5 California Indie Artists to Watch, According to Kauf

kauf los angeles

You’ve got to admire the creative moxie that fuels Los Angeles-based producer/vocalist/musician Ronald Kaufman (a.k.a Kauf). In 2011 he self-released his first single, “Relocate” b/w “When You’re Out,” which eventually caught the ear of Dan Whitford of Cut Copy. Whitford later released the tracks as the As Much Again EP on his own Cutters Records to lots of fanfare.

A little over six years later Kaufman has released his gallant debut album, Regrowth. The full-length, which is out now on One Half Records, is awash with delicate synth-driven grooves, tender lyrics and infectious vocals. Sometimes he’s happy. Sometimes he’s sad. Sometimes he’s just watching the world go by. In the end Kaufman delivers an album that’s realer than real.

Fresh from releasing the gorgeous Thomas Taugher-directed video for “Limestone” featuring Joseph August and Maiah Manser, we asked the Angelino to wax poetic about his favorite California artists.

Eerie yet beautiful, she’s excellent at weaving intensely personal themes into sometimes abrasive, beat-heavy production, though her latest EP focuses mostly on intricate layers of her voice. You’ve got to see her perform live to get the full effect. She performs solo, usually veiled, and the whole thing feels like a highly stylized and religious performance art piece.

Maiah Manser
She moved to LA recently from Seattle and combines a powerful and technical vocal style with high-level downtempo production, including string arrangements — the EP was produced by Buddy Ross (Frank Ocean, Haim, UMO). She can easily flip from a gentle, airy coo to full on belting and back. She’s also featured in my video for “Limestone.”

Formerly releasing folk-tinged music under her own name, Sydney Wayser, she’s started a new project that merges her previous style with more modern electronics and production. She’s got a very classic, unadorned voice and her songs are often more upbeat. She’s only released a couple of tracks but has a lot more on the way.

Kan Wakan
Hard to pin to a genre. It’s some blend of downtempo trip-hop, film score electronic with a dash of rock guitar here and there — maybe a bit of Omar Rodriguez on “I Would.” Producer Gueorgui Linev also produced Moses Sumney’s “Lonely World.”

Lo Moon
They’ve got a penchant for grand, slow, grooves and melancholy vocals, like a modern Peter Gabriel. Very well mixed production.

Darren Ressler

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