Everyone hates hipsters – even hipsters hate hipsters.
But truth is, when your favorite underground band or artist suddenly blows up, saying “I was into them before they were cool” just feels good.
Here are three artists who not only carry a good chance of giving you that smug satisfaction in the near future, but who also make some flat-out great music.
Born Ian Simpson, this 20-year-old has made waves in the hip-hop community ever since he ran away from home to pursue his music career a few years ago. A member of the artistic collective “BROCKHAMPTON,” Kevin Abstract blends together his skills as both a singer-songwriter and rapper to make those kinds of rare songs that truly make you stop and say, “Wow, no one else is doing this.” His debut album, “MTV1987,” is a gripping listen from start to finish, and it quickly helped him gain traction among music blogs. His brand-new sophomore release, “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story,” is beginning to put him on the map in a big way.
A recent graduate of UM’s Frost School of Music, this smooth singer-songwriter is the next John Mayer who you haven’t heard yet. Not only does Berenbaum write intriguing chord progressions that make so many run-of-the-mill acoustic pop songs pale in comparison, he also finds the perfect melodies every time. He sings smoothly, with a voice that’s soft but never weak – and certainly never off key. This year, Berenbaum released his debut album, “Start Again,” which will show anyone who thinks acoustic music is “too boring” that they just haven’t heard the right acoustic music. Packed with stellar songwriting, top-notch musicianship and catchy pop-sensibility that never sacrifices a hint of artistry, this album is simply something you need to give a listen. “Start Again,” “Me, Myself and I” and “Lay Me Down” are just a few of the highlights, with “Me, Myself and I” earning Berenbaum a slot on the ‘Cane Records roster last year.
This production and songwriting duo is taking energetic hip-hop to places that it certainly doesn’t inhabit elsewhere lately. Brimming with guitar-driven instrumentals that push the envelope on modern rap production, the concise 2015 debut EP “Nü Religion” delivers three songs that each pack a memorable punch, including the beyond catchy track “Back It Up,” a must-hear for any fan of Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak.” Since “Nü Religion,” THEY. has released a handful of singles including “Say When,” “Deep End,” “Rather Die” and “What You Want,” which all fuse rock, R&B and rap in an incredible way.