10 New Artists You Need to Know: September 2015 - Rolling Stone
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10 New Artists You Need to Know: September 2015

Elle King, Car Seat Headrest and more

Empress Of and Wand

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: King Mez, Dr. Dre's Compton collaborator; Elle King, the singer behind the current  Top Alternative Songs chart-topper; Roman GianArthur, the R&B multi-instrumentalist behind a unique Radiohead covers EP and more.

Empress Of

Tonje Thilesen

Empress Of

Sounds Like: An immersive, emotional, trippy dance party

For Fans of: Björk, Kimbra, Blood Orange

Why You Should Pay Attention: Lorely Rodriguez, a.k.a. Empress Of, has solidified a reputation as an original electropop voice with her catchy, textured debut Me. To make the LP, Rodriguez ditched NYC and lived in a friend's home in Mexico to write: "I just had to detach myself from regular life and just be so obsessed with writing it," she says. For the album, Rodriguez wrote, produced and played every instrument, with the exception of her vocals, which were recorded at the legendary Electric Lady Studios. "I wanted them to be really strong," she says. "I wanted someone to be there to pull performances out of me." The final product is as diverse as the music she grew up listening to — from Celia Cruz to Britney Spears to Björk.

She Says: "I really love how everyone is calling it a pop record. I don't really think of it as pop music but the fact that other people think of it as pop music makes me think that pop music can change into something that's a little more than the norm. . . . I made a record that I would want to hear even if I didn't make it. I think that there's a lot in there to take from that record about how people forget to love themselves, put themselves first and put themselves as the most important. I think Me reminds you, the listener, that they are the most important person in their life. Whatever shit you're going through is secondary to you."

Hear for Yourself: Single "Water Water" shimmers and throbs like post-dubstep Kate Bush. Brittany Spanos

Bryson Tiller


Bryson Tiller

Sounds Like: Getting throwed and whispering sweet nothings to your best friend's girl

For Fans of: Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, Tory Lanez

Why You Should Pay Attention: "I got the trap and the soul. I'm not just R&B, no no," sings Bryson Tiller on "Don't Worry/Molly," one of the cuts on his heavily trafficked SoundCloud account. The Louisville, Kentucky artist has developed his own hybrid of hip-hop-influenced R&B that he calls "Trapsoul," the result of years working on music in his bedroom and recording tracks on his Compaq PC. (He plans to upgrade to a MacBook soon). Last fall, he dropped "Don't," which has since clocked 2 million YouTube views and caught the attention of noted tastemaker Drake. Instagram photos of Drake and Tiller partying together led to speculation that Tiller was affiliated with OVO. Instead, after a major-label bidding war, Tiller opted to go with RCA Records. "I talked to '40' [Shebib, Drake's producer] about it before we actually signed, and told him about the deal. He told me, 'That's one of the best deals I've heard in a while.' He actually advised me that I should take it." Timbaland is also a supporter: He flew Tiller to Miami to work on new material, some of which will appear on his October 2nd debut, T R A P S O U L.

He Says: Tiller didn't grow up practicing in church or at school, but instead simply got inspired to make music in his bedroom. "I was listening to a lot of Omarion and I just mimicked him singing. I also mimicked Michael Jackson a lot," he says. "Maybe I was just born with a little bit of vocals or natural talent, but I feel like I taught myself. I just started taking vocal lessons to just work on my breathing, my vowels and stuff. I've been working with Nick Cooper, and that's been helping a lot," says Tiller, referring to the vocal coach who has appeared on American Idol and worked with Nicki Minaj and others. "I'm trying to get better at singing. I just want to be great vocally on stage so I can give fans a real show, like Jazmine Sullivan does."

Hear for Yourself: On "Don't," Tiller navigates the nocturnal haze of downtown Los Angeles. Mosi Reeves

Jay Cosmic

Adam McNulty

Jay Cosmic

Sounds Like: A thunderstorm descending upon an unsuspecting EDM fest

For Fans of: Blasterjaxx, Headhunterz, the big single's hardest remix

Why You Should Pay Attention: Jay Cosmic doesn't have much DJ'ing experience — this year's Tomorrowland was one of his first high-profile gigs — but that hasn't stopped headliners like David Guetta and Afrojack from spinning his tracks. The 21-year-old from Manchester, England became obsessed with dance music when his dad gave him a trance compilation around the time of his 12th birthday, and he took to producing the following year. Back then he tried to make happy hardcore and Cascada-influenced Euro-schlock. Now, he's taking over main stages with big tunes that are both pummeling and melodic. His remix of Dvbbs and Bourgeous' "Tsunami" uses hardstyle fallout sirens to channel the high-BPM hits of his youth, and his latest track, "The Tunnel," is buttressed with some of the biggest, most ominous kick drums of the year. "It's like dark big-room," Cosmic says of the latter. "It's much more England-inspired, because everything here seems to be much more underground-based."

He Says: Cosmic wants fans — especially those who wish to become DJs — to understand the difference between "hungry" and "thirsty." "I get messages from people who have just started making music, and they want to get a cheat code to become famous and be Hardwell," he says. "Nobody for the past year has messaged me like I used to message people and said, 'Hey, how do you make this sound?' or, 'How do you do this with reverb?'"

Hear for Yourself: "The Tunnel" takes Green Velvet's rave tour group through a claustrophobic detour into the dank infrastructure below the club. Nick Murray


Romain Peutat


Sounds Like: Fuzzed-out psych with a dash of glam

For Fans of: Ty Segall, Tame Impala, T. Rex

Why You Should Pay Attention: You might know Wand leader Cory Hanson from his work with West Coast distortion enthusiasts like Mikal Cronin and Meatbodies. As restless as the other bands in the Los Angeles garage rock constellation (longtime friend Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, White Fence), Wand is releasing two albums this year, the furious punk workout Golem in March and this month's spacey, proggy, psych detour 1000 Days. While they've already caught the attention of veteran subterranean rock labels In the Red and Drag City (who, respectively, are putting out the LPs), Henry Rollins has also taken note, playing the band on his KCRW radio show.

They Say: "We hopped on a plane at 7 in the morning [from Portugal] to Amsterdam," says Hanson from the middle of a European tour. "On the plane, there was a Portuguese choir that the flight attendant asked to sing a song. We were all sleeping and woke up to a choir sitting in seats throughout the entire plane singing this beautiful song, and we all thought we had died on the plane or that it had crashed and we were in some new alternate limbo or heaven and hell. It was a really intense, kind of exhilarating day."

Hear for Yourself: "Dungeon Dropper" is a glitter-rock cruncher. Shara Sprecher

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