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OIL OF L.A. Twenty billion barrels of oil sit beneath Los Angeles. Hidden in plain sight, thousands of wells pump day and night all over the city covered by hollow office buildings, camouflaged next to high schools, and concealed behind shopping malls. We put on our boots and went exploring.



12-13 FaLtyDL Maluca Sleigh Bells 14-15 12th Planet Daisy Odell 16-17 Burns J Cole Skeet Skeet 18-19 Nola Darling Pictureplane 20-21 Nightriders Yelawolf

22-23 Christian Rich MalakAi The XX 24-25 ADaD Kleerup 26-27 Smalltown Romeos Vinyl Life 28-29 Donnis Rita J 30-31 Pantyraid Those Chosen Wolfgang Gartner


Aaron Richter

Aaron Richter is a photographer who grew up in the Midwest but now calls Brooklyn home. A displaced writer and magazine editor, he now takes pictures and steers the art direction for selftitled, a Web-based publication he helped launch in 2008. Previously, he served as the editor of MusicMusicMusic, a short-lived magazine that tanked a ton of money but made a few hip people very happy. Aaron—who shot Maluca, FaltyDL and Sleigh Bells for this issue—enjoys reading Norman Mailer and rewatching DiG!

Jason Parham

Mike Posner scribe Jason Parham is a native son of Los Angeles who endorses listening to excessive amounts of N.W.A. When he’s not writing cover stories for URB, he is an occasional grad student at UCLA. Aside from penning monthly hip-hop column “The Tipping Point,” for, Jason’s writing has also appeared in Vibe. Jason’s new favorite song is “Sunrise” by Yeasayer.

Chris Merkle

After becoming one of the top 15 event photographers in North America, photographer Chris Merkle recently decided to take the leap into editorial and fashion photography. Merkle enjoys the fusion of music, art, and photography so he spends the majority of his time photographing musicians, DJs and individuals within the art community. Currently he is looking to develop his raw, desaturated look of images while also spending more time with traditional film and video.


CoNTRIBUTING EDIToR Michael Vazquez Phonics

Landon antonetti, amorn Bholsangngam, Jason Chang, alex Chapman, Jorge Cuellar, Dani Deahl, Erica Lamar, Jason Parham, areti Sakellaris, Mitchell Strashnov, Terence Teh, Blair Tripp, aylin Zafar Images Curran Clark, Elizabeth Daniels, Phil Knott, Chris Merkle, aaron Richter MaIL | 8205 Santa Monica Blvd. #1-398 West Hollywood, CA 90046-5912 voICE | 323.848.7100


8 | URB.CoM

25: In the time honored tradition of URB’s Next 100 annual issue, we present to you the 25: NOW! digital fall supplement. Now! It’s a word that leaves very little room to maneuver around; it’s the rallying cry for our age of instant gratification, a sentiment that seems to be getting us in trouble a lot these days. Now is the urge that caused thousands of folks to sign bad mortgages because they didn’t want to wait to own a home. And once we tanked the economy, the same impatience is driving down Obama’s approval numbers as he fails to “fix it!” (as Kenan Thomas would say) in a manner as speedy as we’ve come to expect. Save the economy, create jobs, fix health care, end two wars, close Gitmo, repair our foreign relations—oh, and end nuclear weapons—all in under 12 months. I’d like to see you do it. Even in the far less consequential world of emerging music and culture, now has become an albatross around our necks. Now is what drives music blogs to breathlessly promote less than outstanding artists in the race to fulfill the compulsive browser refreshing the makes a profitable site. Now is what leaks out early or unfinished MP3s, diluting the once sacrosanct experience of record release dates. Now is why this issue’s cover artist, Mike Posner, dropped his online mixtape (a format already the epitome of today’s MP3 consumption) two days earlier than expected. It can make your head spin. And just to address the elephant in the room, the now culture has more than a little bit to do with why you’re reading this digital issue online, instead of printed on fine glossy paper, shipped across the

country by truck or plane, shoved into your mail slot or stacked on a newsstand; patiently waiting for you to pick it up and take time out of your busy day to discover some great music. Who has time for that? You need URB now. Of course, for that same reason, maybe now isn’t so bad after all. When we last collected a list of hot new artists for our annual Next 100 issue this previous spring, months passed between crafting the list and the final magazine hitting the stands. With this digital edition, our first 25: Now! fall supplement to the Next 100, it’s been a matter of weeks. Not to get too English major on you, but now has more than one meaning. And when the adverb now becomes the noun—now—things can look different. We believe the acts found here are the ones most worth your time to discover at this point in time— the now. We also believe that more than a few of these artists will be worth paying attention to in the future—the then. And if not, we’ll be here to serve you up a new list of artists we’ve discovered along our journey from now to then. Music changes, just like times change. It’s important to look ahead, to see what’s on the horizon, and we appreciate the thrill of discovering the new. But it’s also important to be satisfied where you’re at—to live in the now. Just remember that you don’t need the now to live.



