11 emerging artists you need to hear this August
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to top this month. From tough techno and sun baked house to icy UK rap, breaks and experimental electronics here's August 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Currently based in London, ohmydais has been cutting her teeth on radio via her monthly residency on Threads, building a plethora of shows that are rooted in fast-paced, club-focused music from breaks to techno. Prior to this, her sounds have been heard across the airwaves with guest appearances on Rinse FM, Balamii and Reprazent, including an outing on Lobster Theremin’s show last October that gained plenty of ID requests.
While the clubs have been closed for business and the gigs have been on hold, she’s been able to display her skills in the booth through live streaming, most notably her latest foray from London club FOLD for the Typeless takeover — seamlessly mixing ’90s classics like 2 Live Crew’s ‘Shake A Lil Somethin’ into Snarexx’s spacey electro ‘Computer Overload’, all the way through to the deeper spectrum of techno from the likes of Dontao Dozzy. Poised and ready, ohmydais is set to tear up the clubs very soon.
For fans of: Hyperaktivist, Asquith, Fade
Despite only releasing a handful of tracks, enigmatic Birmingham-based rapper Two Face has built a considerable buzz around his name, notably for adding flourishes of melody to his baritone bars. Debut single ‘Teachers Pets’ landed in December 2019, and was notably co-signed by 0121 rap godfather MIST. The gold-masked Two Face cuts a lone, imposing figure in the accompanying visuals; imagine an Adidas-wearing Michael Myers in the bando.
After a year-long hiatus he returned in January 2021 with ‘BUBU’ and May follow-up ‘Again’, doubling down on the icy menace of his debut. “They don’t wanna see the evil me,” he rumbles on the latter. So perhaps his name refers to a Jekyll and Hyde-like dual-persona? With some appearances on high-profile freestyle platforms locked in and an EP scheduled for the autumn, we look forward to finding out.
For fans of: Karma, Trills, Sosa Sensei
Words: Rob Kazandjian
Joginda Macnack and Mike Richards are the artists behind Black Cadmium — a duo based in Rotterdam from Surinamese descent. Their music draws influences from a broad spectrum of genres, with their most recent EP — ‘Our Legacy’ — reminiscent of classic Detroit techno and electro, to the sounds of UK bleep and acid. Released on Netherlands imprint Vault Wax, it marks their second outing on the label following their ‘Muted Chaos’ EP in February last year.
The duo made their mark elsewhere in 2020 too, with a 303 acid-laced breaks EP on Violet’s Naive, and more acid techno for ‘Joblot’ and the disco-tinged ‘LoveDrums’ on Josh Wink’s long-running imprint Ovum. There’s more in the pipeline too; they’ve just been featured on a new Sticky Tapes compilation, plus there are releases to come on Dam Swindle’s new Transient Nature imprint and Lisbon-based Troublemaker Records later in the year. Already proving their versatility as producers, and as dedicated vinyl junkies, they’ll no doubt be stacking wax in a DJ booth near you very soon.
For fans of: Drexciya, The Exaltics, Minimal Violence
Words: Anna Wall
Torelló-born, Barcelona-based artist Ikram Bouloum has been present in the scene for some time, through DJing at local clubs and venues in the Catalonian capital; check out her mix for Spanish Club Marabú as an example of the journey that her DJ sets will take you on, with ravenous drums across plenty of genres, from hard drum & bass to gabber.
She recently revealed a debut EP influenced by her Moroccan roots — named ‘Ha-bb5’ — comprising five striking tracks melding the traditional sounds of the Maghreb with electronic music. Produced by Barcelona’s Mans O, it also marks the first release on his new label So Urgent. The lyrics are sung in her native language Amazigh, as well as in Catalan and English, touching on themes such as identity and current matters in society. Musically the EP is pensive and expressive, with a strong focus on percussion and drums, and paves the way for an exciting foray into her music productions.
For fans of: Deena Abdelwahed, Aisha Devi, LCY
Words: Anna Wall
“See me on a TV show, bouncing around like everything’s OK,” says Lady Ice at the end of her 2020 single ‘No More Secrets’. Since she was a teenager she’s been a semi-regular on British television, first appearing in a talent show on Sky when she was 16, then competing on X-Factor, then on series one of BBC Three’s The Rap Game UK. But she’s less family- friendly than that suggests.
‘No More Secrets’ is a bitter tale about her absentee father being killed. ‘Do That For’ is a post-breakup dancehall tune about a silly rudeboy lover. She’s versatile, capable of everything from drill to R&B, yet raw and original enough to resist major-label homogenisation. She bends her Mancunian accent to her will, finding multiple rhymes in every bar. This, and her incredible story, make her a unique talent.
For fans of: Bugzy Malone, Ivorian Doll, J Hus
Words: Sam Davies
Hailing from Glasgow, and resident at Edinburgh’s FLY Club, La La is rapidly emerging as an industry heavyweight. Her impeccable selections and ability to carry the listener on a journey shines through regardless of genre — and her gentle openness and reassurance online enforces how genuinely hard working and grateful she is for her success.
