10 New Artists You Need to Know: June 2017

Playboi Carti, Cheat Codes, Jlin, Jaimie Branch, Smino and more

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Kondi Band
Alexis Maryon9/10

Kondi Band

Sounds Like: An African folk-art master weaving thumb piano loops over minimalist techno pulses

For Fans of: Lee Perry, Francis Bebey, Mbongwana Star

Why You Should Pay Attention: Kondi Band's debut is deeply hypnotic electro-acoustic trance music, warped by echo and multi-tracked vocals, spiked with live brass touches that conjure vintage dub reggae. Sierra Leonean-American DJ/producer Chief Boima discovered the music of Sorie Kondi, a thumb piano virtuoso and singer who made his name as a street musician, via YouTube. Boima's unofficial remix of "Without Money, No Family" came to the attention of Kondi, who managed to book some U.S. dates; the two met and recorded tracks for a debut LP in Boima's Bed-Stuy apartment. With help from English musician/producer Will Horrocks (of the diaspora-minded international electronic project LV), the men have a full slate of dates booked in Eastern and Western Europe this summer.

They Say: "It's always been difficult for Sierra Leoneans to get a visa!" laughs Boima about prospects for U.S. dates in the new era of immigrant paranoia. "We're hoping to get some assistance, since it won't be a simple process – especially for someone like Kondi, who doesn't have a formal education and lives in a low-income situation. But we're hoping it will happen!"

Hear for Yourself: "Belle Wahalla" recalls the hunger meditation of Bob Marley's "Them Belly Full," with swaggering horns and snaking electro-bass. Will Hermes 

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