There’s a flood of new acts out there lauded with the “buzz band” tag—we feel, at times, too freely. We’ve decided to sort through the rubble for you and highlight the groups we feel truly deserve the recognition. This week, we’ve got Toronto’s R&B meets dark-house: The Weeknd.
Though veiled under a purposely mysterious image, The Weeknd has been “outed” as 20-year-old producer/singer Abel Tesfaye, from Toronto. (RS) Despite being obscured in shadows, it is clear that The Weeknd has found a new, and incredibly compelling, post-R&B sound.
The Weeknd’s self-released “House of Balloons” has garnered the type of buzz you couldn’t pay for. Everyone— from Pitchfork and Fader to Rolling Stone to The Guardian—is going nuts over this guy. Even Drake tweeted about him (and is rumored to have signed him).
The songs here are a fresh, darker take on R&B, featuring lyrics centering on drug use and not-so-glamorous sex. Over the course of these nine tracks, The Weeknd manages to encapsulate an appealing dichotomy between heartfelt melancholy and an unapologetic abuse of narcotic and lustful vices.
Stream the whole mixtape below. Choice tracks are “Wicked Games” and “The Morning.” They’re all worth a listen, though — “House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls” (video below) features an interpolation of Siouxsie and the Banshees, while “Loft Music” and “The Party & The After Party” both rely heavily on Beach House samples.
Trust us. We don’t typically listen to R&B, but this is something else.