From Nujabes to Kimbra to Frank Turner
There’s new music coming out everyday, old music being rediscovered, and current trends taking over the radio airwaves. I’ve been listening to music since Day 1, play music, and enjoy it on a daily basis. After hours of soul-searching and ear drum damage, I’ve put together a short list of 10 music artists you absolutely need to know about, add to your iPod, and shuffle into your road trip playlists. There’s a bunch of different tastes and styles, but one thing all these artists share in common: they’re good… real good.
It could just be that I find anyone of Scottish descent to be irresistible, but Persian/Scottish DJ, singer-songwriter Yasmin has more to offer than just her stunning good looks. She doesn’t have much material just yet, but if she continues to produce tracks like these two then she’ll be a hit in no time. She’s spent her time Djing for Pharell’s N.E.R.D. and Taio Cruz in addition to mixing some catchy stuff of her own.
On My Own
Light Up (The World)
9. FRANK TURNER
The folk movement is very well in full bloom thanks to groups like Mumford & Sons, but flying a little bit under the radar is fellow Englishman Frank Turner. He’s been active since 2001 and is just starting to hit his stride. His folk/punk tunes coupled with subtle fiddles provide a real feel-good vibe that just make you want to sing along with him. Last year he released his 5th studio album and it seems he has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
If I Ever Stray
She blew up a bit after her duet with Gotye (you might be familiar with the hit song “Somebody That I Used To Know”) and although she has won a Grammy for her part in that song she isn’t exactly getting the attention she deserves. Her smoky, soulful and jazzy voice complimented by her eccentric and experimental style pay tribute to her influences, which include Prince, Jeff Buckley and Stevie Wonder. She’s one of those rare birds that can perform a wide range of styles and make anything her own.
Cameo Lover (If you don’t melt when she sings the word “trouble” then I don’t know what to tell you.)
7. BEN HOWARD
Everyone loves a musician who is truly skilled at playing their instrument and when said musician can play complex melodies and sing at the same time it’s like a knockout punch. Ben Howard exemplifies the singer-songwriter who has evolved beyond the traditional 4-chord trap. His skillful guitar playing tells as much of a story as his well-written lyrics that just happen to be sung in a particularly pleasing manner. Those Brits really know how to tug at our heartstrings.
Keep Your Head Up
The late Nujabes was a Japanese hip-hop producer and DJ who blended jazz and a brilliant range of instruments to create a new spin on hip-hop beats. His atmospheric and mellow pieces create soothing vibes that induce a state of reverie. He often collaborated with underground American rappers in addition to Japanese artists like Shing02, with whom he created the critically acclaimed “Luv(sic)” hexalogy.
Luv(sic) Parts 1-6
Luv(sic) Part 6 – Uyama Hiroto remix
SIDE NOTE: Shing02 continues to carry the spirit of his fallen friend with his original creations:
When You Come Around
5. ACTION BRONSON
For those of you who are tired of the rap artists who focus solely on beats and don’t put much effort into their lyrics then Action Bronson is just who you’ve been looking for. This lyrical wizard, who just so happens to be a chef, combines his supreme flow with well-produced beats so he’s basically the whole package. The Flushing, New York native is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the rap game.
Not Enough Words
Strictly 4 My Jeeps
4. GARY CLARK JR.
The blues are alive and well and are in good hands thanks to soulful musicians like Gary Clark Jr. The 30-year-old Grammy winning Texas native has received praise from the highest order of blues musicians and played at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads in NYC alongside legends like Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, and Jeff Beck. Having been at that very festival I can tell you that all of Madison Square Garden was absolutely blown away by his performance, which was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. He’s also lined up with Alicia Keys and Dave Matthews Band.
When My Train Pulls In
3. DIRTY LOOPS
What if I told you that three Swedish musicians were able to transform Justin Bieber’s “Baby” into a progressive, experimental, jazz/pop inspired masterpiece? Well the trio known as Dirty Loops did just that and they’ve taken other popular songs and done the same. Every aspect of their music is just spot on. They’re technically gifted and put together outstanding arrangements accompanied by jaw-dropping vocals.
Baby (Originally by Justin Bieber)
Hot In Here (Originally by Nelly)
Now before I say anything about this act it’s important that you know the top 2 musicians on this list were so difficult to separate that I had to resort to flipping a coin to do so. Now then…solo acts are pretty rare these days and a solo act that can loop tracks with multiple instruments is even more rare. Norwegian soul/pop multi-instrumentalist Jarle Bernhoft has been flying under the radar for far too long and although he’s appeared on Ellen and Conan’s shows he still hasn’t garnered the attention he rightfully deserves. To put it simply, the man has pipes and can play a mean guitar and piano to boot. He’s a one-man show and his music is just brilliant especially when he does arrangements with a full band. Having seen him live I can tell you that he’s the real deal.
Walk With Me (Full Album)
Something is definitely in the water in Scandinavia. They’ve given the world a great deal over the years and one of their latest additions is soul singer Magnus Tingsek. To try and explain just how magnificent his work is wouldn’t do him justice so I’ll leave you all with a few of his tracks.
World Of Its Own
Good vs Bad
And now… some Honorable Mentions:
THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS
Alex Turner’s side project puts out tunes that sound like they belong in an old James Bond movie.
The Age of The Understatement
The man and his band are just a joy to listen to and he writes a mean tune.
There For You
So what do you think? Who do you like or who do you hate? Who do you think should be on this list of musicians we absolutely need to know? COMMENT and SHARE!
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