La La’s Rinse FM residency, combined with her 2019 Boiler Room, has skyrocketed her into people’s psyches over recent months. Even Annie Mac is on board with the Scottish talent, who guested La La on her final minimix on BBC Radio 1. Her label — Brand New Records — launched with a bang back in November, releasing an EP with fellow Glaswegians Pentland Park. This year looks set for further success for La La and her label alike: we can’t wait to see what she gets up to.
For fans of: Spencer Parker, Mr. G, Radioslave
Ciel and Dan Only have, over the past few years, been making their name as vital members of the Toronto underground, working as promoters and DJs and doing whatever it takes to keep a scene vibrant. As producers, Ciel has become known for her spectral, exploratory breakbeats, while Only has been refining a syncopated sound that’s rich and emotive. Born out of an impromptu jam session — the former armed with her Korg ESX-1 sampler, the latter with his vintage synths — their new joint project, Cloudsteppers, has a style that sounds like both and neither of them. Out on London’s X-Kalay label, the four tunes on the pair’s new (and so far only) EP, ‘The Limit,’ are crisp yet airy, skeletal yet full of emotion, with their rhythmically imaginative templates taking in elements of jungle, techno, breaks, and general ravey goodness. It’s great stuff, and though the duo’s future plans are described as “loose,” fingers are crossed there’s more on the way soon.
For fans of: Pearson Sound, Four Tet, Beatrice Dillon
Words: Bruce Tantum
Queer singer-songwriter and producer Kaleena Zanders packs powerful messages into every cut. The LA-based artist pairs her strong and passionate voice with house, hip-hop, and rock-infused beats — a combo that’s landed her on lineups for major events such as EDC Las Vegas and Coachella, as well as Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 VISION Tour. A recent remix package for her emotional single ‘RELOAD,’ which chronicles her own experience with police brutality, features all POC artists (including dubstep figurehead 12th Planet and West Coast duo, Vindata), and has a philanthropic goal as well — she’ll donate all first year artist streaming royalties to The National Bailout Fund and Diversify The Stage, LLC.
She recently teamed up with FEMME HOUSE Founder LP Giobbi on ‘Carry Us,’ a driving, piano house groove that became an instant pride anthem, and on August 11th, she’ll drop her debut solo EP, ‘Everything Is Misaligned,’ so get ready to hear a whole lot more of Kaleena this summer.
For fans of: Kah-Lo, DRAMA, Josh Barry
Words: Megan Venzin
Following the success of their debut ‘Breakup Disco’ EP, Brooklyn duo Supertaste continue to dish out summer’s hottest soundtracks. Warm synths, smooth vocals, and sparkly melodies are always on the menu when Hundreds Thousands and Slug Father hit the decks together. The two musicians spent much of 2020 producing music at a woodsy retreat in Bristol, Tennessee, but their end product beams with pure dancefloor bliss.
Kitsuné Musique will release their forthcoming ‘Super Classic’ EP later this month, on which the lead single, ‘In Your Head’ drips with dreamy nostalgia. Inspired in part by the lush landscapes that surrounded their remote studio, this groovy cut evokes memories of sweet sunsets and hazy nights. Their second release ‘Spins’ boasts the type of effervescent stuff rooftop parties vibe on. For this reason among others, Supertaste will set the tone as friends reunite this season.
For fans of: Washed Out, Poolside, Neon Indian
Words: Megan Venzin
It’s a safe bet, no matter the breadth of your music- listening experience, you’ve never heard anything quite like the South Korean artist Bela. Their previous EPs, starting with 2019’s ‘Why Are You So Lost Sweetie,’ are brimming with otherworldly gems, but their latest, ‘Guidelines,’ takes Bela’s exploratory predilections a step further.
Released on Montreal’s Éditions Appærent label, the tracks — highly percussive, rhythmically untethered, and a bit disorienting, though also ethereally lovely — are the result of Bela’s investigation into the Korean folk music and dance tradition known as nongak, a process which involved searching down obscure ensemble videos and searching through government archives. Though rooted in music of the past, ‘Guidelines’ is experimental to the core — for those with adventurous tastes, it’s a hugely rewarding listen, and we’re looking forward to hearing what’s next.
For fans of: Autechre, William Basinski, Aphex Twin
Words: Bruce Tantum
When in the presence of the Lisbona Sisters, expect to break a sweat. Siblings Ava and Laura launched a spandex-themed party close to a decade ago for friends and fellow ravers to work out and werk it. Now they’re bringing that vibe back to life with a series of Insomniac videos and ’80s-inspired remixes that they’ll produce themselves. But that’s just one fun way they’re honing their complex craft and vibrant sound.
Their ‘Another 1’ EP (which dropped via Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage label) charted #1 on Beatport’s Best New Deep House list. These two also aim to turn heads and make the world a better place with their “Less Clothes More Impact” platforms, which have seen them pack the shores for their party-poppin’ bikini beach clean-ups close to home in Venice Beach, and abroad at Holy Shipwrecked!, plus 2020’s “Masks On Shirts Off” Instagram initiative proves just how sexy public health can be. The two recently dropped a ’90s RnB and Hip-Hop mix ahead of their Hard Summer debut that’s so hot, you just may find your own clothes strewn across the floor.
For fans of: VNSSA, Justin Jay
Words: Megan Venzin