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Your Next New Big Things

Your Next New Big Things
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By Nina Malkin

You know what you love musically—your tastes really haven’t changed that much since your teens. So if you’re a bit bored with your current playlists, hear this: New artists are embracing the genres we grew up with and guess what? They’re pretty good! Read on for the styles that tickle your eardrums and our sensation suggestions for up-and-comers who get it right.

SOUL: You never could resist crooners like Otis Redding and Al Green, and still have a soft spot for the Jackson Five. Baby faced Brit John Newman delivers danceable pop with a heart of soul on his debut album Tribute—aptly titled, since you know he spent a lot of time listening to his mama’s record collection. Give his emotional first hit single, “Love Me Again,” a spin (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ).

METAL: Black Sabbath was basically scripture for you growing up, and you’re jonesing for metal the way it used to be: big riffs, wailing vocals and that whole dark doomsday vibe. You’re not worthy of Black Prism’s “Satan’s Country,” from the LA band’s debut 7”, but check it out anyway (www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J-mO1dc1hQ). While you’re at it, peruse the rest of Riding Easy Records’ very heavy roster (www.ridingeasyrecords.com).

FOLK: Meaningful lyrics and acoustic guitars a la Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and Janis Ian were the soundtrack to your sensitive youth. Now lend an ear to Laura Marling—who left her native England for Los Angeles because she finds Americans “more poetic.” The twenty-something has a bunch of albums under her belt already, with a new one, Short Movie, out in 2015. If she’s new to you, get a taste of “All My Rage” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR-AOZfLh7w).

BLUES: Your introduction came via the Stones and Clapton, then you dug deeper to discover Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, et al and rounded out your diet with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Austin, Texas-based badass Gary Clark Jr. proves that the blues are still going strong. Case in point: This live version of “Bright Lights,” a powerhouse track from his Blak And Blue debut (www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_ZeDn-hHGE).

JAZZ: An old soul, you swing to singers from before your time—ladies like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Nina Simone. So spend some time with Cécile McLorin Salvant, a uniquely exciting talent who rose to attention by winning first prize in 2010’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and earned a Grammy nod in 2014 for her Womanchild album. Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxex5jGMlMY), her idiosyncratic slant on “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

PSYCHEDELIC: From the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper and the power of Jimi Hendrix through more obscure bands like Moby Grape, experimental electric rock with Indian influences and not-so-subtle drug references was a trip back in the day. Well, it’s back—so firmly, in fact, that the Austin (Texas) Psych Fest is in its seventh year (www.austinpsychfest.com). Aussie outfit Tame Impala—influenced by the likes of Cream and Pink Floyd—showcase a swirling yet accessible take with their Lonerism album. Experience the sound (and groovy graphics) of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wycjnCCgUes)

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An all-around wordsmith, Nina Malkin is a journalist, novelist, copywriter and memoirist. She’s also an avid collector of lovely things from eras past—read her musings at http://www.vintagevirna.blogspot.com/