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10 New Artists You Need to Know: February 2014

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

Isaiah Rashad Hurray for the Riff Raff

Christopher Parsons; Sarrah Danziger

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: pan-continental folk-rock brothers KONGOS, the slamdance bass music of DJ Snake, YG's trunk music renaissance, and the ever-exploding post-Winehouse retro-pop treats of John Newman.

pearls negras

Courtesy of Pearls Negras

Pearls Negras

Sounds Like: Rio Go Hard: The smartest, sassiest high-school girls in your favela rapping on would-be trunk-thumpers

For Fans Of: M.I.A., Oaktown's 357, DJ Chernobyl

Why You Should Pay Attention: Brazilian funk carioca has been morphing past the syncopated boom-kat that U.S. ambassador Diplo borrowed while producing M.I.A.'s Arular in 2005. It's absorbed everything from the crescendo-ing squall of contemporary Eurodance to the heavy thump of American trap. To the three teenagers in Pearls Negras – 17-year-old Alice Coelho, 16-year-old Mariana Alves and 16-year-old Jennifer Loiola – who grew up Rio de Janeiro's vibrant Vidigal favela and met at an after school theater program, a mish-mash of super-heavy club and trap rhythms simply makes sense. Even if you're not fluent in Portuguese, the guttural aspects of the language always sounds tough over beats, and in this case, the ladies' talent and intent shines through on skillful rapping fêting cuties or indicting the state of their 'hood. Upon releasing their Biggie Apple mixtape in December via British label Bolabo, they've garnered acclaim on globally minded blogs across the world. They'll embark on a European tour in May and will hit further stops around the world (Biggie Apple refers to their desire to visit New York), though they're balancing the dates with their day jobs: They're all working actresses and Coelho will star in the upcoming novela Meu Pedacinho de Chão on Brazilian TV. by JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD

They Say: "Female rap in Rio de Janeiro is not recognized very much and we struggle to gain a space here," says Coelho, via translator. "Our songs talk about many different things such as love, fun, parties and about what is happening in society, about where we live and where we come from. But people like our music because Vidigal is a place of much talent, dance and music. We have actresses, singers, a bit of everything."

Hear for Yourself: "Pensando em Você" ("Thinking of You") flips bottom-heavy, twerky club synths into the sweetest sing-song ode to a boy with "an angelic face":




Oliver Smith


Sounds Like: A blissful, sun-soaked memory of days spent flirting poolside with no commitments or curfew.

For Fans Of: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Broken Social Scene, nostalgia

Why You Should Pay Attention: While British bands like Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J and Foals rely on chunky guitar riffs to get post-punkian points across, London two-piece Thumpers aim for pure pop euphoria, singing about carefree teenage days spent goofing off and trying to find yourself. The lush, heavily reverbed vocals on their just-released Sub Pop debut, Galore, sidle alongside subtle keyboards that sound like outtakes from Sonic the Hedgehog. The nostalgic quality makes sense: The duo's Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. are childhood friends. by MIKE AYERS

They Say: "We're not big checklist guys; we're kinda quiet," says Hamson. "With British bands, you're constantly thinking of the next thing and never really enjoying the amazing thing that happened to you today. People keep asking us, 'Oh what's on your bucket list for this year?' That's a bullshit question. That's not a really good way to live and I think that's reflective in our music."

Hear for Yourself: The cheery, tom-tom throb of "Unkinder" is like Animal Collective gone pop – or Imagine Dragons gone punk party.

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