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© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
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The Best New Artists of 2017

Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 21 July 2017
There are few better feelings than finding a new artist crafting music that fulfills your taste in every way. While streaming platforms like Spotify are rapidly developing their discovery algorithms, frequently yielding fresh faces to add to your reserve, you just can’t beat word-of-mouth recommendation. Looking through the first half of 2017, here are 11 of our favorite emerging acts.

Yellow Days

Yellow Days’s George van den Broek is only 18 years old, and that’s just not fair, because he’s already developed a once-in-a-lifetime voice and everything about his music sounds effortless. Whether you’re looking for the next great pysch-rock/pop artist or generally dislike the genre, this British singer-songwriter is perfect for you.

J.I.D

While J. Cole’s Dreamville label has signed promising acts (Cozz) that have yet to fully realize their potential, its latest signee just might be the breakthrough artist its been searching for. East Atlanta-based J.I.D’s (Destin Route) 2017 debut, The Never Story, hasn’t received nearly the praise it deserves, but his high-pitched, tip-of-the-tongue flow deftly shifts from a snarl to a coo to suit whatever beat he is presented, and that kind of talent can’t be ignored for long.

Lo Moon

We’ve shown our love for Lo Moon time and time again, so we’ll just say this: pending the release of their debut album this year, Lo Moon is our favorite new artist of 2017.

Photay

When you’ve received cosigns from names like Gilles Peterson, SBTRKT, and Bonobo before you release your debut album, there’s a good chance you’re going to bring something special to the electronic music scene, and music as a whole. With Onism due at the beginning of August, singles “Aura,” “Outré Lux,” and “Bombogenesis” demonstrate just how versatile Photay can be while maintaining an unmistakable identity.

KOKOKO!

There are artists who make awesome music using awesome instruments, and there are artists that make awesome music using awesome instruments they made themselves out of junk they found. Located in Ngwaka, a slum in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, the members of KOKOKO! are about to explode onto the international scene with their self-described “tekno kintueni” sound, which combines their love for dance-driven electronic music with the everyday sounds of their city.

Anna Wise

We’ve been obsessed with Kendrick Lamar’s favorite singer for some time now and it’s all because of what she is doing outside of the DAMN. artist’s discography. If you have yet to listen to February’s The Feminine: Act II, do yourself a favor and cue up this year’s most underrated album thus far.

Rex Orange County

Rex Orange County is your biggest, goofiest smile in music form. With nods from artists like Tyler, the Creator and BADBADNOTGOOD, there’s a good chance you will find yourself rolling in a field of dandelions after listening to tracks like “Best Friend” or “Sunflower.”

Big Thief

Big Thief’s singer-guitarist Adrianne Lenker’s voice doesn’t have the roaring quality that demands your attention every time it breaks over top of the instrumentals. In fact, it rarely ascends above a whisper, nestling unfiltered tales of the human experience in your mind, ready to connect with when you need them most. And with lines like “There is a child inside you who is trying / To raise the child in me,” featured on the track “Mythological Beauty,” it’s critical that we let Lenker’s thoughts in.

A$AP Twelvyy

Besides A$AP Rocky and Ferg, any of the other members of A$AP Mob have yet to truly emerge in the rap game. While we’ve seen the occasional loosie, feature, and team tape contributions from Nast, Ant, and TyY, A$AP Twelvyy is finally rolling out his debut project, and he just might be the most lyrically adept of the whole group. Twelvyy’s debut album, 12, arrives Aug. 4.

Est-Her

It’s hard to believe that “Sympathy” is the first song released from the unnamed Toronto native, and former ballet dancer, Est-Her. Receiving a premiere from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, “Sympathy” is all about indie-pop maximalism right from the get-go, and Est-Her somehow manages to pack in bigger drums, bigger synths, and bigger vocals as its four minutes thunder out. We can’t be sure where Est-Her will go next, but big or small, we’ll be listening.

Loyal Lobos

Moving from Colombia to the United States in order to escape the country’s stringent expectations of how a woman should appear and behave, singer-songwriter Andrea Silva, aka Loyal Lobos, has also experienced a restructuring of her musical pursuit. Falling for the work of Elliott Smith, Silva has moved away from her earlier synthpop style in favor of folk sounds, and debut single “The Fall” is all the evidence needed to see that she made the right call.