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10 New Artists You Need to Know: March 2016

Zara Larsson, Moxie Raia, Young Greatness and more

New; Artists; March; New Music; New Artist; Big Ups; Slingshot Dakota; Moxie Raia; Zara Larsson

Moxie Raia and Zara Larsson are two of the new artists you should not miss this month.

Blythe Thomas, Dennis Leupold

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: New Orleans rapper Young Greatness, Scandinavian EDM star Zara Larsson, Brooklyn alterna-punks Big Ups, Kendrick Lamar collaborator Terrace Martin, Justin Bieber tour opener Moxie Raia and more.

Kyle Craft

Kyle Craft

Sarah Cass

Kyle Craft

Sounds Like: A swamp bar jukebox loaded with British glitter and Seventies Southern rock; a crawfish boil aboard ELO's spacecraft

For Fans of: Dr. Dog, Ryan Adams, The Last Waltz

Why You Should Pay Attention: After falling hard for Bob Dylan and David Bowie as a child in Louisiana, Kyle Craft channeled his heroes on his Sub Pop debut, Dolls of Highland. A couple years ago, he holed up in a friend's Shreveport, Louisiana laundry room and turned true-to-life tales of a "Gloom Girl," the "Lady of the Ark" and "Black Mary" into a poetic gumbo of Southern roots, electric folk and preening glam rock. "That's one of the more beautiful things about songs is that they're more like pictures," he says. "[Dylan's] 'Visions of Johanna' is a picture. It's not some sort of thing that's telling you to feel a certain way, it's just there." Dolls' echoing honky tonk saloon piano, harmonica, vintage organ and his unrestrained howl — like Carly Simon chasing Freddie Mercury-level vocal runs — provide an immediacy that he'll showcase in May while touring with the Fruit Bats. Mixed by Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel of the Helio Sequence, this album stokes the warmth, looseness and unpredictability of a live show just inches from coming unhinged.

He Says: "I couldn't sleep [the night after I found out Bowie died]. Every time I'd go to sleep I'd have these nightmares. It was rough. Bowie was the first album I ever had. He's always been a giant influence on me. At the same time, he went out perfectly. His passing was graceful. It was classy, beautiful, and he made it feel like it was right. It felt like he was like, 'All right, see you guys later.'"

"[Summers and Weikel] are geniuses when it comes to mixing. When you hear this album now, it has this polish to it. Not overproduced, or extremely polished, but it does sound galaxies different from where it started. When it started, it certainly sounded like it was recorded in a laundry room. They get down to what grade of cable it is. I've never been like that before. I'm like, 'Lemme throw this shitty mic into this shitty pre-amp and through this shitty cable.' Phil Spector once said: 'Mic anywhere in a room with a good performance and it's gonna turn out good.'"

Hear for Yourself: Just enough of Ziggy's stardust gives "Pentecost" its musical sheen, but it's Craft's vocal intensity that outlasts all else. Reed Fischer

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Aubrey Trinnaman

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Sounds Like: A shroom-fueled trip through Avatar's bioluminescent rainforest

For Fans of: Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, the Knife

Why You Should Pay Attention: Aurelia Smith makes electronic music utilizing the rare, modular Buchla Music Easel synthesizer, expertly wedding its blipping arpeggios to her processed voice. A former acoustic guitarist from the isolated Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, Smith made "cinematic folk" with touches of Segovia, Ravel and Debussy before going electronic. Smith's classical acumen remains intact on Ears, a wholly immersive, mesmeric listen. She's made fans ranging from comedian Reggie Watts to Buchla pioneer Suzanne Ciani and is on tour with Battles and Animal Collective this spring.

She Says: "I was helping my neighbor on the Orcas Islands set up his home studio and he asked me about my influences. When I mentioned Terry Riley, he got excited and showed me some old Buchla synthesizers that he had. He leant me one for a year and I started exploring it and incorporating it into my music. Slowly, every piece started to lose the guitar and got more electronic. There's a really beautiful fine line between controlling it and letting it be out of control. That's stimulating for my mind. It puts me in a very present mindset and flow state. I'm just trying to keep it on the edge between chaos and order. Ears was conceived as a journey for the listener through a futuristic jungle."

