New artists take the charts, Amber Smoke rises to the top

This week includes artists new to KCSU’s charts including local artists Euforquestra, Flobots, Fierce Bad Rabbit and more.


Music Directors

“KCSU’s Top 10 Songs Spinning This Week” is written by the KCSU music directors and describes the top artists that your local 90.5 FM DJs are playing this week. This article is updated weekly on Sundays and discussed on their show, “KCSU Weekly Gem Countdown,” which airs every Monday from 12-1 p.m. During the show, you can learn more about each musician or band before tuning in to the top 10 countdown on Mondays, in which the music directors present to you the latest songs topping the charts and breaking down each song’s sound and feel.”

*=Brand new to the charts this week!

And holy cow! What a week for new artists at KCSU!

1. Amber Smoke — Hip Hop/Rap — (9 spins of  “Money Orders” off of her 2020 single release “Money Orders”)

Amber Smoke is back at the top of the charts! According to her Spotify, Smoke is a “rising international superstar.” Originally from Houston, she also raps, sings, writes music and acts.

Her music covers “many relatable issues head-on, like social injustice, difficulties finding love … and navigating being a young strong woman in the industry willing to pave her own way without compromising her beliefs,” according to her Spotify.

This upbeat, true hip-hop tune allows Smoke to claim her place as a strong woman in the music industry.

2. Tennis (Local) — Alt/Indie — (8 spins of “100 Lovers” off of their 2014 album, “Ritual in Repeat”)

Tennis is a local indie-pop duo that consists of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. According to the duo’s Spotify, the pair’s music is “swooning ’50s pop melancholy with smooth-and-easy 70’s soft rock in a … calming fashion that matches the sailing trips that provide them with inspiration.”

The duo returned from a busy touring schedule to record their third album in the autumn of 2014. From their Spotify, they explain that the album is “more accessible and diverse than previous efforts. The record featured songs produced by Richard Swift, the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney and Spoon’s Jim Eno.”

3. *Eufórquestra (Local) — Jazz/Blues — (7 spins of “Instant Coffee” off of their 2012 album, “Let Us In”)

Eufórquestra (pronounced yoo-FOHR-keh-struh) is “energy and rhythm personified” from Denver. According to its website, the band has an “ever-evolving sound that has been influenced by music from all over the world with an emphasis on funk, pocket and groove.” The band blends sounds of funk, soul, afrobeat, reggae and dub to create a sound that, as Chris Slawecki describes it, “explodes, dances and melts in your ear with sheer bliss.”

The group consists of DJ Logic, Eddie Roberts, Jennifer Hartswick, Kyle Hollingsworth, Kim Dawson, Ayo Awosika and Kevin Kinsella. For over a decade, the band has been igniting dance floors across the country and has amassed over 14,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

4.*Flobots (Local) — Hip Hop/Rap — (7 spins of “Handlebars” off of their 2008 album “Fight With Tools”)

Flobots is an alternative hip hop band from Denver, Colorado, whose members are “on a mission to use their music as a tool to create community, conversation and ignite the activist in all of us.”

Consisting of Jamie Laurie, Stephen Brackett, Andy Rok Guerrero and Kenny O, the band has amassed over 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. According to Songfacts, the first single of their debut album, “Handlebars,” was about “power, corruption and the potential that lies in one individual. … It starts with the dictator as a young child learning how to ride a bike without handlebars. In the end, the boy is all grown up and has taken over the world.”

The band states on its website that, “in the 15+ years of being a platinum-selling band, touring the world and founding the nonprofit Youth On Record, Flobots continues to invite us to imagine a world rooted in empathy, equality and love, using music as their superpower.”

5. *Grimes (feat. Majical Cloudz) — Electronic — (7 spins of “Nightmusic” off of her 2012 album, “Visions”)

Grimes is an electronic, dream-pop artist from Vancouver who shaped the 2010’s sound. All Music describes that “the ethereal sonics that surrounded her unmistakable soprano on early releases such as 2010’s ‘Halfaxa’ became crisper and more diverse on 2012’s widely acclaimed Visions, an album that mixed dream pop, R&B, electronic and hip-hop influences in seamless and innovative ways.”

