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5 Artists like Grimes: Surreal Synth-Pop

Stephen Jenkins itcherWhere do you start with Grimes? The Canadian producer and singer-songwriter seems to defy all definition. Just when you think that you’ve got the experimental musician sussed, she goes and releases a complete curveball. Nonetheless, here’s an attempt to compile some other artists like Grimes, if such a thing is even possible within the laws of physics. There are some top-notch musicians on this list, including FKA Twigs, Blood Orange, and Tokimonsta. ~ Stephen Jenkins

Wonderfully Weird and Weirdly Wonderful

Let’s face it: Grimes is just one of the coolest artists on the planet. In fact, maybe in the galaxy. Her inimitable style is coveted by wannabes and her sumptuously weird pop music makes her an unsolvable mystery to many fans and critics alike.

The headstrong musician has been quick to speak out against the endemic injustices in the music industry. Whether it is hitting out at male producers, or slamming lazy journalists who compare her to Bjork, Grimes is always keen to make her voice heard. And that’s the way it should be in an industry which is all too dominated by marketing personnel forcing artists into a commercially viable mould.

Well, I’ve not included Bjork on this list of artists similar to Grimes. Even though I do think there are some similarities there.

Nonetheless, there should be plenty of new and exciting artists for you to discover!


Artists Similar to Grimes…

FKA Twigs

Essential Albums: ‘LP1’, ‘EP2’, ‘M3LL155X’

Essential Tracks: ‘Two Weeks’, ‘In Time’, ‘Pendulum’

FKA Twigs is the musical alter ego of British musician Tahliah Debrett Barnett. The singer cum producer blends bits and bobs of many different styles including trip-hop, indie and R&B to create a sound which is endlessly cool and effortlessly ethereal.

Despite the dark and brooding nature of FKA Twigs’ music, the singer has made impressive in-roads on the pop charts, reaching number 16 in the UK for her 2014 debut album titled LP1.

Similarity Match: 90%
Grimes and FKA Twigs fall from the same musical branch with their experimental approach to making pop but the latter has an unmistakable British sensibility with her use of trip-hop influences.

Blood Orange

Essential Albums: ‘Cupid Deluxe’, ‘Coastal Grooves’

Essential Tracks: ‘You’re Not Good Enough’, ‘Dinner’, ‘Sutphin Boulevard’

Like Grimes, Blood Orange is an artist who likes to defy everyone’s expectations. In fact, the man behind this project is no other than Dev Hynes who has appeared in many musical guises over the years.

He is also known as the cardigan clad, twee-indie songster, Lightspeed Champion. But before that, he made his name in the snarling dance-punk outfit, Test Icicles.

Hynes has mined a whole new musical vein as Blood Orange, prospecting elements of electronica and R&B to a very groovy effect.

Similarity Match: 80%
Grimes and Blood Orange share the ability to make breath taking experimental pop, but Hynes draws on retro funk sounds to give his sound an incisive cutting edge.


Essential Albums: ‘Interiors’, ‘Ring’

Essential Tracks: ‘Tremel’, ‘Apply’, ‘Shape’

This experimentalist makes enchanting pop music through which grand lyrical narratives unfold.

The woman behind the noise is Cameron Mesirow, who claims that the name “Glasser” was decided upon after she saw a night time apparition of a ghostly figure hovering over water. Spooky stuff.

Similarity Match: 70%
Grimes and Glasser’s music is undoubtedly connected through their shared experimental endeavours but the two musicians go separate ways with their lyrics, the former artist often opting for grand dramatic narratives.


If You Like Grimes, You Will Like…

There are loads of independent artists who are shaking up the conventions of pop music.

So, if you’re looking for an artist like Grimes but are tired of hearing the same old songs on the radio, then check out these following acts who do pop music minus the boring.


Essential Albums: ‘World, You Need a Change of Mind’, ‘Otherness’

Essential Tracks: ‘World Restart’, ‘Who Do You Love’, ‘House’

Adam Bainbridge, AKA Kindness, has reinvigorated modern day pop music by going back to its core roots of 70s disco.

With lashings of funk bass, dollops of brass and generous splashes of synthesisers, Kindess boasts one of the most interesting sounds in music today.

The pop music of both these artists is bestowed with an odd sense of despondency with Grimes often opting for darkly surreal lyrics while Kindness plays the crestfallen lover.


Essential Albums:  ‘Desiderium’, ‘Half Shadows’, ‘Creature Dreams’

Essential Tracks: ‘Little Pleasures’, ‘Drive’, ‘Steal My Attention’

Tokimonsta is the musical alter ego of Los Angeles DJ, producer and singer Jennifer Lee.

The mega talented musician takes little pieces of genres such as chill-wave, hip hop and R&B to create a pop sound that is viably commercial yet utterly cool.

In fact, this is such a hidden gem that I’m almost reluctant to share it with you. Just make sure that you cherish this absolute diamond of experimental pop.

Grimes and Tokimonsta both produce their own music, but the Los Angeles DJ seems far more confident in this discipline with her instrumental songs blending genres as disparate as chill-wave and hip hop.


Wayward Is the New Forward

Grimes continues to excite us with her wayward approach to pop music, keeping us on our toes so that we never know what to expect next.

And that’s exactly what is so fun about music, right? Well, why not check out the bands above to ensure that your feet never touch the ground again – because their pop music is well and truly out of this world.

I’ve only included solo artists in this list, but I’m sure there are loads of bands out there which could be considered Grimes-worthy.

Can you think of a band like Grimes?

Let us know in the comments below.

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