[node:245375 noterms imagecache=field_image:timeout_245x152:image:0; cck=field_caption; cck=field_credits;]We’re only eight weeks into the new year and already artists are charging out of the gates with headline-stealing new releases (yes, I’m talking about you, Radiohead). To make sure the little guys get some love, too, here’s a list of singles from ten artists you may not have heard of that are shaking up the norm and shaping the sound of 2011.
Like a party animal who’s growing up, dBridge has spent the last few years chilling out drum ’n’ bass. Those hyperactive breaks have been given some space, quite literally stripped down to a crisp halftime and paired with layers of ethereal synths. This is d’n’b for the sunrise set.
Glasser “Mirrorage” Lindstrøm remix (Feedelity) The mystical electro-pop of Glasser is the latest source material for the master of the heroin-disco groove, Lindstrøm. He’s kept the Italo stutter of the original relatively intact, adding just the right embellishments—length, vocal layers, cosmic effects—to up the intensity to 11.
Holy Ghost “Do It Again” (DFA) The LCD Soundsystem understudies have returned, with their best work since 2007’s “Hold On.” Whereas last year’s Static on the Wire EP seemed to be trying too hard to fall in line with the cosmic disco trend, “Do It Again” capitalizes on the best parts of that sound while reasserting Holy Ghost’s individuality.
Isolée “Taktell” (Pampa Records) People go round and round about whether his music is minimal techno or microhouse, but there’s no disagreement about the quality of Isolée’s output. This understated lead single from his Well Spent Youth album bubbles with analog warmth, sharp finger snaps and, of all things, a fiddle. Few in the game can make a song this esoteric so infectious.
Francesco Tristano “Idiosnkrasia” Ben Klock remix (InFiné) Virtuoso pianist Tristano has dedicated his career to blurring the lines between techno and classical music, with a helping hand from Detroit legend Carl Craig. This remix from German techno force Ben Klock tones down the original’s Motor City funk in favor of a pulsing banger sprinkled with Tristano’s angelic flourishes on the ivory keys.
Willy Joy “Woman Like Me” (Plant Music) In an attempt to spur on an early spring, Kid Sis tour jock Willy Joy drops this sunshine-soaked house stomper. Swirling with equal parts U.K. garage, b-more and deep house, this is the type of cut that’s destined to break free of the underground.
Salva “Keys Open Doors” (Friends of Friends) Bright enough to melt away your winter blues, “Keys Open Doors,” from L.A.’s Paul Salva, looks to the U.K. for this not-quite-dubstep, not-quite-two-step gem, one of the standouts from his Complex Housing LP.
Midland “Bring Joy” (More Music) Another artist ignoring genre trends, the U.K.’s Midland occupies the twilight region between techno and dubstep. Deep, atmospheric and highly syncopated, “Bring Joy” is the type of production Burial might make if he toughened up his sound for the dance floor.
Darkness Falls “Hey!” (HFN Records) Haunted surf-rock set to a dance beat, “Hey!” appears on the debut self-titled EP from this pair of Danish beauties. With production backing from avant-techno genius Trentemøller, Darkness Falls is the type of hybrid act that will make Pitchfork freak.
Nero “Me & You” (MTA) Backed by drum ’n’ bass kingpins Chase & Status—whose most recent work is with Rihanna—Nero are the rising rock stars of dubstep. This latest single mixes angsty buzzsaw bass, squelchy synths and grinding guitar riffs for a dance tune you can head bang to.