From a trap-happy Australian DJ to a psych-rock savior to a handful of West Coast-based pop-punks, here are the five artists you need to know about this month.
Who: The Australian DJ has already made a bit of a mark with high-powered singles like the trip-hoppy, airhorn-punctuated “I Want U” from her Calm Down EP. Later this month, she’ll drop the skittering “U Don’t Know,” the lead single from her upcoming debut album, Run. Spoiler: It features the Flaming Lips’ frontweirdo, Wayne Coyne, and the clattering drum claps of a thousand drone armies.
Sounds Like: Grimes for the club circuit, run through a pop processor with vocal assists stolen from Miley Cyrus’ Rolodex.
Where to Start: “I Want U,” a chemically trappy anthem that crackles with self-awareness. — BRENNAN CARLEY
Who: A Massachusetts native turned Los Angeleno, Colleen Green worships the Descendents (see: her 2012 release, Milo Goes to Compton), worries about maturity and matters of the heart, and, up to now, has dealt in solo DIY recordings. The forthcoming I Want to Grow Up (the 30-year-old’s newest album and second for Hardly Art) marks a shift in technique, having come together with help from a full band, including JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet’s Casey Weissbuch. Due out February 24, the ten-track set is replete with the sorts of sticky, lovesick melodies that would make Phil Spector see dollar signs.
Sounds Like: If Bethany Cosentino and Lou Barlow pooled their insecurities and pop chops.
Where to Start: Green’s lo-fi cover of Blink-182’s “M+Ms” is required listening, but for a proper primer on I Want to Grow Up, consult the full-bodied power-pop of “TV.” — KYLE MCGOVERN
Who: A 25-year-old British multi-instrumentalist and then some. Cosmo Sheldrake records the ambient sounds of his environment, remixing, warping, and beat-boxing until he’s created a wholly unique sound that should only be classified as “electro-sea shanty.” He’s recorded and performed in places ranging from the back of a horse drawn cart in rural Bulgarian mountains to the stage of a recent TED Talk.
Sounds Like: A one-man-band playing folks songs from inside of a computer located on the deck of a working fishing trawler. Also a little like Cashmere Cat, we guess.
Where to Start: As you can imagine, Sheldrake’s hodgepodge soundscapes get pretty strange, but “The Moss” is a good (and somewhat accessible) entry point. — JAMES GREBEY
Who: A West Coast pair of “teen girl culture” enthusiasts, Rachel Gagliardi and Nicole Snyder specialize in feedback-filled punk anthems that get the blood boiling.
Sounds Like: If Girlpool hit the distortion pedal and added a drummer, or if X-Ray Spex reunited and moved to present-day East Los Angeles.
Where to Start: Let Slutever “Smother” you with their combative EP opener. The forthcoming six-song set, titled Almost Famous, will drop on February 17. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Who: A former guitarist for Monotonix (a noise-pop band who SPIN once dubbed “the most exciting band in rock’n’roll”), now makes rubbery and psychedelic experimental compositions that retain the spastic energy of his punk roots. In 2012, he released a Tropicalía-tinged EP called Iberian Passage with help from Portuguese drummer Igor Domingues. He established a freewheeling improvisatory approach to his disorienting instrumental psych-rock, a thread he’s picked up again with Director, his March LP. The New York-based composer is soon set to tour with of Montreal, and though he doesn’t have a ton in common with the Athens indie vets, fans of their odd-pop chameleon act will likely find something to appreciate in Gat’s genre-defying compositions.
Sounds Like: A little bit of Os Mutantes, a little bit of the Lounge Lizards, with some misremembered afrobeat licks.
Where to Start: The Iberian Passage EP, released in 2012. — COLIN JOYCE