The Knocks. They're Ben Ruttner and James Patterson, an NYC-based producing duo who initially gained recognition for remixing artists like Haim, Santigold, Chiddy Bang, Ellie Goulding, Passion Pit and Katy Perry, among others. Then they started experimenting with their own sound -- sparkling, funky, carefree electronic dance music -- and collaborating with a diverse bunch of vocalists. They've released a couple of EPs and will be touring in 2016. May the momentum be with them.
|Ben "DJ B-Roc" Ruttner & James "JPatt" Patterson|
John Grant. It's been a turbulent journey for Grant -- troubled youth, severe depression, drug addiction, testing positive for HIV. But his climb up from rock bottom has produced strikingly idiosyncratic electronic pop -- alternately witty and acerbic, profoundly personal and honest. He released his third (and most experimental) album this year, after relocating to Iceland. Yes, Iceland. God, I love this man. The Guardian did an excellent profile on Grant in 2015 -- it's here.
|John Grant ... and friend.|
Indiana Queen. This Nashville-based alternative country trio -- fronted by openly queer Kevin Thornton -- is confidently taking its place in a traditionally conservative musical genre. "I have no interest in pretending to be someone else. I don't care if Nashville isn't ready for it," says Thornton. Upon the release of their latest album -- This I Do Carry Unto the End -- he quipped, "The album is country, but let's be serious, there is nothing traditional about Indiana Queen." You can visit their website here.
|Indiana Queen, left to right: Kevin Thornton, Chris Housman & Samuel Damewood|