Who: James and Andy, two English music teachers who refuse to divulge their surnames — neither is named "Honne," a Japanese expression that, according to the duo, means "the true feelings that you would only show to your closest companions." Their bedroom R&B (both in the composed-for and the composed-in sense) reflects the level of intimacy implied by the name: smooth and sonorous and incredibly cozy. Despite edging towards the electronic in their productions, Honne's lyrics are far more direct than the likes of How to Dress Well or James Blake, and Andy's coarse, slurred exhortations have a world-weariness to them that give the vocals a sort of innate credibility. The list of mainstream crooners out there who would hear a song as simple and generally persuasive as "Warm on a Cold Night" and be mad they didn't get there first is not a short one.Sounds Like: Caleb from Kings of Leon singing over Ratatat balladsWhere to Start: There's only three original songs total thus far, so you may as well head over to their SoundCloud and listen to the entire hat-trick. You'll never see that shredding guitar solo in "All in the Value" coming.
Who: At CMJ last month, this New York singer turned heads with her throbbing electro-pop-minded songs. Vérité worked closely with drummer and producer Ethan Jacobson on her recently released debut EP, Echo, which features four incredibly strong club-ready cuts. The title track pirouettes on itself as Vérité wraps her vocals around the in-your-face drum machine, but project-closer "Heartbeat" demonstrates a keen ear for songwriting. "We are dim romantic sparks / We all fall down / So we can all cover our eyes / Fun explosions in the skies," Vérité coos, her vocals evoking those of Ingrid Michaelson or Sarah Bareilles — that is, if they were processed and packaged for late-night basement parties instead.Sounds Like: ASTR, Ryn Weaver, Wet, Little DaylightWhere to Start: Her new four-song EP, Echo. The penultimate number will haunt your dreams.
Who: Now is the time to strike while Dej Loaf's iron is white-hot. The 23-year-old Detroit rapper just released her critically revered mixtape, $ell Sole, featuring her quickly charting single, "Try Me." Birdman and Remy Ma make appearances on the lethargic spitter's project, and both Young Thug and Ty Dolla $ign hopped on the official remix of her aforementioned hit. Even Eminem scooped the suddenly in-demand Dej up for "Detroit vs. Everybody," from his upcoming Shady XV compilation, along with such heavyweights as Big Sean and Danny Brown. Though the rapper made her debut back in 2012, this is her year. Rhyming and singing and rapping all wrapped up into one tightly wound set, $ell shows the making of a true original.Sounds Like: Remy Ma meets Eve with a hint of cough syrupWhere to Start: $ell Sole, her self-released, peak-filled mixtape.
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Who: Though new to the game, Sheer Mag already seem to have mastered a recipe for success: blend the shiniest bits of power-pop with scuzz-rock nostalgia. Though the Philadelphia group has only released four songs — their self-titled debut dropped in September via Wilsuns RC — their explosive melodies reinvigorate well-worn tactics while nodding to such classic showmen as T.Rex and Ted Nugent. On "What You Want," singer Christina Halladay hisses with heartbreak and attitude calling out an ex-lover, saying, "I still remember all the times / Bitter and tender / You don't wanna deal with me" It's the kind of track that begs to be played on a hot summer night.Sounds Like: A bratty version of Patti Smith, Sky Ferreira, garage-rock BlondieWhere to Start: "What You Want," a spirited and gritty cut that opens the Sheer Mag EP with just the right amount of whine.
7" by SHEER MAG
Who: Having already made rounds on the DIY dance circuit within New York City for a hot few minutes, Marco Gomez is a DJ/producer who's an affiliate of Lit City Trax and member of KUNQ, a collective of artists aiming to foster forward-thinking, queer-oriented art. Gomez's sound can be characterized by the collaging of manic, industrial styles from underground clubs and the vibrancy of Latin/o and Caribbean genres. He cultivates an aesthetic that's not necessarily utopian, but certainly falls under a global urban sensibility with its own political edge.Sounds Like: Brenmar, Juliana Huxtable, UniiqueWhere to Start: A 30 minute mix made for DIS Magazine that goes muy duro. (That's "very hard" in Spanish.)
Five Artists to Watch in November 2014
November 5, 2014 - 09:38 PM
From a Detroit rapper already cosigned by Eminem to a pair of British bedroom-R&B producers to a lo-fi quintet from Philadelphia, these are five artists you need to know right now. BRENNAN CARLEY, ANDREW UNTERBERGER, LUIS POLANCO, and MAGGIE ROGERS