Drew Lustman is a night owl; not because he’s out partying, but because he’s making tunes that take him out of the stream-ofconsciousness that one exhibits at 4 a.m. It’s during that time when FaltyDL does his work, finding soul vocal samples and mucking about for hours on end until a track is finished. The result usually is a track that has UK/New York garage attitude taken to another level, along with a vibe of warm boogie thanks to vocal trickery and percussive shuffle. With a mountain of releases put out in 2009, there’s no telling what’s coming next from this guy. MS Endorsed by: Gilles Peterson, Mary Anne Hobbs Upcoming: Bravery EP on Planet Mu, 2010 releases on Planet Mu/RAMP.

Sleigh Bells

In the time before a fifth-grade schoolteacher improbably joined forces with a former metalcore guitar slinger to create some of most truly unique sounds to have come out of Brooklyn, the words “Sleigh Bells” would unavoidably conjure up thoughts of Grandma’s Christmas Muzak collection. Credit the noisy, minimalist pop duo for courageously taking up the holiday music staple as their namesake and giving us a reason to get excited about the sound of Rudolph the Red-Nosed raver. Alexis Krauss’s spirited vocals are alternately ethereal and abrasive, hypnotic and ferocious, and always captivating. Former Poison The Well guitarist Derek Miller provides joyously distorted, beat-heavy backdrops that were designed to destroy speaker systems. “Crown on the Ground,” oddly enough, sounds like DMX’s “Party Up” re-imagined as an anthem for the skinny jeans crowd. AB Endorsed by: Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend), Spike Jonze, M.I.A. Upcoming: Music is set to be featured in Spike Jonze’s upcoming “secret” short film on robots.

25: Maluca

With her sporadic dance floor melodies and a voice as sensuous as it is sassy, Maluca is kicking ass and taking names with what Diplo, her ex-boo, describes as “merengue acid house.” Maluca has been at it for a minute, but as a new signee to Mad Decent, she’s become a buzz name in the clubs and on the blogs. Maluca falls into two categories that Decent thrives on: foreign sounds of obscurity and a hipsteresque chick with an undeniable edge. With an energy reminiscent of Bonde Do Role and a style all her own, don’t be surprised to see Maluca following the steps of past Diplo disciples M.I.A. and Santigold. AC Endorsed by: Diplo Upcoming: “El Tigeraso” video coming soon. Debut album being recorded with producers Diplo, Paul Devro, Buraka Som Sistema, Jungle Violento and more.

Sleigh Bells, FaltyDL and Maluca photographed in Park Slope, Brooklyn by Aaron Richter (

Daisy’s make-up: Mercedes Connor, hair: Alice Torres, Photo Assistant: Brandy Allen

12th Planet and Daisy O’Dell photographed at Palihouse ( in West Hollywood by Curan Clark (

12th Planet

They say overnight success stories take years to happen. That’s certainly true for John Dadzie, the West Coast junglist who spent nearly a decade perfecting his craft as Infiltra before rebooting just last year into the similarly bass-centric world of dubstep, just in time to see the sound experience a groundswell of support in America. Now 12th Planet has a big time booking agent and a tour itinerary to match. And he’s fielding calls from trance, electro and hip-hop giants alike, all of whom are looking for some of his magic low-end solution. JG Endorsed by: Kream, Rusko, Benga, Kutz, Plastician, Caspa Upcoming: Co-wrote a song for Tiësto’s new album, Kaleidoscope. Official remixes for N.O.R.E, Kid Cudi, MSTRKRFT, Little Jinder, Nodastrom.

