Before They Were Cool

New releases from a trio of artists you haven’t heard of…yet.

Candy EP

Michigan-raised, LA-based rocker (born Garrett Borns) has a soothing falsetto and an androgynous fashion sense; he isn’t all that shocked when fans are surprised to learn that he’s a man. Taking musical cues from early MGMT and T. Rex, songs like “Electric Love” and “10,000 Emerald Pools” are sequined, sexed-up pop jams that seem more appropriate for the bedroom than the club. It certainly caught the attention of Taylor Swift, who gave “Electric Love” a shout-out on Twitter, calling the song an “instant classic.” A consummate showman, fans at a recent LA showcase had to navigate a funhouse-style labyrinth on their way to the stage. Børns just played The Surf Lodge on Aug 30, but fret not. He’ll be at Mercury Lounge on Sept 16.

Lianne La Havas
(Warner Bros.)

Remember when Alicia Keys first came out? Adele? We all had that same special feeling back in 2012 when La Havas released her debut Is Your Love Big Enough?. But despite her golden pipes and model looks, the folky songs on that record seemed patchy. Lucky for us, the London-based singer has expanded her sound by leaps and bounds on her recently released sophomore album, Blood. Inspired by a trip to Jamaica, La Havas bypasses the reggae trappings for a more expansive repertoire that includes everything from anthemic R&B jams (“Unstoppable”), strident neo-soul (“Midnight”) and playful doo-wop pop (“What You Don’t Do”). This is the type of record that makes stars, don’t be surprised if La Havas steals the show at some awards ceremony in the near future. Until then, catch her when she plays Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen on Sept 26, it may be the last time she plays a venue that intimate.

Astronauts, etc.
Mind Out Wandering
(Hit City U.S.A.)

Known for dreamy synth lines, contemplative lyrics and minimal production, the chillwave genre hit its peak around 2010, but gave us some great bands like Washed Out and Toro y Moi. Anthony Ferraro, the man behind the highly buzzed-about Astronauts, etc., could be considered a descendent of the chillwave scene (he was Toro y Moi’s touring keyboardist for a spell), but the music he’s made on his debut Mind Out Wandering expands well beyond the genre he started out in. Songs like “No Justice” and “Eye to Eye” are smooth and funky, resting comfortably between old-school R&B and the schmaltzy yacht-rock soul that was all the rage in the late 70s. Despite classical music training, a Berkley education and a stint as a computer algorithm writer, Ferraro’s music is rarely esoteric. He isn’t above busting out a Doobie Brothers-esque guitar lick or a nostalgic synthesizer interlude just to keep the listener on their toes. He has his own touring band now and will open for old pals Toro y Moi at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Oct 1 and 2.