Category: Artists You Should Know

DUCKWRTH: Into His Funky World

Artists You Should Know November 20, 2018

I first set my eyes on Jared Lee, known as DUCKWRTH at a Rich Brian show back in 2017, he was the opening act and I was immediately captivated by his set. His set started off with a DJ diving deep into his funky world by playing “Mirage” by Toro y Moi, although not his song, he carried through with an expressive entrance. DUCKWRTH wore a British flag muscle top, skinny trousers, boots, and a slick hairstyle. He was all over the place in terms of performance: He danced, took of his shirt, and crowd-surfed. His energy, presence, raps, sound, and style were so distinctive and unmatched that it made me an instant fan.

DUCKWRTH is a rapper and songwriter who hails from Los Angeles; however, most of his musical development began in the Bay Area. He started posting music online in 2012 with releases such as the  DUCKTAPE mixtape and the singles “THRILLA” and “Shaolinin’.” While it wasn’t enough to kick him off his feet right away, it gave him a framework for his sound that speaks to DUCKWRTH’s musicality, what he calls a “Jambalaya Concept.” The concept is marked by DUCKWRTH’s ability to deconstruct genres and transform them to create a unique sound. Lee’s style mostly covers funk and hip hop, but blends elements of R&B, rock, and house together. “LOWRIDR” from his debut album, I’M UUGLY, illustrates this: the song uses a boom-bap style beat and takes an R&B and funk groove topped by rap. His raps cover a variety of concepts, but mostly span around themes of coming-to-age, love, pride, and indifference– this being juxtaposed with the danceability of his groove, make serious messages all more accessible to the average listener.

Since the beginning of his musical career, DUCKWRTH has emphasized experimentation and integration in his music. From the laidback DUCKTAPE, to his 2015 collaborative effort with the Kickdrums titled Nowhere, to his debut album, and his dramatic and more intense 2018 releases, “FALL BACK” and “SOPRANO,” -all of which are a part of his “UUGLY” brand. The “UUGLY” brand represents is creativity and authenticity, which is at the heart of DUCKWRTH’s music.

Listen to his debut album I’M UUGLY and the mixtape an XTRA UUGLY mixtape featuring the songs here.

The Marias: Where Psychedelic Soul Meets Dream Pop

Artists You Should Know, Favorites July 8, 2018

(Photo by Nicole Busch)

(Written by Ashley Flamenco)

Frontwoman, Maria Zardoya and her partner, Josh Conway, are the couple behind the Los Angeles band The Marias. The two make psychedelic soul blended with dream pop and Maria’s voice is the cherry that tops everything off. Maria has a unique, lush, and alluring voice; it’s soft, enticing, rather soothing, and sounds especially beautiful in songs like “Basta Ya” where lyrics are sung in Spanish. Her voice along with Josh’s drums and backup vocals contribute to the dreamy vintage California feel that their music creates. Listening to songs like “Dejate Llevar” might remind you of cruising down palm tree filled streets or laying on a poolside, both things that can actually be seen in the music video for the track.

The band released their first project, Superclean Vol. 1, last November. It surrounds the classic concept of love, covering a struggling relationship in their most popular song, “I Don’t Know You,” and discussing one partner’s reliance and feelings of need toward the other in “Only in My Dreams,” a song reminiscent of Melody’s Echo Chamber. This project has quickly been gaining attention; about two months following its release, The Marias already had their name popping up on several festival lineups including Coachella’s, an accomplishment that takes most artists years to achieve. They will also be one of the headliners for local indie festival Viva Pomona this summer. The EP has a track list of six songs and isn’t any longer than 20 minutes but that’s exactly what leaves you craving more — a “Superclean Vol. 2” perhaps. It’s a small work of art but you’ll have it on repeat after a single listen. This is not a band that you want to sleep on.

Listen to Superclean Vol. 1 here

Cuco: The Chicano Musician Making Romantic Ballads and Inspiring Latinx Teens

Artists You Should Know, Favorites June 30, 2018

(Photo by Louis Cano)

(Written by Ashley Flamenco)

Omar Banos, well known as Cuco, is a 20 year old Chicano musician from Hawthorne, California who is swiftly making an impact on the indie music scene. He got his start not much over a year ago, at around the age of 18, by posting music on SoundCloud and playing house parties and backyards but he quickly gained fame as songs such as “Lover Is A Day,” now reaching over 12 million streams on Spotify, from his Wannabewithu EP, went viral. Soon after, he began selling out local venues and appearing on music festival lineups. Last summer, he headlined his first festival, Viva Pomona, and just months later went on to play some of the biggest festivals in the country like Coachella and Governor’s Ball.

