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10 New Artists You Need to Know: April 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, hip-hop, EDM, country and more acts shaping your tomorrow

Once again, we talked to 10 of the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos. This month: Sam Smith's genre-smashing croon, the Strypes' no-nonsense rock, Samsaya's pan-continental pop, Sohn's hiccupping beats and more.

Mariana Zarpellon

Karol Conka

Sounds Like: A bouncing bass-heavy blend of rap, hip-hop, baile funk and Afro-Brazilian beats delivered with bracing positive energy

For Fans Of: Lauryn Hill, M.I.A., Azealia Banks

Why You Should Pay Attention: There are few overground female rappers in Brazil, and even fewer blending hip-hop with the tropical traditionalism of the Bahia region, where Karol Conka's grandmother was raised. Born Karoline dos Santos Oliveira, Karol Conka (i.e., "Karol with a K") enlisted the ubiquitous Nave to produce her terrific debut. Released by Vice in Brazil last year, and internationally on England's Mr Bongo label this month, Batuk Freak earned her Brazil's prestigious Multishow Best New Artist award for 2013. Conka delivers uplifting rhymes in Portuguese over booming bass lines wrapped around raw percussion, traditional pifano flutes, and samples from the proto-rap improvisational rhymes of repente – all in the service of a good time.

She Says: "We have excellent MCs and beat makers with a growing space to show their work. In this scenario, I situate myself in a position where I sing about joy; my protest is against sadness. I always try to sing about self-esteem and respect with festive and danceable beats… "Batuque is a term generally used to designate beat. 'Batuk' is a 'karolish' version for this word."

Hear for Yourself: Booming bass and a female chorus guarantee a "Boa Noite" in her video – which currently has more than one million views. By Richard Gehr

Will Holland

William Tyler

Sounds Like: Masterful fingerpicking that's equal parts American primitivism and German motorik

For Fans of: John Fahey, Neu!, Six Organs of Admittance

Why You Should Pay Attention: Tyler's already a 15-year Nashville veteran whose plucked with everyone from Lambchop to Charlie Louvin. He's honed his shimmering, minimalist, wistful picking over two acclaimed solo records, but his upcoming EP Lost Colony, might be his most talked about yet. Recording his arrangements with a full band for the first time (including JEFF the Brotherhood drummer Jamin Orral), Tyler finds common ground between the churn of contemporary country blues and the driving rhythms of krautrock.

He Says: It's a constant challenge [playing quiet music]. If you're playing a bar… You might have 15 people with you, you might have 15 people against you. You're just gonna have to play to the people that are listening. I've seen shows where guys like Richard Buckner and Jack Rose yell at the crowd. That's not my personality – and I'm probably not intimidating enough physically for that to work.

I've been in bands with 10 people, I've been in bands with two or three people, but I basically enjoy doing it solo. It doesn't feel like touring. Right now I'm driving through a national park. I stopped in Roswell today and went to the alien museum gift shop or whatever. When you're in a band with five other dudes, really other than peeing or eating fast food, you don't tend to stop and do interesting things… To be honest, man, I'm 34 and I can't imagine trying to keep a band together.

Hear for Yourself: The A-side of Lost Colony, "Whole New Dude," ambles through 5/4 rhythms, steel guitar whines, Can-style beats, and one sunshine-y guitar solo within 13 gorgeous minutes. By Christopher R. Weingarten