My longtime readers may remember my very first post, made almost 2 years ago to this day. In it, I profiled Tim Chiasson, my favorite artist from Alternative Addiction’s list of 2013’s best new artists. I had intended to do a feature like that every year, but AA didn’t produce a list last year, as the website was in transition to a new format. Fortunately, they’re back in 2015, and I’m renaming this yearly feature Next One Up. Every year I’ll peruse AA’s list and pick a favorite to talk about.
The envelope, please. Ahem. This year’s winner of The Jam’s Next One Up Award is… Lostboycrow.
He has only released two songs thus far, but they both showcase a ton of potential. Lostboycrow (LBC) describes his music as “a pop-minded vocalist’s dark love affair with the world of modern R&B,” and I think that’s a pretty apt description. Both of the songs he has released so far have a strong underlying beat that gives them a unity and coherence that is often missing from a lot of indie music. LBC’s vocals are also pretty straightforward in a classic pop-style way. They don’t have a million weird electronic effects on them nor do they have a sound that seems like he’s trying to deliberately obscure his lyrics. For further examination, let’s break down the two songs he has released.
This one definitely has a dark feel to it, probably created by the minimalist nature of the music. Even though this is a studio track with plenty of production and effects, it still has kind of a stripped-down feel, like there’s a lot of musical space that was left empty on purpose. It creates the sort of feeling one has when stepping around a corner, whether literal or metaphorical, and wondering what’s next. The lyrics seem to describe someone who’s running from their problems but can only run for so long, and is facing a day of reckoning soon. The repeated “What’s it gonna be?”- adds to these themes. The music seems to mostly be made through electronic means such as a synthesizer, but fortunately still has an organic sound. I’d love to know if the main beat is generated using a synth or a bass guitar, because I have a feeling it could be either.
This song appears to make more reference to LBC’s connection with the Crow Nation that he refers to in his bio and interviews. The opening beat sounds like hand drums, and the lyrics make reference to “that ancient pride that will never go away,” and portray the main character as “a medicine man.” More broadly, the lyrics seem to describe a communication breakdown in a relationship, with the main character talking about how his significant other doesn’t realize how good they could be if they communicated with each other properly. This one has a little more of the R&B influence, and feels like there’s more organic instruments being played rather than being almost entirely electronic. It has a similar sound to “Adolescent,” but is different enough that it doesn’t feel like the same song over again. Its texture is more consistent throughout, lacking the soaring feel of the choruses of “Adolescent.”
All in all, it adds up to a somewhat unique sound that definitely makes Lostboycrow an artist worth watching as he develops his music catalogue. I can definitely see his music going viral and becoming popular, and possibly even cracking the mainstream. My predictions about Chiasson didn’t seem to come true back in 2013, so hopefully Next One Up doesn’t take on a Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx-type reputation :P.