From the emergence of American classical music well over a century ago to the boisterous hip-hop surge during the ‘90s, Brooklyn has always been at the center of our national music scene.
It's no secret that many of today's biggest acts hail from the borough, including music veterans like Jay Z and LCD Soundsystem, as well as indie newcomers, like Porches and yaeji. But, in case you're not up on all the great things happening in the borough now, we put together a playlist of some of the coolest sounds coming out of BK—that includes a couple of familiar faces who have recently come out with new albums—so you'll be in the sonic loop.
Stream our playlist on Spotify, and then get familiar with our picks in the slideshow, below.
photo by JJ Medina
Tei Shi Introducing your newest obsession: Tei Shi. Every song on her full-length debut deserves a listen. Its name, Crawl Space, refers to the room in which Tei Shi (born Valerie Teicher) overcame her fear of the dark.
photo by Cory Ingram
pronoun The single “a million other things” is the first song Alyse Vellturo (aka pronoun) put out when she was teasing her EP last year. It’s an upbeat breakup song of sorts, and there's no doubt you’ll soon find yourself singing it on the subway.
photo by daniel dorsa
Vagabon Vagabon's Laetitia Tamko is equal parts hopeful and heartbreaking in her music. The 25-year-old began producing music in 2014 while studying engineering at CUNY and sneaking off to play gigs.
photo by Ebru Yildiz
Japanese Breakfast The 28-year-old Korean-American singer sings about love, loss, and insecurity: “I can’t get you off of my mind, I can’t get you off in general/ So here we are, we’re just two losers/ I want you and you want something more beautiful.”
photo by Haoyan of America
Crumb Crumb's song “Plants” is a dizzying, intoxicating, and psychedelically sweet trip. Frontwoman Lila Ramani sings, “Tell me, tell me something sweet/ and I won’t stay away/ Bake me, bake me up a treat/ and I can’t stay away.” Same.
photo by ben rayner
Parquet Courts These rockers got together in 2010 and have produced an album every year since. Their sound is lovingly rough around the edges, sometimes referred to as a “special brand of "Americana punk."
photo by tom hines
Grizzly Bear It’s not quite "Two Weeks," their hit of a decade ago, but “Mourning Sound” is probably the rock band’s second catchiest tune ever made. Grizzly Bear’s latest album, Painted Ruins, came out in August after a five-year hiatus.
photo by Tim Seguin
Plastic Picnic The Seattle transplants behind Plastic Picnic are inspired by the easy romanticism of ‘80s movies. We’re inspired by their upbeat songs, reflecting on heavy ideas like “modern society’s obsession with perfect image.” (Go behind the scenes with the band, here.)
BOYTOY Wehung out with BOYTOYalmost two years ago, before the release of their self-titled EP. They’ve since become an all-girl band. “The boys were also great. But it feels really powerful to be all women and command a room with strong female energy,” Saara Untracht-Oakner told BUST.
LCD Soundsystem This is no dance anthem, but James Murphy’s vocals are mesmerizing and a bit brooding in “Oh Baby,” the first track off LCD’s new album American Dream. We’re just glad their retirement was short-lived.
Photo by Shervin Lainez
Big Thief Adrianna Lenker isn’t just a singer, but a storyteller. The gruesome, visceral details she includes in her lyrics (think: “blood gushing from my head/ you held me in the backseat with a dishrag, soaking up blood with your eyes) are somehow delicate and beautiful in her hands.
Photo by wes & alex
Yoke Lore Yoke Lore came to besomewhat accidentally, but Adrian Galvin is here to stay–reminding us that sometimes we must go through difficult times to get to the good, juicy stuff. And that indie pop is almost always better with a banjo.
Wet We fell in love with Wet’s dreamy debut EP and theirlive show. Lead singer Kelly Zutrau toured solo last summer supporting Rostam, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for new music in 2018.
Photo by Anna Azarov
Overcoats Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell of Overcoats became an inseparable musical duo while studying at Wesleyan University together. They released their thoughtful album, YOUNG,last April. This catchy new single is featured on a deluxe version of the LP. Check out the super-cool music videoto match
Photo via Instagram.com/kraejiyaeji
yaeji Kathy Yaeji Lee leads somewhat of a double life. She splits her time between New York and Seoul, and whisper-sings in both English and Korean on the same track. Her buzzy dance beats are equally influenced by rap and techno.
Photo by Michelle Birsky
Cape Francis Cape Francis' track "Olly" is about fear of the unknown, but it also perfectly captures the essence and playfulness of a childhood game, like hide-and-seek or flash tag. Its name nods to the liberating phrase, “Olly olly oxen free.”
Photo by Jason Nocito
Porches We stand by our statement: “Aaron Maine produces magic.” Pool was a melancholic album one could drown in andHouse, due out in January, shouldn’t disappoint. Alexander Giannascoli, aka Alex G, and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange both contributed.
Cut Worms Singer-songwriter Max Clarke cites ‘50s and ‘60s artists like Harry Nilsson and The Everly Brothers as his influences. Lo-fi demos recorded in Chicago turned into Alien Sunset, but because he’s since moved to Brooklyn, we’re going to let that slide.
Photo via instagram.com/theundercoverdreamlovers
The Undercover Dream Lovers Matt Koenig’s solo project combines a lush layering of synth melodies, bass lines, and charming falsetto, creating a sound that inhabits an otherworldly dreamscape. Rumor has it the first solo album will be out in early 2018.
Photo via instagram.com/bigblissband
Big Bliss On the dreamy yet upbeat track "Fortune," by the Brooklyn trio Big Bliss, the group channels feelings of anxiety and instability through urgent guitar interludes and plaintive lyrics, like, "I've already run out of fortune."
Photo via instagram.com/fruitxflowers
Fruit and Flowers With long guitar riffs and a relatable story, Fruit and Flowers draw us into their fast-paced and funky world.
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