Las Vegas' Shamir evokes '90s house, pop, and R&B with his unique sound, which is further distinguished by a tenor voice so piercing that it flirts with falsetto. Growing up in the city's Northtown area, Shamir Bailey listened to music ranging from rock to jazz and found inspiration in his songwriter aunt. After getting a guitar from his mother, he taught himself to play it (albeit upside down). With his friend Christina Thompson, Bailey formed the indie pop duo Anorexia, who released the 2013 EP Bedroom Songs and also played South by Southwest. He also began writing songs with dance beats, and sent some of his work to writer/producer Nick Sylvester, who helped shape Shamir's new approach into pulsing yet affecting songs that drew favorable comparisons to the likes of Grace Jones and the DFA Records roster. The first fruit of their collaboration, "If It Wasn't True," arrived in February 2014 via Sylvester's God Mode label. That June saw the release of the Northtown EP, which included that song as well as a cover of Canadian country singer Lindi Ortega's "Lived and Died Alone." Shamir signed to XL soon after the EP arrived, and released his breakthrough single "On the Regular" -- a cheeky mix of house and hip-hop that he wrote within minutes -- in October. His debut album, Ratchet, arrived in May 2015.
A down-to-earth rapper and singer who has worked closely with Pharrell Williams and Kaytranada, Buddy was nicknamed at an early age by his sister. The tag stuck with the young Simmie Sims, who began to take music-making seriously as a middle schooler in his native Compton, California. While in his late teens, through his manager, Buddy found an admirer in Pharrell Williams, who added him to the roster of Star Trak, and subsequently that of I Am Other. Produced by Williams, the rambunctious debut single "Awesome Awesome" arrived as Buddy's proper debut single in 2011. After a little additional material, Buddy's next big stride was with the mixtape Idle Time, released in 2014 with guest spots from Williams, Kendrick Lamar, and Miley Cyrus. Stray tracks were scattered throughout the next couple years and led to the 2017 EP Ocean & Montana, an independent five-track effort recorded with Kaytranada. Among the notable tracks on which Buddy has lent support throughout the years are Nipsey Hussle's "Status Symbol" and "Status Symbol 2," DJ Quik and Problem's "This Is Your Moment," BJ the Chicago Kid's "Man Down" and "Church," and Iman Omari and Like's "Backwoods (Third Eye)."
Milk & Bone are a Canadian electropop duo, consisting of Laurence Lafond-Beaulne and Camille Poliquin. Their debut album Little Mourning, released in 2015 via Bonsound, was a long listed nominee for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize.
The duo first met as music students at Cégep de Saint-Laurent, and later performed with David Giguère's touring band. They decided to begin writing and performing as a duo after being brought in as guest vocalists on Misteur Valaire's 2013 album Bellevue.
Although both of the band members are francophones, they write and record in English. With the majority of their immediate friends and colleagues also being francophone, they used SoundCloud to connect with potential contributors to the album, including Toronto-based rapper Terrell Morris on the track "Tomodachi".
In 2015, Milk & Bone was the recipient of the SOCAN Breakout Award at the Francophone SOCAN Awards in Montreal.
Manatee Commune, a.k.a. Grant Eadie, began in Bellingham, Washington as an expression of boredom. His attempt at capturing the lazy rainy days in his first year of college led to a short EP of sampled outdoor atmosphere, surfy guitar, and a hint of classical influences.
Castlecomer are a band from Sydney Australia. They are 2 brothers, 2 cousins and a best friend who make alternative guitar pop ready made for huge dance parties and crowd sing-a-longs. The band, in their early 20's, cut their teeth performing 500 shows in 3 years in Australian pubs and clubs, building their home-town fan base with their powerful tunes and five-part harmonies. In 2015 the band decided to 'take music seriously' and frontman Bede wrote 50 songs in 6 months resulting in their EP "All of the Noise" which has garnered 2 million streams on Spotify in under a year led by hit single "Fire Alarm" which has charted on US Alternative Radio. The band are Bede (vox) & Patch (drums) & Tommy (guitars) & Neely (keys) & Joe (bass).
After a year long hiatus, No Vacation has re-emerged from hibernation. As they quietly work on their next album andtransition out of San Francisco, No Vacation will bring their novice sounds to New York City. The majority of the still untitled album was written during No Vacation’s break up and expresses the feelings of belongingness, regret, and struggles of resilience.
Higher Brothers is a Chinese hip-hop group from Chengdu consisting of members MaSiWei. Their debut album Black Cab was released May 2017. Members have cited 50 Cent, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Migos as influences. On June 13, 2017, a Video on YouTube "Rappers React to Higher Brothers" was posted by label 88rising, featuring 13 rappers including Lil Yachty, members of Migos, Playboi Carti, and KYLE. As of September 2017, Higher Brothers videos on YouTube have over 10 million views. Higher Brothers rap mostly in Sichuanese Mandarin, though some tracks (such as "Made in China" with Famous Dex) have more use of English verses.
Melo Makes Music is what the man goes by and through rhymes is how he expresses his explicit content. Most recently he spills his mind over a trip hop beat produced by Martin $ky. The Chicago local Ravyn Lenae is featured on the track for a few verses, adding a graceful ambience to the the track. Speaking of Grace, Sylvie marks her sound with the stroke of a cello. Drain U is a dope collaboration of Chicago talent coming together to make a track to vibe to.