New Sensations: A Lorde Co-Sign, An Antisocial Anthem & More Pop Finds

Carl Williott | August 9, 2016 10:00 am

New Sensations is our semi-regular roundup of emerging acts you oughta know.

The Olympics kicked off a few days ago, and the best thing about this deeply corrupt, deeply absurd global sports spectacle is that as you watch these people you’ve never heard of accomplish some remarkable things, over the course of a few days you become attached to some of them. By the end of week 1 there’s always an upstart athlete you begin talking about with friends and family as though you’ve always been talking about them, even though you just learned of the person’s existence a few days prior.

You obsess over certain competitors and their narratives, and give yourself a crash course on their goofy sport’s esoteric rules, and it can all be truly thrilling — I still remember losing my shit to that Keri Strugg vault in 1996 even though I had never watched gymnastics nor heard of her just a few dozen hours before that moment.

That’s kinda like what it feels like when you fall in love with new music from some new artist you’ve never heard of. You find out everything you can about whoever’s making it, maybe tell people about it as though you’ve been listening since day one.

So check out the four new acts below. Maybe one will become a momentary obsession for you. Maybe you’ll forget about them all once you turn on the Olympics tonight. Maybe you’ll keep one with you years down the line, without even realizing it.


She has the co-signs (Lorde and Zane Lowe), she has the backstory (allegedly never heard contemporary music until her teens because she was raised on a forest commune by outcast folk musicians in Scandinavia) and she has the songs. Skott’s first two singles, which were released as a 7″ on B3SCI on July 29, fully showcase her range. The spare “Porcelain” boasts an off-kilter chirpiness like Grimes or Nicole Dollanganger. On the flipside, “Wolf” is a more traditional belter, with an arrangement like Florence on Xanax that lets the key changes really ring out.


Mallrat is so young that she takes her stage name not from Kevin Smith‘s 1995 comedy with the time capsule soundtrack, but from the title of a song by The Orwells, whose members graduated high school in 2013. The 17-year-old Australian is the latest in a line of young millennial women — like Lorde, Alessia Cara and Clairity — who’ve reacted to growing up with social media saturation by making misfit pop. “Uninvited” has her grumbling the hyper-relatable hook “Get me off the list / I’ve got nothing on my wrist,” and her first US single “For Real” has a hip-hop/house bounce. Mallrat’s Uninvited EP drops August 12.

Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson is a soul singer. Not in the Jessie Ware soul-inflected pop-R&B mold (no offense to Ms. Ware), but straight-up soul. She isn’t showy, and her arrangements are fussy and unrushed, unspooling in a way that’s rare for the streaming age. The Toronto singer shines on BADBADNOTGOOD‘s ultra-smooth “In Your Eyes,” and she wrote and produced “Find You,” which is off her debut EP, CDW, out August 26.

Promise Keeper

You’ll hear a male and a female voice in these two songs, but as for who the mystery female is, or who Promise Keeper actually is, that’s unclear at the moment. For now, the Londoner’s persona seems to be a combo of mystery-era The Weeknd and SOPHIE. But the music takes all that beyond the gimmick realm: “Porous Silk” is lean funk that splits the difference between new wave and ’80s R&B, while “Side Decide” is George Michael x Sade whisper-house.