by Kyle Taylor |
It’s officially a new year, and the one thing that means to Funkadelphia is a whole 365 days of new music. With the music scene adapting and evolving on such a regular basis, artists are constantly formulating new ideas, and, as a result, forging new paths for music. The past year has certainly been one for the books, but we can only conclude that those same musicians who were able to make a strong impression in 2014 will continue to strive toward new musical ideas as we proceed into the New Year. So we’re taking a look at a handful of the most impressive artists from the last year, those who are likely to continue to impress all throughout 2015, and hopefully beyond. So let’s get started already!
Artists are listed in alphabetical order (numbers do not indicate a ranking system).
The trap explosion has essentially come and gone, at least from the forefront of the electronic scene. However, elements of the genre can still be found quite frequently seeping into new tracks of branching genres from future bass to glitch-hop. California remains a hub for futuristic hip-hop beats, but the sound has undergone radical changes, even in the past year. With artists like G Jones helping to forge a path for intelligent hip-hop beats driven by glitched out compositions and refreshing sound work, plenty of other bass producers are learning to take their productions into uncharted territory, rather than settling for a predictable and all too familiar “festival trap” drop. The talent is limitless, but while many have probably heard the name G Jones by now, a name that might be a bit less familiar is BOATS. The Bay Area producer holds an incredibly complex perspective on future bass, delivering gnarled compositions ridden with peculiarly glitchy beat patterns that always manage to work- sometimes quite astonishingly. As long as BOATS keeps his beats as fresh and unpredictable as he has so far, 2015 looks to be a great year for this West Coast producer.
BOATS – “Official”
BOATS – “Funkyworm”
BOATS – “Beat Tape”
Photo by RA Photography
For a seasoned electronic music listener, there’s nothing more frustrating than hearing a generically all-too-familiar selection of sounds and effects. Conversely, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing an artist crank 100% purely original sounds, blending them together in a manner that absolutely no one could predict. The latter seems to be the consistent goal for Minneapolis producer Bogtrotter. A member of the Shanti Planti label and collective, Bogtrotter strives to further the label’s goal of blending, “ancient Eastern rhythms with futuristic glitches and basslines.” Still, Bogtrotter manages to stand out even in a group of other undeniably gifted artists. You know an artist is doing something right when you really have no one to compare them to. Bogtrotter’s music will just have to speak for itself.
Bogtrotter – “Parallel Universe” — FREE Download
Zebbler Encanti Experience – “sawng (Bogtrotter Remix)”
Bogtrotter – “Live at Infrasound 2013” — FREE Download
Photo by Ray Ermel/Ray Ermel Photography
Eric Tully, a.k.a. Brightside came off a hugely successful Summer of touring and festival appearances in 2014. But even when the Summer ended, Brightside was still hard at work. Since the Fall, Tully has made his way all throughout the Northeast, joining countless notable musicians on stage. After winning the Spotlight.FM contest to earn him a spot on the Grassroots California stage at Summer Camp Music Festival this past May, Brightside will certainly be a hot commodity going into the 2015 festival season. The Spring is sure to offer plenty more epic Brightside perfomances all throughout the region as well.
Read our interview with Brightside HERE.
Brightside (feat. Mad Menace) – “The Equinox” — FREE Download
Psymbionic – “One Thing (Brightside Remix)”
Brightside – “Spectrum of Sound Mixtape” — FREE Download
Photo by Jo Taylor Photography
Straight out of our neighboring state of New Jersey is Dave Nardolilli, known to most by his alter ego Dubloadz. Despite the constant attacks from… well, let’s be honest… haters, Nardolilli is constantly striving to breathe new life into the genre, and in fact, he’s doing so with immaculate success. With a sample library that’s rivaled only by Midnight Tyrannosaurus, Dubloadz’s sound is just as refreshing. A true master of the wonk, Dubloadz has showcased a variety of dubstep interpretations, ranging from riddim to grime, garage and beyond. With releases in 2014 through Rottun Recordings (Chug! Chug! EP), SMOG Records (The Jugular EP, and “Swamp City” on Battle Royale Vol. 1), and Never Say Die Records (“Battle Mode” on Black Label Vol. 3 EP), it’s simply impossible to deny all the raucous noise Dubloadz is making. It’s just as equally impossible to see any signs of Dubloadz slowing down in 2015.
Read our interview with Dubloadz HERE.
