A sensational pop vocalist with a voice made of gold, a British post-punk trio with jittery bass lines, and so much more — these are five artists you need to look out for in April 2015.
Who: A crystal-clear vocalist with pop’s best hit-makers in her corner, Kelly currently has a stellar new single starting to bubble on the radio. Produced by Max Martin, “Nobody Love” is a proper Frankenstein’s monster of Top-40 horns and hooks without ever sounding reductive, thanks to its singer’s jazz-minded, emotion-studded harmonizing.
Sounds Like: Ariana Grande with soul, flecked with bits of Olivia Newton John, Jessie Ware, and the Ting Tings’ brashness.
Where to Start: “Nobody Love” is inevitably going to be around for the long haul, so you might as well get ahead of the curve now. — BRENNAN CARLEY
Who: An English post-punk trio that sound like they’ve flown a DeLorean straight out of the late-’70s Rough Trade catalog. Finger-picked guitar melodies and jittery bass and percussion own their debut album, Consumer Complaints, which Fat Cat will reissue come May 26.
Sounds Like: If the Raincoats played a joint show with the Feelies, then convinced Electrelane to reunite.
Where to Start: While you wait for their LP to resurface (the original came out in 2013 on London’s MÏLK Records), you can stream the convulsing single “In Other Words” via Spotify. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Who: After studying opera, jazz, and Indian singing with a tutor, Northampton songwriter Heather Maloney finally landed on a folky sound that recalls Johnny Flynn and Natalie Imbruglia. The production on her upcoming debut record — done masterfully by Band of Horses and Avett Brothers collaborator Bill Reynolds — is rounded and lushly warm. The set, dubbed Making Me Break, comes out on April 28 via Signature Sounds Recordings.
Sounds Like: Lucinda Williams and Nancy Sinatra taking turns on lead, with the Civil Wars as their backing band.
Where to Start: Her hauntingly beautiful cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” from her collaborative EP with Darlingside, is stunning, breathy, and starkly memorable. — CONNOR O’BRIEN
Who: Ethereal, spacious, and diverse, Elliot Moss’ style is a combination of minimalist, echoed beats layered with acoustic delicacies, veering into grunge and electro-pop. Moss may be only 21, but the up-and-comer is already his own performer, producer, and mixer and has toured with Cold War Kids and made a SXSW appearance last month. His upcoming full-length, Highspeeds, impacts on April 28. Look for the chameleonic performer to hit the stage at this year’s first-ever Eaux Claires festival, run by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, to whom Moss’ vocals have been fairly compared.
Sounds Like: If Jamie xx supplied some modest backbeats, laid over the tricked-out vocal stylings of Ben Howard, James Blake, and Justin Vernon.
Where to Start: In the mood for more of a James Blake-inspired, mellowed-out track with ashy vocals? Check out title track “Highspeeds.” — MARGARET FARRELL
Who: Two post-rock enthusiasts from Dallas, well-versed in pedal loop vamping. Childhood friends Charlie Martin and James Lambrecht lost contact after Lambrecht’s family moved south to Austin, but the pair reconnected as students at the University of Texas and are now known as the instrumental post-rock duo Chipper Jones. Forgoing their city’s bias towards garage and folk, the prog-rock-saturated Two Rooms EP, a mix of studio and live tracks, captures staccato strumming and electronic melodies floating over African-style rhythms.
Sounds Like: El Ten Eleven vibing out with Delicate Steve on a Caribbean island.
Where to Start: Last year’s Two Rooms, filled with chains of airy guitar vamping. — MATTHEW LEVINE