Who was your favorite featured artist this week? You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote for the next Artist of the Week! Choose between the following:
Chico Unicornio has always been an enigmatic character of sorts. He’s been known to say that most of his ideas come from dreams including his artistic moniker. He’s not obsessed with Unicorns or anything, nor Scottish EDM producer, Unicorn Kid. The eclectic quality of Chico Unicornio — now accompanied by drummer Andrea Guzmán — doesn’t stop there. His music is refreshingly without categorization: it’s electronic music, it’s pop, it’s salsa, rock and folkloric, all at the same time and without missing a single beat.
Especia started life as a relatively normal idol-pop group. The outfit was assembled via auditions and also by moving around young female performers in other Osaka-area pop acts. So far, so normal for J-pop — even if their name came from their manager, who studied Spanish and simply thought the name of his hair wax would sound cool in a different language. Soon, though, they blurred ’80s Japanese pop sounds, acid jazz, and Internet micro-genres together into an approach that has made them one of the most intriguing pop acts in the country today.
While many pop stars make a clean climb on their way to the top, Toronto’s Lowell has advanced her music career through a series of ups, downs and sketchy detours. After spending only a year studying music at the University of Toronto, she dropped out, immersed herself in drug culture and made ends meet as a stripper. Years later, the young singer-songwriter has surfaced from the squalor with a more critical eye and a candidness that is sorely needed in pop music.
Ballet School’s music offers us a shimmery version of reality — where we’re all just a bit more attractive, and everyone is covered in taffeta and dancing together under a twirling disco ball. (Or is that just the ending to every John Hughes movie ever?) Regardless, the nostalgia-dripping tunes of their debut albumThe Dew Lasts an Hour owes a lot to the 1980s, AKA a simpler time when Elizabeth Fraser was our abstract pop queen.
Protistas easily fall between dream pop and folk, but what really makes their music stand out is the fresh and intricate harmonies they churn out in every track. In their first full-length, Nortina’s War (2010), the band composed a collection of stripped down, folk pop gems with staccato drumming that gently incorporates Chilean folkloric rhythms, accented by guitarist and frontman Solar’s ability to whisper in crescendo. Not only was it beautiful music, but it also carried their distinct personality and poetic whimsy, in English and Spanish.