Prelow - "Simple Song"
A young New York duo with only three songs to its name, Prelow has quietly made waves on SoundCloud with half a million streams of "Mistakes Like This," a catchy, hazy ode to drunk hook-ups. Meanwhile, hiding under the radar - but just begging to be discovered - is the remarkable "Simple Song," a perfectly short, sweet and smooth late night jam. Bump it when you're driving around by yourself, just around midnight, with nowhere in particular to go.
Theophilus London - "Big Spender" and "Dance Hall Days"
Theophilus has dropped three new songs in the past couple of weeks, and it feels like he might finally be on the verge of blowing up. These two tracks are nothing new (from a 2012 mixtape), but they showcase London's incredibly broad range. "Big Spender" is a massive banger with a booming beat and aggressive verses, while "Dance Hall Days" is a happy go-lucky reinterpretation of a corny 1980s pop song. And both work well.
Run The Jewels - "Blockbuster Night Part 1"
You won't be getting any happy go-lucky '80s covers from Run The Jewels, ever. Bangers only. And that's fine with me.
Delta Spirit - "From Now On"
Generationals - "Gold Silver Diamond"
Two bands with underhyped, underappreciated albums in 2014. Delta Spirit's latest is a more polished version of their trademark breezy Americana, while Generationals continue to put out quirky, easygoing pop-rock.
Childish Gamino - "Sober"
You've probably heard this one by now. If not, get excited for a new direction from Gambino on his upcoming mixtape - with more singing, and (hopefully) more smiling.
Lia Ices - "Higher"
An airy, breathy, high-pitched chorus that sneaks into your ears and stays there.
Raury - "God's Whisper" (Flosstradamus Remix)
Flosstradamus reworks the Kid Cudi-esque chillwave of up-and-coming star Raury into a heavy, hard-hitting barrage of electronic surges, Ratatat-style. That sentence had a lot of words that don't sound like English.
Kero Kero Bonito - "Flamingo"
The rap in this song definitely isn't in English. Not sure what language it is (Japanese, maybe?), but it comes along with a funky, lovably weird video game soundtrack and a relentlessly catchy hook. This tune comes from a UK trio, featured with nine other young unknown artists on Ryan Hemsworth's collection of "Secret Songs."