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10 New Artists You Need to Know: July 2017

BTS, Missio, Jonas Blue, Kacy Hill, Jacquees and more

10 New Artists You Need to Know: July 2017

Kacy Hill and This Is the Kit.

Fabien Montique, Florian Duboé

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: K-pop sensation BTS, alt-rockers Missio, worldwide dance smash Jonas Blue and more.

Grabbitz

Zach Frank

Grabbitz

Sounds Like: An updated version the heady late-Nineties days when rock and “electronica” commingled freely

For Fans of: Deadmau5, Pegboard Nerds, Surrender-era Chemical Brothers

Why You Should Pay Attention: Deadmau5 fans will recognize Buffalo, New York native Grabbitz, real name Nicholas Chiari, as the wistful crooner on his track “Let Go.” ­The official YouTube video has racked up more than 13 million views to date. That prog-house slab’s minor keys and synth washes meshed nicely with the vocalist’s lyrics of lopsided love. That team-up came by social-media kismet: Chiari, inspired by previous work, wrote his own melody to another Deadmau5 track and uploaded his new version. The man himself eventually found it, asking Grabbitz to collab.

Now, Grabbitz’ debut album, Things Change, is out, mixing moody alt-rock melodies with burbling, breakbeat-inflected rhythms and, yes, the occasional drop, all recalling the era when rock stars flirted with block-rockin’ beats and guested on electronic albums.

He Says: “As a kid I was always singing and rapping and playing guitar, but when I was about 12 or something, I started making beats on an Xbox game called MTV Music Generator. Then one day I passed by an Apple store and I saw an upgraded version of Music Generator, something much cooler – Garage Band. I begged for it for two years, and finally I got my parents to get me a computer, and it was over from there.”

Hear for Yourself: Chiari penned his latest single, “I Think That I Might Be Going Crazy,” unsurprisingly, during a personal maelstrom, as he both tried to launch his music career in L.A. and tend to a major family illness back home. The quickfire-repeated chorus over snaking snares and syncopated guitar wraps up the anxiety in a melodic bow. Arielle Castillo

Santa Cruz

Viivi Huuska

Santa Cruz

Sounds Like: The howling, tumultuous resurgence of Sunset Strip rock

For Fans of: The Darkness, Guns N’ Roses, sleaze and glam

Why You Should Pay Attention: This four-piece that comes from Helsinki but sounds like Hollywood have been causing havoc in Europe since the late Aughts thanks to their debaucherous, flamboyant flair. Their third full-length, Bad Blood Rising is due out September.

They Say: “I was probably eleven when I started listening to punk and rock music. Then I found Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Poison and W.A.S.P. These guys seemed to have a better time than anyone else!” says frontman Archie Cruz. “I wanna play that kind of music! It just hit me hard. But this third album is about dealing with the issue of depression. Outsiders don’t see the side when you party hard for a few years, you [eventually] start to feel pretty down. That’s why I believe Jim Morrison died and Kurt Cobain shot himself. Chris Cornell fucking offed himself a month ago. When touring – that whole rock & roll lifestyle – half of the time you’re drinking or using other substances. When you live hard, it takes a toll on you. You can get pretty ill, and it needs to be addressed more. You just hear about the glorious side.”

Hear for Yourself: The down ‘n’ dirty “River Phoenix” is driven by fuming, accelerating power chords. “To me, River Phoenix’s soul was pure. He was a perfect actor, and in the end Hollywood ruined him,” says Archie Cruz. “That spark is still lit.” Isabela Raygoza

Jim Elkington

Tim Harris

Jim Elkington

Sounds Like: Rainy English afternoons in the company of a cryptic storyteller and dazzling acoustic guitarist

For Fans of: Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch, Nick Drake

Why You Should Pay Attention: In a groovier world, you’d already know British-bred, Chicago-based singer-songwriter James Elkington from the four smart, charming albums he recorded in the ’00s with the Zincs. And if you haven’t yet clocked him as a keen guitar sidekick with Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson and others, you should definitely make his acquaintance through his debut solo album, Wintres Woma, an alterna-folk epiphany reflecting Elkington’s years-long immersion in the fingerpicking guitar style associated with the late British folk legend Bert Jansch. More than just another bustle in your hedgerow, Wintres Woman (meaning “sounds of winter”) contains songs written from the points of view of Caligula (“Sister of Mine”) and a tripping teenage friend (“Greatness Yet to Come”) swaddled in swirling overdubbed guitars and occasional strings. Elkington’s guarded introspection makes for a subtle tension that the killer guitar playing gently dissolves.

He Says: “Growing up in England during the Eighties, folk music seemed like it was from a different planet … and part of its appeal for me was that it was so reviled and ignored. We had country dancing and sang folk songs in school – including some strange pagan and Wicker-Man-type tunes – but we used to laugh about folk music. Instead, we were all listening to the Smiths and measuring our quiffs. I only appreciated folk music when I moved to the States, where nothing ever really goes away and fashions don’t cycle as fast as they do in the U.K. I was working in a guitar store and couldn’t believe it when a 10-year-old came in wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt. That would never fucking happen in England.”

Hear for Yourself: “Make It Up” features Elkington’s laid-back voice and exquisite fingerpicking. Richard Gehr

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