16. Atoms for Peace, Amok — I am always buying whatever Thom Yorke is selling. First off he has an understanding of harmony like no one else going in rock. Second, he and the rest of Radiohead had already perfected the combination of raw, organic sound with cold electronics a decade and a half ago. This is a more intriguing entry than most with the presence of Flea, one of the most innovative bassists around.
17. Chelsea Wolfe, Sick — Experimental doom folk? Electronic singer-songwriter? I’m gonna go with contemporary goth. That’s what this sounds like to me. Darkness is at the core of everything Wolfe does, whether she’s drawing from black metal, folk ballad traditions, icy synths, or 80s avant-garde. Listen to This Mortal Coil’s It’ll End In Tears, then to Wolfe’s new album–it sounds like a logical modern extension of the 4AD sound.
18. The Boy Least Likely To, The Great Perhaps — And now for something completely different. The Boy Least Likely To are the anti-dark. This is most optimistic, sunny twee pop that the human mind is capable of conceiving. Fortunately this band is an absolute hook machine and they delivery what they’re trying for.
19. Trombone Shorty, Say That To Say This — He’s at it again. Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, is the most important musician in New Orleans today; the young performer is at the forefront of thew, revitalized music coming out of my native city. I played trombone myself and in case anyone was wondering, this guy is a technical genius. He’s got it all–chops for days, a unique vision, great looks, songwriting skill, a tight young band, and lively performances.
20. Polvo, Siberia — Polvo are firmly in the category of “Oh yeah, THOSE guys! Whatever happened to them?” Even that’s generous–unless you know the early 90s Chapel Hill scene or follow math rock they might be entirely unfamiliar. Well they’re back, more than 20 years since their first album and making some of the most interesting music of their career. They effortlessly balance dissonance and listenability; this is technically adept noise rock I can get behind.