Read our five-point guide on the best new sounds from the periphery.
From a new riff on Auto-Tuned Atlanta rap to ferocious guitar music out of Bristol, goofy house to unconventional, evocative RnB, here’s our heads up on the new acts you need on your radar.
You might have heard Atlanta rapper Gunna on Young Thug’s exceptional 2016 LP Jeffrey. Introducing yourself to the mainstream by jumping on a track with Thug, Travis Scott and Atlanta godfather Gucci sounds like a daunting prospect, but the 24-year-old makes it look easy – delivering a nimble, acrobatic verse on Floyd Mayweather that carried the same melodic hallmarks you’d expect from Young Thug. Earlier this year he dropped Drip Season 2 – a high-impact mixtape released through Young Thug’s YSL imprint and featuring contributions from Offset, Playboi Carti and Thug himself. Refining a kind of woozier, softer mutation of the Atlanta Auto-Tuned sound, Gunna’s ready to bring hits.
Young Thug / Kevin Gates
Heavy Lungs are the latest band to defy clichés about Bristol’s music scene by feeding the city’s ravenous appetite for ferocious guitar music. Powered by frenzied drumming and a hostile bassline, debut track Poster Boy climaxes with Ron Asheton-style shredding and the guttural howls of Ukrainian frontman Danny Nedelko – who performs with the urgency of an individual who’s just been told it’s his last day on earth. New to the live circuit, the ‘Lungs have already supported fellow punk practitioners METZ and IDLES. Fingers crossed you’ll see them wreak havoc your local sticky-floored gig venue before it’s destroyed to make space for luxury flats.
Iceage / Minor Threat
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ
Arriving complete with an extensive background story involving time travel and one of the worst/best DJ names we’ve come across in a while, London-based DJ DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ makes up for it all with goofy, joyous house music. Playful, glitzy tracks cascade into warm blankets of sound, with enough 80s synths and the odd horn to keep heads nodding. The faceless producer falls in line with the farcically-named, algorithm-fuelled figures of the lo-fi house scene, for sure, but there’s something unexpectedly blissful, even heartfelt, that grows up out of the irreverent humour of the project. The highly anticipated All The Beautiful Things U Do drops this month: expect charming imperfections and the occasional saxophone solo.
DJ Boring / Flamingosis
It’s difficult to approach the music of Frédéric Destres, aka Renart, without projecting a little of his day job onto it. Destres is a professor of Occult Sciences at La Sorbonne (although a cursory fact-check is far from conclusive). You’d expect such a John Dee-esque career path would result in music with a propensity for darkness – music to read leather-bound grimoires by – but the strokes here are much finer: On his recently released debut LP, Fragments Séquencés, Destres shifts from mossy and meditative ambient to Detroit techno that’s tunnelistic and oppressive. The connecting tissue between these divergent strands is a kind of strange, liminal energy. Which, we guess, is really rather apt after all.
Gunnar Haslam / Abdulla Rashim
If you spent any of 2017 craving more music from Frank Ocean, then Col3trane will relieve your thirst. With evocative, unconventional RnB straight out of the Blonde blueprint, it’s likely the comparisons to Ocean will be endless (sorry) during the North London-based artist’s come-up. But that’s not to say he’s a cheap impersonation. Col3trane, real name Cole Basta, sculpted his own vision on his Tsarina mixtape, produced in part by his affiliates in Birmingham rap collective Blue Room Mafia and embellished with visuals by Nicole Nodland, formerly Prince’s personal photographer. The mixtape spans Greek myth and teenage yearning, all wrapped up in poetic pop music that drifts in and out of focus.
Frank Ocean / Syd