10 emerging artists you need to hear this July
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to top this month. From new wave drum & bass, breaks and techno to experimental pop and house, here's July 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Missouri-based Duncan Winslow is a busy man; not only a musician, he runs a production YouTube channel and is a middle school orchestra teacher. He flirted with the sounds of progressive house and trance for a few years before settling on d&b around 2016, bringing much-needed melody to the genre through soulful, mellifluous sonics. Winslow’s already had a plethora of releases and caught the ears of the biggest in the game, like Soulvent, Spearhead and Hospital, the latter of which he’s just signed to exclusively. His tracks flip between banging and beautiful, with skippy drums, reflective keys and gorgeous instrumentation, offering drum & bass that’s both chilled-out and charged. Alongside collabs with stars like Degs, Winslow has been known to spit his own bars too, which are playful yet poignant. Much like his last EP, ‘Mad Flavours’ lie ahead.
For fans of: Degs, Keeno, Zero T
After making his debut on Scottish label and collective MELD’s first V/A compilation back in 2019, Edinburgh DJ and producer Lewis Williamson, aka LWS, has been cementing a place for himself in the world of UK techno. His productions are bursting with breaks and rattling percussion, conjuring momentous club energy with weird, off-kilter rhythms and dark basslines. You’ll find much of the same in LWS’ sets, too. Last year, he curated a show alongside Pluralist and MISH for 1020 Radio, plus a two-hour special for Project Radio that served as a real reminder of the dancefloor moments and sweaty club glow we’ve all been craving. Following on from EPs via Liam Doc’s Eyeangle Records and TDSR, LWS will release a new EP on Redstone Press in the coming months, and will announce a few other projects in the pipeline ready for rave season.
For fans of: Hessle Audio, Liam Doc, Batu
Jesse G works in Hard Wax, and that can only mean one thing: she wields an in-depth knowledge of electronic music. The German DJ’s collection spans cosmic beats to breakbeat chuggers, and over on HÖR Radio, Jesse helms a residency where she supplies a steady source of sublime techno each month. Affiliated with the FLINTA (female, lesbian, inter-, non-binary, trans and a-gender) event series Sieistguterjunge and co-promoter of Deep Trouble, Jesse knows how to work a crowd. She guides her audience through shadowy rhythms and wonky melodies, and recent mixes on Dublin Digital Radio and LYL have enhanced her profile even further. Through a combination of these platforms, Jesse cuts through the mass of sounds transmitting from Berlin; once the local nightlife circuit opens up again, you can guarantee to find Jesse bringing her considered selections to the city’s most intimate spaces.
For fans of: Donato Dozzy, Aurora Halal, Giant Swan
In May, TAAHLIAH released ‘Angelica’, a camp, chaotic and genre-bending affair that marked her debut as a producer. The Glasgow artist and DJ made a name for herself on the Berlin party circuit in 2019, the influence of which clearly resonates in her productions: from euphoric slow-burners to bouncy club-ready pumpers, the EP bridges the gap between pop and dance music with prowess. Welding crunchy, razor-sharp instrumentals with pitched-up vocals, TAAHLIAH’s work flirts heavily with the style of the PC Music crew. Across the seven songs on the record, TAAHLIAH’s lyrics champion unabashed messages of strength and acceptance (“No fucks about your binaries”, “I want to be the best I can be”), a nod to the trans community she is part of. As the first Black trans artist to be nominated at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, she’s already making big moves.
For fans of: LSDXOXO, SOPHIE, A.G Cook
Rising slowly into his artistry, Shumba Youth began by collecting records and performing as a DJ, keeping his lyric-writing mostly to his bedroom. After one show and a request to hold the microphone, Shumba Youth grew exponentially, MCing for bands, DJs and soundsystems across dancehall, drum & bass and jungle. His first recorded track ‘Don’t Take Wrong’ was poised with style and individuality, and led to the release of his debut EP in 2017. Thereafter storming the UK, Shumba formed his own band, bringing them to Boomtown festival to play alongside artists such as Dawn Penn, Mungo’s Hi-fi and Mad Professor. Between his first microphone purchase in a charity shop to releasing eight singles, Shumba Youth offers a prime example of how young artists can step through. “Keep creating and perfect your craft. Enjoy the process and do it for the right reasons. Go out there and live it,” he says.
