It’s hard to ignore the classics, but it’s worse to overlook the rising stars. Each month, we pick five artists worth lending your ears to. November highlights a few up-and-coming acts changing indie rock and East Coast rap.
NOTES: Violatile, melodic, direct. The South Carolina quintet sound as if they’re a group who’s been on Topshelf Records for quite some time especially with their average vocal shredding being entwined with an atmospheric pace that strikes a resemblance to post-rock (think Moving Mountains). Yet unlike others with tendencies to put screaming into the forefront, Transient find a near perfect balance, one that lets sprawling guitars and drum work carve out a path for vocals to flow and unexpectedly kick you in the teeth when need be.
NOW PLAYING: Alone EP (May 2011 – Independent)
NOTES: Sharing takes on influences and discoveries on a Tumblr doesn’t exactly make you an artist but doing so has helped construct – or at least give some an idea of – Dro Carey’s musical output. In some ways, he’s SebastiAn’s flashier younger brother. In others, he’s an Australian bro that takes the rumored Sydney lifestyle and injects it in an onslaught of work that packages house, soul and hip-hop to describe intoxication, lust and those other 4 a.m. feelings. The adventure is a confusing trip but the hangover is comforting.
NOTES: “Equal parts New Zealand lava, Memphis smoke, Pacific Northwest mist, and New York thunder“. M’Lady Records may have been a bit too geographical about the band’s upcoming studio debut but for some odd and unexplainable reason, it just fits. The playful surf punk duo – guitarist Madison Farmer and drummer Fiona Campbell – accomplish what most seem to ignore, feeding their hunger for rocking out with a steady diet of lo-fi rips (“Kids”) and spontaneous outbursts (“What You Wanted”) that exemplify their style, and not to mention, taste for album covers (the chill needlepoint leopard is exquisite).
NOTES: Sandwiched in between what’s based and what’s radical, Harlem-bred Internet smash ASAP Rocky has the cojones to be an individual. His style – influenced by the melodic sound of Houston’s scene along with a handful of 90s’ second-tier rappers – is hard to dissect, partially due to its flow and ability to run down topics of rascal self-examination (“Peso”, “Purple Swag”) and tapping into veins to overcome struggle (“Demons”). The “bad boy” persona is on the table but it shouldn’t be; ASAP isn’t an artist with more bark than bite. The backpack rapper image is intact (Drake is a fan), just with a candid makeup that flexes ambition and a serious fistful of promise.
NOW PLAYING: LiveLoveAsap (November 2011 – Independent)
NOTES: With more and more artists digging into their parents’ old record collections and dusting off LPs from the 60’s and 70s’, it appears as if classic rock is slowly creeping back to being modern again. One small bit of proof to that is UK songwriter Kate Jackson, the ex-Long Blondes frontwoman who’s blending the drugged-out-yet-completely-emotional rock n’ roll with a side of new wave. It isn’t particularly blues rock in its truest form, but it brings back memories – moments of simple addictive rhythms and an audacious voice that delivers more of a blow than an adorable pinch.