Have a listen to a couple of jams from well-known artists, and a few from ones you’ve likely never heard of before:
1. Angel Olsen — Hi-Five
Originally from the state of Missouri, Angel Olsen now sets up shop in Asheville, North Carolina. Her sound often fluctuates from indie rock to slower — almost somber notes. Olsen’s haunting voice meshes wonderfully with the soulful twang of the guitar. At only 30 years of age, she’s only beginning to scratch the surface of her vast potential.
2. VARSITY — So Sad, So Sad
VARSITY is an unknown from a mainstream standpoint. Hailing from Chicago, the quintet is led by lead vocalist Stephanie Smith. The band has released only one album to date — a collection of songs from 2015 entitled Varsity. “So Sad, So Sad” is one of the band’s most popular singles. Assuming the group can release another album in the upcoming year, it could gain some traction as a breakout performer.
3. Craft Spells — Nausea
Craft Spells is a band hailing from Northern California. The band is a wearer of many hats. The music ranges is rooted in the traditional indie genre — though it also employs dream pop elements. In terms of this track, one could even say Craft Spells gave the audience a bit of ‘psychedelic pop.’ “Nausea” seems like the perfect jam for a lazy day of relaxation. It’s nostalgic sound lends itself to the notion that it’d fit in with a number of different decades.
4. Todd Terje — Inspector Norse
We’re taking a trip to Norway for this next track. The eclectic and uber-talented Terje is one of the World’s best as it pertains to house and electronic music. His ability to manipulate beats and repackage them creatively makes him a genius in the field. Terje has released a boatload of albums, singles, and EPs. “Inspector Norse” is a marvelous example of his brilliance.
5. Kanye West — Slow Jamz
Kanye West’s hit 2004 album The College Dropout features this timeless track. While it certainly isn’t new by any stretch, it’s one which holds up exceptionally well with the current climate of the genre. Twista provides his rapping brilliance as a speed-demon on the mic. It’s hard not to get in a good mood after listening to this.
6. Cigarettes After Sex — Affection
The El Paso-based group routinely puts out quality music within the shoegaze and dream pop genres. These classifications are fortified by the group’s willingness to experiment with varying degrees of synths and vocal ranges. “Affection” is likely the most recognizable single the band has released in it’s 9-year history.
7. Hare Squead — If I Ask
Hare Squead is a rapping trio from of all places, Ireland. Though Ireland isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for hip-hop, the group featuring Jessy Rose, E-Knock, and Tony Konstone has begun to cultivate a serious following across the pond. Through their bevy of tracks, one can see an interesting amalgam of rap and hip-hop with elements of funk. It’s both distinctive and highly intriguing.
8. The Avalanches — Because I’m Me
The Avalanches have long been a staple within the electronic music scene. Hailing from Australia, the group formed originally in 1997. Their latest album Wildflower features “Because I’m Me.” The track also samples the song “Want Ads” by the ’60’s band The Honey Cone. The little boy in the video certainly conjures up memories of Michael Jackson during his time with The Jackson 5.
9. The Shins — Australia
The Shins have been a quintessential indie band dating back to their inception in 1996. The sweet sound of James Mercer fully complements the remainder of the six-person group. “Australia” is a funky tune from their immensely popular 2007 album Wincing The Night Away. While somewhat of an oldie, it’s also a goodie.
10. Kendrick Lamar — i
Arguably the biggest star in the rap game currently, the Compton native has released back-t0-back stellar albums (To Pimp A Butterfly, DAMN.). “i” is an upbeat track focusing on Lamar’s personal triumph amidst the rough background in which he experienced growing up. By being comfortable with his own soul, Lamar — as relayed via the lyrical breakdown — can progress in his own life. It’s an inspiring bit of music for both the creator and the listener.
Main Image Source: Stereo Gum