Daisy O’Dell

Daisy O’Dell isn’t your average DJ; the Toronto native facilitated her love for music by moving to London to rock out, instead returning with a fascination for dance culture. Jetting over to New York City, her love for the scene grew even more (just like her record collection). As time passed, she went from vinyl fiend to DJ diva en route to LA. It was there where she cemented her status as a premier jock, opening for Cut Copy and entertaining Prince and Justin Timberlake at the city’s most exclusive parties. Now producing her own disco-fied material with help from The Hydratwins, 2010 could find this city hopper going global. MS Endorsed by: Cut Copy, Roxy JBL Headphones Upcoming: Mix for Roxy Athletix tour. Remixes for Dragonette, Modwheelmood (ex-NIN ) and Har Mar Superstar.


As the first artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, J. Cole knows the whole world has their eyes on him. But the young rapper doesn’t seem too fazed. He comes armed with a unique New York flow that’s laced with a little southern hospitality. This sound was in full effect on his post-deal mixtape, The Warm Up. Even with the hype, J. Cole hushed the doubters, delivering intricate lyrics with clever wordplay in tracks such as “Lights Please” and “Can I Live.” And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the best rapper alive teaching you a thing or two. JC Endorsed by: Jay-Z Upcoming: Currently opening for JayZ’s fall tour.


Glasgow’s been bringing plenty of producers dishing out the “wonky” sound, but 23-year old Burns is an anomaly. He produces crisp, progressive (and sometimes aggressive) powerhouse tracks that make people shake, shiver and scream all at once. Being hailed by international DJs Erol Alkan and Annie Mac, the sky’s the limit for this Scotsman. With a couple of EPs under his belt and remixes done for Passion Pit, The Gossip and Late Of The Pier, he’s certainly got enough experience doing his thing. Check him out in your neighborhood when he tours North America with fellow partystarter Deadmau5. MS Endorsed by: Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Mr. Hudson Upcoming: Remixes for Ladyhawke and Jack Splash ft. Missy Elliot. Album coming by summer 2010.

J. Cole photographed at Wava Flow Studio by Elizabeth Daniels (

SKEET SKEET As an acclaimed DJ and recognized blogosphere personality (EatSkeet.

com), Trevor McFedries knows what up on and off the decks. Raised in Iowa, this college dropout moved to LA as an awkward hardcore punk and metal fan. The LA party scene got the best of him, and the entity known as DJ Skeet Skeet started to spin all over the place. Winning a Paper Magazine Award for “Best Nightlife DJ,” Skeet joined Cisco Adler and rapper Shwayze on tour, and began to evolve from local celebrity to up-and-coming super jock, currently touring with 3OH!3 and becoming the first ever DJ to spin Warped Tour. AC Endorsed by: Katy Perry, Ting Tings, Pepsi DJ Team, Official Ford Models DJ Upcoming: Remix with Turbotito (Ima Robot, Guns ‘n’ Bombs) as Skeet & Tito. Developing artist Gumshoe.



The year’s sleeper indie-electronic album came by way of a 24 year-old producer whose label describes him as a “weirdo performance artist.” We’re sure they say that with all the love in the world for Pictureplane, aka Travis Egedy, a Santa Fe native who has made a name for himself while emerging out of the Denver scene. Egedy now brings the electronic punk sounds from his basement shows into more widespread territory with Drift, his sophomore full-length and first album distributed by Lovepump Records. Often likened to Animal Collective and Black Dice, Egedy started gaining some blog love after remixing HEALTH’S “Die Slow.” He’s collaborated with Beirut’s Zach Condon, made Crystal Castles and Fleetwood Mac songs his own, and creates dreamy dance music that explores the paranormal spaces in music via dark wave and grimy synth-pop. Not surprising for someone who “obsesses over the cosmos, ‘90s house music, collective consciousness, and mind-altering chemicals you’ve never heard of,” naming his album after the central-most plane in our galaxy—Pictureplane is the future. AZ Endorsed by: HEALTH, Beirut’s Zach Condon Upcoming: Touring with HEALTH this fall/winter in Europe.

No, this is not the Nola Darling from director Spike Lee’s titular, tease-worthy She’s Gotta Have It. But the ambitious Brooklynite does serve as inspiration for international rude gals Jaq and Alex. Babies of the boom-bap, these femcees fuse the gloss and the grit of their foremothers (think the sex appeal of Lil’ Kim and the lyrical fortitude of Yo-Yo) to craft something that can only be described as a cheeky, cocksure love supreme for sinewy afro-beat riddims and woolly calypso masterworks. Nola D’s sound? They sing, rap, and redefine femininity with woozy ballads, syrupy breakbeats and oily 808s. Translation: We gotta have it! JP Endorsed by: Mick Boogie Upcoming: Debut EP (and accompanying vlog series) A Rude Gal’s Guide To... with production from Melo-X, Manchild, Faahz, and Double O. Brap! Brap!


