Welcome back to The Abbreviator, a short, monthly breakdown of the musicians who are demanding our attention
What’s the most famous speech in American history? Depending on who you ask, the answer might be Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “only thing we have to fear is fear itself” address, or maybe Taylor Swift’s 2009 MTV Video Music Award acceptance.
For most people, though, the answer is probably the Gettysburg Address. It’s a historical blockbuster of oration: it’s got a banger of an intro, an unforgettable closer and it was delivered during a time of immense historical weight.
But the best part about Abe Lincoln’s famous lines? There’s not a whole lot of them. The speech is unfathomably short—just 271 words in total— and only took about two minutes to deliver. For perspective, if the address took place today and Lincoln chose to give it out over Twitter, it only would’ve taken him six tweets.
Just to be clear: I’m not making any comparison whatsoever between this C-grade (at best) music blog and one of country’s most powerful public statements—I’m just saying that short things are good. For example, the world’s shortest skyscraper is pretty cool. Also, check out these pictures of the world’s shortest giraffe.
Short, sweet and to the point—only the most important, most attention-grabbing artists of the moment. That’s the Abbreviator motto. Welcome back. Let’s get into it.
Description: Self-taught violinist with a knack for R&B beat-making—like a Millennial, bossed-up version of Andrew Bird.
Latest Material: Her second EP, Sink, came out in May.
Why She Matters: There’s flat-out no other artist making music like Brittney Parks. The 23-year-old songwriter and vocalist, who records as Sudan Archives, is stabbing electronic music directly in the heart—filling the genre with an adrenaline shot of classical musicianship and African folk influences.
Must-Listen Track: “Nont For Sale”
Description: Latin-infused electro-pop with brain-melting melodies and rhythms that sound like they were designed by a supercomputer.
Latest Material: The group’s latest album, called Prisma Tropical, was released July 20.
Why They Matter: “Highly anticipated” doesn’t begin to describe the buildup surrounding Balún’s latest record. Despite making fans wait for more than a decade since their exciting debut album, the Puerto Rican-born, Brooklyn-bred group managed to put together an album that wowed Latin American listeners and U.S. critics alike.
Must-Listen Track: “El Espanto”
Description: Indie pop diva with the power to turn any ballad into an electro-funk anthem.
Latest Material: Jade dropped her first album, Personal Best, last month.
Why She Matters: An art-school dropout from New Zealand, Jade outgrew her home country fast. After winning more than a few of the nation’s most prestigious music awards, the songwriter moved to Los Angeles, launched a new solo career and started producing unforgettable dream pop records.
Must-Listen Track: “Laugh It Off”
Description: Rap performer with a Mr. Fantastic-style ability to stretch from struggle rap to love songs—and everything in between.
Latest Material: Buddy’s debut full-length, Harlan and Alondra, came out two weeks ago.
Why He Matters: Buddy is a lone wolf. While most emerging rappers find themselves boxed into some sort of defining category, the 24-year-old has managed to remain undefinable. Collaborating with everyone from Khalid to Snoop Dogg, the Compton-based artist feels just as comfortable on a slow jam chorus as he does on heavy-hitting verses.
Must-Listen Track: “Trouble On Central”
Description: Throwback R&B hitmakers with love songs for 2018.
Latest Material: The band put out its fourth record, Hive Mind, on July 20.
Why They Matter: A previous Odd Future affiliate that’s been making music since before Game of Thrones came on the air, The Internet is nothing new. But they’ve also never been better: the group’s latest record is a performative peak filled with its strongest grooves to date.
Must-Listen Track: “La Di Da”