10 New Artists You Need to Know: April 2016 - Rolling Stone
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10 New Artists You Need to Know: April 2016

Bibi Bourelly, Seratones, Lil Uzi Vert and more

New Artists; Need to Know; April; Bibi Bourelly; Seratones; The Record Company; Ayo Jay; Japanese Breakfast

Seratones and Lil Uzi Vert are two of the new artists you should not miss this month.

Chad Kamenshine, Spike Jordan

Once again, we talked to 10 of the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos. This month: Philly rap star Lil Uzi Vert, Australian chart-topper Grace, Rihanna co-writer Bibi Bourelly, eclectic Louisiana rockers Seratones and more.

Kaytranada; New Artists; Need to Know; April

Liam MacRae


Sounds Like: Two parts punch-drunk neo-soul, one part New Wave boom-bap and a light garnish of house music

For Fans Of: J. Dilla, Basement Jaxx, J-Rocc

Why You Should Pay Attention: Kaytranada initially perked ears with remixes of songs by Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott — classics that he retooled with brash, bottom-heavy rhythms. Since then, he's been cosigned by veterans of the era he loves — producing for Talib Kweli and Mobb Deep — and has worked with other artists who wear their love of the late Nineties and early Aughts on their sleeves, like the Internet, Disclosure and AlunaGeorge. Kaytranada's debut album, 99.9%, hits shelves May 6th, and the record finds the producer uniting two generations of collaborators — Craig David sitting easily next to the rubbery young rapper GoldLink, for example — in the service of beats.  

He Says: "Neo-soul caught my attention more than any other sub-genre. I was really attracted by that sound. It made me do what I do musically: trying to find the same type of vibes, those nostalgic vibes." But his music isn't only about nostalgia. "On albums I used to hear, there were a couple uptempo but very soulful R&B songs," he says. "There would be one song that would sound that way. My thing was to bring more of that to the table. That uptempo neo-soul, I wanted to bring that to life. Something dope, but something dance-y at the same time."

Hear For Yourself: On an album full of vocal features, an instrumental cut may speak the loudest: "Bus Ride" features the razor sharp drumming of Karriem Riggins and an unfussy keyboard line — lounge music pushed to a neck-cracking extreme. Elias Leight

Ayo Jay; New Artists; Need to Know; April

Photo Courtesy of One Nation Records

Ayo Jay

Sounds Like: Afropop meets Caribbean dancehall and soca by way of New York

For Fans of: Kevin Lyttle, Rupee, WizKid

Why You Should Pay Attention: Ayo Jay's smash single "Your Number" was recorded several years ago while the London-born, Lagos-raised singer was attending Baruch College in New York and studying economics and finance. But after a long, slow climb — and a remix with Fetty Wap — it's about to cross over in the United States. Ayo Jay grew up on American pop music (he names Eminem, 2Pac, Michael Jackson and Akon among his influences), but didn't invest himself fully in the homegrown Afrobeats sound until after he left to attend college, becoming obsessed with making his own music in the wake of Nigerian artist Wande Coal's 2008 breakout Mushin 2 Mohits.

Immediately after graduating college in 2013, Ayo Jay signed to One Nation records and released "Your Number," the success of which took him by surprise. Although the song fits in well with the cutting edge Afropop sound, it was immediately apparent to Ayo Jay that the song had a bigger following internationally than in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria.

"It was a difficult song to push in Nigeria because it's not the usual vibe that we vibe to in Nigeria," he says. "But online, when I put the song out, a lot of the comments weren't even from Nigeria — from the UK, from the United States, from the Middle East. So we knew it had international potential."

He Says: "That song was actually recorded in the projects in Brooklyn, East New York, in [producer] Melvitto's room. I used to go there because my cousin lived in the same building. One day he played me these beats, because he just came back from Nigeria and he had a bunch of beats that were free, that no one was using. I did a freestyle, and the first thing I sang was "Can I get your number?" And we built around that. I think the process took two days, we recorded the whole thing. And that was it, put it out."

Hear for Yourself: "Your Number" is has a melody so perfectly simple you'll wonder how no one stumbled across it before. David Drake

Margaret Glaspy

Ebru Yildiz

Margaret Glaspy

Sounds Like: Low-end-heavy indie rock with disarmingly honest lyrics

For Fans of: Exile in Guyville-era Liz Phair, Alabama Shakes, Joni Mitchell

Why You Should Pay Attention: Trained on instruments ranging from fiddle to trombone, inspired by Elliott Smith and Bill Withers, this California-born singer-songwriter's first full-length, Emotions and Math (due June 16 on ATO) shows off an ability to create heady, openhearted rock. Her upcoming tourmates — moody synthpop band Lucius, folk pair the Milk Carton Kids and jazz-rock outfit Lake Street Dive — show the breadth of her appeal. Her upcoming Bonnaroo appearance will be a chance for her voice — which can sound both gnarled and feather-light — to charm a field of people.

She Says: "I produced this record. I started to demo all of the songs a while back; I had the demos on an iPad and was doing multi-tracking through GarageBand to get all my ideas down. By way of that — and I didn't quite know it yet — I started producing it. Lots of different ideas were coming through; ways to pan things, different sounds, different sections of things started to come to the surface. From there, my partner and I bought some recording equipment and I decided to record it more officially. That would be in my room, because I couldn't afford to go to the studio."

Hear for Yourself: The title track to Emotions and Math is strutting yet off-kilter, neatly capturing its lyrical themes of wide-eyed longing. Maura Johnston

Raime; New Artists; Need to Know; April

Photo Courtesy of Raime


Sounds Like: Where dubstep mutates into post-punk

For Fans of: Actress, the Haxan Cloak, Sonic Youth if they scored a vampire film

Why You Should Pay Attention: Taken with the punishing rumble of dubstep, Reading duo Raime coupled it to gothic bleakness and industrial noise that suggests apocalyptic times — earning the admiration of Aphex Twin along the way. Their debut, 2012's Quarter Turns Over a Living Line, earned some good reviews and upcoming follow-up Tooth finds them incorporating live guitar and drums, giving their dark electronics a more serrated edge.

They Say: "Getting back to rhythm was a priority for us this time," the pair says over e-mail. "Dance music has always been the backbone of our influences so propulsion comes pretty naturally, but we really started getting into bands a lot more over the last seven years or so and experienced what they can offer dynamically. We thought it might create more immediacy and ultimately move our sound on. We realized that we wanted to change the way we were saying things, lay a few old tropes to rest and try something new, ultimately learning how to make records according to different rules."

Hear for Yourself: "Dead Heat" is a menacing, dissonant slow-build. Andy Beta

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