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 by Jared Rigsby


Genre is a funny word these days, at least when it comes to music. Since the explosion of the indie scene in pop culture, artists have become more influenced by each other, more inspired to merge sounds together and blow previous musical conceptions out of the water. Over the past few years, many unique artists have cultivated original styles (especially in electronic music) through mixing and experimenting with genres, both old and new.

This isn't a new phenomenon, especially not in popular American music. For example, at one point, the genres of Blues and Country music blended together. Add the inventions of radio broadcasting and the electric guitar into the mix, and Rock 'n Roll is born. Now, in the digital age, we are seeing the evolution of genre growing at a breakneck pace.

So, what should we expect in 2014?  Who and what (and why, and, how and wtf as well),  is pushing the genre envelope further down the line?  Dish has spotlighted a few contenders to look out for this year.


Lo Fang

Lo Fang

Matthew Hemerlein, otherwise known as Lo Fang, is a relative new-comer who's making huge waves in the electronic music scene. Famously discovered by, and touring with indie sensation Lorde, the Maryland native is set to make leaps and bounds in popularity this year. His eclectic blend of soulful, smooth vocals over ambient, electronic melodies is further complemented by his impressive ability with string instruments.

His debut album Blue Film  is set to release on Feb. 25th of this year. This highly anticipated album was largely inspired by Hemerlein's wandering lifestyle, dotting the map everywhere from Cambodia to Nashville, and features songs with a haunting and ambient edge. You can even pick out a slight East Asian influence in several songs. His first two singles “#88” and “Boris” showcase his skill with multiple instruments, on which he is classically trained, and which helps bring deep felt emotions to life.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KJ8sGbosD8)

FKA TwigsFKA Twigs
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFtMl-uipA8)
British born Tahliah Barnett (FKA Twigs) began her career as a dancer, until her self-made EP named EP gained her notoriety as a recording artist. Now signed to forward-thinking British label Young Turks, she began her career as a dancer.  Her background in ballet landed her a spot as a back up dancer in Jessi J's 2010 video “Do It like a Dude” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOf3kYtwASo), which jump-started her career as an artist.  The name FKA Twigs comes from the nickname she had as a dancer, “Twigs”. When another artist claimed the rights to “Twigs”, she added the FKA (which means Formerly Known As) to it.

Her first single, “Water Me” is an eerie and atmospheric mixture of R&B and trip hop, and is a thought-provoking example of her expressive style of music. Focusing on artistic expression, her music videos show a creative, even somewhat odd style that sticks in your mind.  In December of 2013, she was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2014 prize, and is on our map for one of the most unique sounds you'll run across.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFtMl-uipA8)


Bastille

Bastille

These UK boys had a huge year in 2013, with their debut album Bad Blood. Their first single “Pompeii” sky-rocketed up the charts to hit the Number 2 spot in the UK.  Even though they've had so much commercial success this year, they still have a thirst for creating more music. As they tour both the US and Europe this year, (with a pit stop in Australia), they plan on recording every chance they get.

Bastille's sound is a mixture of high energy rock, synth pop and experimental sounds. These guys like to think outside the box, and have a knack for creating new sounds out of old.  The song “Pompeii” implements a chanting choir alongside syth sounds and Rock 'n Roll, bringing an ancient atmosphere into a modern melody.  Their song “Of the Night” was a surprising success with the fans. Mixing Corono's “Rhythm of the Night” and Snap!'s 90s hit “Rhythm is a Dancer”, “Of the Night” is a low key rendition of previous, high-energy dance songs.

With so much under their belt already, Bastille has grown in popularity at an incredibly fast rate. As 2014 marches on, we can expect big things out of this innovative band in both live performances and new music.  Hopefully, we will see a new album emerge as quickly and suddenly as their first.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCTDKLjdok4)


Avicii

Avicii
Swedish DJ/Producer Tim Bergling (better known as Avicii) has seen a tremendous amount of success in both Europe and the U.S since 2010; however, 2013 might have been his most mold-breaking year.  With the release of the album True in September, Avicii pioneered a very daring mixture of sounds; folk and EDM (Electronic Dance Music, just in case you didn't know).  Though these genre's seem light years apart, Avicii pulls off the combination with ease.

The song “Wake Me Up”, featuring vocals from Aloe Blacc (http://www.aloeblacc.com/), was a major success worldwide. Mixing the gritty, soulful vocals and melodies of Blacc's folk sound with modern tempos and electronic beats, Avicii pulled off an impressive feat that seems to have started a trend in dance music.  His second hit off this album “Hey Brother” followed the same formula, further solidifying his role in developing the EDM style.  Although many refer to “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother” as this year's “Cotton-Eyed Joe”, these songs seem to take the concept more seriously, and are sure to generate more “Folktronica” in the year to come.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cp6mKbRTQY)


Chvrches

Chvrches
Chrvches (pronounced “churches”) is an up-and-coming triumvirate of synth pop from Glasgow, Scotland.  This indie/pop trio features vocals and samples from Lauren Mayberry and synth melodies, vocals, and back up instruments from Iain Cook and Martin Dohorty. Their sound is a mixture of hip, indie vocals alongside kinetic melodies; they almost bring to mind a flash of popular 80s songs. Though songs such as “The Mother We Share” and “Lies” have been streaming since 2012, 2013's album “The Bones of What You Believe” established the band in both the UK and the US.
(http://chvrch.es/videos/6474/the_mother_we_share)


EXO

EXO

Ever heard of  Kpop?  This twelve member Korean boy band is making sure you will! Following in the footsteps of Korean break-out artist Psy, this group shows they have the charisma and moves to keep South Korea on the music map. Their hits “Growl” and “Wolf” implement genres such as R&B, hip hop, and even dubstep into a Korean flavor of its own.  With dance moves that rival any American pop star, and all the bad boy attitude you could possibly stand, these guys are destined to show the world what Korean pop is made of.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAal8xHfV0c)


Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino
Actor, writer, rapper, comedian, Donald Glover has no shortage of talents. With his sophomore album “Because the Internet” recently released, Childish Gambino is set to take over the world this year. As a hip hop artist, Glover has an incredible talent for mixing genres and creating complex lyrics. This isn't the usual hip hop, which has given Glover, for better or worse, a huge amount of attention.  He challenges ideas of what being a black hip hop artist is about, giving his own unique voice to a genre that is notorious for an urban, gang banging culture.  What started as a cult following is now blossoming into massive mainstream popularity as Glover announces his The Deep Web Tour for 2014.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG35R8F2j8k)


www.Dishmag.com / Issue 156 - September 2018
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