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. So started the monthly feature on Sunset in the Rearview called Artists on the Dashboard, which shines light on three artists to keep on your radar for the month; 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 taking 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.
So I didn’t make one of these for January because I had all those other lists, and I didn’t want to overdo it. I probably still overdid it. But hey, I’m back with more, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Anyway, I’m really excited about the music coming our way this year. This month, three particular artists/groups I’m going to keep on my radar include Tennis, Yelawolf, and Cloud Nothings.
Continue reading for more information on the artists and free MP3 samples
In July of 2010, it seemed as though indie music bloggers all received a message on their walkie talkies and two-way pagers at the exact same time and immediately scurried like ants to post the song that entered their sound waves. The song was “Marathon” by mysterious duo Tennis, the feedback was extremely positive. Having only played one live show, there wasn’t much information out there about them yet, except for the fact that they are an adorable married couple out of Denver, Colorado who had just spent eight months at sea. Soon enough, not only bloggers were talking about Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore’s lo-fi outfit; their music was reaching fans all over the place. It wasn’t long before they signed to popular label Fat Possum. Months later, and Tennis has now released their debut album via Fat Possum. That was fast! Just as I assumed it would be, the album alludes to life at sea, and it’s a lo-fi masterpiece, sonically reminiscent of waves and sunshine on the water.
Yelawolf is a white rapper quickly dominating the southern white hip hop scene. So what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of white rapper? Right. Eminem. Well, unlike many other white rappers, Yelawolf doesn’t have to dedicate his career to sounding different than Eminem, because he naturally has that covered. Instead, Eminem is his ally – he was recently signed to Shady Records. What’s most intriguing about Yeller is that he’s representing another facet of whiteness in hip hop: working-class, rural, and building on his whiteness in his music. I always find that there are so many white rappers who try to act black, but Yelawolf is actually using his whiteness as a launchpad by rapping about concepts such as NASCAR, classic rock, crystal meth, and blue collar life as a white man in rural Alabama. And he does all of this with a voice and sense of vigor that’s unforgettable.
Cloud Nothings has been a mystery to me. For a while I was unsure if it was a one-man thing or a group. Well, sure enough it’s a group band out of Cleveland that’s led by frontman Dylan Baldi. They’re creating buzz in the industry by creating lo-fi indie rock that is fun and catchy. Baldi’s voice is incredibly distinct and might be the first thing you notice. If you’re able to listen to Cloud Nothings without wanting to do a little dance, be you at work or getting ready to go out, I’m impressed. Not necessarily jealous, but impressed.