With festival season just picking up (Bonnaroo is next weekend, after all), we have a lot to look forward to this summer. Some artists, on the other hand, are already looking further into the future, as far as 2015, and implanting new ideas in fans’ heads early. Many bands on this list are exploring new territory and reveling in the rewards, whether it involves setting up the perfect hype track or exploring dreams on a darker, more mature level. Coast through these selections and look forward to an exciting festival season, second half of 2014, and beyond.
10. Sasha Go Hard – “Facts”
“No metaphor, I’m talkin’ facts,” concludes Chicago rapper Sasha Go Hard on “Facts”, getting to the heart of the drill scene’s theme of straight-up coldness. The song is a success for its lyrics, but more than that, it goes hard thanks to Sasha’s clawing delivery and Timmy Da Hitman’s beat, reminiscent of Hit-Boy’s production on Drake’s “Trophies”. As with similar no-hook series like Lil Herb’s “4 Minutes of Hell” and Lil Durk’s “52 Bars”, “Facts” shows that Chicago’s new school is attuned to traditional tactics, too. Sasha drops her Feel So Good mixtape on June 9th. –Michael Madden
09. Guerilla Toss – “367 Equalizer”
Boston noisemakers Guerilla Toss settle into a funk groove on “367 Equalizer”, a one-off track for Infinity Cats’ bi-monthly cassette series. That’s not to say, however, that the band has cleaned up their trademark dissonance. Each instrument is being plucked and tortured to achieve the most random series of notes, but rhythmically, everything syncs up with that snappy backbeat as Kassie Carlson yelps in a shambled half-cadence. –Jon Hadusek
08. Braid – “No Coast”
The instrumental suspense loaded behind the long-awaited new material from Braid, “No Coast”, proves that the band’s time away was spent well, allowing them to remaster their chemistry and conjure up new ways to keep us on our toes. In an interview with EW, they credit this to avoiding autopilot and infusing new excitement into their sound. The band finds this adventure contagious, even though it may cycle through the “happy and lonely,” and are eager to challenge their perception of their surroundings. Take a listen at EW. No Coast is due July 8th via Topshelf Records. –Sam Willett