Your Old Droog, Mapei and 8 More New Artists You Need to Know – Rolling Stone
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10 New Artists You Need to Know: October 2014

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

Diptych of Breach and Waters

Breach (left) and Waters (right)

William Cooper Mitchell; Lindsey Byrnes

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: Mapei's genre-hopping pop, Your Old Droog's true-school hip-hop wordplay, the classic hardcore blurts of Obliterations and more. 

Split/Red

Split/Red

Sounds Like: A few heavy-prog nerds forming a basement punk band; what "emo" meant during the first Clinton administration

For Fans of: Early Fugazi, complicated Black Flag songs, guys ranting outside of left-wing bookstores

Why You Should Pay Attention: This Philadelphia outfit has been kicking around since 2009, with various Philly art-punks rotating in and out. They're just getting around releasing their genre-smashing debut EP, Serious Heft, six songs of dense, political noise rock that would sound equally at home on mid-Nineties Dischord or opening for Rage Against the Machine. In an era when most bands don't bother to let you know if they even vote, Split/Red put legendary Catholic Communist Dorothy Day right on the album cover. They also walk the walk: Guitarist-founder Stephen Buono went to El Salvador for the 25th anniversary of liberation theology martyr Oscar Romero's assassination, became involved with a Salvadoran NGO and has done election monitoring.

They Say: Named after the Minutemen tune, Split/Red learned a lot from the political punk legends. "For me, they were reminiscent of Beefheart, and at other times Fela Kuti or Victor Jara," Buono says. "The morning after Split/Red opened for [Minutemen bassist Mike] Watt, we were talking on my porch, and contemplating what to do with a wounded finch that was with us, when a stray cat suddenly snatched it away, the bird let out a chirp, then was eaten. We were both super sad, and Watt said, 'We heard its last song.'"  

Hear for Yourself: Split/Red get thunderous and wailing and guitar soloish all at once on the frantic "Uno Poco Foco." By Joe Gross

Fufanu

Fufanu

Sounds Like: Disclosure attending Bela Lugosi's funeral, Joy Division's secret jam band phase, a glacier on fire

For Fans of: Jesus and Mary Chain, A Place to Bury Strangers, Interpol

Why You Should Pay Attention: After gaining notoriety twiddling knobs behind Macbooks in DJ booths in their home country of Iceland, Captain Fufanu dropped the "Captain" and strapped on guitars. The youthful duo of Hrafnkell Flóki Kaktus Einarsson and Guðlaugur Halldór Einarsson — a.k.a., Kaktus and Gulli, and no relation — added drummer Frosti Gnarr about a year ago, and accidentally fell headlong into a psychedelic bummer-rock aesthetic. The new sound configuration made for an awkward first gig — most people thought they were going to a rave — but they won over that crowd, and subsequent festival audiences at Roskilde and ATP Iceland. Fufanu's as yet untitled debut album — filled with Kaktus's somber meditations, Gulli's shards of processed guitar, and a mix of Gnarr's drums and electronics keeping time — could see early 2015 release via London's One Little Indian (Björk, Ásgeir, etc.). Kaktus's old family friend Damon Albarn (yes, that Damon Albarn) liked what he's heard enough to invite them to open for him at Royal Albert Hall in November.

They Say: "It is an entirely new band, even though it feels the same," says Kaktus. "There was no certain moment when we realized that this was our sound. I think we just liked what we were doing and kept experimenting. From [last year's Roskilde Festival] onward, the idea of a new sound for us was born — although leaving techno was not the outcome we imagined. We started to write new music with Frosti as part of the band, but still using all of our synths and drum machines. It all happened really naturally."

Hear for Yourself: The hypnotic, snowshoegaze meditation on touring, "Circus Life." By Reed Fischer

WizKid

Wizkid

Sounds Like: Lagos' take on cool and club-ready hip-hop, a "Rack City" that has taken over the globe.

For Fans of: Femi Kuti, YouTube dance tutorials, complex drum patterns and vocalists skilled enough to take advantage of them

Why You Should Pay Attention: Though American press has fixated itself on William Onyeabor, a nearly 70-year-old Nigerian artist who quit making music in 1984, 30 years later, however, the country has moved on to Wizkid. He's a 24-year-old rapper known for progressive tracks that could start a party anywhere from South Africa to Trinidad, London to New York. His next album will have cameos from Rihanna and Chris Brown, and his last, Ayọ, featured Tyga on a remix of "Show You the Money," his hottest tune. Returning the favor, Wizkid refuses to charge for guest verses of his own, and accordingly, his dry tuneful flow has helped make hits out of KCee's infectious "Pull Over," L.A.X's menacing "Ginger" and Jesse Jag's dancehall-influenced "Bad Girl."

He Says: "I'm still trying to keep it original, staying true to my sound," he recently told U.K. DJ Tim Westwood, discussing the possibility of a full crossover in a country where his music has been embraced even outside the African diaspora. "It's crazy how a whole lot of African artists work. Big respect to everyone that does it, but I have not heard anything that really cuts across. We're trying to do that."

Hear for Yourself: Handclaps and kick drum drive "Show You the Money," but Wiz and some cutting, dissonant synths steal the show — at least until you see the dancing in the music video. By Nick Murray

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