October 2015: Before They Were Cool

Oh Wonder
Oh Wonder
(Caroline International)

It’s strange to think that this co-ed, twenty-something duo (Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West) never played any live shows together before the release of their recent eponymous debut. This collection of 15 songs is also a “greatest hits” album of sorts, released on Soundcloud one song per month since last year. The songs have garnered over 14 million streams, fans seemingly never getting enough of the group’s swoon-worthy harmonies and piano-based pop melodies. Understandable since the choruses of songs like “Livewire” and “Drive” burrow into listeners’ heads after one turn. They’ll be perfecting their live show with two performances at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn on Oct 8. Tickets are already sold-out, but expect them to be back soon.

Benjamin Clementine
At Least for Now
(Behind/Capitol Records)

Already a phenom in his home country, the singer and pianist paid his duesbusking on the streets of Paris before being discovered at a club gig. Since then, he’s stunned audiences at European concerts and festivals with his highly emotive spinto tenor, evocative lyrics and spirited live shows where he often performed barefoot. And, as evidenced recently in Paris, playing the piano so forcefully that he cut his hand. At Least for Now, his debut album, dropped in Europe in January and finally made it to the States in July. Check out the videos for “Nemesis” and “Cornerstone” on YouTube to get a sense of what will surely blow audiences away when Clementine plays the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea on Oct 15.

Mikky Ekko

After hearing his gospel-trained voice on the 2013 Rihanna hit “Stay” one would think pop audiences would have caught on to the Nashville-based singer’s debut album by now. After all, “Stay” led to collaborations with EDM acts like David Guetta and Chris Malinchak and even a co-writing credit on Christina Aguilera’s “We Remain.” Somehow Time, which was released in January, still remains decidedly under the radar. Expect that to change when enough ears hear the anthemic single “Watch Me Rise.” Catch him live when he plays October 20 at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn. It might be the last time he plays at such an intimate venue.