Home Music Music Lists

10 New Artists You Need to Know: January 2015

George Ezra, Tanya Tagaq, Marmozets and more artists shaping your tomorrow

YP and the Marmozets

YP (left) and Marmozets (right)

10photos; Tom Barnes

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: Marmozets' mathy punk fits, George Ezra's indie-folk croon, YP's impassioned Chicago hip-hop, Tanya Tagaq's avant-rock take on Inuit throat singing and more.

Sheer Mag

Marie Lin

Sheer Mag

Sounds Like: A gang of punks with a not-so-secret love of Seventies classic rock

For fans of: Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, beat-up microphones

Why You Should Pay Attention: In the year since they formed, this Philly band has earned a devoted word-of-mouth following for their sweat-soaked live shows, super-catchy tunes and self-titled 7-inch. In the next few months they have shows lined up with similarly hook-centric bands like Parquet Courts and Ex Hex.

They Say: Lead guitarist Kyle Seely came up with the band's name and designed their vintage-style logo. "It's short for 'Sheer Magnitude,'" explains charismatic singer Christina Halladay. "I think he wanted it to sound like a rock band with huge stacks of amps." So is that what a Sheer Mag show look like? "Sometimes!" she adds with a laugh. "It really depends on what other bands are playing. It could be a punk show where I get headbutted and have a bloody lip, or it could be a big stage and everyone's singing all the words."

Hear for Yourself: "What You Want" is an exuberant, riff-packed jam. By Simon Vozick-Levinson

Adia Victoria

Adia Victoria

Sounds Like: PJ Harvey covering Loretta Lynn at a haunted debutante ball

For Fans of: Those Darlins, the Carter Family, Tennessee Williams novels

Why You Should Pay Attention: South Carolina-born and Nashville-based Adia Victoria has only officially released one song but she's already solidified herself as one of country music's most exciting new stars. Since June, her eerie, angst-y anti-Southern pride anthem "Stuck in the South" has gained thousands of SoundCloud plays; and she spoke on a panel in Yale's Department of African-American Studies about Paramount Records alongside Greil Marcus and Jack White. "Everything still kind of feels the same," says Victoria, who just began her first-ever tour. "This year I look most forward to distill the world around me into art." Roger Moutenot, who has worked with Yo La Tengo and Sleater-Kinney, is producing her upcoming LP.

She Says: "I think I bring to the table a voice not given much attention. As a marginally employed, self-driven woman of color there aren't many microphones being shoved in my face or chances to speak my own truth. Perhaps people should check out my music to find that the superficial differences that society erects between people are just that — not real. You might just find you have more in common with the girl handing you your burger at the drive through than the gilded millionaire on the radio trying to twerk her way into relevancy."

Hear for Yourself: "Stuck in the South" is the swampy, bluesy track that put Adia Victoria on the map. By Brittany Spanos

Lion Babe

Lion Babe

Sounds Like: Billie Holiday reincarnated in a bohemian chanteuse and flipped over dusty hip-hop beats

For Fans Of: Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, Dev Hynes

Why You Should Pay Attention: Since Lion Babe released "Treat Me Like Fire" in 2012, the New York duo toured with Childish Gambino (who guests on second single "Jump Hi") and the Roots, and have logged studio time with Pharrell Williams, Jeff Bhasker, Mark Ronson and Dave Sitek. Jillian Hervey, whose mother is singer/actress Vanessa Williams, is the titular lion babe, a performance artist with a blond, curly mane and a memorably stylized voice. Lucas Goodman is Astro Raw, a guitarist, keyboardist and crate-digger: He found Eunice Collins' 1974 R&B obscurity "At the Hotel" while interning at Truth & Soul Records, and sampled it for "Treat Me Like Fire." Lion Babe released their self-titled EP in December on Interscope, and a full-length is expected this year. 

They Say: "In a perfect world, I wish I could live in the jungle and run free with the animals. But I've gotta pay rent and be a real person," says Hervey. "It's been my escape….I'm always watching Planet Earth, or Animal Planet. I've always been interested in animals and nature."

Hear for Yourself: On "Jungle Lady," Hervey exhorts us to "run into the dark and touch the moon above."

Aquilo

Aquilo

Jack Davison

Aquilo

Sounds Like: Justin Timberlake trying to out-falsetto Jeff Buckley's in an ambient synth rainstorm: Pop has rarely been this emotionally unashamed since the days Spandau Ballet

For Fans of: James Blake, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver

Why You Should Pay Attention: Almost right away, Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher's pastoral electronic project from the scenic English village of Silverdale started blowing over the U.K. press with SoundCloud singles "Calling Me" and then "You There." Each song — captured on a pair of EPs — combines intensely emotional vocals and pillowy synthesizer wizardry: Think "Chariots of Fire" maestro Vangelis toying with Future's robot vocal effects. Following attention from The Guardian and BBC Introducing, the duo's fourth show ever was at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival, and more festival appearances have followed. Higham and Fletcher now share a flat where they're working towards a full-length album.

They Say: "When we first started making the music, we had never thought about how we were going to play it live — that was never our intention," Fletcher says. "We weren't living off music, so Tom was working in a factory and I was working in a cafe. We were only able to practice once a week, really. Our first show was basically a practice show in front of friends and family in the local pub where we lived, which is just near Lancaster. After that, we played two more shows, and then we played Glastonbury with BBC Introducing. It's a fairly big step up."

Hear for Yourself: The Sohn-produced "Human" gradually piles effects and voices atop piano chord progression until it's a closing-credits spectacle. By Reed Fischer

Kagoule

Ralph Barklam

Kagoule

Sounds Like: Tough, ragged Nineties indie-rock revivalism with just the right amount of anthemic lift to push them beyond the basement.

For Fans of: Jawbox, Lungfish, Unwound, other bands that scraped at their angst with jagged guitars and body-confusing post-punk charge.

Why You Should Pay Attention:  The teenage trio from Nottingham, England had a bit of a coming-out party at this year's Glastonbury festival, where they made good on U.K. hype built on their artfully retro sound and an ebulliently downcast live show. The band will be releasing their debut full-length soon and, if their great 2014 single "It Knows It"  b/w "Adjust the Way" is any indication, it should be a fun little bummer of a record.

They Say: "Being born in '95 in England meant we kinda missed the Nineties," says guitarist Cai Burns. "It was at our first few gigs where we got people mentioning Smashing Pumpkins and Fugazi. The names meant very little to us. It was a world we hadn't even poked our noses into. I checked out some bands mentioned in a review of one of our gigs and instantly felt at home amongst them. A few long, dark days at my computer followed. What a religious moment it was finding Dischord Records…..It just happens that when we play songs together they fall into that style. I try to write simple catchy songs but they always seem to end up a bit wonky and wrong."

Hear for Yourself: The pumpy, smashy "It Knows It." By Jon Dolan

Show Comments