Sounds Like: Skeletal EDM beats, swirling vocals and no shortage of pop smarts
For Fans of: Kiiara, Banks, Sylvan Esso
Why You Should Pay Attention: In January, Apple debuted its new ad for the wireless-headphone line AirPods, which featured the duo's track "Down" soundtracking the gravity-defying moves of Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck. The eye-popping black-and-white clip's synthesis of hypnotic visuals and dreamy music helped Marian Hill top the chart on Shazam, the "What's-that-song?" app that identifies tunes for curious listeners. Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol have known each other since their youth outside of Philadelphia. After heading their separate ways for college they decided to collaborate, dubbing their project Marian Hill after the two main characters from The Music Man. (They both appeared in a production of the play during middle school.) Lloyd (production) and Gongol (vocals) released their debut, Act One, last June, which matches ideas borrowed from jazz and blues with of-the-moment electronics and Gongol's gossamer voice.
They Say: "I actually saw the [Apple] commercial for the first time with my parents in a hotel room after we played Fallon," recalls Gongol. "That was really, really cool. It's just so beautiful. We couldn't have asked for a better sync – they nailed our aesthetic."
"Being the Number One Shazam song in America, that's a serious triumph," adds Lloyd. "That's what you want people to feel when they hear your music for the first time: 'What is it? I need to know what it is so I can hear it again.'"
Hear for Yourself: "Down" showcases Gongol's smoke-plume voice over a stark background before blossoming into beat-heavy verses. Maura Johnston