Johnathan Rice

Written during his late teens, Trouble Is Real, the debut full-length from Johnathan Rice (no relation to Damien), is far more aware than any kid's album has a right to be. The 21-year-old's weapon is his breathy, rough voice. Whether whispering hoarsely over a plucked guitar on "Break So Easy" or pleading and screaming between orchestral layers on "My Mother's Son," he does things to your consciousness that feel so good. His preternatural gift with music has a staggering impact that can make you feel like sobbing ("Acrobat") and make you want to fly ("Salvation Day").