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10 New Artists You Need to Know: March 2015

LunchMoney Lewis, Tori Kelly, Hinds and more artists shaping your tomorrow

Tori Kelly and BK Bambino

Sarah Barlow + Stephen Schofield; Bridges

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: LunchMoney Lewis' everydude pop, recent Billboard Hot 100 addition Tori Kelly, the mysterious Chicago rap crew Goodbye Tomorrow, lo-fi punks Hinds and more.

Doldrums

Doldrums Artist Photo

Angus Borsos

Doldrums

Sounds Like: Drifting between EDM and punk tents at a festival.

For Fans of: Animal Collective, the Prodigy, Suicide

Why You Should Pay Attention: The brainchild of Montreal electronic-music experimentalist Airick Woodhead, Doldrums never sounds like any one thing: serene bliss on one song, an epileptic nightmare on another, an EDM moshpit here, ADHD electro confusion there. Woodhead spent the last two years conceiving the group's latest, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, collaborating with Björk and Prodigy producer Damian Taylor and Weezer engineer Shawn Everett. It's a sound he fine-tuned while playing performance-art spaces, like Montreal's the Torn Curtain, where he could get away with anything. "My music wouldn't have worked in clubs or bars right away and I had to adjust a lot musically when I started touring," he says. "DIY spaces and communities are breeding grounds for creativity."

 The one thing that connects the songs and their many styles is pads of fuzzy synth, which he says are spillover from his days as a guitarist. "Well when I started playing music I was listening to bands like the Verve, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine and stuff, playing guitar with lots of effects," he says. "I wanted to keep doing that while moving beyond the guitar, so I started using a sampler. I'd like to be as articulate and expressive with a sampler as with a guitar."

 He Says: "One time at the Torn Curtain, there was a big night, mostly the after-hours type of crowd. Most of the night would be DJs which keep everyone happy, but me and a couple of the other guys who lived there went on did a kind of electronics-and-drums live improv noise set. I guess it started pissing off some people.

"This huge Juggalo-type guy in a suit right up front starts yelling at me and trying to get my attention while I'm playing. I thought, 'Shit, this guy is gonna clobber me.' I was already pretty high on mushrooms and I had a baseball bat onstage, just for peace of mind, so I felt pretty safe. So I just bring him up on stage and give him some drumsticks and get him banging on the drums while I bat someone's shoes into the audience. And he had a great time! It's like, you want to create chaos with your shows but bring people into it rather than push them away."

Hear for Yourself: Doldrums' cool-as-a-cucumber, anything-can-happen dance-floor stomper "Hotfoot" perfectly shows off Woodhead's penchant for psychedelic brooding and electronic explosions. By Kory Grow

Della Mae

Crackerfarm

Della Mae

For Fans of: Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks

Why You Should Pay Attention: This four-woman band (started in Boston, but now spread across New Hampshire, Nashville and Brooklyn) scored a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album two years ago for This World Oft Can Be. Now, working with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones), they've expanded their sonic palette and slowed down the pace on Della Mae (out May 12th), even delivering a great, soulful cover of the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations."

They Say: Woodsmith says the band thrives on the road due to the kindness of fans — staying at their homes, eating their home-cooked meals and accepting their invitations to go whitewater rafting. "Success for us looks like being able to be on the road 100 days a year and then live the lives we want back home. Not extravagant. I don't need a million dollars."

Hear for Yourself: "Empire" is a fiddle-fried piece of postcolonial feminism. Gavin Edwards

BK Bambino

Bridges

BK Bambino

Sounds Like: Late-night, "Wait, let me load YouTube" party cuts that eventually have the whole room singing along

For Fans of: Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown, 2 Chainz

Why You Should Pay Attention: Though BK Bambino has been rapping since age six, the Chicago native didn't begin taking it seriously until a high-school shoulder injury set back his chances of playing quarterback in college. Then again, "serious" isn't a word that most would associate with the 20-year-old MC: Bambino's bars are usually playful, and his most recent music video finds him terrorizing his hometown while dressed as a bearded, overweight cop. This winter, he used the money saved working at a car dealership to move to Los Angeles, where he's working on a mixtape produced partially by D Phelps, the frequent Vic Mensa collaborator who contributed production to Kanye West's forthcoming LP.

He Says: "Since the song was so fun to make, we felt that the video should have the same type of vibe — show people character. I'm big into Martin Lawrence, and there was a character on Martin, an officer or whatever, and basically we tried to reenact his whole thing. I like putting on a show. I want my shows to be plays — actors and all of that on the stage. That sheriff costume can be like my Kanye Graduation bear.

Hear for Yourself: "Sheriff" opens with a distorted riff that Phelps recorded on Voice Memo ("I said, 'Bro, that's about to be terrible'") and comes together when crystal-clear piano chords float over the hook. Bambino plays it just right, wilding out but never losing the beat.

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