The Post-Gender, Post-Genre Charm of Indie Music’s Newest Star

April 24, 2015 10:00 PM

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Midway through lunch at a divey Williamsburg Mexican joint, Shamir Bailey turned into a puppet. Well, on the internet, anyway — at some moment between the chips and guac and the lengua chimichangas, the video for his bouncy new “Call It Off” premiered online, kicking up a flurry of faves, reblogs, and a few WTFs. The clip features the charismatic 20-year-old singer undergoing a transformation from man to puppet; as he leans over the table to show me a few pictures, he brags, “I know I look good in felt.”

Bailey has just arrived in town from Austin’s SXSW, where he experienced the sort of buzz-generating week that the music festival is supposed to deliver for artists but only rarely does. The taste-making website Stereogum gushed, “I haven’t been this enthralled with a live performance [in] a while.”...

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