Our Artists of the Month Discuss the Best Music of the 2010s

Here's what some of our favorite artists have to say about music across the last decade

Artists of the Month Best of the 2010s Decade Feature Snail Mail Sego Bethlehem Steel Sunflower Bean Alice Phoebe Lou EarthGang Matthew E White
Sunflower Bean (photo by Ben Kaye), Snail Mail (photo by Ben Kaye), and Alice Phoebe Lou (photo by Heather Kaplan)

    All month long we’ve been celebrating the best music, film, and television of the decade. Today, we take the time to highlight how our handpicked Artists of the Month have spent the last 10 years and how pop culture has affected their music. Heres what we learned.

    From the very beginning of Consequence of Sound, we’ve been highlighting artists on the rise. Back in the early days, we’d share our favorite new music on an almost weekly basis, giving readers insight into fresh acts.

    Eventually, this evolved into CoSigns, our first spotlight feature in which we’d go in-depth on a specific artist. Then we shifted the focus to newcomers at festivals and coming out of individual cities. In 2017, we launched Artist of the Month, putting our favorite new musicians at the forefront of our coverage for a complete calendar page of premieres, interviews, album features, social takeovers, and more.


    Over the last 10 years, a lot of the bands we’ve picked for these special showcases have blossomed into true powerhouse performers. They’ve crawled up the rankings in festival lineups, appeared all over the charts, and taken the stage to accept prestigious accolades. Our Artist of the Month honor is given to performers we fully expect to become fan favorites, and we’re proud to have chatted with them on their way to the top.

    To celebrate the last decade of music, we decided to go back to some of our CoSigns and Artists of the Month to get their feelings on the culture they’ve risen alongside and within. We once again spoke with Snail Mail, EarthGang, SEGO, Bethlehem Steel, Matthew E. White, Alice Phoebe Lou, and the only act to ever receive both a CoSign and AotM designation, Sunflower Bean. Each one shared their opinion on the last 10 years of music, both personally and at large, along with their favorite albums and songs.

    Read on to see what they had to say, and keep a look out for more Artists of the Month in 2020.

    Sunflower Bean — CoSign September 2016, Artist of the Month March 2018

    Sunflower Bean Artist of the Month Best of 2010s DecadeOur Decade as Artists: In the last 10 years, we went from embryonic musical dreamers with a lot of passion to full-time touring musicians with two albums out, plus a lot more. This is all we’ve ever wanted, and as each year gets harder, it gets cooler, too. We only become more equipped to handle what the wonderful world of music has to offer and are on the journey to being our truest selves.


    We started Sunflower Bean in high school, and we’ve been growing as people and artists in tandem. Now we can stop trying to prove what we want to do and just do it.

    Top 5 Albums:
    01. Benji — Sun Kil Moon
    02. Pleasure — Pure X
    03. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy — Kanye West
    04. Forever Dolphin Love — Connan Mockasin
    05. Lonerism — Tame Impala

    Top 5 Songs:
    01. “Space Song” — Beach House
    02. “FFunny FFriends” — Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    03. “Ghost Town” — Kanye West
    04. “Are You with Me Now” — Cate Le Bon
    05. “She’s Really All I Need” — Mac Demarco

    The Decade in Music: This decade has seen so much. Streaming changed the nature of how we all experience and find new music, and all genres suffered because of the complete inability to survive off music sales. Indie did especially because people expect things that are easy, homogenized, and fit into their already decided interests. For artists on the outside, it can feel like a really daunting atmosphere to release music in.


    And yet, there have been so many amazing releases and triumphs. Women have consistently put out incredible and important work at an astounding rate we know will continue. Artists like Mac Demarco and Tame Impala broke through and can bring those kids with us into the next decade of strange, spontaneous, and special music.

    Our general consensus is optimism leading into the 2020s. How else should we feel? It’s the roaring ’20s, baby!

    SEGO — Artist of the Month April 2019

    SEGO Artist of the Month Best of 2010s Decade

    Our Decade as Artists: Still not sure if I classify [myself] as an artist, but this decade has given me the vehicle to be considered as such. I haven’t mentally grouped the last 10 years till just now really, and it’s difficult to truly find the through-lines while still living it. Technology and art, I suppose (not sure which comes first). The vast infrastructural and social change has informed and guided much of my artist outlook and approach.


    Top 5 Albums:
    01. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
    02. Give In – On an On
    03. This Is Happening – LCD Soundsystem
    04. Body Faucet – Reptar
    05. The OOZ – King Krule

    Top 5 Songs (“No order, no winners”):
    01. “Avant Gardener” – Courtney Barnett
    02. “Carissa” – Sun Kil Moon
    03. “Dance Yrself Clean” – LCD Soundsystem
    04. “Ghosts” – On an On
    05. “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” – !!!


    The Decade in Music: Bands each added two keyboards and a Roland SPDS-X … then Ableton.

    Snail Mail — Artist of the Month May 2018

    Snail Mail Artist of the Month Best of 2010s Decade

    My Decade as an Artist:
    I think it’s a really cool time to be an artist because I’m surrounded with artistic innovation as well as lots of art that’s intentionally reviving movements from the past. Having the internet also provides so much access to musical inspiration that artists didn’t have in the past — it’s almost overwhelming how lucky we are.


