Just like the beginning of every year, 2022 is sure to bring new resolutions—many of which admittedly fail very quickly. For this new year, start your rebrand on the right note with eight artists we recommend.
1. Saâda Bonaire
Saâda Bonaire is the definition of barrier-breaking. The iconic art project was created by German DJ Ralph “Von” Richthoven, with models Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfeld providing vocals—along with numerous guest artists credited on each track. The title of the project is a combination of the names of two cities: an Algerian town named Bou Saâda, and Bonaire, an island located in the Caribbean. Saâda Bonaire was too ahead of its time; no producer understood the project’s political and feminist commentary, candid exploration of lesbian relationships, and inventive intersections of ethnic and pop music.
Decades later, Saâda Bonaire finally found its appropriate welcome. While only one song, “You Could Be More as You Are”, was released within the 1980s, multiple never-before-heard recordings were found and subsequently released in 2013. The combination of disco, Arabian-Caribbean beats, new wave, and other genres has made Saâda Bonaire a funky new favorite for those interested in feminist pop poetry.
Recommended songs: “You Could Be More as You Are”, “More Women”, “So Many Dreams”
Listen to Saâda Bonaire here.
2. Magdalena Bay
This Los Angeles-based indie duo is high on our list of artists to watch for in 2022. With intricate lyricism, danceable beats, and an altogether zany yet intriguing aesthetic, together members Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewi show us what the new modern psychedelia looks like. Their debut album, Mercurial World, was released in late 2021 and explored questions of existentialism and personal philosophies in a deeply interconnected semi-digital world. Working on the entirety of their album, from writing, performing, mixing and mastering all the tracks, Magdalena Bay creates a masterful piece, highlighting the creative and conceptual synergy between the two individuals.
Magdalena Bay also stands out for their online presence and techy aesthetics, frequently using TikTok as a space to interact with fans and promote new releases. The duo mixes old and new technological aesthetics and Y2K iconography to create an nostalgic yet energizing image—a perfect complement to their electronic tunes. Magdalena Bay kicks off their Mercurial Tour this February.
Recommended songs: “Hysterical Us”, “Killshot”, “Secrets (Your Fire)”
Listen to Magdalena Bay here.
Surprisingly enough, Ramble Jon Krohn’s stage name is, in fact, a twist on the name of the Star Wars character, R2-D2. With its standout mix of hip-hop-based electronic, RJD2’s music can easily be identified as one-of-a-kind. Though Krohn had created music in a collaborative group setting, RJD2 was his first solo project. His debut album is titled Deadringer; most recognize his work in the song “A Beautiful Mine”, the main theme from Mad Men.
RJD2’s music sounds like what New York felt like in the early 2000s: slightly gutsy, juxtaposing, and heavily influenced by outside sources. Still, Krohn manages to convey a sort of humorous casualness in his discography—and if you look onto his Instagram, it’s also present in his posts. In a time when many artists are trying to force depth into their music, RJD2 is a tried and true favorite for his fresh, instrumental sound.
Recommended songs: “All For U”, “See You Leave” (feat. STS, Khari Mateen), “Ghostwriter”
Listen to RJD2 here.
4. Blue Hawaii
Since meeting in 2009 in Montreal, Blue Hawaii has spent over a decade perfecting their craft. Starting with ambient lo-fi bedroom recordings, they gradually evolved towards a more uplifting and techno sound. Their work is threaded through the confident yet soft vocals and songwriting of Raphaelle “Ra” Standell-Preston, and the production of Agor “DJ Kirby.” Their different musical experiences and the geographic barrier between them (with Agor in Berlin, and Ra in Montreal) come together to create a truly unique and identifiable sound.
The duo’s newest EP, My Bestfriend’s House, follows the feelings of togetherness and joy that began with their 2020 EP release, Under 1 Houseˆa collection that celebrates this high energy in spite of circumstances. Themes of love and intimacy are supported by catchy lyrics and cutting drum and bass.
Recommended songs: “Still I Miss U”, “Not My Boss!”, “L.O.V.E.”
Listen to Blue Hawaii here.
5. Silica Gel
The Korean group Silica Gel does modern psychedelia like you’ve never heard it before. Working with instruments, voice, and synthesizers, the band might be described using adjectives like atmospheric and experimental. Silica Gel’s relative newness as a group proves no issue, as you can still hear the potential of each member in each song. Because each member has such a unique repertoire of skills, the group’s strength is each member’s individuality. As a result, their combined talents create a complex, hard-to-pinpoint sound that is present in every released track.
From the stunning visuals in the “Kyo181” music video to the incredible cover of BADBADNOTGOOD’s “Beside April”, Silica Gel exudes raw creative strength to the highest level. It’s only a question of when listeners will catch on to the rarity of the band’s musical skills.
Recommended songs: “Kyo181”, “Desert Eagle”, “Hrm”
Listen to Silica Gel here.
First hitting the Southern California music scene in 2018, Greer reimagines what classic indie rock sounds like—and represents—for a younger generation. With hard hitting vocals and instrumentals inspired by scenes of the group’s hometown in Orange County, Greer centers its themes on emotional sincerity and vulnerability. Through all of this, the band has created a unique sound that seeks to foster emotional connection and openness among listeners—a contrast to toxic masculinitiy’s emotional restrictiveness and the detached social interactions characteristic of the last few years.
The group’s latest EP, Happy People, signals a moment of growth in the band’s sound and songwriting abilities. The EP’s tracks carry similar themes of vulnerability while also possessing a youthful energy. The release offers a peek into what the group is capable of in the years to come.
Recommended songs: “Connect the Dots”, “Happy People”, “All That’s Left Behind”
Listen to Greer here.
7. Film Noir
Parisian indie-rock isn’t quite a trending genre, but Film Noir makes a compelling case for why it should be. Just like the group’s name, Film Noir’s music is movielike; each album and EP works as a film, with each song on it acting as an individual scene. Joséphine de la Baume alternates between singing in French and English, and her wispy vocals contrast the rest of the band’s sharp instruments. The complexity of Film Noir’s discography makes each song feel much more complex than 3 or 4 minutes.
Though Film Noir has received some press from publications such as NME, 1883 Magazine, and Clash Music, their popularity in the United States hasn’t quite peaked. A jaded streak of hopeless romanticism is clearly apparent in Film Noir, and it is sure to strike a tone with curious new listeners. The group of five has yet to tour in the United States—but as they gain a larger audience, that will hopefully change.
Recommended songs: “Elisa”, “Man of Glory”, “Los Angeles Whirl”
Listen to Film Noir here.
8. Saint Etienne
A monumental figure in 90s British dance pop, this British band united 60s-esque pop with popular club culture, establishing a musical career that has since spanned three decades. Exploring both experimental synthpop and catchy alternative dance tunes, the band has produced countless tracks that are not only innovative, but also palatable to a wide audience.
Their tenth studio album, I’ve Been Trying to Tell You, is an ambient reflection of the band’s journey as they enter another era together. Chock-full of samples from forgotten 90s classics and influences from past projects and collaborations, this album is a perfect nostalgia trip back in time, as society reflects and reimagines what the era in pop culture represents in recent memory.
Recommended songs: “Spring”, “Fonteyn”, “He’s on the Phone”
Listen to Saint Etienne here.
If you’ve enjoyed our song recommendations, consider listening to our collaborative playlist, and tuning in to Fiona Apples and Oranges every Friday night, from 9:00 to 10:30 PM.
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