When looking back on the album “Visions” with NME, Grimes explained, “I think I just wanted to go insane. I was just like, ‘I should do everything I can to actually go insane; it will probably lead to something good.'” Grimes was on to something because “Visions” sold over 150,000 units, and she has over 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

6. *PinkPantheress — Pop — (6 spins of “I Must Apologize” off of her 2021 album, “to hell with it”)

Gemma Walker, known professionally as PinkPantheress, is an up-and-coming indie-pop artist who, at 20 years old, has already gained over 6 million monthly listeners on Spotify with only one album released as of now. Walker had her rise to fame on TikTok, beginning when she posted her single “Break It Off” and it quickly went viral, including scoring a record deal from Parlophone.

Cool Accidents describes her music as “very authentic and DIY,” and that could be why she blew up so fast. When releasing her debut album, “to hell with it,” she mixed her original bedroom pop sound that fans grew to love on TikTok with new studio material, creating a nostalgic, exciting indie record.

7. *The Gloomies — Alt/Indie — (5 spins of “Sad Days” off of their 2021 album, “Let Me Know When It’s Over”)

The Gloomies is an indie band from New York that is comprised of frontman Andy Craig, Chris Trombley, Lucas Carpenter and Blake Martz. On their Spotify, they claim to be “Jazzy surf-punkers,” and they solidify this by “mixing gritty realism and yearning optimism” in their songwriting. The Gloomies spent time in New York to work on their first LP, “Let Me Know When It’s Over.”

“Let Me Know When It’s Over” was released in December of 2021 and contained “a hypnotic collection of songs.” The band has gained over 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

8. *Bad Bad Hats — Alt/Indie — (4 spins of “Year of the Crab” off of their 2021 album, “Walkman”)

Bad Bad Hats is an alternative band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, that consists of Kerry Alexander, Con Davison and Chris Hoge. The band states on its website that its music is “rooted in classic pop songwriting with elements of nineties rock influence and an overall lightheartedness.”

In an interview with Stereo Gum, Alexander explains that they “love music’s special power to transport us to certain places and times in our lives. ‘Walkman’ is inspired by that. It’s about having a feeling so strong for someone that whenever you’re falling in love, it brings you back to being with that person.”

9. *Earth Wind and Fire — Pop — (3 spins of “September” off of their 1978 album, “September”)

Earth Wind and Fire is one of the most iconic bands from the ’70s. Founded by Maurice White, the band started out as a trio with White, Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead and was original called Salty Peppers. After relocating to LA, the trio turned into a band — with members that included Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Fred White, Al McKay, Johnny Graham, Ralph Johnson and more. They changed their name to those three elements we know by heart: “earth, wind and fire.”

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the gifted band “rose to prominence in the seventies by bringing together the sounds that came before it — jazz, blues, R&B, pop, gospel, African roots, funk and deep soul — making an impact that transcends race, cultures and time.” The band’s iconic pop-funk song “September” has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and has sold over 2 million copies.

10. *Fierce Bad Rabbit (Local) — Alt/Indie — (2 spins of “Carry On” off of their 2012 album, “The Maestro and the Elephant”)

Fierce Bad Rabbit is a local indie alternative band from Northern Colorado, consisting of Chris Anderson, Alana Rolfe, Dayton Hicks and Max Barcelow. According to their Bandcamp, the band fuses “together melodic strands of alternative effects with a rock foundation, … [creating] a unique sound that travels through poignant lyrics and pop-infused tunes to gritty pieces.”

“The Maestro and the Elephant” was released September of 2014, marking a true transformation for the band. The band explains on its website that it went for a “more mature, grounded and modernized sound while staying true to their proven poeticism and emotion-driven lyrics.” They also brought “multiple influences and genres, as well as collaborative writing to the project.”

The KCSU music directors can be reached at