Read our five-point guide on the best new sounds from the periphery.
This month: lo-fi ditties, diasporic sounds from London, post-club miniatures, optimistic quirkpop and Yasiin Bey-approved hip-hop from Atlanta.
Scroll down to discover more.
Though the VHS-filmed, dad-friendly spectacles aesthetic might be looking a little hackneyed now – the Fruity Looping bedroom RnB of Louisiana-born Zack Villere has a charm which transcends the trend. His woozy, melodic pop songs would feel at home on a Tyler, the Creator album – creating the same kind of youthful, introspective mood which the Odd Future founder has mastered across four studio albums. Now summer’s wrapped and it’s beginning to get colder, the lo-fi ditties of Villere seem even more appealing.
Nick Hakim / Tyler, the Creator
Joining the ranks of charismatic London rappers blending diasporic sounds with more conventional blueprints from grime and hip-hop, Frenzy is a Hackney rapper whose knack for a punchline is just as impressive as his ear for a hook. His acrobatic vocal intonation is complimented by futuristic, glossy production especially on his latest cut Higher. In previous interviews, he’s talked about the path of artists like Chance The Rapper who create on a kind of melody-first basis. From listening to a handful of Frenzy’s tunes, it’s evident that putting out real hits is the priority. It’s only a matter of time till one properly lands.
Kojo Funds / MoStack
French singer and producer Coucou Chloe makes futurist pop coated in stratum of club-floor gunk and clouded with heightened emotions. Her EP Erika Jane, recently released on the label she co-runs with producer Sega Bodega, was a suite of intimate post-club miniatures, loaded with dopamine hits of shuddering low end and slow-burn melodies. We’ve become accustomed with experimental textures leaning hard into pop music – or vice versa – and her choice of collaborators (both Janus mainstay Kablam and Sega Bodega have production credits) certainly abets her alien vision. But let the fragments settle and, unlike those half-remembered mornings, these tracks endure.
JG Biberkopf / SOPHIE
Naaz’s quirkpop soars with the carefree optimism of a teenager with a bright future. Something of a rising star in the Netherlands, the 19-year-old is turning heads with a string of videos celebrating diversity, and her track Words has racked up six million plays on Spotify. Not bad for someone barely out of school, but it hasn’t always been this breezy for Naaz. As a Kurdish teen in Holland, Naaz gives bedroom pop a new meaning – her catchy hooks were originally conceived in secret from her family who didn’t see stability in her pursuit of music. According to Naaz, they came around after she collaborated with Kurdish artist Arjan Bedawi to ‘create awareness about the Kurdish situation’, and she’s been flying ever since, turning personal conflict into infectious bursts of pleasure.
Mabel / Kehlani
Yasiin Bey recently stopped by a New York radio station to vent against the oversaturation of the contemporary hip-hop industry, claiming to have no time to listen to new rappers other than “my man J.I.D. from Dreamville.” Bey – formerly known as Mos Def – is the kind of elder statesman who champions intelligent worldplay, and it’s no wonder this nimble Atlanta spitter has caught his ear. Having pursued his music career seriously after getting kicked off his university football scholarship in 2012, in February this year it was announced J.I.D. signed to J Cole’s Dreamville label. If elastic flows and soulful, psychedelic beats are your bag, don’t let J.I.D’s overlooked debut studio album The Never Story pass you by.
Kendrick Lamar / Anderson .Paak