    Top 5 Albums:
    01. Devotion — Tirzah
    02. The 1975 — The 1975
    03. The Idler Wheel… — Fiona Apple
    04. Teen Dream — Beach House
    05. Blonde — Frank Ocean

    Top 5 Songs:
    01. “LOVE” — Kendrick Lamar
    02. “Cellophane” — FKA twigs
    03. “100” — Dean Blunt
    04. “Make Out in My Car” — Moses Sumney ft. Sufjan Stevens
    05. “Holocene” — Bon Iver

    The Decade in Music: It’s incredible to see people of all different backgrounds being able to spread their art with Youtube and Bandcamp. There are so many talented voices that come from backgrounds that aren’t wealthy and privileged, and we have the opportunity to easily discover more of these artists nowadays.


    Matthew E. White — CoSign August 2012

    Matthew E. White Artist of the Month Best of 2010s DecadeMy Decade as an Artist: Ten years ago, I was driving house to house teaching guitar and piano lessons. So, by a professional measurement, it has meant everything, but, that said, it has been difficult and slow from an art-making, craft-growing point of view. For me, things have grown much better, and more naturally, without the insertion of industry — so that, in a lot of ways, has slowed down growth.


    Top 5 Albums:
    01. Channel Orange — Frank Ocean
    02. Black Messiah — D’Angelo and the Vanguard
    03. Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City — Kendrick Lamar
    04. To Pimp a Butterfly — Kendrick Lamar
    05. Hud Dreams — Knxwledge

    The Decade in Music: I don’t know.

    Bethlehem Steel — Artist of the Month September 2019

    Bethlehem Steel Artist of the Month Best of 2010s DecadeOur Decade as Artists: It’s no time to be silent: write about what’s important. Writing about my experiences in hoping others feel less alone helped get me through the past 10 years.


    Top 5 Albums:
    01. All Mirrors — Angel Olsen
    02. So the Flies Don’t Come — Milo
    03. Dripping — Pile
    04. Masterpiece — Big Thief
    05. The Monitor — Titus Andronicus

    Top 5 Songs:
    01. “Oui” — Jeremih
    02. “Emotion” — Carly Rae Jepsen
    03. “Tibetan Pop Stars” — Hop Along
    04. “Love You Only” — Lost Boy ?
    05. “Only Child” — Midnight Reruns

    The Decade in Music: While this decade was a continuation of the slow death of guitar rock, it also made room for those who weren’t part of the boys club to use their voice. More accountability — being able to go to shows without fear of being groped or harassed. We saw the growth and decline of an epic Brooklyn DIY scene and cherished every moment of it.

    EarthGang — Artist of the Month February 2018

    EarthGang Artist of the Month Best of 2010s DecadeOur Decade as Artists: The last 10 years allowed for the stretching of what we consider “pop” music to be. Pop music no longer was music made for and produced only by white teenagers. It became rap, Dub Step, Afro Beats. It became a global thing with very indigenous roots. It also allowed for non-Western rhythms and styles to make its way over to America. It also championed the voices and stories of black women. The last 10 years removed the boundaries of genre and allowed the space for an album like MIRRORLAND to be able to swim through many different channels and spaces. –Olu


    WowGr8’s Top 5 Albums:
    01. Overgrown — James Blake
    02. Malibu — Anderson .Paak
    03. Beautiful Thugger Girls — Young Thug
    04. Black Messiah — D’Angelo and the Vanguard
    05. Choose Your Weapon — Hiatus Kaiyote

    Olu’s Top 5 Albums:
    01. Blonde — Frank Ocean
    02. Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City — Kendrick Lamar
    03. African Giant — Burna Boy
    04. ANTI — Rihanna
    05. Awaken, My Love — Childish Gambino

    WowGr8’s Top 5 Songs:
    01. “Wild Irish Roses” — Smino
    02. “Sad” — XXXTentacion
    03. “In Your Eyes” — Charlotte Day Wilson and BADBADNOTGOOD
    04. “Pupil| | The Patience” — The Internet
    05. “Royalty” — Young Dolph


    Olu’s Top 5 Songs:
    01. “No One” — Alicia Keys
    02. “Royals” — Lorde
    03. “Love on Top” — Beyoncé
    04. “No Role Models” — J. Cole
    05. “God’s Plan” — Drake

    The Decade in Music: This decade was the emergence of a new golden age of hip-hop. The DIY era on steroids. Artists are taking their careers into their own hands in a whole new way thanks to technology and the lessons from the artists before us. Even though there has been the ever-present generational gap in the media, this decade’s artists learned by watching where the previous decades messed up. — WowGr8

    Alice Phoebe Lou — Artist of the Month March 2019

    Alice Phoebe Lou Artist of the Month Best of 2010s DecadeMy Decade as an Artist: Ten years ago I was 16 and didn’t think I’d make music my life. So these 10 years have turned everything upside down or the right way around and shown me that without a musical education, I can still do the rock n’ roll.


    Top 5 Albums:
    01. The Party Nick — Andy Shauf
    02. Green Twins — Hakim
    03. Jassbusters — Connan Mockasin
    04. A Seat at the Table — Solange
    05. Ritual Union — Little Dragon

    Top 5 Songs:
    01. “True Blue” — Mark Ronson ft. Angel Olsen
    02. “The Not Real Lake” — Loving
    03. “Spring” — Angel Olsen
    04. “Homebody” — Nai Palm
    05. “The Look” — Metronomy

    The Decade in Music: I don’t know about my genre — it’s been changing. I’m feeling pretty punk right now, with a sprinkle of jazz, and some sad love songs. Oh, and sometimes it’s funky, too.


Latest Stories