Cuco’s music uses lo-fi spacey sounds and electro-pop beats to tell stories of romantic relationships, unrequited love, and heartbreak. His work is something that any young hopeless romantic can relate to. He adds unique touches to his music by including lyrics in Spanish, a language he speaks at home, and trumpet solos — if you’ve ever been to one of his shows, you know that the crowd goes wild for those famed trumpet solos.

He’s credited artist like Tame Impala, Baby Bash, and Tyler, The Creator as influences and their impact on Cuco’s work is certainly noticeable, especially in recent track “Lucy”, featuring band-mate J-Kwest, where rap meets psychedelic pop. But his biggest hit yet, co-signed by Steve Lacy (of The Internet) and Kevin Abstract (of Brockhampton), has been “Lo Que Siento,” translating to “What I Feel.” It’s a groovy synth-based love ballad that fuses English and Spanish together and surprises you with a trumpet solo at the end. In the song, Cuco relays his feelings to his special someone singing: “Dreamin’ of you when I’m alone/ Baby don’t trip, I’m comin’ home…Promise you’re everything I want/ This is for you, baby listen, it’s your song.” Released in early June of last year, it was arguably “the” indie track of the summer of 2017.

There are many adolescents who can relate to themes of love and heartbreak but it’s not just the stories behind Cuco’s music that resonate with so many, it’s also his background. Cuco, raised by Mexican immigrant parents, didn’t grow up with many resources. Throughout his life, his family endured difficult financial situations however, though having been faced with several obstacles, Cuco has a long road of success ahead of him. His achievements as an artist have made him an important representative in the young Latinx community and a role model for other kids with dreams of making it who are in similar circumstances that he was once in, to look up to and be inspired by.

Listen to Cuco’s latest project, Chiquito, here

 

 

4 Artists Who Are Rocking The Indie Music Scene

Artists You Should Know, Favorites, Music Catalogs December 16, 2017

One of the biggest occurrences in music in 2017 was the rise of the lo-fi indie scene, filled with incredibly talented young artists. With the majority of these artists being under the age of 20 and not having access to a lot of equipment and recording studios, most of them produce their chill lo-fi melodies from home, making them all the more impressive. This list encompasses just some of the musicians who really made their imprint on the indie scene this year, having their music go viral and gaining large followings. Their music shines with smooth synths, original sounds, and melodic guitar riffs. Each one of these artists has their own special talent whether it’s Cuco with his trumpet solos, HOMESHAKE with synths, or Cosmo Pyke with his jazz-infused indie sound — these artists show that they are here to stay.

 

Cuco

Cuco is the 19 year old heartthrob who’s shaking up the LA music scene. With his dreamy ballads, trumpet solos, and Spanglish lyrics, Cuco is changing the game, allowing his culture to have an influence on his music, something that isn’t being done by many artists in the indie community. Starting off with just a small platform on SoundCloud, Cuco has been able to gain a large audience so quickly due to the virality of songs like “Lover Is A Day” that will hook you from the first listen; you’ll be singing “time changed we’re different but my mind still says redundant things” all day. His synth-pop beats and sentimental lyrics are sure to give you the feels and make you want to have a summer love (“Summertime is the time, I like to get high with you”). But it’s not just his catchy lyrics and electro-pop beats that his fans love, he’s managed to grab the attention of many young adults so well because he’s relatable, whether that’s through his experiences with love and heartbreak or his background. With Cuco being a minority, especially in this industry, he has become a figure that many Latinx teens look up to and feel represented by which has played a big role in his persona as an artist.  – Ashley Flamenco

 

 

HOMESHAKE

HOMESHAKE is Peter Sagar’s solo musical project which has spawned 3 studio albums and 2 mixtapes. Based in Montreal, Peter has made a name for himself with indie rock and synth-pop influenced lo-fi instrumentals that incorporate a nice falsetto voice to back up these instrumentals with ease. His lyrics are potent with a stripped down subject where he speaks about adventure in a somewhat failed relationship which has its up and downs. Peter is one of the most confessional artists on this list. He highlights his insecurities in his music and is vulnerable about love. The way he creates this mood of relaxation is really his strongest trait — he lets this feeling of tranquility unravel with his voice while the production carries you on, synth by synth. – Miguel Anderson

 

 

Clairo

Clairo has impressed many with the indie-pop songs that she makes right from her bedroom. With most likely not having much access to professional equipment, Clairo works with what she has, using GarageBand to record music and Photo Booth to film videos, including the one she filmed for “Pretty Girl” that went viral, hitting over 5 million views. Unlike many other artists, Clairo hasn’t had to build a “different” persona for herself or necessarily do something “crazy” with her music in order for it to stand out, she keeps it simple and that’s what makes her unique. She tends to focus on the sadder side of love through her lyrics but does so in a way that’s very simplistic, charming, and almost doesn’t seem sad. Most of her songs consist of beats that are made up of a few keyboard chords and a catchy chorus (“I could be a pretty girl, I’ll wear a skirt for you”) making them easy listens for anyone. – Ashley Flamenco

