Sounds Like: An updated version the heady late-Nineties days when rock and "electronica" commingled freely
For Fans of: Deadmau5, Pegboard Nerds, Surrender-era Chemical Brothers
Why You Should Pay Attention: Deadmau5 fans will recognize Buffalo, New York native Grabbitz, real name Nicholas Chiari, as the wistful crooner on his track "Let Go." The official YouTube video has racked up more than 13 million views to date. That prog-house slab's minor keys and synth washes meshed nicely with the vocalist's lyrics of lopsided love. That team-up came by social-media kismet: Chiari, inspired by previous work, wrote his own melody to another Deadmau5 track and uploaded his new version. The man himself eventually found it, asking Grabbitz to collab.
Now, Grabbitz' debut album, Things Change, is out, mixing moody alt-rock melodies with burbling, breakbeat-inflected rhythms and, yes, the occasional drop, all recalling the era when rock stars flirted with block-rockin' beats and guested on electronic albums.
He Says: "As a kid I was always singing and rapping and playing guitar, but when I was about 12 or something, I started making beats on an Xbox game called MTV Music Generator. Then one day I passed by an Apple store and I saw an upgraded version of Music Generator, something much cooler – Garage Band. I begged for it for two years, and finally I got my parents to get me a computer, and it was over from there."
Hear for Yourself: Chiari penned his latest single, "I Think That I Might Be Going Crazy," unsurprisingly, during a personal maelstrom, as he both tried to launch his music career in L.A. and tend to a major family illness back home. The quickfire-repeated chorus over snaking snares and syncopated guitar wraps up the anxiety in a melodic bow. Arielle Castillo