Must-hear song: “Rennen”
SOHN, a London born songwriter and producer, is known for his sorrowful vocals, beautiful melodies, and electro-soul vibe. He retreated to Northern California to pen the follow up to his debut album, Tremors. The resulting project is the much anticipated RENNEN, to be released on January 13th.
Must-hear song: “Loved By You”
L.A. based band Powers will keep you dancing. Their 2015 EP, Legendary, featured four funky tracks, including the upbeat “Beat of My Drum.” Their 2016 single “Sunshine” has an equally feel good vibe. Dance along with Powers on their upcoming North American tour.
3. How to Dress Well
Must-hear song: “Lost Youth/Lost You”
How to Dress Well, the stage name of singer-songwriter Tom Krell, recently released his fourth studio album Care. Krell’s work is distinctive with his silky, graceful vocals and soundscapes that easily alternate between being dreamlike and dance-y. The Colorado born artist’s music will provide a great soundtrack for 2017.
Must-hear song: “Future Politics”
Austra, an electro-pop band from Toronto, will be kicking off a three month tour in late January to coincide with the release of their third album Future Politics. Their music is both gloomy and glittery, with synths pulsing beneath classically trained singer Katie Stelmanis’s powerful voice. Austra’s newest album discusses reaching beyond our world’s current social and political boundaries, and is sure to provide food for thought in the new year.
5. Naomi Pilgrim
Must-hear song: “Our Love (Giljotin Session)”
Barbados born and Sweden raised musician Naomi Pilgrim started her career singing backup for indie pop artists such as Lykke Li. With her rich, emotional voice, it was only a matter of time before she created material of her own. Pilgrim’s 2016 dark synth-pop EP Sink Like a Stone was followed in the later part of the year with the beautiful Giljotin Session tracks “Mama” and “Our Love.” Hopefully 2017 will bring more new releases from this talented singer.
6. Stalking Gia
Must-hear song: “Second Nature”
Stalking Gia, the stage name of Tiffany Giardina, has been in the entertainment business since she was a child, starting as a performer on Broadway. Now a songwriter at Warner/Chappell, she has dropped a handful of singles in the past few years, including the sexy “Second Nature” in 2016. Keep Stalking Gia and her beautiful voice on your radar.
7. The xx
Must-hear song: “On Hold”
British band The xx took the indie music world by storm with their eponymous album in 2009, and again with their 2012 release Coexist. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s duets captivate with a breathless intimacy over Jamie Smith’s stark beats. The newest single “On Hold” from the upcoming album I See You is more carefree than previous xx tracks, but the feeling that you’re being included in on a beautiful secret remains true. The full album will be released on January 13th.
Must-hear song: “Weep”
Magik*Magik, an orchestra based in the Bay Area, was formed by multi-talented composer, arranger and singer, Minna Choi. After completing her undergraduate degree at NYU, Choi returned to her native west coast for grad school at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and founded Magik while still a student there. The group has performed as the orchestra for numerous artists, such as Death Cab for Cutie and John Vanderslice. Magik’s recently released first album consists of original material written and sung by Choi – the result is stunning indie pop backed with the gravitas of classical music.
9. Fickle Friends
Must-hear song: “Brooklyn”
British band, Fickle Friends, recall the 80s with their use of peppy synths and fun guitar hooks. The sound is never dated, and their music provides an interesting contrast to their often bittersweet lyrics. “Swim” and “Brooklyn” are two stand out singles that the group released this past year. The band will soon be dropping their debut studio album, which was produced by Mike Crossey, a talent behind The 1975’s music. We’re looking forward to hearing more of the Fickle Friends’ upbeat, glossy style in 2017.
Must-hear song: “Operate”
ASTR, a sultry trip-hop duo from New York City, debuted in 2014. Their discography includes the EPs Varsity and Homecoming, which consist of song after song that make you wish ASTR could soundtrack your life. “Operate” is darkly glam with its grumbly bass line, “Blue Hawaii” is upbeat in its glitchiness, and “Get So High” has a sweeping chorus that maintains the ASTR edge. They even did a fantastic cover of the Drake song “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” It would be great if 2017 brought us fresh ASTR tracks – in the meantime, check out their past work and prepare to listen on repeat.
