Having gained the approval of much of the often fickle bloggersphere in the past year, LA singer Banks specializes in a bass-heavy pop that belongs in the 2am club slot. Alongside an engrossingly dark and moody production style, it is in Banks’ lyrical fare where things get very intriguing. Far from the standard brash and unrealistic declarations of love or overt hyper-sexual drizzle, Banks’ lyrics are fervently truer to the human experience, digressing upon vulnerability and insecurity whilst offering flashes of coy flirtation. As such, the music of Banks penetrates through to a level of consciousness beyond the base emotional response solicited by a bog-standard club track, coaxing you into her world with that sultry production and infinitely relatable lyrics. Here’s hoping the pop world takes note of Banks, because she’s currently making a lot of gaudy pop artists look horribly out-dated.
The Oxford quartet are sitting rather pretty at the moment. With a debut album Zaba primed for imminent release on Wolf Tone, a label started by the man responsible for the success of such artists as Friendly Fires and Florence and the Machine, Glass Animals look set to reach the hallowed ground of critically acclaimed pop stars. Boasting a thoroughly contemporary and intelligent production which imparts R&B’s warm sonics over rather quirky pop incantations. In an electronic counterpart to Bon Iver’s mythological song-writing process, the group produce their music from the confines of a hut in the woods but far from the campfire acoustics of Iver’s output, the group suffuse influence from the likes of Burial and latter-day Radiohead. ‘Gooey’, the first single from their debut, is a woozy and delicate slice of late-night pop brimming with production nuance and a chorus that wraps around you like a blanket of sumptuous sound. Expect these lads to get the critics a little hot under the collar.
The singer, actress and model recently released her debut record Night Time, My Time
After a brief sojourn as a highly stylized Britney Spears clone at the behest of her then label, Sky has thrown off the shackles of label contracts and image management to carve out her own pop sounds that brims with a menacing punk attitude. Debut album Night Time, My Time has managed to impact despite a convoluted release thanks to the very label problems that have plagued Ferreira throughout her career. With a scuzzy production and incredibly frank and upfront lyrical content, Sky is every bit the Riot Grrrl and her no nonsense attitude has recently won her a place as support slot on the controversial Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour. Her individualism and refusal to be pinned down may have stunted her grown commercially, but most importantly it has allowed the 21 year-old to establish a firm and unique identity on her own terms rather than that of label executives. The antidote to the irritating ‘brat-pop’ of Kesha, Sky looks set to continue her idiosyncratic pathway to superstardom with as little outside input as possible.
Sophie is the moniker appointed to a clutch of producers whose aim is to produce hyper-real strain of dance music which owes as much to the ultra-saccharine state of J-pop as it does to glitch and other niche spheres of electronica. It’s been dubbed as pop’s new avant-garde yet it maintains a stringent catchiness amongst the often busy and hyperactive production style. ‘Blipp’, the single which initially turned heads, features cut-up cutesy vocals and an inherently contradictory nature as it manages to be both minimal and maximal in the same song. It’s strange, unique and in growing rarity amongst the electronic world- completely fresh. It may be overly abstract to make a huge impact on the mainstream, but it is surely only a matter of time before the oblique electronica filters through to big-time producers and the mysterious textural palette is brought to bear on the wider public.
Solange's relationship with brother-in-law Jay Z has come under scrutiny after their altercation in an elevator
Having recently entered the public eye for all the wrong reasons, Solange Knowles altercation with Jay Z looks set to overshadow the sultry pop star’s truly unique musical stylings as the press will surely choose to remember her for such a widely-reported incident. Despite being the sister of the undisputed Queen of pop, Solange had, until recently, enacted a rather low-key entry into the music business. Her 2012 E.P True was a massive hit with Pitchfork types and despite cynics suggesting it was only a ploy to rebrand herself as apart from her sister, it nonetheless earned her a huge amount of cred from indie blogs who commended her dark and thoroughly contemporary take on soul and electronica. With a full length tentatively pencilled in for a 2014 release, this summer could see Solange stepping into the limelight whilst providing the soundtrack to a very different type of party than her sister’s showbiz bombast.