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10 New Artists You Need to Know: October 2016

PnB Rock, Ella Vos, Lvl Up and more

10, New, Artists, You Need to Know, October, 2016

Lewis Del Mar and Moor Mother are two artists to know in October

Daniel Topete, Sashaphyars Burgess

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: Recent Fetty Wap mixtape partner PnB Rock, Coldplay tourmate Bishop Briggs, languid electronic-pop crooner Ella Vos and more.

Lewis Del Mar

Daniel Topete

Lewis Del Mar

Sounds Like: A beachside dreamscape with acoustic guitars and electronic drums washing up on shore.

For Fans of: Alt-J, Foals, Vampire Weekend

Why You Should Pay Attention: The self-titled Columbia debut from these lifelong pals boasts finger-picked acoustic melodies, beats rising to wall-rattling proportions and an unpolished collage of found sound – a street preacher, seagulls and random scraps of conversation. Max Harwood's frantic, Latin-inspired beats are carefully layered against the tenderness in Danny Miller's lyrical abstractions and guitar for a satisfying haze that's even noisier on the stages they've warmed for Børns, Foals and Miike Snow. 

"So-called accidents are manifestations of your circumstances and inform your art," says Harwood, who records with Miller out of a cramped bungalow in Rockaway Beach, Queens. "It's stupid to soundproof your room too much because you're just sucking any identity out of it."

They Say: "So much of what we did was broken down and rag-tag," Miller says. "We paid more attention to the energy when we were recording the stuff – as opposed to the way it was being recorded. The sample of church bells and seagulls at the end of the album was because I was in the middle of the bungalow recording the vocals for the song in a single take and the doors to the house were open."

Hear for Yourself: The thick, intoxicating mixture of "Malt Liquor" pairs underwater piano with EDM-leaning beats. Reed Fischer


Adam Kolodny


Sounds Like: Playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater after a meal of Cap'n Crunch and LSD

For Fans of: New Found Glory, Paramore, the Fueled By Ramen catalog

Why You Should Pay Attention: Crying's debut LP, Beyond the Fleeting Gales, is worth an ear if only to see how this New York trio pull off such an unlikely sound: contemporary emo mixed with the prog-rock of Rush and Styx. Founded in 2013, the SUNY Purchase students would convene in drummer Nick Corbo's basement to craft glitchy chiptune pop, inspired by their favorite old-school video games. The jump to wizardly synths wasn't far. Says singer Elaiza Santos, "If it sounds purple, I'm generally a fan." Catch them playing Legend of Zelda on tour alongside the Hotelier and Joyce Manor this fall.

They Say: "I wanted to make an album that the middle-school version of me wishes he had," says guitarist Ryan Galloway. "Big and cheesy Eighties guitar, J-pop synth sparkle, Motown chord progressions. Like, pretty obnoxious but also completely listenable if you're okay with it." Santos adds, "With a Kirby 64 battle blow."

Hear for Yourself: The band delivers a glimmering walk through Santos' musings on gender identity in their latest single, "There Was A Door," propelled by synth trills and hefty pop-punk breakdowns. Suzy Exposito

Helado Negro

Inma Varandela

Helado Negro

Sounds Like: Snorkeling across the Milky Way

For Fans of: Arthur Russell, the Magnetic Fields, Animal Collective

Why You Should Pay Attention: Brooklyn-based producer-singer Roberto Lange has earned a wealth of recent acclaim for Private Energy, his fifth album as Helado Negro, including glowing reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NPR and more. He began producing in the 2000s under the alias Epstein, collaborating with fellow electronic visionaries Prefuse 73, Julianna Barwick and Sinkane. Existentially occupying the ether between Ecuadorian and American identity, Lange solidifies his ethnic pride and his experimental legacy on Private Energy, tinkering with South American folk and electro-pop palettes. He's also gotten ample attention (and sometimes befuddlement) from summer festival-goers thanks to his shaggy, glittering "Tinsel Mammals" dance crew. Designed with the help of his wife, artist Kristi Sword, his on-stage assistants look like Cousin Itt hitting the glitter.

