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Your Favorite New Artists Of 2018 (So Far)

Clockwise from upper left: Superorganism, MILCK, serpentwithfeet, Haley Heynderickx, Jorja Smith
Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Superorganism, MILCK, serpentwithfeet, Haley Heynderickx, Jorja Smith

Your favorite new artists of 2018 (so far) are largely genre-defying. From the whimsical, idiosyncratic pop collective Superorganism to the Sudanese-inspired violin, electronics and hip-hop beats of Sudan Archives, the bands most mentioned in last week's listener poll largely defy categorization. They borrow indiscriminately, playing with influences and synthesizing disparate sounds, all the while exposing the arbitrariness of music classifications.

The most popular artists in our midyear poll also fly in the face of expectations in bigger ways. From the over-the-top sexuality of Seattle's Thunderpussy, an all-female rock group, to the queer perspective in serpentwithfeet's gospel-influenced release, many of your favorite new bands offer voices that aren't often heard or considered as much in the mainstream. We also note that our top two listener picks, Snail Mail and Superorganism, were both born in the 21st century and recent high school graduates.

On this week's show we share your picks for the best new artists so far in 2018, along with a couple of our own: Robin's is MILCK, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who writes empowering, cathartic ballads, while Bob chose Niklas Paschburg, an innovative young German composer and pianist whose music was inspired by the Baltic Sea.

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Catherine Zhang
Bob Boilen
In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
Robin Hilton
Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.