The New Now
Coachella ’14 Sunday’s Breakout Artists: Jhene Aiko, Chance the Rapper, Daughter, the Naked and FamousLaura Ferreiro at The New Now3 days ago
The third and final day of the first weekend of the Coachella Festival was not nearly as jam-packed with must-see artists as the first two days, but it certainly boasted its fair share of break-out acts. Instead of performing in the day's earliest time slots, several of Sunday's rising artists had late-evening set times and drew sizable crowds, even against the day's big-ticket headliners including Beck and Arcade Fire.
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper kicked things off with plenty of swagger and attitude in the midday sun, not to mention a surprise guest appearance by a certain tween heartthrob. The 20-year-old MC (born Chancellor Bennett) has been receiving a lot of attention lately and has collaborated with several high-profile artists including Justin Bieber, who turned up to lend his pal a hand, looking inconspicuous in a bucket hat and sunglasses. It took a minute for the crowd to register that it was Biebs himself, but as soon as they recognized him, several young girls let out high-pitched screams and ran toward the stage.
Coachella ’14 Saturday’s Breakout Artists: Future Islands, Chvrches, Warpaint, Washed Out, Banks, The Head and the HeartLaura Ferreiro at The New Now4 days ago
Temperatures dropped and the dry desert winds kicked up on the second day of Southern California's Coachella Festival. Capacity crowds clogged entrances, sucked up cell-phone reception, and made it nearly impossible to get close to the stages on Saturday, but the music is what really mattered, and it didn't disappoint.
Long before the Saturday night headlining sets by Muse, Pharrell, and Skrillex, a whole host of exciting up-and-comers made some incredible noise all across the festival grounds.
L.A. native Banks drew a sizable crowd to the Gobi tent in the mid-afternoon. Dressed in black bohemian garb, the singer, born Jillian Banks, trotted out several tunes from her recent EP, "London," backed by a two-piece band. Although she seemed timid when speaking to the crowd, Banks strutted across the stage with attitude while belting out her several intimate numbers. Some songs were noticeably better than others; final song "Waiting Game," with its synth swells and Moby-esque production, was a standout. Banks is still developing as an artist and occasionally hit a false note, but the crowd ate it up and didn't seem to mind.
- Laura Ferreiro at The New Now5 days ago
Thousands of people descended on Southern California's desert music festival, Coachella, on Friday, and while headliner Outkast's reunion was on everyone's lips, many were ambitious enough to brave 100-degree temperatures to catch several exciting rising artists who performed sweltering sets long before the sun had set.
Dum Dum Girls
Dum Dum Girls proved that they can be incredibly dark and Goth, even in the middle of a blazing hot day on an outdoor stage in the scorching desert. The four-piece band (led by frontwoman Dee Dee Penny, whose stage attire consisted of little more than black pasties and short-shorts) maintained their cool, detached demeanor, playing several songs from their recent album, "Too True," hardly cracking a smile or interacting with the crowd. Truth be told, they seemed more concerned with their stylized image than engaging with the audience. When they repeated the chorus "I feel nothing," in the song "I Got Nothing," it appeared that several audience members felt the same way.
- Dave DiMartino at The New Now5 days ago
The strikingly fervent, politically-charged rock band The Last Internationale stands out for one thing in particular at the moment.
In an environment where fewer and fewer artists seem ready to speak out against perceived political injustices, or in favor of personal causes, the New York band in fact is militantly militant.
Consisting of New Yorkers Delila Paz and Edgey Pires, the band has been getting more and more visibility of late not just because of their political stand—which in many ways echoes the liberal folk traditions established by the likes of Woody Guthrie and other celebrated figures—but because of their musical associations. Among them: Tom Morello, the band’s executive producer and guitarist with Rage Against The Machine; Brad Wilk, former RATM drummer and now with The Last Internationale; and both Brendan Benson and Brendan O’Brien, joint producers of the band’s new album, scheduled for release later this year.
- Wendy Geller at The New Now7 days ago
Not everything that comes out of Nashville necessarily has to be country. The city has long hosted a burgeoning music scene encompassing everything from rock to pop, with a host of bright talent emerging from virtually every genre.
One of the most recent shining examples of this is Wild Cub, an outfit that started out as a collaboration between film-scorer (and former New Yorker) Keegan DeWitt and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock. The pair put together a studio space in Bullock's Nashville house, expanded its lineup to a quintet, and set to work on what turned out to be an efficiently turned-out work of art."Youth," the group's debut, came out in January 2014 and wowed fans with its uplifting, '80s-inspired electro- and synth-pop tracklisting.
Wild Cub themselves are a little surprised at how fast the project has taken off. "We recorded the record, threw it up on Bandcamp, I registered it through Tunecore, and we were like 'well, it exists now!" DeWitt told Yahoo Music during their visit to the 2014 South by Southwest festival. "It's just been like the last six to nine months that it's really transformed."
- Billy Johnson, Jr. at The New Now8 days ago
Mali Music is one of the most promising soul singers to emerge in the last decade and he has the accolades to prove it. When he performed his single "Beautiful" on "American Idol" in March, he wooed judge Jennifer Lopez and had members of the audience standing on their feet. Mali Music has also appeared on "The Queen Latifah Show" and received critical praise from the Los Angeles Times and BET. Because Yahoo Music has been covering him for years, we are especially honored to premiere an acoustic rendition of "Beautiful." In the video directed by Joslyn Rose Lyons, not only will you get to observe his skill at playing guitar and singing, but how his work resonates with his audience. Mali has enlisted some beautiful women -- some famous ("The Game"'s Wendy Raquel Robinson, casting director Robi Reed, etc.), plus friends and family – to share their personal definitions of the song title. And what's amazing is that the women used words like "authentic," "accepting," "family," "respecting myself," "confident," and "determined" to describe the word. To them, inner beauty resonates more than their exteriors. See the concept version of the "Beautiful" video. Mali's ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records debut "Mali Is..." is due out on June 17.
- Dave DiMartino at The New Now8 days ago
There are many routes to fame and world cultural dominance, especially in today’s music business—so if new and exceptionally interesting L.A. band Kan Wakan are now being touted as playing “the song from HBO’s new promo,” then, well, good for them.
Like a growing number of creative artists who can’t easily be slotted into a particular style or radio format, Kan Wakan aren’t easily defined. Essentially a trio consisting of composer/multi-instrumentalist Gueorgui I. Linev, singer Kristianne Bautista and producer/guitarist Peter Potyondy, the group plays sophisticated, moody tunes with lush arrangements that might be likened to a 21st Century take on the Gil Evans-produced records the group’s label, Verve Records, released in the ‘60s. Dreamy, intricate stuff worth repeated re-hearings.
Linev has noted that the band—which derives its name from Tagalog—was initially going to be a small orchestral ensemble but in time the need for a vocalist became evident. And singer Bautista was the perfect fit. With significant airplay on local tastemaker station KCRW, inevitable song placements, and a growing buzz on the upcoming album—due now in June—the group is positioned to break big in 2014.
- Dave DiMartino at The New Now8 days ago
It’s rare to see a young artist arrive so fully formed in his or her musical direction, but just in his mid-20s, singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen already seems to possess the soul of a wizened, grizzly troubadour.
Washington-based Gundersen, whose recent album Ledges has been the recipient of several notably enthusiastic rave reviews, has a unique background that might explain that “out of time” air he exudes: He grew up in a conservative religious household in which secular music had no place—thus, as a music lover, most of the artists he grew up listening to had deep religious convictions and, shall we say, weren’t exactly blaring on pop radio.
Gundersen produced and recorded Ledges at Seattle’s Studio Litho, owned by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, and it is a muscular, personal album that is subtly and tastefully arranged. Among those appearing with him are family members Abby—on violin, cello and piano—and Jonathan on drums.
- Dave DiMartino at The New Now9 days ago
One of the more intriguing recent signings to the Brit-based Bella Union Records label is Oklahoma-based band Horse Thief--an American group, with a distinctly American sound, that clearly has international appeal.
Originally from Denton, Texas, the band made a collective move to Oklahoma City to attend the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma and eventually hooked up with the Flaming Lips--with whom they shared a unique “cover” single (each band covered a song by the other) and, as an apparent bonus, a management team as well.
But the Bella Union deal would come, and the colorful combo—Cameron Neal (vocals, guitars), Cody Fowler (bass), Alberto Roubert (drums), Zach Zeller (keyboards), and Alex Coleman (guitar)—hightailed it to Los Angeles, recorded their dazzling and tuneful debut album Fear In Bliss , and now await worldwide acclaim and, eventually, getting paid for it all.
- Dave DiMartino at The New Now9 days ago
In the many years that Yahoo Music has covered the yearly South By Southwest bash—and by “cover,” we mean shooting interviews and live sets with many enormously talented artists—there is always each year’s “special” performer. That’s the one who might be flying under most people’s radar—including our own production crew—but once seen creates such an indelible impression, seeing a repeat performance is mandatory.
This year’s internal buzz artist was one Andy Shauf, from Regina, Canada—a soft-spoken, wry and compelling singer-songwriter, whose most recent album The Bearer Of Bad News is a haunting, textured batch of quiet, catchy intelligence. Recorded in a home studio located in the basement of his parent’s Regina house, the album “explores themes of uncertainty, curiosity and spirituality,” per his bio, which sounds exactly right, and took close to four years to complete.