Dubloadz x Sushi Sapson – “Transit”
Bommer x Crowell – “Yasuo (Dubloadz Remix)” — FREE Download (in “Free Loadz”)
Dubloadz – “The Savage Wonk Mixtape Volume Two” — FREE Download
Photo by By Moz
If we had more than 15 artists to list, you can be sure that Philos Records would be getting quite a few mentions. But, in the spirit of remaining conservative, we’ll highlight French duo The Geek x Vrv. The duo has gained a surge in attention recently after winning ODESZA‘s “Say My Name” remix contest and soon after being signed to Gramtik‘s rapidly growing label, Lowtemp. With a unique flavor of electro-soul, The Geek x VRV have already set hungry eyes on the year 2015. The duo is set to embark on their first ever U.S. tour this spring.
The Geek x Vrv – “Say It” [Lowtemp] — FREE Download
ODESZA – “Say My Name (The Geek x Vrv Remix)” — FREE Download
The Geek x Vrv – “Live 2014” — FREE Download
Firmly planted directly between New York City and Philadelphia, Aaron Velasquez, a.k.a. Flamingosis, has taken full advantage of his strategic position. The local producer has made his rounds to both cities on several occasions, each time absorbing a little bit of the local culture and energy to channel back into his music. As a result, Flamingosis has managed to garner plenty of attention for himself in the past year. It’s a phenomenon that’s actually rather easy to understand once you allow your ears to sink into the soulful melodies of this young musician’s production. Bending elements of hip-hop, jazz, soul and R&B into blissfully original and soothing productions, Flamingosis is sure to keep at it in 2015.
Flamingosis – “She Loved Me”
Telepopmusik – “Smile (Flamingosis Edit)” — FREE Download
Flamingosis – “alaya radio: 015 Mix” (with Complexion) — FREE Download
Photo by Axel Pics Photography
The UK has consistently been a hub for some of electronic music’s finest sound design. British producer Joe Ford is furthering that notion. With roots primarily in drum & bass, Joe Ford’s production exudes a breath-taking surge of eclectic, complex drum patterns that seem to melt into each track’s bass and treble layers. The word “original” doesn’t even begin to touch on the clarity and uniqueness of the sound refinement Ford possesses. The sound can quickly be attributed to various other notable UK producers- Spor (Jon Gooch a.k.a. Feed Me), KOAN Sound, and NOISIA, to name a few- but Joe Ford is ever careful to avoid the snares of tiresome, repetitious ideas. With the Culture and Mission EPs under his belt in 2013, Joe Ford ascended on 2014 with just as much energy, releasing multiple singles and remixes throughout the year. With other intelligent sound producers such as Tipper gaining more widespread attention in the U.S., and the neurohop genre just beginning to really blossom, Joe Ford is certainly another UK producer to keep your eye on in 2015.
Joe Ford – “Mission”
Joe Ford – “Stride”
Joe Ford – “Rinse FM Guest Mix [10.17.2014]” (with Skittles MC) — FREE Download
Denver producer Late Night Radio has been hard at work over the past two years. Alex Medellin, a.k.a. Late Night Radio, is undeniably devoted to his craft. Over the past two years, Medellin has put forth numerous releases in the form of 3 albums, countless singles and remixes, all supplemented by his Vinyl Restoration mix series. The Denver producer relies so heavily on instrumental sampling that you might just find yourself completely forgetting you’re listening to a single person behind the cogs of a studio. Crunchy electronic moments certainly still seep into the Late Night Radio project, but those moments are carefully immersed in a swirl of instrumental bliss. Late Night Radio is also constantly continuing the effort of incorporating live instrumentation into his performances, calling upon DYNOHUNTER saxophonist Clark Smith, (#11) SunSquabi guitarist Kevin Donahue, and many others to contribute to live sets. With his latest album, Soap Box, which was released on Michal Menert‘s label, Super Best Records this Fall, we can only sit back and wait for whatever funky, soulful grooves Late Night Radio will bring us in 2015.
Late Night Radio – “In the Name Of” (feat. Clark Smith) — FREE Download
Late Night Radio – “Movin’ Slow” — FREE Download
Late Night Radio – “Vinyl Restoration Vol. 5 Mix” — FREE Download
As much as I’d love to go on and on about /’lo͞osid/ (pronounced “Lucid”), not much is known about this new mystery producer. After only emerging into the scene a couple months ago, the question still remains: is /’lo͞osid/ a super-talented newcomer trying to take the scene by storm, or could it be a production super-group made up of some of the biggest names we’re all too familiar with? Either way, /’lo͞osid/ is already on a roll, releasing 4 top-quality tracks in only a month’s time, ranging from tech and deep house, to some chill trap and future bass. If the past month is any indication of what /’lo͞osid/ has planned for 2015, expect a steady stream of top-notch tracks that attempt to reimagine the state of electronic dance music, and plenty of free downloads.
