Who: Co-signed by The-Dream and preparing a debut album under his Radio Killa imprint, August Alsina is a young, Internet-savvy hook machine. He made his name via viral videos featuring stellar covers of R&B hits and solidified his reputation with the mixtape The Product. An ability to turn slow-jam topics on their head, presenting something more down-to-earth, makes him a stand-out: "Sucka" is a coy anti-love song, while "I Luv this Shit" is an ode to indulgence, pushed along by loopy Vegas horns.Sounds Like: Jeremih, Raheem DeVaughn, Trey SongzWhere to Start: "I Luv This Shit," a #realtalk rapper-like celebration of weed and women featuring Trinidad James off Downtown: Life Under the Gun, out now.[videoembed size="full_width" alignment="center"][/videoembed]
Who: Richmond, Virginia, quintet of Sabbath worshippers and Sleep therapists specializing in an unusually seductive, liquid strain of doom metal. They're as adept at 30-minute drone-outs as they are six-minute studies in power-chord pith, and their guitars are never anything less than molten. But what really tips the band into the abyss is vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, whose controlled wail sounds at once very far away and almost subliminally close to home. Craftsmen and –woman par excellence, Windhand also have their own artisanal beer (with Pennsylvania's South County Brewing); oddly, it's an IPA, and not, given the creaminess of their sound, a chocolate stout.Sounds Like: Electric Wizard, Sleep, GoatsnakeWhere to Start: "Orchard," off the band's forthcoming Soma (Relapse, September 17) sounds like a kvlt response to Tame Impala's warm, fuzzy psych-rock.
Who: The Chicago area has proved to be fertile ground for precocious young rappers, but 18-year-old Calumet City, Illinois, native Trinity Home has quickly carved out her own space. Under the moniker Tink, Home has collaborated with the city's ruthless boys — from first-wave stars like Lil Durk to newer faces like Lil Herb and Lil Bibby — across a number of mixtapes, proving both her toughness and skills as an MC. But she spends as much time singing as she does rapping, devoting an entire mixtape — last summer's Winter's Diary — to traditionalist R&B. Though Home is still working on melding the two styles, she stands out by emulating Drake and Nicki Minaj in a drill scene where even fellow women like Katie Got Bandz and Sasha Go Hard stick almost uniformly to gritty rap. Others have begun to notice, including Tom Krell of How to Dress Well, who recently remixed the Cassie-esque cut "Can I."Sounds like: Angel Haze, Chief Keef, Jhene AikoWhere to Start: This year's Blunts and Ballads is another one for the lovers, while new single "Kilo" is one of her absolute best rap songs. "Kilo" fans should subsequently check out the rap-focused tape Alter Ego.[videoembed size="full_width" alignment="center"][/videoembed]
Who: Steve Marion and Christian Peslak have been collaborating for nearly a decade, ever since the former discovered the latter’s solo demos when the two twentysomethings were New Jersey high-school students. Since then, Marion has released a pair of Dirty Projectors-indebted full-lengths under his Delicate Steve moniker — 2011’s Wondervisions and 2012’s Positive Force — and drafted Peslak as the rhythm guitarist for his touring band. But now the longtime associates have launched Saint Rich, a project that — with Peslak playing acoustic guitar, bass, and keyboards, and Marion handling lead guitar, drums, bass, piano, and production — specializes in slightly sun-baked indie-rock yarns that unfurl in a series of tumbling six-string acrobatics. Their debut album, Beyond the Drone, arrives October 1 via Merge.Sounds Like: Delicate Steve, Built to Spill, My Morning JacketWhere to Start: “Officer,” a yawning alt-country equivalent to “Fuck Tha Police,” set for Saint Rich’s upcoming LP.
Who: Smoked-out Chicago R&B collective JODY place their '80s-indebted R&B in the mix with the post-footwork weirdness of foggy Chi-town beat-tweaking: Their February EP Magique, the first of a promised trilogy, finds Quiet Storm melodies swirling around blunted bass. Jeremiah Meece, one half of The-Drum, is a member of Jody and production from that electronic duo helps the crew ooze underground appeal. A last-minute replacement at this summer's Lollapalooza after friends Supreme Cuts suffered technical difficulties, JODY stole Saturday from indie heroes like Postal Service and buzz bands like Haim.Sounds Like: Prince, The-Drum, the Weeknd, Sa-RaWhere to Start: "The Long Goodbye," a New Age-sounding slow burner off their upcoming EP, JODY.