So far I have to say I’m pretty happy with the selections for my Artists to Watch for 2017. At least half of them have released music in the first quarter of this year with a handful sharing full EPs or announcing their debut albums. IDER obviously is fitting into that position as well. In February they released the incredible single, Face On, which served as the lead up to their debut EP, Gut Me Like An Animal, released today. In addition to Face On, the EP includes two full length new tracks and a shorter outro. In the past I’ve always selected a single song to cover, but I found that to be impossible with this EP and have decided to share two. Nevermind picks up where Face On left off, with pulsating, industrial synths throughout laying the groundwork for IDER’s ominous harmonies and lyrics. It sees them at their most confident yet. After Nevermind, the smoke clears to reveal the gorgeous Does She Even Know, produced by my favorite artist of 2016, Shura. This is her first time producing for another artist, and I must say, that’s a shame because this is truly beautiful. Gone are the dissonant and mechanical sounds of the previous songs, here replaced by atmospheric production and haunting harmonies. The diversity of music displaced on such a short EP is extremely impressive and makes me even more excited to see what IDER will do with a larger body of work. Do yourself a favor and check out Nevermind and Does She Even Know below!
Amber Mark first showed up on my radar this past fall with the release of her excellent single, Way Back. She married powerful vocals, a danceable beat, and disco-esque piano chords for something truly special. She appeared on this blog for the first time in my write up of Artist to Watch Demo Taped, on whose Stay Amber is also featured. Last week Amber announced her debut EP, 3:33am, containing some of her previously released singles as well as new song, Lose My Cool. The song still has the characteristic piano and strong vocal performance but this one seems to be dripping in Caribbean influence. From the dancehall inspired beat to the steel drum mimicking synths, the track is definitely a standout in the crowded field of new artists trying to leave their stamp. Look for 3:33am on May 12th and in the meantime listen to Lose My Cool below!
Last time I wrote about Rationale I was complaining about how annoyed I was at myself for not putting him on my Artists to Watch list. Well I can now say that I’m even more frustrated than I was before! Out of all the artists I follow, I have been the most impressed with Rationale’s output in 2017. After the last single I covered, Reciprocate, back at the beginning of February, Rationale released his Sophomore EP, Vessels, which is absolutely incredible. All four tracks are unique but maintain a common aesthetic and theme and are worth your time. It would have been enough for him to sail far into 2017 without anyone batting an eye, but lucky for us, he’s already back with his new single, Deliverance. Unlike some of the previously released material, it stays fairly downtempo throughout, but still with Rationale’s incredible vocals and brilliant production on full display. I can’t wait to see if this is the start of another new cycle of music already, but either way, check out and enjoy Deliverance below!
Birthday is one of my favorite musical discoveries of 2016, as evidenced by him ranking at number three of my Artists to Watch for 2017. Since the debut of his Subtle Love EP at the end of last year, he has remained relatively quiet, slowly teasing the release of new music. Well the wait came to an end on Friday with the release of new single, Weekend Walking. Although the glitchy production that I fell in love with takes a bit of a back seat in his latest effort, Birthday’s vocals and beautiful melodies take center stage and make for something truly special. Weekend Walking shows a new facet to Birthday’s sound and demonstrates versatility in a way that makes me even more excited about what he has in store. Keep your eyes out for new music hopefully to be released soon and in the meantime listen to Weekend Walking below!
CHINAH was on my list of Artists to Watch for 2017 and they have clearly demonstrated so far this year why I love them so much. In January they followed up Can’t Remember How It Feels with new single Even Love, which continued their new throwback aesthetic, marrying eclectic electronic production with an 80s vibe. Earlier this month they released their sophomore EP, Hints, containing the aforementioned singles as well as five brand new tracks. The entire thing is worth your attention and plays extremely well as a cohesive body of work, but today I’ve chosen to highlight my favorite new track, If I Stay. This song sees CHINAH at their most experimental in terms of production as well as song structure. It’s a risky move to not have a distinct, soaring chorus, but here it works beautifully. CHINAH have made a strong statement going into 2017 and I can’t wait to see which direction they go in next. Check out If I Stay below!
Mura Masa does an incredible job of walking the line between being a forward thinking producer and still maintaining commercial viability. Mura Masa has established a signature sound on his previous releases and has shown himself to be extremely adept at choosing his collaborators, which include Nao, Shura, A$AP Rocky, and Bonzai. His latest single, 1 Night, has him working with Charli XCX, a duo I wasn’t sure about until I heard the final product. Charli’s pop sensibilities pair beautifully with Mura Masa’s tropical production to make for something totally unique and truly special. This is the kind of music I wish was playing on the radio. With the name recognition attached to the song, I’m hopeful this allows for Mura Masa and this track to get the attention they deserve. Be on the look out for Mura Masa’s debut album, To Fall Out of Love To, coming later this year and check out 1 Night below!
I have been following LANY for a while now, so I am so excited that they have announced their self-titled debut album for release on June 30th. On top of that, they’re avoiding a trap that many new artists fall into: putting all of their previously released music on their album. Obviously there are some exceptions, but albums that rehash old releases generally are not received as well as those with almost exclusively new material, so it’s exciting to see only one previously released track, the excellent ILYSB, on LANY. To celebrate the announcement, LANY have shared new single, Good Girls, which serves as a very strong step forward in their sound. LANY have perfected an 80s-inspired electronic aesthetic with deeply personal lyrics that stay extremely relatable, and Good Girls is no exception. This is probably my favorite song of theirs so far, and it makes me even more excited to see what they have in store for their album! Check out Good Girls below!