Biniyam‘s fans showed him a lot of love this week. He was voted our newest Artist of the Week!
The Young Helsinki Don is holding down the Scandanavian rap scene thanks to his latest self-titled EP. We were big fans of the video for “1NE,” but just to keep things interesting, we wanted to let you guys hear the contemplative track “Temper” from Biniyam.
We’ve reached the end of yet another week and the beginning of yet another Artist of the Week poll! You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this weeks featured artists.
Like a cyber-archangel, Princess Nokia seems to be dispatched from the 22nd century, delivering food for thought in the form of techno-laden R&B. Though its feel is futuristic, her latest LP Metallic Butterfly rocket launches itself deeply into the past, spanning three decades worth of pop culture references, including sound clips from Dragon Ball Z and 1982 film The Dark Crystal.
A piano-playing grime MC since the age of 11, who counts Wiley and Pink Floyd, Thom Yorke and The Streets as influences, Blizzard has been on a road to self-discovery with his music for near-on a decade now. The lyrical firecracker released his much-hyped debut EP, the rowdy Sooner Than Never in 2012, which was followed-up in March, 2014, with the highly introspective set, Testing The Water.
A long-standing member of the Bay Area’s punk community, 28-year-old Tony Molina’s fronted an array of bands since 2002. His latest work, Dissed and Dismissed, sounds like archival materials from the life of a boy who grew up in a bomb shelter, with only Big Star and Metallica records to keep him company. By the power of thick, muddy distortion, he packs a punch into every modest minute.
German-Ethiopian rapper/producer Biniyam is on one. He released his eponymous debut EP earlier this year at the tender age of 18. If the record was transformed into an animal, it would be a regal cat left to wander the lonely halls of some Afro-futurist temple. Through the seven tracks Biniyam raps as if he’s trapped in a solitary shrine, shadow-boxing with the hip-hop gods over heady, brooding beats.
The London-based group bundles together bombastic bass lines, slick falsetto, and dance floor horns to create a delicious slice-and-dice vibe. Is it R&B? Soul? Dance? I don’t know — is Pulp Fiction a comedy, crime film, or art house flick? No matter what label you attempt to throw at it, you’re still in for a wild ride.
The man of the hour is Well$ for becoming our newest Artist of the Week! The timing is just right as the Charlotte-based just released his debut MTSYD: The Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher. His distinctive flow is the star of the mixtape, but don’t let that distract from his philosophical reflections, the stories of his experiences as Congolese-American, or the advanced beats by producers like DJ Dahi and Ryan Hemsworth.
Find the recline button on your chair, and take a listen to “Temporary Forever / xxMONOLOGUExx”:
The first thing you’ll notice about Frida Sundemo’s new EP Lit Up By Neon is its inherent sweetness. Much of that comes from her crystalline soprano, an instrument that lends itself to descriptions like “honeyed” and “sugar spun.” But even when flaunting the kind of charm rarely seen outside of Disney princesses, nothing about the Swedish singer-songwriter’s music ever comes across as cloying or one-dimensional.
The formation of Brooklyn trio Wet was a slow one. After fiddling around with tunes as students in New York it was about six years, during which they were spread out in different cities, before the releases that eventually surfaced in 2012. There’s an obvious patience to their electronic pop, R&B-rooted numbers — could it be those unhurried beginnings that helped them master such a serene vibe.
Well$ is not an easy rapper to digest or box in. That is certainly evident from the title of his upcoming mixtape MTSYD: The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher, set to drop on the 19th. His single has built some incredible hype behind the 19 year old Charlotte MC whose lyricism happens to be on point. With his dynamic approach, he can easily offer up a reflective track that leaves you rewinding in an attempt to catch the meaning of preceding bar. He’s definitely a meticulous mind twister.
The members of Guerrilla Toss make up the cogs of a well-oiled, hypnagogic machine: together they churn out frenetically composed songs whose urgency and catchiness pair immeasurably well. Singer Kassie Carlson’s voice weaves through a loom of sound spun from the minds of maniacs: distorted guitars, maniacally arranged synths and drums, and liberal dabs of cowbell to round it out. As each song progresses on the six-track LP, we are submerged deeper into a thick, demented well of sound that is taut with a sense of freaky doom.
Members Dr. Duda (producer and pianist), J-Something (vocalist and guitarist), Mo-T (trumpeter) formed the group in 2011. After signing to SoulCandi Records, the trio very quickly made waves with the hit single from their self-titled debut “These Streets.” Their effective formula is right out in the open: Dr. Duda’s brings the funky, slow-building beats, Mo-T (son of a member of Afropop band Mango Groove) brings the jazzy horns, and J-Something brings the buttery, heart-baring, Craig David-like vocals.
It’s Buscabulla by a landslide! The Brooklyn-based silky tropical duo is MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week thanks to an overwhelming majority of votes. They are on a roll, considering they’ve also won Guitar Center + Converse’s Get Out of the Garage contest this year. That success has bolstered the recording a debut EP set to come out this summer.