He Says: "I wrote a lot of this record in 2014. The police officer who killed Michael Brown wasn't indicted. It's easy to create your own bubble, wherever you're at. … Then something bad happens and it enters your bubble, like through social media. And you're like, 'Do I retweet this? Who do I donate to?' People were marching outside my house with Black Lives Matter signs – their reactions were so real. From that moment forward … I took a deep dive into myself and thought about what this meant to me, how I could contribute. That's what the whole record revolves around. … Private Energy is about sharing my reserve of power, my contribution. "

Hear for Yourself: In "It's My Brown Skin," Lange bakes his progressive political platform into a slow jam, served with love and solidarity. "There’s friends of similar shades/Of different ways," he croons, "Who feel the same way/Don’t ever forget them." Suzy Exposito

Bishop Briggs

Chad Kamenshine

Bishop Briggs

Sounds Like: Guttural dirges over a Nineties sci-fi film score

For Fans of: Florence + the Machine, Banks, PJ Harvey

Why You Should Pay Attention: The 24-year-old born Sarah McLaughlin hit the Top 10 of the rock and alternative charts this year with her passionate, fiery single "River." McLaughlin moved from London to Tokyo to Hong Kong all before she became a teenager. While in Tokyo, the culture and art of karaoke drew out her love for singing, and watching her dad sing Frank Sinatra inspired her to tackle big voices like Whitney Houston on her own. At home, she'd write and perform "very depressing, dark poetry" for her parents and sister, harnessing her songwriting talent for years until she relocated to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue a career in music full-time, which proved to be a more difficult journey than she anticipated. "It was definitely a difficult time in my life, but I'm so glad I did it." The struggle paid off: She recently toured with Coldplay and is prepping her debut album for an early 2017 release on Island Records.

She Says: Over the course of her nine-day trek with Coldplay, Bishop Briggs had the chance to hang with the band and even get a little advice from Chris Martin. "It was the last date [at Levi Stadium], and Chris came backstage and just sat with us for a moment," she recalls of their meeting. "I voiced to him that I was genuinely sad about leaving and he told me, 'It's okay. You don't want to be an opener forever.' It was ironic to have someone who really paved the way for alternative music tell me 'Do more! Aim higher!' when I'm like, 'But I'm here with you, Chris! I don't want to leave your side!'"

Hear for Yourself: The moody, synth-heavy "Be Your Love," shows that the soulful rocker has pop potential. Brittany Spanos

Street Sects

Nathan Hall

Street Sects

Sounds Like: Trent Reznor's workout mix: a lean, murderous blend of synths, samples, pained vocals and industrial rhythms.

For Fans of: Big Black, Youth Code, Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Why You Should Pay Attention: Street Sects vocalist Leo Ashline has turned a lifetime of distress, addiction and violence into an extreme-music triumph. Since 2013, he has collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth to create nightmarish noise, punk and industrial punchouts, playing strobing, molten shows around Austin. On their debut LP End Position – a title inspired by a lyric from Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "I See a Darkness" – more subtle layers reveal themselves. Amid the anarchy are moments of noir storytelling, black humor and satisfying breakdowns between pummelings. "[Shaun] and I have been through hell and worse together," Ashline says. "And although we have our differences at times, we have always supported and respected one another, as artists, and as human beings. I believe in him, and he believes in me. As corny as that sounds, it's a fucking rare thing to find, in any kind of partnership."

They Say: "I've always admired [Will Oldham's] ability to capture these seemingly grand and complex statements within a style that is very stark and spare," says Ashline. "He also blends humor, absurdity and even a sort of juvenile vulgarity into mature and poignant subject matter in a way that seems effortless. He's the rare kind of writer who can be hyper-specific while still giving his audience room to attach their own feelings and interpretations to his writing. His details are like clues to a larger story. He knows how to build myth and mystery around himself and his body of work."

"Before [Leo] and I started writing music together he had done vocals in a few hardcore bands," says Ringsmuth. "Not to say that the aim of Street Sects is to be hardcore, but there is a manic intensity to the music and lyrics that requires directness, and as a performer he's able to externalize an internal argument like few I've ever seen."

Hear For Yourself: "Feigning Familiarity" is a fatalist anthem that gradually increases in intensity to a final movement of blister-busting excess. Reed Fischer