WPTS 2k15 First Look: Names to Look Out For
Last week, we covered a small handful of some of the big names poised to release albums that are sure to be talked about in 2015. Today, we bring you some of the smaller preformers who you’ll know in the future if you don’t know now. Check out some tracks from these burgeoning acts below, and stay tuned to WPTS to hear their music when it’s officially released.
Courtney Barnett is certainly not an unknown name to listeners of WPTS: her EP compilation last year, A Sea of Split Peas, was near the top of our charts for several weeks. Her idiosyncratic and witty style of speak-singing over folk-rock jams has brought her an unlikely level of success, earning her multiple sold-out shows across the world. Though she only mentioned recording her new album in passing last year, she’s definitely someone who we’ll be hearing from in some way during the coming year.
Production quartet, electronic collective, and international supergroup – whatever you call Future Brown, you can’t escape the fact that they’re doing something new. The collaborative project between the icy duo of Nguzunguzu, techno DJ J-Cush and futurist Fatima Al Qadri is releasing their debut album on Warp this year after taking over the internet with the clanging trap banger Wanna Party. Their full-length will feature eleven tracks of hyper-real dance and hip-hop tracks crafted for our globalized and paranoid 21st century world. Features from other rising names like Sicko Mobb and Kelela already guarantees Future Brown’s place as one of the most intriguing electronic releases of the year.
It’s pretty clear that GABI’s background isn’t in pop. The haunting harmonies soaring that soar over marimbas and feedback in her debut single Koo Koo are indicative of her training in dance and gamelan as well as classical voice and composition. Her otherworldly atmosphere is perfectly suited for Daniel Lopatin’s boundary-pushing Software Label, who signed the artist last year. Though no album has been announced, GABI’s experimental reputation and high ambitions suggest that she’s going to be unsettling us even more in 2015.
It’s not uncommon for a musician to become tired of their old sound and start exploring new territories. But 25-year old Jack Latham (aka Jam City) project is something of a headscratcher. Once a poster-boy for the cutting-edge futuristic techno pioneereed by labels like Night Slugs and Fade to Mind, he seems to be taking a step out of the glistening coldness of Classical Curves into warm, effervescent electro-pop. While the music has a new-found sunniness foreign to his sleek contemporaries, his new website still embodies the postmodern digital bleakness that has characterized all his work to date.
Tobias Jesso Jr.
In an age where slick production techniques and electronic sound-scaping are available to more people than ever, the role of the conventional singer/songwriter seems threatened. Tobias Jesso Jr. is one of the young musicians keeping the art of songcraft alive. The slow-burning ballad “Hollywood” came out of nowhere last year, attracting the interest of prominent names like Patrick Carney and The New Pronographers’ John Collins. His deeply personal and heartfelt songs are preformed with an intimate closeness that gives them the same timeless quality of the greats who precede him. Goon could easily bring the young singer huge attention, but its unlikely that he’ll lose his depth of emotion any time soon.
Okay, so this band isn’t releasing a new album this year per se. Their self-titled debut was already released on a small Spanish label in 2014, but the planned special edition LP announced by legendary label Captured Tracks demonstrates the levels of hype around the band. It’s not hard to understand the excitement: as their oldest member being is only 18, Mourn’s youthfulness is a huge part of what makes their emotionally charged blend of post-punk and 90’s-flavored indie-rock all the more exciting.
If you were anywhere near a music journalism site in 2014, then you know how difficult it was to escape the specter of PC Music. The anonymous netlabel fronted by the shadowy mastermind A.G. Cook spent a good portion of last year churning out song and after song of ultra-sugary hi-fi pop coated in a glossy virtual sheen. The divisive QT single in particular launched the label into internet stardom, though since then the individual producers and affiliates have been relatively quiet. This could change in 2015, as some sources online have mentioned that their most visible icon, Hannah Diamond, is in the studio recording. Whatever we hear from PC Music this year, you can expect it to attract plenty of attention from fans and detractors alike.
XL Recordings is one of the most notable labels in the UK underground. Home to acts like The XX, fka Twigs, and Radiohead, XL doesn’t release much, but when it does you can be sure that it will be something different. Which is why it’s so exciting that Shamir Bailey, a 19-year old songwriter from Vegas, was recruited to the label’s roster this year. With a gripping and passionate falsetto that transcends male of female, Las Vegas’s Shamir makes smooth, sexy, and fun dance-pop that forces you to get out of your set and groove. If his upcoming release is anywhere near as consistent as his debut EP Northtown, then we’re in for something truly special.
2014 was a big year for Seattle-based art collective Black Constellation. From the installation project Your Feast Has Ended a tolbums from affiliated projects Chimurenga Renaissance and Shabazz Palaces, the afro-futurist group of artists and musicians have put forth some of the most unique sounds in American hip-hop. Building off the momentum of Lese Majesty, experimental R&B duo THEEsatisfaction could easily be thrust into the spotlight themselves with their upcoming release EarthEE, another distinctive blend of hip-hop and soul brewed into one psychedelic stew.
Australia’s Twerps are not a flashy band. Their last two albums of breezy jangle-pop were released to little exposure outside their own country; they haven’t even yet done an international tour. That could all change with this year’s Range Anxiety, out this month on Merge Records, home to Yo La Tengo and the Magnetic Fields. Shimmering, slow-paced indie pop has been in favor lately thanks to bands like Real Estate and Mac DeMarco, but no one does the sound better than the folks down under, who pretty much invented the style through bands like The Clean and The Go-Betweens. Fans of that style will surely find something to enjoy in Twerps.