Look out for news of that release! But in the meantime, take a moment from your day to become entranced by a recent live performance of “Métele”, or check out their SONOSOLAR mixtape below:
Norway’s Mr Little Jeans, AKA Monica Birkenes, first picked up steam in 2011 with her haunting, positively mesmerizing rendition of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” then she began to carry weight with indie pop aficionados through self-released original hits like “Runaway.” She is truly best at her most sinister, plunging into murky territory with her latest hit, “Good Mistake.”
XOV (otherwise known as Damian Ardestani) doesn’t skimp on the beauty. His debut EP Boys Don’t Cry is infused with a distinct electro R&B sex appeal, complementing Ardestani’s lithe falsetto. The “Naked Version” of his EP, currently available for consumption, is an airy, semi-acoustic affair. Songs billow from the speakers like light mists, allowing the listener to appraise each of Ardestani’s sensual vocal lines. But even in its more uplifting moments, darkness is never far behind.
Formed in 2009 by a bunch of musically gifted art students, their sound is something truly other. In Natsuki Ogoda’s acrobatic chipmunk voice, sometimes girlie and cute and sometimes mad as edible trains, we hear the helium tones of ’90s pop icon Yuki (Judy And Mary). The music has a jazz element infused not so much with actual jazz music but with Sheena Ringo’s filtering of the genre through a J-pop lens. And as for Haneda Narita’s keyboards — in their darker moments it seems certain the guy spent his youth absorbing soundtracks from Final Fantasy games.
Buscabulla (the combined effort of Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle) named their group after the Spanish slang word for “troublemaker.” They are based in Brooklyn, but their spiritual home is located in indie pop Puerto Rico with time-space ripples to the psyche rock scenes of late ’60s Brazil and Cuba, ’80s Argentinian rock, and early ’90s American R&B. Lyrically they’re informed by the street vernacular of Puerto Rican reggaetón from the ’00s.
With the severity of a gladiator standing tall behind a flaming chariot, drummer and vocalist Kylee Kimbrough leads Dasher into a furious auditory assault. Alongside bassist David Michaud and guitarist Kelly Stroup, the Atlanta three-piece blew punk fans out of the water last year with their self-released debut EP, Yeah I Know. Evoking the same sickly ambiance of Southern Gothic literature, Kimbrough’s hoarse screams function as a cathartic purge of the soul, leaving spine-chilling creaks and jangles reverberating in its wake.
Fredy Massamba grew up listening to James Brown and Otis Redding as much as he did Congolese musical legends like Franco and Tabu Ley. He took those sounds with him when he escaped to Belgium in 1998, as the civil war at home worsened. Since then, through his 10-odd years touring with the likes of Zap Mama and Awadi, through his solo debut Ethnophony, to his lauded sophomore release Makasi, Fredy has remained close to his roots even as he pushes them into the modern-day.
Due to the vivaciousness of their garage/indie sound, Alkaloides topped our list of under-the-radar indie acts in Ecuador last year. Their early single “Ella Viene del Futuro” ensnares you in its grip and keeps you happily dancing and humming along. If we were radio programmer at an alternative rock station anywhere in the world, their songs would instantly make our rotation. You could hear new single “Degenerar” while driving on a long road trip and then not mind hearing it again if it was playing in the lobby of a rest stop. You’d go, “Oh, yeah. I love this song.”
What started out as a short film project by lead guitarist/vocalist Jessica Weiss became a full-fledged musical act. Joined by fellow guitarist Daniel Falvey and drummer Michael Miles, Weiss leads a poetic sojourn into the murky trenches of agonizing, obsessive love in their latest album, Loom. Their featherweight, surf pop sensibility combined with echoes of brassy noise underlines the dark, otherworldly lyrics. Weiss’ chilling admissions, wrapped in a silky vapor trail of reverb, add an ominous element to the beauty of her voice.
The teenage brother and sister team that make up Carbon Airways is one of the most fearless young acts in recent memory. Singing melodically over earthquake beats and industrial-fused synth is Eléonore Fernese, who periodically shares the mic with the passionate shouts from sibling Engus. They both command the stage like seasoned experts, while adding an urgent feel to such tracks as the synth-driven “Black Sun” and the trance-like “You Walk Away,” the title cut off the Airways’ latest EP.
With their unlikely blend of drums, live instrumental loops and aggressive rhymes, Uhnellys have become one of Tokyo’s coolest live bands. The duo’s recent album Chord is their best yet, squishing all that incendiary vitality into a lean nine cuts that demands repeated spins. Hip-hop, rock, jazz, funk — any genre with a strong beat is thrown into the mix and turned up loud.
Congratulations to the bombastic, Johannesburg-based MC Emmy Gee for becoming our new Artist of the Week! This up-and-comer has more to brag about than buckets of cash– he’s opened for superstars Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean, gradually making his way into the big leagues. If you haven’t caught his decadent single, “RANDS and NAIRAS” yet, here’s your golden opportunity: