1. Run River North
Run River North is a band of first-generation Korean-Americans getting ready to drop a new album, which is pretty big considering their debut last year, a rock album with folksy and punk sounds infused, came out at #3 on Billboard’s heatseekers chart. They’re ready for big things.
Elohim is an on-the-rise electro-pop songstress who somehow manages to balance relatable lyrics with an air of absolute mystery. She’s the chic girl at the party–so cool that she could have anyone in the room. She’s untouchable, but you can’t stop listening to every word. Favorite track: “Xanax.”
BØRNS is the latest glam rock act to really cross over. His gorgeous falsetto vocals, coupled with an almost saccharine brand of lyrical pop make him not only perfect for commute-friendly radio, but also for that Spotify party playlist you’re working on. Don’t get too attached to any of his songs, because his musical range will take you on a roller coaster. Tracks worth falling in love with: 80’s throwback “Dug My Heart” and insanely massive pop tune “Electric Love.”
4. Andra Day
Andra Day has a soulful voice that makes you feel like it’d be a crime to ever sing in the shower again. She looks like a pin-up version of Rihanna and sounds like the lovechild of Amy Winehouse and Jennifer Hudson. Give a listen to “Forever Mine.”
5. Dawn Golden
Dawn just “disappeared for awhile,” accoring to his social media, which is his subtle way of saying he’s jumping back in the studio to bring us new music. My prayer hands are firmly pressed together. He’s on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, so his tracks have a subtle hip hop and electro sensibility. Most noteworthy, though, are his sleepy vocals that make up his nostalgic and heartbreaking tracks: “But life is short and I don’t care for most of it” and “I try to forget I used to be something great.” Heartwrenching, guys. Dig into the slow and sad “Last Train” or the more dance-y Diplo remix of “All I Want.”
6. Wild Reeds
Everything on the radio sounds the same, I know. Here’s something different: Wild Reeds. This female-powered folk band has the banjos and nostalgic lyrics that will get you through that stressful commute, bad breakup or sad Sunday. Especially powerful: “Where I’m Going.” I mean who doesn’t love this lyric? “You see, love is a choice every morning, not some fuzzy feeling in the room.” BOOM.
7. Kendrick Lamar
Obviously. As a native of Compton, Kendrick Lamar can join this list whenever he drops a track. His new track “Alright” feels gloomy, despite the promise that “We can be alright.” His rhymes rise above. He’s one of the greats.
8. Miya Folick
Miya Folick is the musical equivalent of a great indie movie that only plays in the hip theater downtown – you almost want to keep her to yourself, but she’s too good not to tell people about. Folick mixes a feminine form of folk storytelling with a comforting drum beat and pop sensibilities. “Strange Darling” and “Talking With Strangers” are standouts.
9. Phoebe Ryan
This chick did a mashup of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You…” so you know that she’s going to be dope. Her track, “Mine,” is also one of those catchy melodies you know without even realizing. She’s going to be a big star. Did I mention she has green hair and is one of Taylor Swift’s current obsessions? Yeah.. get on this train.