Hear for Yourself: "Arthropoda" has the beauty of a children's choir in an alien bog. Andy Beta

Slingshot Dakota

David Geeting

Slingshot Dakota

Sounds Like: Punchy love songs for rebellious former choir girls

For Fans of: Paramore, Rainer Maria, Pity Sex

Why You Should Pay Attention: Bound together by pop-punk — and by marriage — Bethlehem, Pennsylvania pianist Carly Comando and drummer Tom Patterson comprise one of the most unique rock bands in the United States. After the departure of their former bandmates, members of Long Island heroes Latterman, the band powered through as a two-piece, and eventually as a couple. They made a banner showing at this year's SXSW, where they plugged their fourth full-length album, Break, released this month on emerging indie/emo label Topshelf Records. Still, this wouldn't be the band's first date with success; Comando penned an original piano score entitled "Everyday," which accompanied the 2006 viral video, "Noah Takes a Photo of Himself Every Day For 6 Years." The song would later earn her an Emmy Award after being featured in a 2007 episode of The Simpsons.

They Say: "At this point we're feeling a lot of frustration with getting older and growing up," says Comando, 30. "People around us are dying, or they're stuck in shitty relationships. When me and Tom got married, we moved into a place that got infested with bed bugs — I wrote about it in "Lewlyweds." It was a psychologically disturbing experience! Still, we've been doing this thing for 10 years and we're only getting stronger. We're still here, we're still punk, or whatever we are.

"With Break we wanted to focus on breaks and breakthroughs, keeping it positive and trying new sounds. Tom is an incredible drummer, when he plays live he's an absolute monster. But in this record I told him, "Listen, you're so good but I almost want you to calm down a bit." I wanted to be more present this time around in my vocal melodies and lyrics. I've also been experimenting with more pedals to make a beefier sound; but because they're all made for guitars, it's a gamble. It's hard to figure out which pedals work with a keyboard. … Sometimes I try a new pedal and it makes this scary piercing sound, and I smell my amp burning and then I'm like, "Nuh-uh, nope."

Hear For Yourself: On latest single, "You," Comando nimbly bounds across the keys while maintaining a sturdy foundation of chunky bass and distortion; Patterson buoys the fuzz with brisk rhythms. Suzy Exposito

Frontierer

Calum McMillan of GingerSnaps Scotland

Frontierer

Sounds Like: The world's ugliest math problem

For Fans of: Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, the Austerity Program

Why You Should Pay Attention: "It's the aim and desire to just write stupidly heavy music," says Frontierer noisician Pedram Valiani about his band's next level tech-metal. The band achieves their unique brand of heavy by mixing abacus-melting time signatures, shards of rattling jungle techno and heaving slabs of blackened distorto-scuzz. The extreme nature helped make their debut LP, Orange Mathematics, a hit on Bandcamp. These four social media buddies — two in Scotland, one in Portugal and vocalist Chad Kapper screaming from Missouri — are planning on meeting in the same room for the first time, to rehearse for their first ever live show at U.K.'s Tech-Fest in July. "We only spoke over Skype for the first time in eight years a couple of weeks ago," says Valiani. "Baby steps." 

They Say: "I want to make albums that I will listen to as a fan as well as the creator…. Being able to get a kick out of my own songs was the main driving factor," says Valiani. "I like the concept of 'random' and i'm trying to incorporate it a lot more across my music. There are whole Frontierer songs I wrote without looking at what I had previously. I would just write each part over the timescale and add to it so by the time I got to the end I had no idea what I started with.

Hear for Yourself: Orange Mathematics bonus track "Lightshow Paralysis" is a grab-bag of terror: brittle breakbreaks, whining and wirring noise, throat-shredding screams and an ever-shifting riff-bludgeon. Christopher R. Weingarten

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