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10 New Artists You Need to Know: February 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, hip-hop, EDM, folk and more acts shaping your tomorrow
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kongos
Danny Kongos

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KONGOS

Sounds Like: A Balkan accordionist, a Burundi drummer, an American slide guitarist, and a British rock star walk into a bar. High-octane folk-pop ensues.

For Fans Of: Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, Mumford and Sons

Why You Should Pay Attention: Following in the footsteps of their father, Seventies South Africa pop star John Kongos, these four hard-folking brothers brought their tri-continental sound back home to the states after setting Dad's homeland afire with radio hits from their 2012 debut, Lunatic. You might have heard their raucous "Come With Me Now," featuring Danny Kongos's slide guitar, on ESPN college football promos. But who would have guessed that drummer Jesse and accordion-keyboardist Johnny started out playing jazz-rock fusion as Law of Seven at Arizona State? Chops! The bros recently hit Shazam's new-release Top 10, wrapped a tour with the Airborne Toxic Event, and will appear at Delaware's Firefly Festival in June. by RICHARD GEHR

They Say: "'I'm Only Joking' originally had that Burundi tribal drum thing in only a short section of the song," says bassist Dylan. "When the demo was a little more fleshed out, our mom came down to the studio and said, 'No, you have to do that throughout the entire thing!' It's pretty cool that our mom could get behind it, given the vulgarity."

"Our dad was in the music business for a long time and he encouraged us to join a band," says Jesse. "He said, 'I had such a great time with my career. It would be fun for you guys.' But it was ultimately our decision to go forward with this as a career." Adds Dylan, "It doesn't take too much convincing once you get a little feedback. It feeds your ego when a girl comes up and talks to you. You don't need to be forced into that once you get a tiny taste of it." 

Hear for Yourself: The drum-driven "I'm Only Joking":

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