New Sensations: Syd Goes Solo, Scandi-Pop Gets Soulful & Mall-Pop Lives Forever

Carl Williott | January 25, 2017 10:00 am

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

In 2017, music will be more of a cultural counterweight and psychological salve than ever before for our generation. The songs here have little to do with the former; as far as I can tell they’re mostly about love. So escape into them. Let’s build some newcomers up before the circus peanut king burns everything down.

Enjoy the four new acts below while you still can.


OK we’re cheating a little, since The Internet‘s frontwoman isn’t a new entity. But as a solo artist she’s new on the scene, with her debut album Fin out February 3. First taste “All About Me” was much more pop-oriented than the cloudy digi-soul of her band, and she followed that up with the bass-heavy bedroom jam “Body.” In two quick drops, Syd has already shown she might cover even more ground out on her own than she did with her band or as a member of Odd Future.


Norwegian singer dePresno hails from the same town that spawned AURORA, Kygo and Röyksopp. And his latest single, “See You Soon,” proves whatever’s in the water there is working. The combination of gravel and grace in his vocals allows him to utilize dancefloor flourishes or tender, piano-driven falsetto moments without ever sounding out of place. His debut album is out later this year.


This London duo writes and produces all their material, and both members sing, giving everything a nice Human League male-female duality. But instead of dancey synth-pop, it’s dancey R&B. “Guilty Pleasure” sneaks in a sly steel drum motif to place the song firmly in today’s landscape without leaning on the dancehall-pop tropes that currently dominate. As for “Lies,” it’s all floaty seduction until that TNGHT-level horn drop rattles everything.


A fresh find doesn’t get any fresher than this. Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford met a few months ago, teamed up as joan, and just this week released their debut single. It was co-produced by Walk The Moon producer Tim Pagnotta, and it almost feels like a male counterpart to the utopian ’80s pop vision that Carly Rae Jepsen presented on E•MO•TION: blissed-out keys, guitar flicks and gated drums working in unison as an optimized chorus delivery system.