MONDAY: MICK JENKINS x STWO (SOLD OUT)
Born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1991 and raised in the south side of Chicago, MC/poet Mick Jenkins (whose real first name is Jayson) made an impact in the early 2010's Chicago hip-hop scene with his socially conscious, intelligent lyrics and tough yet unforced delivery over acid jazz-influenced backing tracks. Affiliated with hip-hop crew Free Nation, Jenkins began releasing online mixtapes in 2012, starting with The Mickstape in January and followed by The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalascage in August. Trees & Truths, an ambitious 17-track mixtape filled with Biblical imagery and demonstrating Jenkins' remarkable growth as a lyricist, appeared in April of 2013 and significantly raised his profile within the Chicago rap community, and later in the year, Jenkins collaborated with Chance The Rapper and Von a single called "Cross Roads." Jenkins received national attention for The Wave(s), his 2014 mixtape which featured guest appearances by Statik Selektah and Joey Bada$$. This led to a support slot on a fall 2014 tour with Method Man, Redman, and Cypress Hill's B Real, followed by tours with Kirk Knight, Joey Bada$$, and STWO in 2015. Jenkins signed to Cinematic Music Group in 2015, releasing an EP titled Wave(s) in August while working on his official full-length debut, The Healing Component. [All Music]
Sounds like: Action Bronson, ProbCause, Isaiah Rashad
STWO (pronounced 'Stew') is a 21-year-old producer from Paris, France who has joined taste making Los Angeles label Soulection. He first wowed us his original track, 'You', then followed it up with a three track debut EP, Moans that has garnered hundred's of thousands of plays, and attention from taste making blogs across the internet. With only a short time of producing under his belt, he has now impressed his quickly growing fan base with the newest masterpiece, his EP Beyond via Live For The Funk. The EP has collectively received almost half a million plays, and has proven to listeners that STWO has some real talent. Not only can STWO please our ears from his SoundCloud account, but also has a live set that will leave you with your hands in the air and your jaw on the floor. STWO plans to take his smooth sounds to fans all over the world. [last.fm]
Sounds like: Atu, Branchez, Omn
TUESDAY: MARIAN HILL
The duo behind the budding group, Jeremy Lloyd and Gongol, creates something undeniably sexy, combining hard-hitting, minimal beats with the saxophone that recalls the playful seduction of the 1920s. Perhaps if Ella Fitzgerald, James Blake, Banks, Wild Belle and Jay Gatsby somehow had a collective baby, that child would be Marian Hill. [...] Llyod's background in music theatre from Yale University and Gongol's in music business from New York University provide them with the technical skills they need to differentiate themselves from the quickly saturating pool of electronic R&B artists. They understand the mechanics of weaving together sounds from different generations. The result is as delicious as it is refreshing. "At the core of it, for Sam and I, we're always making sure that there's this really solid song at the center of it," Llyod said. "Basic chords, melody, lyrics but there's a song there that stands on its own and could be covered and exists as a song which is basically ... the crux of what I was studying in school." [Huffington Post]
Sounds like: Alina Baraz, Anna of the North, Oh Wonder
Shamir Bailey (born c. 1994), better known by his stage name Shamir, is an American singer and songwriter from Las Vegas, Nevada. His début EP, Northtown (June 2014) was followed in 2015 by a full-length album, Ratchet. Shamir is known for his androgynous countertenor voice. Radio.com wrote that his singing voice, "like Joplin's, stops you in your tracks." Shamir has said that he doesn't mind having his voice described as androgynous, but notes that 'countertenor' is the correct term: "It's not feminine, it's not masculine. It's a happy medium … I feel like if the world was more like that, our problems would be gone." Critic Jamieson Cox, writing for Pitchfork Media, wrote: "With a piercing countertenor somewhere between Prince masquerading as Camille and the cracking adolescent soul of the teenage Michael Jackson, the 19-year-old North Las Vegas native dismantles the expectations maintained for vocalists based on their gender, demanding instead that the focus be placed on his agile, fluttering performance." Shamir's style has been described as a distinctive mix of disco and funk with hints of pop "laced with old skool house". Life & Soul has described him as "a dynamic young artist who successfully adopts the craft of his musical heroes Michael Jackson and Prince." [last.fm]
Sounds like: Hannah Diamond, Braids, East India Youth
Montreal quartet Ought began in 2011, taking heavy cues from their city's thriving scene of underground politics, loft parties, and D.I.Y. culture. Composed of singer/guitarist Tim Beeler, bassist Ben Stidworthy, keyboardist Matt May, and drummer/violinist Tim Keen, the band melded unlikely influences from both high-energy mid-'90s emo bands and airy, early college rock acts like The Feelies and Talking Heads. The bandmembers all lived together in a shared apartment/practice space, self-recording their first EP, New Calm, in 2012. They played frequently in Montreal, eventually catching the ear of indie label Constellation, which released their debut full-length album, More Than Any Other Day, in the spring of 2014. They returned with a four-track EP, Once More With Feeling, released in October of the same year. The group's second album, Sun Coming Down, appeared in September of 2015.
