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2008 Already Has Seen Groundbreaking Music

July 18, 2008

We’ve graduated to the second half of 2008, which has made me reflect on the music that has kept me occupied this year.

Shout-outs to N.E.R.D., Lil Wayne, Vampire Weekend, The Roots and Cool Kids for keeping my iPod popping.

And a fresh crop of new discoveries has made me a happy listener.

With that, I’m offering my Top 10 “discoveries” of the year _ new artists or new-to-me artists.

Santogold: If you liked M.I.A., you’ll probably dig Santogold. Her self-titled album bowed in April and is a genre-warping blend of rock, soul, new wave and electronic.

MGMT: Along with Vampire Weekend, MGMT is one of the most buzzed-about indie groups of ’08 _ for good reason. The New York duo mixed indie rock with electronica and psychedelic rock to craft “Oracular Spectacular,” which was released in January. I’m still listening to it in July.

Wale: Heading my list of hip-hop discoveries is D.C. rapper Wale, who is a cross between Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West. His Seinfeld-inspired “Mixtape About Nothing” _ a free download at 10deep.com _ made me a believer. The guy can spit.

Chester French: An Ivy League pop duo who met at Harvard, Chester French got signed by Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes. Musically, these guys are all over the place, in a good way _ ’60s pop clap-alongs and Johnny Cash-type songs, all with modern pop catchiness.

Asher Roth: The next Eminem? Roth is more preppy than demented, but his voice, flow and wackiness remind of Marshall Mathers. You can download his free mixtape at thedaily kush.com.

Miguel: This L.A. soul singer gave me “Sure Thing,” which I’ve about worn out the past two months. He reportedly signed with Jive Records, where his Prince-ish style has the potential to be big.

Adele: People are liking Duffy as the next British vocalist import, but Adele is my pick as the next Amy Winehouse. She’s got that same old-soul thing going on. Check out “Chasing Pavements” and “Right as Rain” from her album “19.”

B.o.B.: He reminds me of my favorite rapper, OutKast’s Andre 3000, so that’s immediate points for B.o.B., who like Andre 3K hails from Atlanta and has no problem bringing guitars and harmonicas into his rap records. But he still can make a Southern street record like “Haterz Everywhere.”

Jamie Lidell: Lidell has been at it for a while, but this British singer came on my radar with his new album “Jim,” a hooky and fun mix of funk, electronica and old-sounding soul.

The Ting Tings: The award for getting songs stuck in my head goes to The Ting Tings, an English pop duo whose “We Started Nothing” went to No. 1 overseas. They haven’t gotten as huge here yet.

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Mike Osegueda: mosegueda@fresnobee.com

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(c) 2008, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).

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