Born and raised in Detroit on the sounds of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, Curtis Cross found out at an early age that he had a talent for hip-hop, especially for beats. He spent hours in his basement -- at first with just a cheap drum machine and a home karaoke system, eventually moving up to more sophisticated MPCs and samplers -- making tapes. [...] In 2005, without a label and with his group on hiatus, Black Milk went on to release Sound of the City. In 2006, the indie rap label Fat Beats signed him and issued his official solo debut, Popular Demand, in March of 2007. Late that same year, a joint Bishop Lamont/Black Milk tape, mixed by DJ Warrior, hit the streets, a slightly modified version of which was mastered and released commercially by Music House early in 2008, and just a few months later his collaboration with fellow Detroiter Fat Ray, The Set Up, came out. In October, he capped off the productive year with the release of his second official solo album, Tronic. He worked with a four-piece live band for 2010's Album of the Year, a heavily rock-influenced effort. He returned to his familiar electronic and hip-hop sounds in his 2013 single “Sunday's Best”, and his album If There's a Hell Below followed soon after in 2014. [Marisa Brown, Rovi]
To call GoldLink an aspiring rapper would not do him justice. The DMV-bred emcee accrued over three million plays on his Soundcloud and captured the attention of an entire industry with the rst project he ever released. GoldLink's sound doesn't throw it all the way back to the boom-bap, New York style, nor is it entirely a product of digital production. Instead, the music mixes the buttery grooves of 90's R&B with classic hip-hop breaks to give it an essence of nostalgia, and then turns on its head with bouncy, forward-thinking production style led by the likes of Ta-Ku and Kaytranda. Add that to GoldLink's ability to fill every pocket of the dynamic instrumentals he tackles with a roller-coaster delivery, and suddenly your head is bobbing to the self-proclaimed “future-bounce” genre. [Windish Agency]
Sounds like: Allan Kingdom, OG Maco, Boogie, Rome Fortune
Tucson, AZ-based blues-punk primitive Bob Log III first surfaced a member of the art-noise group Mondo Guano, later serving as one half of the duo Doo Rag. While appearing in support of Ween, Doo Rag percussionist Thermos Malling abruptly quit the tour, leaving Log to finish out the remaining dates as a solo act; wearing his now-trademark motorcycle helmet onstage for protection from crowds, he proceeded to hone a cacophonous, Delta blues-inspired noise distinguished by Latin-styled drum machine beats and vocals processed through telephone microphones. In the summer of 1998, Log signed to Fat Possum to issue his solo debut, School Bus; Trike, the second release in his ongoing "Vehicle Series, " followed a year later. [Allmusic.com]
Sounds like: Robert Belfour, T-Model Ford, Heavy Trash, Black Diamond Heavies
Manchester female quartet PINS were formed in 2011 by singer/guitarist Faith Holgate alongside bassist Anna Donigan, drummer Lara Williams, and guitarist Lois McDonald. After Holgate had spent time in different bands, mostly alongside guys, she was fed up with being the "token girl" and decided to invest time in finding an all-girl lineup. Once the other three members were recruited, they set to work playing noisy, pop-influenced, guitar-led music that nodded to noted influences such as Hole, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Beach House. They packed their rough-and-gritty live sound with attitude, and after a series of shows in a number of unconventional spaces -- such as disused office blocks and hotel basements -- they released their first single, "LUVU4LYF," in 2012. Their self-produced debut album, Girls Like Us, which they recorded in a week, arrived in October 2013. For 2015's poppier and more polished Wild Nights, PINS worked with producer Dave Catching at the Rancho de la Luna studio in Joshua Tree, California. [Scott Kerr, allmusic.com]
Aussie indie rockers The Griswolds quickly rose to fame in 2012 in their homeland with their first track “Mississippi”, gaining the attention of music bloggers and radio stations alike, with their catchy laid-back style and edgy party boy vibe. [last.fm] With an EP and some European festivals under their belt, The Griswolds made their American debut in May 2013, signing with NYC based music label Wind-Up Records and releasing their first full-length album, Be Impressive, in 2014.
Sounds like: CRUISR, Walk The Moon, Ghostbeach, Youngblood Hawke
Not long after the release of Girls' second album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, singer Christopher Owens announced that he was leaving the indie duo in pursuit of a solo career. Taking on a lighter brand of music, he began chasing the ghosts of 70s AM pop, integrating flutes and classical guitar in his recordings. In 2012, Fat Possum signed Owens to a recording deal and in early 2013 released his album Lysandre, a very personal debut that chronicled Owens difficulties coping with success and a love affair he had while touring with Girls. One year later in September 2014, he delivered his follow-up solo effort A New Testament. [Jason Lymangrover, Billboard]
Sounds Like: Foxygen, Twin Peaks, Avi Buffalo, Tobias Jesso, Jr.
The Suffers are a ten-piece band from Houston, TX who are redefining the sound of Gulf Coast Soul, intertwining elements of Classic American Soul with Rock & Roll. Both sonically and visually arresting, the large ensemble packs each position of the rhythm section and horn section with a level of talent and taste that provides the perfect foundation for singer Kam Franklin's massive voice. The band's sincerity and emotion are laid bare in their music, which has garnered an audience so broad and varied that they may prove to be the panacea for a jaded and stratified live music scene. The Suffers will be releasing their debut LP Make Some Room in 2015, hitting the road aggressively.
Sounds like: Leon Bridges, PHOX, Kopecky, Alabama Shakes