Ed Balloon is not yet a pop star, but he might be soon. If anything, he’s well on his way to becoming an indie star in the weird, breakout lane of glam-pop that has been dominating 2017. The Boston-based musician burst on the scene back in 2015 with his debut Bandcamp-released EP No Smoking, and quickly caught attention on the streaming platform, landing a Bandcamp feature the following year for his next EP Yellow 20 Somethings. That’s when I stumbled upon his music, via the west coast weirdo label Deathbomb Arc, and immediately fell in love with his frenetic, earnest style.
If you’re drawn to the psycho-pop sparkle of a band like Deerhoof — who invited Ed to open for them in Boston and helped premiere his “Graduate” video last year — then his sound, and underlying social, political, and personal commentary will strike a chord. All that and more are at play in his “@# TrapKaraoke” video, which we premiered back in March. In the visual for a track off Yellow 20 Somethings, Ed embraces black boy joy, even in the face of dark and depressive forces.
In 2017, Ed is more focused and confident than ever on carving out his own lane. He’s only been seriously pursuing music for a couple years now, and his next project, Flourish which will be out later this year, is his third official EP release to date. Despite the brevity, he’s a refined and poignant songwriter and performer who defies categorization and stereotype. Today we’re highlighting the first track released off the newly announced Flourish EP, “BDA (Still Riding),” which you can hear below.
The song is a bouncy and enthusiastic Afrobeat bop that lasers in on issues of intimacy and support, despite financial success. A sharp take on how money and finances influence our lives is a huge part of Flourish‘s theme, and I spoke with Ed extensively about this, among many other things when he was visiting Los Angeles last month, like the difficult story of how eventually turned to music, learning to accept his deep voice, superseding genre and more. Read that conversation below.