Deep Sea Diver “One By One”
In 2014, creating something new with an electric guitar requires equal parts technical know-how, creative awareness and nerve. Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson mines an unprecedented sound from her Fender—an atomized, sky-wide buzz—while her band provides bubbly percussion, synthesized harmonies and gospel-ish backing vocals.
Maiah Manser “Hold Your Head Up”
Maiah Manser has been singing and writing songs for almost all of her 23 years, but the chamber pop of “Hold Your Head Up” is built on more than commitment. Electronic drums, elegant strings and Manser’s powerhouse vocals slowly, surely explode into crescendo, a dramatic collision of melody, ambition and ability.
The Bug feat. Liz Harris “Void”
UK veteran the Bug is best known as a glitchy dub and drum ’n’ bass producer. He pairs with Portland’s Liz Harris, who records her own ambient-electronic folk music as Grouper, for this dreamy smudge of digital soul taken from his upcoming Ninja Tune LP. Call ’em Grouper & the Bug—and imagine what a cute kids’ book that would be.
Kaylee Cole “Your War”
A few years back, Kaylee Cole recorded with TV on the Radio’s David Sitek in LA. Now those songs have finally—finally!—come to light. In her live sets, “Your War” is an old-fashioned piano-driven torch song. Sitek deconstructs it into a minimalist industrial dirge with Cole’s burnt-gold vocals illuminating the darkness.
Earth “From the Zodiacal Light”
Part of what makes Earth so damn heavy is their acknowledgement of the light. On their tenth album, the longstanding drone-rock jammers recruit Rose Windows vocalist Rabia Qazi to melt butter atop 11 minutes of smoldering opium-den disco/sex-magic balladry. Match made.