The Black Queen
Sounds Like: Pris, Daryl Hannah's "basic pleasure model" android in Blade Runner, dancing while crying in the neon-streaked rain
For Fans of: Depeche Mode, the Weeknd, Eighties action movies
Why You Should Pay Attention: Best known as the terrifying daredevil frontman of spazz-metal vets the Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato fully exposes his sensitive side in the Black Queen. The trio, which also features erstwhile Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer touring member Joshua Eustis and former Dillinger and NIN tech Steven Alexander, recently self-released their debut album, Fever Daydream, a black celebration full of sultry R&B-inflected vocals and shimmering, pulsing electronics. "We lived together from early 2013 until early 2015," says Puciato, who's fresh off the Black Queen's first-ever live performances — sold-out gigs in L.A. and London. "It was just this two-year period of pretty much only hanging out with one another, working on music and only being awake at night, in a really bleak area of downtown L.A. around the corner from skid row, amongst pure grime. That played a big part in the sound: just being in this desolate environment of urban blight, completely self-contained, making this heavily emotional music together."
They Say: While few fans of Puciato's main band will be surprised at his love of electronic music — Dillinger have covered Aphex Twin and Massive Attack over the years — his appreciation for R&B, and the style's major influence on the Black Queen, may come as a surprise. "I love Nineties R&B. Like fully and non-ironically. As much as I love metal or hardcore or punk or rock & roll," the singer enthuses. "It was a big part of my childhood. I would listen to it as equally as Slayer or Metallica or Soundgarden or Bad Brains. Some of the production and songwriting and singing on the R&B records from that time period are just unreal. It was rare to find someone else who I could talk about Death, Leprosy, with as well as a New Edition song."
Hear for Yourself: "Ice to Never" is the sort of chilly yet romantic synth-pop cut Ryan Gosling's Drive character might have played on repeat if his choice vehicle were a DeLorean. Brandon Geist