/’lo͞osid/ – “i want u” — FREE Download
John Mayer – “Free Fallin’ (/’lo͞osid/ remix)” — FREE Download
/’lo͞osid/ – “dim the lights” — FREE Download
First it was Pretty Lights. Then Gramatik and GRiZ stood up to get their hands on the reigns. Gramatik then founded his own label, Lowtemp, in 2013 with GRiZ launching his own, Liberated Music, the same year, which has in turn allowed for a whole new generation of funky, soulful artists to step into the spotlight. Relatively new on the scene is Marshall McGee, a Connecticut based producer and guitarist whose glitch-hop and future funk beats pack such a wallop, they’re pretty much guaranteed to leave your eardrums howling for more. Although McGee’s career is still very much in the beginning stages, he’s still garnering a massive amount of attention. With a new single, “Ready For It”, set for a release later this month on Lowtemp, this young producer looks to have quite the busy year ahead of him.
Marshall McGee – “Freelancer” — FREE Download
Marshall McGee – “Let’s Dance Together” — FREE Download
Marshall McGee – “Flicker” — FREE Download
Definitely one of the lesser known names on our list, but don’t let that deceive you, even for a second. Illinois producer MickMan is never holding back. With an extremely versatile sound, MickMan might be just be bass music’s latest hero. Delivering everything from insane dubstep drops to spastic glitch-hop rhythms and minimally atmospheric softer beats, MickMan looks to continue his rampage of production prowess straight into 2015. There’s no telling what MickMan will do next; his style is constantly unpredictable, always ready and able to adapt to any style of electronic music. There’s really no telling what the new year holds for this talented, young producer.
MickMan – “Brain March (VIP Mix)” — FREE Download
Bassnectar – “The Matrix (MickMan Remix)” — FREE Download
MickMan – “Funky Motion” — FREE Download
Photo by Herman Matamoros
In 2014 we could see the influence of Colorado’s constantly evolving music scene essentially all across the U.S. This isn’t to say the Colorado sound we’re referring to- here, a playful combination of electro soul, hip-hop, funk and glitch-hop- has taken over the nation. In fact, far from it as we head into 2015 with our most diverse musical world still ahead of us. It’s thoroughly enjoyable to see, and hear for that matter, new perspectives on the sound from producers in all different regions of not only the country, but the entire world. Portland, Maine based producer Tyler Coombs, a.k.a. Of The Trees is one of those producers that it’s really hard not to let your ears become fixated on. With the Threshold and Vacationland EPs out through Gravitas Recordings, Coombs’ shows plenty of promise for some mind-melting new releases in 2015. Of the Trees has further become a staple in the Northeast’s festival circuit, performing at Bella Terra, Great North, and F.A.R.M. Fest among others this past Summer. You can be sure Of the Trees is looking to expand those festival appearances in the Summer of 2015.
Read our interview with Of the Trees HERE.
Of the Trees – “Fever Trip” — FREE Download
Psymbionic – “One Thing (Of the Trees Remix)” — FREE Download
Of the Trees – “Selections Vol. 4”
Photo by Great Eye Films
Another insanely epic, and still very young, act out of Colorado, SunSquabi is on a roll of electronically fused funky grooves. Ever since their debut album, Enhance, in 2011, the Boulder trio has been cranking out fresh new grooves at a rapid pace, never losing their quality or creativity. The follow-up album, Fundamental Interaction, in 2013 furthered the band’s notoriety, expanding on an already expansive catalog of electrifying tracks. SunSquabi rounded out their 2014 with the Thunder EP, adding some original material into the mix after the group’s Remix EP at the end of the Summer. With plenty of musical years still ahead of all three members- Kevin Donahue (guitar/keys/production), Andrew Clymer (bass/synth), and Chris Anderson (drums)- and a now fully stocked repertoire of modern jamtronica grooves, SunSquabi has an extremely promising year on the horizon.
SunSquabi – “Sparrow” (feat. Povi Tamu) — FREE Download
Phil Collins – “In the Air Tonight (SunSquabi Remix)” — FREE Download
SunSquabi – “Live at Terminal West – Atlanta, GA [03/01/2014]” — FREE Download
Photo by Good Looks New York
Denver producers Unlimited Gravity (Ronnie Weinberg) and ProJect Aspect (Jay Jaramillo) certainly aren’t new names to behold in the electronic music world. With their solo projects, each has built a substantial following, not only in their home state of Colorado, but all across the country. In an effort to further energize their live performances, and incorporate more live instrumentation into those same sets, the two producers have put their heads together for the Unlimited Aspect project. The project has evolved to a full band, including vocals from Weinberg, guitar from Jaramillo, and drums from Steven Kuzma. The trio has also been joined on stage by a substantial list of other musicians, including Clark Smith (DYNOHUNTER, saxophone) among others. With their second collaborative album on the way in 2015, Unlimited Aspect is gearing up for 2015 ready to take the stage for solo performances, as well as jaw-dropping full band sets.