Sounds like: Viet Cong, Ex Hex, Speedy Ortiz
FRIDAY: BOB MOSES
"We were never happy just making music on acoustic guitars," says Tom Howie of the organic-electronic sound of Bob Moses, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Canada duo he formed with partner Jimmy Vallance. "Our live show combines what a DJ does with a rock band," Vallance adds. "Everything flows together in a continuous mix for the dancefloor, but it's all our own original music, with live vocals and guitar. Then again, we came out of a scene that was trying to change what dance music is – that pushed beyond the expected sonic spectrum." That scene grew around the Marcy Hotel – the revered venue that, in its half decade of existence, proved as important for New York's contemporary underground dance/electronic music world as CBGBs was for the ‘70s punk era. The acclaimed likes of Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, and Nicolas Jaar all gravitated around Marcy's infamous parties, reimagining dance music in their own groundbreaking image. [...] Bob Moses received its oddball moniker from Francis Harris in homage to Robert Moses, the urban planner behind iconic New York landmarks like Shea Stadium and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But while NYC is definitely in Bob Moses' DNA, its members actually met as high school students in Vancouver, Canada. The pair reunited randomly years later when, bumping into each other in a Lowe's parking lot, they discovered they had studios across the street from each other in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood. Howie had arrived there after a stint at Boston's Berklee College of Music, on a partial scholarship as a singer-songwriter. Vallance, meanwhile, had found some success as a producer/engineer/DJ creating commercial dance music – his remix of Sia's "Buttons" brought him some early attention – but "I'd fallen out of love with making cheesy big-room tracks," he laughs. "We booked a couple days to write at my studio for fun, and by the end of the week, I told Tom, ‘Come live at my place and let's do this every day.'" Bob Moses is currently crafting its debut album for the group's new label, Domino. That's preceded by a new EP, First to Cry: taking its title from Bob Moses' blues-meets-deep-house take on "I Ain't Gonna Be the First to Cry" by R&B legend Bobby ‘Blue' Bland, it marks Bob Moses as a characteristic addition to Domino's maverick stable. "We're massive fans of Domino artists like Four Tet, Caribou, Hot Chip, and Animal Collective, so it just seemed like a natural home for us," Vallance says. "We feel lucky to be starting this relationship – it's a big new world."
Sounds like: Frank & Tony, Desert Sound Colony, Francis Harris
Caleb and Will Chapman, sons of contemporary Christian pop superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, began making music with friend Scott Mills in 2009, forging a bright indie rock sound influenced by alt-rock legends like U2 as well as more contemporary influences such as Cold War Kids. The trio initially went by the name Caleb, but changed their handle to Colony House in 2013, borrowing the name from an apartment complex in their home of Franklin, Tennessee, where all three musicians had lived at one time or another. Colony House worked feverishly to self-release three EPs before the 2014 issue of their debut full-length, When I Was Younger. [All Music]
Sounds like: Paper White, Young Rising Sons, Knox Hamilton
COIN proudly call themselves a “product of the ’90s”. A borrowed nostalgia for the decade that isn’t uncommon among Nashvillians. COIN hasn’t adopted the detached smugness and angst often associated with ’90s alt acts and contemporary ’90s alt revival acts. They are entirely devoid of ironic, tongue‐in-cheek rock n’ roll posturing or odes to the joys of slackerdom. Instead, lead singer, keyboardist, and lyricist Chase Lawrence opts for earnest songs about actual human emotions: falling in (and out of) love, worrying about the future, and missing the past. It’s the same brand of wide-‐eyed sincerity found on Pet Sounds—just replace the theremin with a microKORG and the harpsichord with guitarist Joe Memmel’s crisp Telecaster lines. Their songs are hopeful, but behind the spring reverb and airy synths, there’s subtle regret and even morbidity. They’ve recently released their debut album, recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Sleeper Agent, Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Little Big Town). The album is guitar driven and sonically mature, but still true to their synthpop sensibilities.
Sounds like: Cheerleader, CRUISR, Wild Party
SUNDAY: FRASER A. GORMAN
With his violent shock of vertical curls, three-piece suit and excitable roguish charm, Fraser A Gorman cuts a striking figure. Similarly, the music the 23-year-old Melbourne-based singer-songwriter makes stands out amidst any scene or sound. Fraser was born in Torquay, a suburban outpost of Geelong, the large coastal city an hour’s drive from his relocated Melbourne digs. The high-school year below his pal Stu Moore from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Geelong is the sometime home to much of Australia’s motor industry, and like its American cousin Detroit has become something of a hot-bed for talented young ne’er-do-wells without much else to keep them out of trouble. Like most aspiring Geelong creatives, Fraser eventually migrated to Victoria’s cooler capital city. In Melbourne, Fraser signed to Courtney Barnett's label Milk! Records and later joined her at London-based label Marathon Artists. A limited edition vinyl of single 'Book Of Love' will be released between both labels in 2015. [Last.fm]
Sounds like: Best Girl Athlete, FOSSA, Little Mountain
Blog by Gina Reis