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10 New Artists You Need to Know: June 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, R&B, EDM, pop and more acts shaping your tomorrow


Courtesy the artists

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: country-rap hybrid Big Smo, the major label debut from folk-rockers Matrimony, the nice-guy R&B of Adrian Marcel, the influential Portuguese rhythms of DJ Marfox and more.

Courtesy Lizzo


Sounds Like: Smoking spliffs in an all-girl gang at a sleepover; there is probably also wine

For Fans Of: Outkast, Janelle Monáe, Audra the Rapper

Why You Should Pay Attention: A classically trained flautist and back-up singer who once toured with Har Mar Superstar, Melissa Jefferson has rapped, sung and trilled her way through a cavalcade of projects in both Minneapolis and her hometown of Houston. But it was this very multiplicity from which her quirky Lizzo project was born: Exhausted from touring, she had a writer's block that wouldn't budge until she heard the album Lava Bangers, by Doomtree producer Lazerbeak. His creative juices got her own flowing, and before she knew it, they'd linked on Twitter and began collaborating on Lizzo Bangers, a collection of bubbly hip-hop tracks that went super viral after a placement on the HBO dramedy Girls, not to mention breakaway hit "Batches and Cookies," on which Lizzo raps, "Thrift store shopping like Anna Wintour You ain't gotta ask cause I been hurr." Lizzo Bangers is being re-released globally by Virgin/EMI.

She Says: "I feel like my persona, or who I am, is very much alive in my lyrics. Every song, every pop culture reference, every chorus you hear, are things that I've just said in conversation. On 'Paris,' I've never been to Paris. I was supposed to go to study flute there at Paris Conservatory but it never happened, so I started talking some crap and then I brought the chorus in, beasting on it." The chorus in question: "Have you ever been to Paris at night? Me, either."

 Hear for Yourself: "Batches and Cookies" remains a perfect summer earworm, plus the confluence of pride flags, donuts, and motorcycles in the video is fun to (attempt) to parse. by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Pooneh Ghana

Future Death

Sounds Like: Friendly noise, spasmodic punk, sugary pop, and the occasional black metal blastbeat having a sweaty cagematch in an Austin garage

For Fans Of: Ponytail, Deerhoof, Melt-Banana

Why You Should Pay Attention: Future Death make real-deal noise-punk for anyone who misses the Aughties heyday of bands like Lightning Bolt and Hella. Their debut album, Special Victim, was recorded in four days and released on Bloodmoss, the indie responsible for buzzy garage-muckers Slavve. They've got all the gnarl and snarl you'd expect, but drummer Alton Jenkins ratchets up the intensity with progpunk bashing that evolved from teenage fandom of King Crimson and Mars Volta.

They Say: The song title "Post-Everything" pretty much says it all about an album that throws grindy splutter underneath pop songs and closes with a gorgeous, six-minute dronegaze piece. "We're just trying to incorporate all the things that we like," says Jenkins. "There's a mix of intention and just recklessness involved. When we write, me and Bill [Kenny, guitarist]…We just go in there and start making noise. We'll take the moments that sound good and try to work with that."

Hear for Yourself: Album opener "Riot Trains" is a giddy wrestling match between a bouncy hook and smoking-exhaust drumming. By Christopher R. Weingarten

Diogo Simoes

DJ Marfox

Sounds Like: DJ Rashad's hyper cousin, delivering a whiplash update on kuduro, the Portuguese music form that draws on Caribbean soca and zouk. But Marfox also has traces of Angolan house, batida, kizomba, tarraxinha and funaná in his kinetic grooves

For Fans Of: DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, RP Boo

Why You Should Pay Attention: With Radiohead digging on DJ Marfox's Principe Discos label mate DJ Nigga Fox, the insular Lisbon scene is garnering attention worldwide – and its greatest ambassador is Marfox. Just 25, the man born Marlon Silva (to Portuguese immigrants from the island of São Tomé e Príncipe) embodies the ebullient sound of the Afro-Portuguese barrios. He began making music when he was 15 and soon his Fruity Loops-rendered tracks became the soundtracks to raucous parties for Angolan and Cape Verdean African immigrants on the outskirts of the capital city. Marfox's influence in that community is such that the next generation of producers all use "-fox" in their names to pay tribute. Last month, he played his first show in New York City, slotted next to New Jersey club and Chicago footwork DJs, and he regularly plays in Europe alongside the likes of RP Boo and Kode9. His recent Lucky Punch EP on Lit City Trax furthers his sound, hinting at acid house, footwork and new sounds taken in from around the world.

He Says: "Even with getting a lot of international press coverage and exposure, the summer musical festival events and Portuguese media still don't recognize us. I'm an immigrant inside my own country. I feel one day we will get there. I now get an international audience that proves that what me and the other guys are doing is going in the right direction."

 Hear For Yourself: The skittering, tricky and giddy "Funk Em Kuduro." By Andy Beta