Disclaimer 1: The hit song “Budapest” is not by a Hungarian; rather it is by Englishman George Ezra.
Disclaimer 2: Your humble writer is one-quarter Hungarian, so today’s feature on the best Hungarian artists right now lies close to my heart. With the arguably despotic Viktor Orban running the country, the freedom of Magyar (the native word for Hungarian peoples) and Romani or Roma (a nomadic ethnic group) musicians to create as they please has been threatened. We’ll look at five performers whose work spans genres and the political spectrum.
Have you been longing for a second coming of the Lemonheads or other ’90s alternative-pop bands? Look no further than this fantastic four-piece. Their sophomore album, Come On, Feel the Misery (Normafa), plays like a lost Buffalo Tom record, depending on cordial vocals and whiz-bang guitar licks. Tracks such as “Nobody Cares About Your Band (Anymore)” takes the piss from aging rockers, but they sound slick enough to keep the company of Courtney Barnett or Wavves. (Lead image courtesy the band.)
That exclamation mark in this synth producer’s name is fully warranted. If you grew up on the Tron video game or found a hero in RoboCop, LAZERPUNK!will be your new obsession. Fueled by Kraftwerk, Crystal Castles and plenty of pizza, the vicious composer will enthrall your senses and make you forget what decade you’re in. 2016’s Nightcrawler LP is the techno voyage you’ve been dreaming of.
No, your ears aren’t running in fast-forward—that’s just the tamburitza stylings of this classic Hungarian/Serbian group. Headed by the brothers Eredics, this passionate troupe teach modern audiences the value of instrumental tradition. The star of this show is a mandolin-like noisemaker that steers each song in a merry direction. Söndörgő are a staple of the European music circuit, and recently released the album Live Wires.
Sexy, spooky, perky… you get it all with Éva Presszó. The two-year-old outfit mixes cool mod sounds with timeless rock ‘n’ roll and husky, delectable female vocals that could rip your throat out or kiss your boo-boos at different intervals. Fierce doesn’t even begin to describe these emotional badasses. If you dig the Kills, you’re gonna love these artisans. (Thanks to Reddit user Skotska for the suggestion!)
The organic and the electronic come together seamlessly in the guise of iamyank, a music teacher who’s on the cutting edge of beats production. His mastery over his machine is akin to Eric Clapton’s of guitar. It’s as though man and conduit are one and the same, like we’re hearing the neurons inside his head exploding and revolving. His art is a pinball game, the din of city life and the sound of escapism captured in lively four-minute spurts. (Thanks to Electronic Beats Budapest for the recommendation.)
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