Sounds Like: "Paper Planes" soaring over "Whole Lotta Love"; R&B and hip-hop hooks with a rock knockout punch.
For Fans of: Janelle Monáe, Miguel, the Internet
Why You Should Pay Attention: Though all only aged 17 to 24, this Brooklyn crew of New York School of Rock classmates are already signed to Republic and have a popping collabo with D.R.A.M. "We're at SXSW in 2013, we're playing a little show," remembers vocalist Bay Li. "About a week later, we got an email with some plane tickets to go to Malibu to hang out with Rick [Rubin]. We performed for him and he signed us."
Since then, the Skins have evolved more than most bands do in a career. Writing (and mostly discarding) 150 songs in that time, the band tore away from a vintage rock and blues foundation, and fell in with an ultramodern hip-hop aesthetic. The fire of their live act, which earned them a slot touring with Jake Bugg, only intensified. Bay Li, siblings Kaya Nico (bass) and Reef Cole (drums), and guitarists Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell are still flexing within the five songs on their Still Sleep EP. Funk, soul and Neptunes-style trunk thumping all fit here. They hooked up with another genre orphan in D.R.A.M. for the lead single, the Daytrip-produced "Bury Me." "He fit our vibe so well," Bay Li says. "As a band we pride ourselves on being meticulous and being really nerdy about making music. Paying attention to every single detail, in our visuals, in our branding, in our videos, in everything."
They Say: "The [School of Rock] does a David Bowie show," Spencer says. "You are not only covering the song, you have to get in dress-up mode and play the part too. It is studying, like method acting almost. You're watching live videos and learning how to cover all these different standards. Everything is studying. We took it upon ourselves to study intensely what we were learning. If we were playing Prince, we were learning everything about him. If it was Michael Jackson, we were learning every little thing about him."
Hear for Yourself: "Bury Me" showcases Bay Li's swagger on the mic and the band's live effervescence. Reed Fischer