I’ve said it before, but even though 80s-tinged music is extremely popular in music at the moment, very few artists are doing it as successfully as Arkansas-native duo joan. They had an incredible breakout year in 2017 with three impeccable singles culminating with my personal favorite so far, “Tokyo”, which went on to be one of my favorite tracks of the year and solidified their spot on my list of Artists to Watch 2018. If you missed the track, I highly recommend you check it out HERE. Today they’re back with their latest effort, i loved you first, and it continues to raise their profile as one of the most exciting acts out there. While “Tokyo” was perhaps their most upbeat track yet, “i loved you first” takes a significantly more subdued approach with great success. It’s a pristine synthpop ballad that draws you in from the beginning and keeps you through its emotion-filled climax. joan are making some of my favorite music at the moment, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Check out “i loved you first” below and stay tuned for more hopefully soon!
2018 has already had a huge number of incredible debut singles, from BRÍET’s “In Too Deep” to anaïs’ “nina”, some of my favorite music has been first efforts. Today I can add to that list with rising Australian artist G Flip‘s About You, after I came across her this past week on Pigeons & Planes, one of my personal favorite music sites. Since she’s been prominently featured there in the past few weeks, a feature here doesn’t mean much, but I’ve been listening to “About You” on repeat since I heard it and feel compelled to spread the word. After training as a drummer in school, G Flip (AKA Georgia Flipo), decided to pursue being an independent artist and has been working diligently on her craft for some time now. After honing her craft for over a year, she finally shared “About You”, an exceptional pop track worthy of your attention. Her percussion background shines through with rhythms, both in the melody and instrumentation, that keep you guessing throughout. It’s simultaneously totally accessible while still sounding unique. Be sure to check it out below and be on the lookout for more from her hopefully soon!
Just two weeks ago, mysterious duo Life in Sweatpants released their second track, “Acuras”, and restored my hope that we would continue hearing from them (check it out HERE). After their debut track, “Girls” (listen HERE), became one of my favorite songs of the year, but then we didn’t hear from them, I was concerned that was all we were going to get. Well thankfully they’re absolutely proving me wrong, because now they’ve already shared another track, Are We on the Same Road, and it’s an incredible addition to their flawless discography. While “Acuras” had a more subdued sound than their boisterous debut, “Are We on the Same Road” finds itself somewhere in the middle, with some laid back parts and a simple beat backing the verses, but building to a huge climax of pulsating synths and production that keeps you guessing. It’s fun to see artists start to establish elements of a signature sound, and Life in Sweatpants seems to be doing that with unique production and densely layered harmonies, two things I’m obviously a huge fan of. I really love what Life in Sweatpants are doing and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Check out “Are We on the Same Road” below and get on board.
Moss Kena has definitely been one of the biggest breakout stars for me this year. After grabbing my attention with “48” last year and teasing his debut EP, Found You in 06, with the excellent “Square One” earlier in the year (check it out HERE), Kena absolutely delivered with this first body of work, which I have gone back to over and over in the past few weeks. I already shared “You Don’t Know”, a frontrunner for my favorite song of the year even though it’s only March. I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to it because it’s that good. If you haven’t had the pleasure, be sure to listen HERE. That said, because the entire EP is so strong and sets Moss Kena up as the real deal and someone to watch, I figured it was worth sharing another track from it. Games is probably the closest thing to a straightforward pop song on the EP, but it’s still more than that. With interesting instrumentation and Kena’s beautiful vocals, it truly is something special. It shows off a completely different side to the artist than the rest of the EP and sets up Moss Kena as an artist with obvious widespread appeal. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Moss Kena completely blows up so make sure to get in the know now. Check out “Games” below or click HERE if you don’t have Spotify.
I featured Swedish folk singer Anna Leone back at the beginning of the year. I was a little late to the party with her second release, “I Never Really”, a gorgeous acoustic piece that beautifully displays Leone’s penchant for songwriting and her raspy vocals. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend you checking her out HERE. Thankfully, this time I’m not too late. On Friday, she shared her third track, If You Only, and it’s absolutely worth your attention. While her first two tracks were both fairly subdued, “If You Only” sees Anna tackling bigger production than before with great success. Still present are the acoustic before and soulful vocals, but this new track shows off a new side of Leone’s sound that makes me even more excited about where she’s headed. Be sure to check out “If You Only” below or click HERE if you don’t have Spotify and get on board with Anna Leone now.
Earlier this year, Icelandic artist BRÍET released her debut track, “In Too Deep”, which instantly became a favorite of mine and still is, in my opinion, one of the best tracks of 2018 so far. If you haven’t heard it, be sure to check it out HERE. “In Too Deep” has consistently been on repeat, and since BRÍET announced her debut EP, I’ve been eager to see what she would do next, and hoping it would live up to my very high expectations. Well now the EP in question, 22.03.99, is out in the world and it surpasses what I was hoping for. The work opens with an extended instrumental track, gorgeously framing “In Too Deep”. The entire EP is beautiful and makes me so excited for what BRÍET is doing, but today I’m going to focus on Twin. While “In Too Deep” was a beautifully subdued pop effort, complete with swirling strings and glitchy electronics, “Twin” is definitely a more straightforward pop song, but it’s executed excellently and will get you dancing along. With intricate vocal layering and bouncing synths, “Twin” doesn’t sound quite like anything else. It shows off a different facet to the young artist’s sound and continues to build excitement over what she’s going to do next. Be sure to check out “Twin” below or click HERE if you don’t have Spotify.
So far I’m feeling really great about my picks for my Artists to Watch 2018. We’re only two and a half months into the year and already half of my list have shared new music. I’m hoping that trend will continue and it seems like we’ll at least be getting even more new music from Norwegian star Sigrid soon; more on that later. After having an incredible breakout 2017 that saw the release of a handful of absolutely brilliant pop songs, including “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Plot Twist” (check them out HERE and HERE), Sigrid appeared on pretty much every tip list including taking the top spot on the BBC Sound of 2018 poll. Clearly, expectations have been extremely high to see how she’d follow up her string of pop anthems. Surprisingly, but very rewardingly, Sigrid has thrown us a curve ball with her latest track, Raw. With the exception of the piano-led ballad “Dynamite”, Sigrid has excelled with upbeat, big, brash, in-your-face pop moments. “Raw”, however, sees Sigrid stripping back the production and instrumentation to the minimum, beautifully displaying her voice and songwriting. In addition, it shows off a new side to Sigrid which makes me even more excited about her future prospects, which is saying something considering how much potential Sigrid clearly has. “Raw” seems to be the first track from a 5-song EP so it seems like we’ll be getting more from Sigrid soon. Check out “Raw” below and definitely get on board with her if you’re not already.