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The “Not Top-20”

Discover new artists who don’t get enough attention from the mainstream

Senior Arts Editor

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 22:12

Dinosaur Jr.

Courtesy of J Mascis

Jake Bugg

Courtesy of Rick Rubin

McComb

Courtesy of Domino

Mutual Benefits

Courtesy of Fat Possum Records

Haim

Courtesy of Polydor

Blue chips

Courtesy of Party Supplies

Artist: Mutual Benefit

Sounds like: Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective, the wind chimes in your backyard

Best album: Love’s Crushing Diamond (2013)

Love’s Crushing Diamond sounds like the feeling you get when you greet the day on a beautiful winter’s morning – something rare in Buffalo. You walk outside, the sun is rising on the horizon and blasting onto your furry brow beneath five layers of wool and North Face. You’re chilly, but the sense of peaceful solitude replaces all sensations with something warmer than the Peppermint Hot Chocolate awaiting you at Starbucks while everyone else in town is still cozied up in bed – you know the feeling. There is hope in Mutual Benefit’s sound, and it’s something we can all benefit from by giving a listen. The songs are spacey, slow and drawn out at times, but they always manage to churn into something beautiful and worthy of serious sonic attention. The album is best enjoyed as a whole, but “Advanced Falconry” is by far the best song of the bunch – it captures listeners with lyrics like, “And oh the way she moves/ Always on the run/ And to look into her eyes/ Will make a fool of anyone/ And she talks softly/ Sees through me/ Says something/ I can’t hear it/ But I won’t forget/ The way she flies.”

Artist: Haim

Sounds like: Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Madonna

Best album: Days Are Gone (2013)

Like Jake Bugg, it’s probably only a matter of time before Haim explodes with popularity and hits the mainstream. The group consists mainly of three sisters who grew up performing in a traveling band with their parents doing Fleetwood Mac covers, but with a recent performance on Letterman and serious praise and attention coming from major and underground media sources, Haim’s pop sound is something that everyone is starting to pay attention to. Their lyrics show maturity and independence, and their sound demands you dance whether you’re in the car or in the club. Their best songs include “Falling,” “Don’t Save Me” and “Honey & I,” but Days Are Gone is solid as a whole album with listening pleasure that lasts after several plays.

Artist: Action Bronson

Sounds like: Wu-Tang Clan, Mac Miller

Best album: Blue Chips 2 (featuring Party Supplies)

Action Bronson reps Queens hard, he is a chef, he drops names from all corners of pop culture obscurity and his beats are as rare as the steaks he rhymes about devouring. Bronson drops jaws with his lyrical abilities that sound fresh yet familiar to the sounds that true fans of the underground will appreciate. Bronson raps about cooking a lot because he’s a skilled cook – he even has a food show on Vice magazine’s online video website. His lyrics are incredibly unique and culturally on target with what’s going on now in America’s pockets of urban youth culture. Bronson leaves you smiling, laughing and often confused but only in a good way. XXL magazine published an article titled “The 15 Most Absurd Lyrics On Action Bronson’s ‘Saaab Stories,’” which is definitely worth exploring as you explore Bronson’s mixtape library of excellence.

 

email: arts@ubspectrum.com

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