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10 New Artists Defining the Sound of Now

Hear who’s next in punk, R&B and everything in between

2016, 2016 trends, car seat headrest, swmrs, wet band, anderson paak, giovanni james, chloe halle, frankie cosmos, flatbush zombies

Matthew James Wilson

With streaming and social media creating one of the biggest deluges of new artists in pop history, it's hard to stand out among the crowd. Still, budding musicians across genres are blurring lines, innovating sounds and reconfiguring what it means to break through in the industry. From feminist male punks like SWMRS to modernized retro-soul specialist Giovanni James and undefinable teenage-sister duo Chloe x Halle, here are 10 of the best emerging artists of the year.

Chloe x Halle; Flatbush Zombies; The Next Wave; Rolling Stone; 2016, 2016 trends, car seat headrest, swmrs, wet band, anderson paak, giovanni james, chloe halle, frankie cosmos, flatbush zombies

Max Papendieck

Chloe x Halle

Beyoncé's favorite YouTube stars break out on their own 

Sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey are only 17 and 16, respectively, but they have Michelle Obama as a fan, and they appeared on the video album for Beyoncé's Lemonade. "Magic was in the air in New Orleans," says Halle of their work in the clip for "Freedom." "We were saying, 'What a time to be alive.'" The sisters' music is just as impressive as their endorsers. Their EP Sugar Symphony – self-produced in their L.A. home – is an accomplished mix of R&B, jazz and alt-pop. "Our dad taught us to do everything on our own," Chloe says. "This industry is so dominated by men and older people," adds Halle. "You have to look into yourself and say, 'I can have wonderful ideas.'" B.S.

Flatbush Zombies; The Next Wave; Rolling Stone; 2016, 2016 trends, car seat headrest, swmrs, wet band, anderson paak, giovanni james, chloe halle, frankie cosmos, flatbush zombies

Courtesy of Flatbush Zombies

Flatbush Zombies

An acid-loving hip-hop crew takes on the dark side of reality

"Sometimes I like to take a trip real deep into my mind," says Meechy Darko of Brooklyn hip-hop trio Flatbush Zombies. "I travel back into my consciousness and face my demons." So far, that's worked out well for Flatbush Zombies, probably the first hip-hoppers to sell blotter paper alongside T-shirts at their concerts.

This year, their darkly psychedelic debut, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, hit Number One on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. "I wanted people to be like, 'Damn, this is like a movie trailer,'" says producer Erick "Arc" Elliott. "I wanted [the album] to take a journey that transcends into the darkness and gets happy again." The Zombies have been buddies since grade school, and all live in the same apartment complex. Elliott took up production years ago so he could entertain his mother after she lost her vision, and part of what makes 3001 stand out is the realism woven into its trippiness ("Fly Away" addresses a friend's suicide). "There's no downfall [in most rap songs]," says Meechy. "No one's getting anyone pregnant. Nobody's going broke. No two sides." It doesn't seem they'll be running short on inspiration. Says Meechy, "They say, 'Don't look into a mirror when you trip on acid.' That's my favorite thing to do." Jason Newman

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