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10 New Artists You Need to Know: May 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, hip-hop, EDM, roots and more acts shaping your tomorrow

10 Artists You Need to Know May 2014

Piper Ferguson; Ren Radka

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: Kitten's Eighties rock makeover, Kristina Train's Springsteen-approved croon, K Camp's slow-rolling Atlanta rap and Ben Frost's deep drones.

Fatima Al Qadiri

Dom Smith

Fatima al Qadiri

Sounds Like: Chilly yet tantalizing electronic simulations of Chinese music.

For Fans Of: Laurie Anderson, Björk, Kode9

Why You Should Pay Attention: Asked to create a "cheap Chinese instrumental" knockoff of Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Fatima al Qadiri spun the assignment into Asiatisch, an album-length meditation on the West's stereotypical view of China as an inscrutable, evil other. The Kuwaiti-born musician-artist has never been to China, but the ancient poetry, ping-pong sounds and Lady and the Tramp references she laces into her sinuous grime beats and synth choruses evoke a gleaming, if haunted, vision of the world's most populated country. (On her 2012 EP Desert Strike she exorcized childhood memories of playing videogames during the Gulf War.) Al Qadiri perches at the cusp of culture, commerce and politics. She's both a member of Gulf-based art collective GCC, who satirize the "performance" of international diplomacy, as well as an increasingly in-demand international DJ who has composed fashion-show ear candy for Kenzo and other luxury houses.

She Says: Al Qadiri probably won't be taking Asiatisch on the road any time soon. "I don't perform live except as a DJ. The idea of performing programmed electronic music strikes me as a little odd. If there's no live vocals, and if you don't have a $50,000 lighting rig and an immersive spectacle, I don't understand why anyone would want to perform electronic music live. I doesn't make sense to me."

Hear for Yourself: Nothing compares to Helen Feng Mandarin-izing Prince in "Shanzhai." By Richard Gehr

Wild Cub

Alysse Gafkjen

Wild Cub

Sounds Like: The earnest all-together-now choruses of Arcade Fire interwoven with guitars that carry all of New Order's wistful lilt (with none of their atmospheric foreboding).

For Fans Of: Passion Pit, Yeasayer, Wild Nothing, the misremembered Eighties

Why You Should Pay Attention: Buzz sometimes takes a while to build. In 2012 this Nashville quintet formed around the nucleus of Keegan Dewitt, a singer-guitarist with a background scoring indie films, and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock. The band self-released its debut LP, Youth, more than a year ago, gathering more listeners last summer, when Bose chose the single "Thunder Clatter" to soundtrack a stylishly upbeat commercial. A 2014 reissue (with added tracks) from tastemaking NYC indie label Mom + Pop landed Wild Cub on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Conan, increasingly larger crowds and increasingly bigger clubs.

They Say: "The current [Nasvhville] music scene is one of the strangely positive results of the music business struggling so mightily," according to Dewitt. "For so long, Nashville was a town almost entirely centered around the industry of songwriting. The struggles in recent years helped make that a much leaner and thinner component of the musical scene and allowed room for a lot of different types of music and bands to flicker into life… You've got the garage scene with Diarrhea Planet and Jeff the Brotherhood, singer-songwriters like Caitlin Rose and Tristen, and of course the big acts like the Black Keys and Jack White. Nashville feels the richest now because there are so many different creative people doing different things."

Hear for Yourself: "Thunder Clatter" is uplifting and tropically rippling. By Keith Harris

Dayne S

Matheus Fernandes

Dayne S

Sounds like: Peak hour at that unmarked club you had to convince your friends to travel to.

For Fans Of: Moodymann, Art Department, Kerri Chandler

Why You Should Pay Attention: A European producer whose cavernous, soulful house music would sound equally at home in a Berlin warehouse or a New Jersey roller rink, Dayne S draws equal inspiration from deep house and Steve Vai. "It's all really popular music," he explains, and a recent move to Berlin suggests that in the coming years Dayne's music will open up even more.

He Says: On the subject of his unusual composition process, Dayne explains, "I often jam on my guitar to bluesy backing tracks or to house music,​ or I just play something random, and when I get a nice melody or riff it's the magic moment where I can see nearly the whole track in my mind's eye. There's so much you can do on that instrument, from simple rhythms to bassline ideas and complex chord arrangements. It's just a great tool to translate feeling into music, and for me it's easier than just shifting midi blocks. I find that pretty uninspirational."

Hear for Yourself: "How I Do," the Tapesh collaboration that layers bass, keys and vocal snippets from your parents' favorite Marvin Gaye record until it once again becomes something fresh and powerful. By Nick Murray

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