhagen
For Fans Of: TRUST, The XX, Craig Richards
The Japanese House
Crafting a mixture of lush dream pop and unique arrangements, The Japanese House is the solo project of London based singer-songwriter Amber Bain. her haunting voice reminds us of Imogen Heap. A fresh and inviting array of sounds that have already built a solid legion of fans. 11 million plays and counting for a new artist is not bad at all.
Home Town: London
For Fans Of: Imogen Heap, Lapsley, Wet
Home City: Indiana
For Fans Of: Real Estate, Smith Westerns
Coming off the back of another Irish hip-hop success story Rejjie Snow, Dublin based troupe Hare Squead make dreamy melodic hip-hop, and it sits just right with us. They’ve signed to Columbia, so expect big things from these guys.
Home City: Dublin
For Fans Of: Anderson.Paak, Odd Future, Frank Ocean
K Á R Y Y N
It might be the most challenging hometown in the world to start a music career, Aleppo, Syria but that hasn’t stopped Syrian-Armenian-American composer/singer K Á R Y Y N. She comes recommended by Björk, she’s a student of Marina Abramovic, and she’s just dropped her latest operatic haunting and ghostly work Moving Masses.
Home City: Los Angeles
For Fans Of: Jenny Hval, FKA Twigs