Read our interview with ProJect Aspect HERE.
Unlimited Aspect – “Foin Clip”
Unlimited Aspect – “BorN N RaizeD IN”
Rihanna – “Pour It Up (Unlimited Aspect Remix)” — FREE Download
Photo by City2Snow
Originally from Connecticut, Ben Davis, a.k.a. Vibe Street has had a windy road to his now blossoming “grass-hop” project. After spending some time in Wisconsin and performing under the name Dasein, Vibe Street finally found his home in Denver, Colorado at the beginning of 2014. Exactly one year- and one album and two EPs- later, Davis is gearing up for a massive 2015. With plenty of notable bookings under his belt, Vibe Street looks to expand his reach in the new year, hoping to send those grass-hop vibes to eardrums all around the country, and the world.
Read our interview with Vibe Street HERE.
Vibe Street – “Something More” — FREE Download
Brewer & Shipley – “One Toke Over the Line (Vibe Street Remix)” — FREE Download
Vibe Street – “Full Moon Funk Mix”
Ludge (Unknown, NJ) | Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
Straight out of the Garden State, up and coming producer Ludge still has plenty of room to grow his catalog, but Ludge’s thoughts, conveyed through deeply versatile compositions and top notch sound design, are already plenty developed. Stay tuned in 2015 for a new EP from Ludge.
Ludge – “Sic” — FREE Download
Architekt (Philadelphia, PA) | Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
This name might cause some confusion, especially for our local readers who are likely already quite familiar with Mike Pipitone, a.k.a. the Architekt‘s sets of total obliteration. While the Architekt project dates back a few years now, 2014 became a landmark in the Philadelphia producer and DJ’s career, marking off multiple festival performances and holding a dominant throne over the local bass scene.
Read our interview with Architekt HERE.
Architekt – “Killing Spree” (feat. Aaron Ruxbin)
Space Jesus (New York, NY) | Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
One of, if not the, strongest forces for futuristic hip-hop beats on the East Coast is now New York based producer Space Jesus. Originally from New Jersey, and having lived in Philadelphia for a short period, Jasha Tull, a.k.a. Space Jesus, has taken his crunchy psychedelic hip-hop beats all up and down the East Coast, while becoming a driving component in the New York dance scene.
Read our interview with Schlang (Space Jesus & Supersillyus) HERE.
Space Jesus – “Trillionaire Club” — FREE Download
Cheatcode (Boston, MA) | Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
Heavily inspired by hip-hop, New England producer Cheatcode let’s that influence show through on every track, blending together classic hip-hop elements with future dance music techniques. This is another well seasoned veteran, but with his new album, Phantasmagoria, seeing release this past Fall, 2015 looks promising for Cheatcode.
Read our interview with Cheatcode HERE.
Cheatcode – “All I Know” (feat. Voltran & Deejay Theory) — FREE Download
The Digital Connection (Boulder, CO) | Website // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
Even with all the saturation of music that exists in Colorado, we’re still able to keep pulling out talented individual acts. This time we turn to Boulder producer The Digital Connection who has built quite a name for himself rather quickly via his jagged, glitch-driven sound. His bio puts it perfectly: “The snowy mountains of Colorado often manufacture talented artists, but The Digital Connection stands out even in Denver’s extravagant music scene.”
The Digital Connection – “Drippin'” — FREE Download (track #2)
Marvel Years (Burlington, VT) | Website // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
Another talented young producer out of the Northeast, Marvel Years channels the energy of Vermont’s snowy peaks in the Winter, as well as it’s beautiful, lush landscapes in the Summer. All that energy bursts through on every single release from Marvel Years, setting the mood for the young producer’s soulful melodies.
Marvel Years – “Just Within Reach” — FREE Download
Agent Zero (Philadelphia, PA) | Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter
We’ll round things out right where we want to be: back in Philadelphia. Noah Selwyn, a.k.a. Agent Zero has been releasing waves of funk across the City of Brotherly Love for some time now. The local producer is gearing up for the release of his new album, Sound Sorcery Vol. II, in 2015. With a steadily increasing amount of live instrumentation being added to Agent Zero’s performances, we can’t wait to see what the new year holds for this still rising star.
Agent Zero – “Dirty Game Cartridges” — FREE Download