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Sporting a massive psychobilly quiff, Ben Esser's radical Eraserhead haircut separated him from the crowd when he hit the scene as a solo artist in 2009, but it was his music that really set him apart. Going against the ever-popular trend of hipster irony, Braveface was a shamelessly and unabashedly poppy debut, mixing '90s Brit-pop and bouncy electro with nonchalant Cockney lyrics. Growing up just outside of London in Southeast Essex, with a drummer for a brother and a music teacher for a father, Esser immersed himself in music at a young age, using records and tapes as an escape from the boredom of his pre-teens. His deep infatuation with songs turned into a passion for home recording and performing live. After a brush with fame while drumming for London dance-rock trio Ladyfuzz, he spent some time finding his own musical voice, taking inspiration along the way from a wide range of artists, including Zapp & Roger, Daniel Johnston, and most notably, Damon Albarn. After home recording his debut single, "I Love You," and its infectious follow-up, "Headlock,"the 23-year-old he released Braveface for Transgressive Records. ~ Jason Lymangrover