As a music blogger, I feel that it is my duty to keep all of you aware of the up-and-coming artists in the industry. The list of rising stars, the up-at-bats, the talent on deck, if you will. I am going to start a monthly feature on Sunset in the Rearview called Artists on the Dashboard that shines light on three artists to keep on your radar; artists who have shown the talent, the drive, and the willpower to be a star. Keep your eye out for these features, and next thing you know, your friend will be telling you about this amazing new artist, and you’ll be able to say, ‘Dude…I knew about them almost a year ago.’ No more worrying about having to take the time to seem cool, we’ll do all of the work for you. Just be sure to check back every month to see which three artists made the cut.
This month presents a diverse array of artists on the dashboard. Though some may seem to already be established, to others who tend to stick to their radios and iTunes Top 40 lists, these names may not yet ring a bell. On the dashboard this month are First Aid Kit, J. Cole, and Menomena.
Continue Reading for More Information on the Artists and Free MP3 Samples
First Aid Kit:
Swedish pop due First Aid Kit consists of two sisters, Johanna and Klara Soderberg, ages 20 and 17, respectively. Their youth doesn’t show through in their music, except perhaps to tell that they have many years ahead of them to perfect their already-mature sound that is quickly capturing audiences around the world. What seems to be capturing ears is the raw talent in the Soderberg sisters’ voices. Or perhaps it’s just as one of the sisters once described, that their music is “a plaster for the soul.” Credit it how you may, but it is impossible to deny their ability to set heartwrenching lyrics above delicate harmonic sounds. Equally undeniable is the fact that First Aid Kit is headed in the direction of success in the alt-country/folk genre.
Song: “Ghost Town” – First Aid Kit
[Credit to The Pop Sucker for the Soundcloud Link]
As he rises in the ranks as a leading hip hop artists and producer, J. Cole keeps one thing in his pocket at all times: his hometown, Fayetteville, North Carolina. It only took one mixtape for Jay-Z to recognize J. Cole’s talent, and sign him as the first artist to his talent label, Roc Nation, but it might have taken the release of his second mixtape,The Warm Up, for the public to really notice the newcomer. Since then, J. Cole has appeared on Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint 3, Wale’s Attention Deficit, and was chosen as one of 2010’s Top Ten Freshmen in XXL Magazine. His credentials speak for themselves, but it’s the music that got him this far. Each of his songs contains thought-out storytelling raps on top of well-produced beats that have high replay potential. He creates songs such as “Who Dat” that appear on the radio, and songs that weren’t meant for the radio, allowing him to cover all parts of the hip hop fandom. He’s well on his way to the top, but to those who have yet to notice him, add this star hailing from Fayetteville to your list of must-hears.
Follow J. Cole:
[Credit to Ear Milk for the MP3 link]
Indie-rock band Menomena from Portland, Oregon caught many people by surprise with their recent album, Mines. At first listen, it might bring some confusion regarding just what their aim and genre is, but upon subsequent listens, you may realize that it’s about much more than that. Their ability to turn a song around halfway through the track is done successfully by few bands, but Menomena masters that. Listen to their song “TAOS,” which is a bit reminiscent of Queen at moments, but other times shows their heavier rock side. Their songs have many layers, and you may be stuck digging through them for a long time. This may not be a band that you hear on the radio anytime soon, but for indie enthusiasts, this is a band that will quickly become a familiar name.
Song: “TAOS” – Menomena
Check back next month for the next Artists On The Dashboard session.