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Still Room for Newbies 

click to enlarge Hatchie, Keepsake
  • Hatchie, Keepsake

Streaming’s dominance and the collapse of record labels have made it impossible for new artists to go global without Kickstarter campaigns. Recent exceptions like Billie Eilish and Maggie Rogers built huge online followings before debut releases. But occasionally a relative unknown can still hit it lucky, as the mid-June buzz about Hatchie (Harriette Pilbeam) proves. The Brisbane singer-songwriter has exceeded the attention paid to her Western Australia cohort Stella Donnelly earlier in 2019. In her debut Keepsake (Double Double Whammy), Hatchie favors a dreampop style with hints of The Sundays or Alvvays. In the most luscious of tracks like “Stay With Me,” Hatchie leaves the likes of Hope Sandoval in the dust.

Claude Fontaine is a California newcomer dubbed the “new mystery girl” by L.A. Weekly. She recently released her self-titled debut on Innovative Leisure. A breathy voice that bounces between reggae and Brazilian genres would seem to be a tough sell, but Fontaine pulls it off as if she was channeling Astrud Gilberto singing “Girl from Ipanema.” Danielle de Picciotto belongs in a newcomer category, despite her history in the Berlin visual arts scene and as partner of electronic musician Alexander Hacke. The Louder Than War label has released her solo debut Deliverance with a 24-page art book, which enhances a disc of experimental singing and spoken word along the lines of Vancouver’s Mecca Normal.

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