Before They Were Cool September 2014

Sylvan Esso
We’re still trying to figure out how Sylvan Esso’s infectious single “Coffee” didn’t make any of those Best Songs of Summer lists. No matter. We’re making the duo’s eponymous debut album our official pick for the best end of summer soundtrack. Ten songs of subtle electronic beats and folky vocals in the vein of Rhye and The Postal Service are perfect for the first date—as well as the post-date make-out session. Frontwoman Amelia Meath was singing in an all-female folk trio and backing up Feist before meeting bassist and producer Nick Sanborn. The two began collaborating via email with Sanborn layering Meath’s vocals over electro-pop tracks. They eventually convened in North Carolina to record the album and judging by the buzz they’ve received since, the two may have already quit their day jobs. Hit up StubHub to catch their sold-out gig at the Bowery Ballroom on Sept 12, or catch them at a Rough Trade NYC in-store appearance in Williamsburg on Sept 11.

Time is Over One Day Old
There wasn’t much to dislike on this Brooklyn band’s last two albums. Filled with catchy but experimental synth-rock grounded by frontman Jon Philpot’s indie crooning, singles like “Lovesick Teenagers” and “The Reflection of You” sounded like the soundtrack for a modern-day John Hughes flick. Still, while those albums had an immediate accessibility, their new effort, Time is Over One Day Old, gets under your skin (and stuck in your head) only after repeated listening. And that’s not a bad thing. Sure, the single “Autumn” and the gorgeously anthemic ballad, “The Sun and The Moon and The Stars,” are immediately blog-worthy, but the band has created its first artful, cohesive masterpiece. And they put on a fantastic live show. Check ’em out on Sept 16 at the Bowery Ballroom or the next night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Jillian Banks still has her phone number up on her Facebook page, but with Ellie Goulding giving Banks’ music shout-outs on the radio and a freshly-inked deal on Universal Music’s Harvest imprint, we expect her to change that number any day now. While the L.A.-based singer’s mix of dark electro and R&B vocals isn’t historically the type of stuff radio would play, we still feel she’s one viral vid or iTunes ad away from a breakout year. (Her song “Waiting Game” was already featured in a Victoria’s Secret spot). Check out the single “Drowning” for a good example of her Erykah Badu meets Fiona Apple sound, and definitely try to catch her gig at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen on Sept 30—we fully expect she’ll be playing sold-out theater gigs this time next year.