What comes in groups of five and is wonderful? It’s the musicians from around the world that we collect in our Artist of the Week poll. Check out this week’s crop and vote for the one you want to winner. The artist or band with the most votes will be declared the winner and receive bragging right in perpetuity! You have from now until 11 a.m. EST next Friday when the poll will close. Go!
The newfound optimism translates into their music. Riding high on caffeinated choruses, crunchy beats, and Wappling’s ghostly soprano, NONONO craft the kind of songs that encourage repeat listens, involuntary grins, and unabashed sing-alongs. (Good luck matching Wappling’ vocal gymnastics on the glossolalia-leaning chorus of “Like the Wind.”) The glossy pop has real staying power. Lead single “Pumpin Blood” could replace Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks” as Scandinavia’s reigning whistling anthem, carrying the poignant reminder to get out and live life to the fullest.
While most DJs/producers who have risen to popularity in the past five years can contribute at least a little bit of their popularity to posting their music for free over the internet through sites like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, MixCloud, and YouTube, it’s been the true lifeblood for Kevin Celestin aka Kaytranada. He has more than 25 songs on his SoundCloud page that have more than 100,000 plays and his most famous remix of “If” by Janet Jackson has been listened to more than 650,000 times.
“If” was a breakthrough moment for him and was posted to SoundCloud almost a year ago. It features a few signature Kaytranada sounds: hefty Dilla-inspired hip-hop beats layered with crisp, trebly trap percussion, atmospherics that envelop all corners of the ear, and sharp, forefronted synths borrowed from EDM’s most successful pop efforts. He is able to liberally borrow from different popular dance music scenes and strains of hip-hop without losing the core personality of his sound, which is where many bedroom producers get tripped up.
With only four released songs to her name, BANKS has already dallied with some music’s most interesting names—a tour with The Weeknd, a song produced by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and a collaboration with Sampha (who helped launch the career of likeminded chanteuse Jessie Ware). She sings about romance (and heartbreak, of course.), but hers is a style that’s easy to fall in love with…not just to. Think: silky synths, pillow-talk soft vocals, and a general, shadow-laced ambience that suggests the most sensuous of evening activities. It’s no wonder that one of her lead singles is called “This is What it Feels Like.”
So a Kiwi guitarist, Sudanese poet-turned-rapper, and American singer/producer walk into a bar…no wait, that’s not right. Change the bar to a recording studio, and add the unbreakable bonds of a friendship forged by college years spent in tandem, and you have the basic setup for The Wyld—an Auckland, New Zealand-based trio that’s currently set on breaking down the walls between rap, rock, and electronic music.
It was only last year that Betty Who released her first single “Somebody Loves You,” a rollicking, throw-your-hands-up jam that would have easily been a smash hit in the ’80s about finding that one who “knows you’re one of a kind.” The song immediately garnered nothing but praise from legions of pop bloggers around the world, noting the potential in the newcomer. The Aussie’s real break has come in the form of a viral video, as is the trend these days. A man named Spencer asked if he could use “Somebody Loves You” to propose to his boyfriend Dustin with a flashmob-style song and dance (spoiler: Dustin says yes). Within only a few weeks, the video had over ten million views, the couple had been on Ellen, and Who had signed to RCA.