 

 

Cosmo Pyke

Probably the most up-and-coming out of all of these artists is Cosmo Pyke. He’s a model, singer, graffiti artist, and skater fresh out of South London. At only 18, he’s taking the indie scene by storm, being noticed for his unique style and music; he was even featured in Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” video and sold out a headlining tour. His musical style is a nice blend of the genres jazz, blues, indie-rock, reggae and hip-hop, all of which are recognizable in the sad lyrics, stylistic reggae guitar riffs and rap verses in his songs. Cosmo is able to smoothly mix styles that are vastly distinct from each other, allowing him to take the indie scene in a different direction where lo-fi artists are getting the spotlight. Currently, he has one EP out titled Just Cosmo, a collection of songs about the difficulties he went through in a past relationship that perfectly blend his lyrics into his inventive sound. – Miguel Anderson

 

Bane’s World: “Drowsy” Yet Alluring

Artists You Should Know, Favorites November 20, 2017

(Written by Miguel Anderson)

Shane Blanchard, who refers to himself as “Bane’s World,” a nickname given to him by friends in High School, is an artist from Long Beach, California. Bane’s World has come into the indie music scene at no better time; with the scene not even reaching its peak yet, he has already secured his presence as an outstanding artist among his peers: Cosmo Pyke, Cuco, and Temporex, who all share similarities in style and sound.

Shane has been putting out music for about 2 years now but has already garnered attention from artists like Temporex, who he’s collaborated with, and Tyler, The Creator, who recently attended one of his shows and shouted him out on social media. He’s a small artist who has one full project out named Drowsy, a title that is fitting for an artist like him whose sound gives off a drowsy feel, an effect that is delivered through synth-heavy tunes and guitar strums. His music almost sounds as if it were recorded underwater, giving it a wavy-dreamlike vibe. Shane’s style consists of a blend of slacker rock, lo-fi beats, and blues. A comparison of sound would be HOMESHAKE, who isn’t really confined to the slacker rock or lo-fi style, just as Shane, but whose music blends both of these genres to create a style unique to him. Funny enough, in an interview with Lucid Dreams Magazine, Shane even lists Mac Demarco and HOMESHAKE as a dream collaboration — which is appropriate considering that they both have similar sounds. If you’re into the combination of mellow tunes, slacker rock, and lo-fi, there’s no doubt that you’ll love Banes World. “Drowsy,” his first musical project, is filled with sad sounding love songs that are best listened to on a summer night. You can find him on SoundCloud, where most of his work lives, Spotify, BandCamp, Apple Music, and most streaming sites.

 

Steve Lacy: Proving That You Don’t Need Much To Make Good Music

Artists You Should Know, Favorites September 9, 2017

(Written by Ashley Flamenco)

Steve Lacy began rising to stardom after joining R&B group The Internet while he was still in High School. He has not only made a huge contribution to the band’s sound through his guitar-playing skills and groovy vocals, but he also co-produced their Grammy nominated album, “Ego Death,” funnily, without even realizing it. Since then he’s worked with a long lineup of high profile artists. Some of his most notable collaborations have been his work with Kendrick Lamar, producing “PRIDE” off of “DAMN,” being featured on J. Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only,” singing on tracks like “Only Girl” by Kali Uchis and “911/ Mr. Lonely” by Tyler, The Creator, and so much more. The 19 year old artist has already accomplished so much in his short career.

His path to making music began after his mother, knowing of Steve’s musical abilities, had him attend a high school that had a talented Jazz Band in need of a bass player. Steve filled that position and quickly grew a love for jazz and a deeper appreciation for music in general. Here, he met a musician who worked in the same studio as Syd, from The Internet. This eventually led him to the band.

“Steve Lacy’s Demo,” his first project as a solo artist, released this year, is a 13 minute collection of songs. And guess what? It was all recorded on his Iphone, using Garage Band, showing people that you don’t need fancy expensive equipment to make good music, something that has and will continue to inspire many aspiring musicians.

Steve likes to refer to his style as “plaid,” a genre he made up himself. He explains, in a video by WIRED, that he came up with this as he was shopping at a thrift store and came across a plaid shirt that reminded him of his music — the multiple colors and patterns in the garment reminded him of his work because of the many different sounds and styles that he combines in it. He infuses a large variety of sounds including jazz, soul, indie, hip hop, and R&B but merges everything in a smooth manner. Though he has a small discography, he’s given us a nice taste of his groovy/alternative R&B music exciting us for what more’s to come from him in the future.