For fans of: Ini Kamoze, Barrington Levy, Chronixx
Just 20 years old and already DJing top line-ups — a venture that’s notably harder without productions under your belt — SABRINA is currently riding a meteoric wave to the top of the drum & bass game. She’s only been on the scene since September 2020, yet she’s getting booked by leading labels such as Hospital Records, and well- established events like Wavey Garms and Hit & Run. This is a true testament to her selections, offering up wickedly curated sets with a particular penchant for liquid. Her sets rollick along with jazzy licks and jungle cuts from V Recordings, Soul:R, Hospital and beyond. SABRINA says, “In the future, there are places I’d love to play and like-minded people I would love to meet” — that’s definitely on this summer, as she makes her debuts at Fabric, Printworks and Manchester’s Hidden. Gunfingers at the ready!
For fans of: DJ Marky, Marcus Intalex, Coco Bryce
Sirius Blvck, Oreo Jones, and David ‘Sedcairn Archives’ Adamson are three vets of the Indianapolis scene, all making music that skews toward the forward-thinking end of the hip-hop, R&B, and beats spectrum. Recently, they’ve been working together as 81355 — which, with a little imagination, can be read as ‘bless.’ The trio had been making waves via a handful of excellent tracks, notably the dreamy, delicate ‘Hard 2 Find,’ and they’ve recently followed that up with a full album on the 37d03d label, ‘This Time I’ll Be Of Use,’ a release that fuses an overall phantasmagorical vibe to an array of earthy rhythms and tumbling verbiage. “81355 means so much,” Jones says. “It’s love, pain, anger, desire, happiness, hope. All three of us really pushed our individual boundaries, and you can hear that on the record.”
For fans of: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Material Girl, Clams Casino
Kristian Wang takes his artistic inspiration from the beauty in the world around him. Raised in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Calgary, the Chinese-Canadian multiinstrumentalist is an avid explorer — a quality that shines through in his layered productions, which offer rich, nature-laced soundscapes that blossom into melodic house grooves. His newest cut, ‘Rings Of Saturn,’ transforms his fascination with outer space into humming, rave-ready frequencies. “I truly hope that someday our species will find a way to live among the stars,” Wang shares. “‘Rings Of Saturn’ is the first (of many) love letters to the people who still look up at the night sky and dream of exploring. It’s also an invitation to anyone who wants to join me on this cosmic journey.” Well, you heard the man — let’s hop on this sonic rocket-ship and send our ears somewhere unfamiliar.
For fans of: Tycho, IHF, Yotto
Though hailing from the small Russian town of Labytnangi, Biicla is already making a big name for himself Stateside with his unusual and textured take on house music. The multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer will unveil his debut ‘Outside’ EP later this month, a four-track release that gives listeners a brief introduction to his hypnotizing, indie-esque compositions. The lead single ‘Getting High’ is especially entrancing, with its soft vocals, jazzy piano and crackling lo-fi filters, thoughtfully arranged over chill breakbeats. He’ll be making his North American debut later this month when he takes the stage at Hard Summer, and is also a featured name on Insomniac’s first-ever Lost In Dreams festival lineup.
For fans of: San Holo, Rome In Silver, Wavedash
Phill Celeste’s Life On Planets project puts funk and function center stage, lulling ears with his lo-fi brand of R&B-forward house music. His 2020 track ‘Midas Touchin’ spun a defiant tale about the epic party that would erupt when the American people kicked Trump out of office. Months after the song’s release, he saw its message become reality as people across the country danced in the streets in celebration of Joe Biden’s election win. By exploring themes of politics, equality, and human connection, the trained guitarist and singer-songwriter has landed on labels such as Crew Love and Kitsuné, and has transformed his tunes into a force for good. Last year, the Baltimore-bred/Miami-based musician donated to organizations like Black Lives Matter and Poor People’s Campaign with proceeds drawn from his track sales. He recently teamed up with Matt Hall on his new single, ‘Starchild,’ which dropped on July 2nd, so listen up and get lifted.
For fans of: Barclay Crenshaw, DJ Holographic, Soul Clap