It’s fitting that Raekwon the Chef accompanies Yelawolf on “I Wish,” as both cook up a lyrical onslaught of guttural, steely raps that would entice the most unsuspecting hip-hop cyber nerd. And to be fair, Yelawolf—Alabama’s rapping white boy prodigy—is a bit unsuspecting himself (his influences range from hard rock hybrid Lynyrd Skynyrd to gangsta rap outfit N.W.A; he’s also a skater). Wolf mixes rock, rap, and southern sensibilities into a foray of deep-fried quips and quick-witted rhymes that complement his neo-Dixie appeal. The young enclave of southern upstarts like Rich Boy and B.O.B are officially on notice. JP Endorsed by: Raekwon, Killer Mike Upcoming: Mixtapes with DJ Burn One and with DJ Ideal.


Nightriders Matt Johnson and Joe Faria are the Boston duo behind Nightriders. Johnson, the self-proclaimed nerd, is a Beantown club veteran and Faria adds the vocals and massive vinyl collection to their French nu-house mix. “This Love is Real” lights up the discothèque, and Dance Dance Revolution fans may recognize “Fevah” from the PS2 version of the game. With Felix Da Housecat and Dave Dresden spinning their cuts, and remixes dropped for Dirty Vegas and Andy Caldwell, Nightriders’ run is just beginning. AS Endorsed by: Andy Caldwell, Luke Fair Upcoming: Debut album, Take My Hand, and world tour coming soon.



In the midst of hipster pop, the slowly but surely deteriorating fade of crunk music and mainstay of auto-tune— despite Hov’s disdain—two twin brothers have found and etched their niche into the ever-transitioning scene. Christian Rich has wrought exceptional success following the release of their first single, “Famous Girl,” which they also produced. Although just coming into their own, the duo have already laced hits for Lil’ Kim, The Clipse, Young Gunz, Foxy Brown, G.O.O.D. Music act GLC and Lupe approved electro band Hey Champ. Fashion brand GStar has also been calling, picking up the duo for their GStar Raw UK compilation, along with Hellz Bellz, who are producing a line of Famous Girls tees. EL Endorsed by: Clinton Sparks, Pharrell Williams Upcoming: Working with Diddy on upcoming Last Train to Paris album. ETV project with Clinton Sparks due soon.

THE xx


Music from the British town of Bristol has always been heavily codified. From the peer-pressurized maximum R&B of the mod movement to the genre defining trip-hop of Massive Attack and Portishead, the seaside city seems to fuel movements that shake the foundations of pop culture, but just as quickly calcify into rigidly defined sonic rules. Malakai might be partnered up with Portishead’s Geoff Barrows, but there’s nothing that can be easily pigeonholed about the duo’s sound—a cornucopia of hip-hop beats, funky horns, psychedelic rock and pop melodies. Look for this particular blend to become analyzed, baptized and formalized in the coming months. No good sound goes un-replicated. JG Endorsed by: Geoff Barrows (Portishead) Upcoming: Mystery four-track white label 12” circulating this side of Xmas. “Snowflake” video and single with remixes from Geoff Barrow of Portishead, DJ Hervé (aka, The Count in The Count & Sinden) .

A sneering gang of 20-year-old South London musicians shouldn’t be able to write such beautiful and transcending pop harmonies. Defying this year’s hype machine that the UK press has showered over Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, Baria Quereshi and Jamie Smith, The xx’s all in black debut entitled “xx” is masterful. Singles “Basic Space” and “Crystalised” are laced with Romy and Oliver’s honey-dripped shared vocals, Kevin Shields-indebted melodies and MPC-aided drums. The rest of the album is steeped in lo-fi, DIY romanticism, with London’s grim night buses and foggy, 3 a.m. mornings serving as the backdrop to one of the most accomplished debut records of the year. TT Endorsed by: Diplo, Florence and the Machine The Big Pink Upcoming: Future suddenly in doubt as Quereshi has left the band, forcing a European tour postponement.



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