As much as we enjoy listening to our favorite artists on repeat, there’s always room in our music library for new artists. So, since it’s been a minute since we published our first edition of this, we’ve decided to pull together 10 more musicians we’re huge fans of and who we think you’d dig as well.
And awaaaaaay we go!
Michael Trapson is exactly what you think he is: the Michael Jackson of trap music and mumble rap. The man you’re seeing in the video is actually internet rapper OG Cano, who is, apparently, a pretty solid Michael Jackson impersonator. It seems like a stunt like this wouldn’t work, but its pulled off pretty damn well and some of these tracks are just way too catchy. Hell, he even made a Fresh Prince video. The man behind this new-age MJ, Dean Anthony Morrow Jr, shouldn’t be waived off a simple Jackson impersonator.
Trapson pays homage to Michael in a special way by extensively researching Michael’s appearance, vocal stylings, dance moves and everything about the late King of Pop from his 1980s era.
Siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence started off as a bit of a cover act, but the New York-based group teamed up with Grammy Award winning producer Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive/Tedeschi Trucks Band), and brought in several NYC soul/funk mainstays including Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy), and Maurice “Mobetta” Brown (Tedeschi Trucks Band) for guest appearances on original tracks that are super fine. Their covers are solid and their original tunes, like “Do you wanna do nothing with me?” are a testament to the talent these kids have.
Their jazzy and funky takes on what they think pop music should sound like are energetic and adventurous, and we’re excited to see where their music takes them next.
If you’re looking for experimental jazz-soul-psychadelic fusion then look no further than Kadhja Bonet. The LA-based artist has a bio that reads “born in 1784 in the backseat of a sea-foam green space pinto,” and when you listen to her album “The Visitor” you truly get that feel of a plush, otherworldly environment that a time-traveler born in a space pinto would live in. Learning that her father is an opera singer and her mother is also a musician makes her musical talent and ambition all the more understandable, as she passionately plays an array of instruments on her recordings.
If you’re familiar with Daptone Records then you already know about The Olympians. More importantly you already know how talented they are because, for those of you know don’t know about Daptone, they have a habit of signing incredible musicians and letting them do their thing. The Olympians are a bit of a supergroup with members coming from Dap-Kings and Lee Fields’ band with other players like Michael Leonhart, a master trumpeter who directs Steely Dan’s band.
Their amazing jazz and soul instrumentals are extensively layered, but not to the point of over-saturation. The self-titled album was created thanks to Toby Pazner, who, while on tour in Greece, was “repeatedly being visited by a strange messenger in his dreams” so he “became consumed with a vision to tell the stories of The Olympians through music.”
Who doesn’t love a smooth frenchman who can play the harmonica? Rhetorical question. The Parisian jazz artist has a touch of grit to his smoky voice, that couples well with the sounds of a moog, brass section and sultry drums. The French-Italian singer spent summers as a kid jamming to Miles Davis, Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, which makes a lot of sense when you listen to his music. Back in 2006 he finished runner-up in the Memphis International Blues Festival and has been touring all over Europe and the States ever since.
A Japanese jazz trumpeter/composer with wild hair and eclectic style is just what the doctor ordered, and Takura Kuroda does not disappoint. His phrasing is superb, his passion is undeniable and his jazz, soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat and electronica fusion is something special. “Life is sometimes not that easy, sometimes not so difficult, and it should never go straight,” Kuroda says. “It’s always zigzagging. So I put my soul and spirit into that word.”
Kuroda’s journey has taken him many thousands of miles form his home in Kobe, Japan, to the New School in New York City, to Europe and beyond. Maybe one day his space-age, blended jazz styles will be heard by some alien hearing apparatus. Now that’d be really far out.
The beauty of music is that it allows for the combination of many styes and cultures without ever being considered weird. Khruangbin are a pretty prime example of that statement, due to them being a psychedelic surf/ Thai funk group fusion group. If you’re confused as to what that sounds like then you’re not alone. Luckily you can listen for yourself to find out. The group’s name translates to “engine fly,” but is usually the term for “airplane,” so I guess you could say they’re the Jefferson Airplane of surf psych/Thai funk.
The ’60s vibes are obvious, but their tunes transcend time and space in a way that makes you feel like you’re surfing through a wormhole. That’s what happens when you combine French pop, soul, R&B and gospel into a singularity of groove.
Toro y Moi
Bull and me, as the Spanish and French suggests, doesn’t have the hard-hitting wild rage that bulls might, but Chaz Bundick’s music does feature a whole lot of chill vibes. In fact, he’s considered to be one of the pioneers of the newish genre that, much like the dreamy summers the music harkens back to, was fleeting. Bundick feels that chillwave “did its thing, and once it became a thing, people stopped caring about it, even the artists [making it].” He’s strayed a bit from that genre since and has even released an album called Star Stuff in conjunction with The Mattson 2, a jazz duo from California. It’s a track from that album which we’ve put above.
His airy, distant vocals give the impression of a balloon threatening to float away, but his production and soundscapes keep his rising balloon from making a complete escape. One word to describe his sound would be aqueous, and when you listen to the fluid, calming tunes he makes you’ll understand why.
The UK has a brilliant track record of producing top-tier musical talent, so it comes as no surprise that they’ve handed us another smashing recording artists in Samm Henshaw. When you listen to his pop-soul-R&B fusion you begin to hear all the influences in his music, from Paulo Nutini, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo and even Frank Ocean. His EPs (The Sound Experiment and The Sound Experiment 2) have earned him tours with James Bay and Chance the Rapper. We fully expect him to be headlining his own tours soon and are waiting on big things from the Columbia Records man. He’s got killer vocals, plays with real soul and is a Batman: The Telltale Series fan, so you know we love this guy.
Lianne La Havas
Crafting a unique sound is pretty difficult, but when you’re inspired by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker you just know there’s going to be some brilliant ideation and improvisation. Artists like the aforementioned greats, among others, broke the mold in their respective eras and Lianne is doing that now with her jazz, R&B and soul fusion, just don’t put a label on it. When you don’t think about the genre you’ll fall into, as the talented Lianne Charlotte Barnes explained, has allowed her to create her own genre with great panache. Oh, and Prince covered a song of her’s before going on to sip tea in her living room. Needless to say, you should be listening to her.