Image Source: Em Grey–>
11. Allison Crutchfield
Must-hear song: “Dean’s Room”
Philadelphia based Allison Crutchfield is set to release her first full album as a solo artist, Tourist in This Town, on January 27th. The singer’s musical history is extensive: she was previously in the pop punk band P.S. Eliot with her twin sister, Katie, she is currently in the alternative group Swearin’, and in 2014, she released her solo indie EP Lean In To It. Her recently released single, “Dean’s Room,” begins with powerful drums that fall back to accompany an upbeat guitar line and Crutchfield’s sweet voice crooning about a volatile relationship. This confessional and danceable track leaves you excited to hear the rest of the new album.
Must-hear song: “Sometimes”
Kyan, a singer and songwriter from England, is an artist you won’t forget after hearing his gorgeous, emotive vocals. A self-taught musician, Kyan has harnessed his talent into three EPs, the first of which he debuted in 2014. Songs like “Sometimes” from Remote View showcase the raw beauty of his voice as it soars above nothing but a piano, whereas tracks like “Insert Runaway” from Days In A Triangle are sensual with romantic lyrics shimmering over synth lines. Get yourself acquainted with this versatile artist, and let his music help you usher in the new year.
Must-hear song: “I Know A Place”
MUNA is an L.A. based synth-pop trio known for uplifting, 80s tinged tracks and passionate lyrics that cater to no gender – the group’s members identify as queer, and the songs are a haven meant to be relatable for every person listening. Their 2016 EP The Loudspeaker was an exciting introduction to the group, and their upcoming full length album About U promises to be just as catchy and empowering.
14. Louis Berry
Must-hear song: “Restless”
English rock musician Louis Berry has a raspy voice that draws you in from the first note he sings. He grew up with a heroin addicted father in a Liverpool neighborhood that was far from pristine. The singles we’ve heard from Berry so far have a roughness indicative of his upbringing. He growls on songs like “Nicole,” and possesses a frantic energy on the track “.45.” His debut album is set to be released in the near future, and he says that the motivation behind his music is change – keep your ears out for this dynamic artist.
15. The Japanese House
Must-hear song: “Face Like Thunder”
U.K. musician Amber Bain, also known as The Japanese House, has an electro-folk style a bit reminiscent of artist Imogen Heap. Her use of distorted, mysterious vocals bring to mind songs like Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” Yet Bain’s melancholy style is distinctively her own, and her music’s expansive soundscapes are luscious. She has three EPs under her belt, the latest being the 2016 release Swim Against The Tide. 2017 will be a busy year for the artist as she tours the U.S. and Europe.
16. Zara Larsson
Must-hear song: “Ain’t My Fault”
Zara Larsson is a name you’re probably already familiar with. The 19-year-old Swedish beauty has been in the public eye for several years since winning Sweden’s Got Talent in 2008, and her single “Lush Life” was at the top of the charts for 13 weeks in 2016. Larsson is a feminist, and uses the platform she has gained to speak out about issues that matter to her. This confident talent recently won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Artist, and is one to watch in 2017, as she is surely on the precipice to achieving even greater musical success.
Must-hear song: “All the Ways”
Formed in Brooklyn, Wet is an indie pop trio with a knack for making heartbreak sound alluring. Singer Kelly Zutrau’s plaintive voice sings honestly over the melodious net of synths beneath her. Wet’s 2016 debut album, Don’t You, is one to pull out again and again in 2017 – new emotional insights come at every turn.
18. Ten Tonnes
Must-hear song: “Subtle Changes”
British artist Ten Tonnes, also known as 19-year-old Ethan Barnett, recently released his debut EP Lucy, and it is a charming introduction to the musician. He has a soulful voice beyond his years, and his guitar indie pop style is fun and unrestrained. We will hopefully see much more of Ten Tonnes in the new year.
Must-hear song: “Clay”
HANA is Hana Pestle, a musician from Montana. Having been discovered in 2005 at 14 years old, she has vast experience in the acoustic pop world, but in 2013, she took a break from touring to learn more about music production. She redirected her musical style, and released her first track as HANA in 2015 with the electro-pop song “Clay.” Musician Grimes took notice of this track, and HANA accompanied Grimes on tour soon after. In 2016, she released the dreamy EP HANA. She shines in this new genre – check out her EP as a lovely way to start the year.
Must-hear song: “Blood On Me”
Sampha is an English electro-soul singer, songwriter, and producer who has been prolific in his collaborative work with artists like Kanye West, Drake and Frank Ocean. As a producer, he plays the imperative role of being an emotional interpreter, and as a solo artist, his vocals hover on being tender, despite their powerful expressiveness. He has released two beautifully moody EPs, and his first full length album Process will be out on February 3rd.