NEW ARTIST TO WATCH 2018: REX ORANGE COUNTY

The first instalment in our trilogy of articles concerning artists to watch in 2018.

Warning – the following paragraph contains sarcasm.

For the music critic, the most wonderful time of the year is not Christmas, but the miserable, cold and blue month of January. Why do you say? Well, it’s because in January, music critics love to write incredibly tedious articles about who is the ‘fresh’, ‘cool’ and ‘edgy’ new artist. The adjectives of fresh, cool and edgy are used because they do not just scream ‘hip’, but also they make the middle-aged music critic feel relevant and down with the kids (I’m especially thinking of the Guardian music critics here). Alas, I must join this merry band as I feel my musical, spider senses tingling. They’re calling me to fulfil my destiny, to bore you with predictions that are probably very, very wrong, but they make me feel important so that’s okay.

The first artist I have chosen is Rex Orange Country. His music is the only medicine you will need this winter. It’s warm and fizzy, with surprisingly simple and non-enigmatic lyrics. Take the song called ‘A Song about being sad’, which is, well, about being sad. Though don’t be fooled by its modesty because it still hits you right in the gut – ‘See the months of obsession and crying for hours, I even started sitting down in the shower, girl […] I’ll be fine on my own’. Rex’s sound is akin to the lo-fi artists of today (like Frank Ocean) as it pairs sparse R&B tempos with pop melodies (‘Sycamore Girl’ & ‘Happiness’). The most recent single, ‘Loving is Easy’ gives you a glimpse of Rex’s songwriting potential – a pop-tastic breath of fresh air, with an energizing piano pulse and an addictive hook. From working with Tyler, the Creator on Flower Boy to performing with Skepta, it is safe to say Rex already has a loyal, underground fan-base, but 2018 is surely the year when he breaks into the over-ground, as a cooler version of Ed Sheeran.

Top Track: ‘Loving is Easy’

Similar Artists: Mac DeMarco, The Streets, Frank Ocean

Next Gig: 20th February, KOKO

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