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Megan Buerger

When Margo Price released her knockout debut album, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, last year after a decade of personal hardship and industry rejection, country purists praised her outsider spirit and vintage tastes. Hailed a revivalist and a renegade, she earned instant comparisons to outlaw legends like Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris, and most notably, Loretta Lynn. As far as Cinderella stories go, it was a dream come true ... except that Price never set out to be a tribute act. She wants a legacy of her own.

Nic Fanciulli knows writer's block. Already an established DJ when he began making music more than a decade ago, he used pseudonyms like Skylark and Buick Project (collaborations with engineer Andy Chatterley) out of fear that his own works weren't up to snuff. Not even a Grammy nomination for his 2007 remix of Tiefschwarz's "Damage" helped his confidence. "I was overthinking everything," he tells NPR.

The title of Tei Shi's debut album, Crawl Space, is an ode to the shadowy room she used as a child to overcome her fear of the dark. Recording her first album stirred up similar feelings of dread. "Suddenly, I was six again," she tells NPR. To summon some courage and reconnect with her inner-heroine, the Colombian-Canadian singer (born Valerie Teicher) dug up a stash of old home videos. Her song, "Say You Do," begins and ends with a crushingly earnest recording of her as a child, confessing her insecurities. "I'm a bad singer," she says. "Can't do anything well.

The back-flipping, glowstick-flinging, twerk titans of the EDM main stage have been succeeded by an unlikely assembly of bedroom beatmakers. Cashmere Cat, Mura Masa and Zhu are, in many ways, the polar opposite of DJs who sparked the genre's recent commercial boom. Soft-spoken and enigmatic, they're homebodies-turned-headliners who are more interested in eccentricities and atmospheres than builds and drops.

Dance music producers are quick to applaud themselves for pushing boundaries, but few do it with the ingenuity or finesse of Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson, who together are the London-via-Belfast production duo Bicep. Known for exquisite live sets that revive forgotten strains of house, garage, ambient and disco without an ounce of predictability, they're leading a new wave of eclectic electronic music that prizes curatorial taste above all else.

In January, Alex Crossan — the Guernsey-born, London-based DJ and producer known as Mura Masa — exhaled for what felt like the first time in two years. He'd finally put the finishing touches on his self-titled debut album, which is packed with A-list guest stars like A$AP Rocky, Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and Charli XCX.

Matthew Dear sometimes has a hard time quieting his mind. The dance-rock innovator dropped partying when his daughters were born and took up an interest in mindfulness and meditation to feel more present. But when you're a touring musician juggling several side projects (including his techno alias, Audion) and a constant case of jet lag, the crunchy stuff doesn't always cut it — you want chemicals. On a particularly grueling tour stop in Australia, a friend offered him Modafinil, a drug used to treat narcolepsy.

Lunice, the boundary-pushing hip-hop producer known for collaborations with Hudson Mohawke (with whom he produces as the duo TNGHT) and Azealia Banks, is finally gearing up to release his debut album, CCCLX, or 360 in Roman numerals. Out this September on LuckyMe, the project is some five years in the making and, as the title suggests, aims to be more than a one- or two-dimensional experience. Rather, it's an avant-garde mix of jolting, electronic hip-hop inspired by, and designed for, the stage.

Ever get the nagging feeling that catastrophic danger is looming and the world could end at any minute? Sure you do, it's 2017! Unsettling as it may be, some would say the only way to get through it is by sticking together. In ODESZA's new, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi music video, that's exactly the takeaway.

Few artists have conquered underground dance music as swiftly as Maceo Plex. Over the past decade, the Miami-born producer (real name: Eric Estornel) known for powerful, sultry deep house and techno has deftly walked the tightrope between the underground and the mainstream: prominent enough to headline a stage at Coachella yet niche enough for Europe's highbrow club circuit. It's the kind of impossible sovereignty most DJs dream of, but Estornel knows it won't last, especially in today's volatile climate. So he's shifting gears.

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