This past week of vacation has, quite honestly, been filled with: wine, naps, snacks, music, reading, more snacks, more wine and more music. I finally feel caught up on what's out there (girl hadn't even gotten around to watching the "Wolves" video!) after a whirlwind few weeks.
So, here are seven new songs I love.
1. Real Love - Father John Misty: So, this isn't really a new song, seeing as I wrote about it back in May. But, that was when it was only one strangely serious FJM Soundcloud upload in a sea of otherwise satirical ones. Luckily, this folk-pop beauty has been plucked off that platform and released in downloadable/buyable format. Unlike plenty of other Josh Tillman songs, "Real Love" is simple in its sweet lyrical and instrumental ingredients, leading me to think it might just have what it takes to be timeless.
2. Welcome to Your Life - Grouplove: Since their 2011 debut, Grouplove have made it look pretty damn easy to craft a euphoric alt-pop anthem. Lead singers Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi usually trade lines on bouncy mid-tempo verses that eventually bubble into a big, colourful chorus - which makes you want to quit your job, break up, fall in love, find adventure, etc. - proving the formula is oh-so-simple, but very effective.
3. Dang! - Mac Miller (feat. Anderson .Paak): I've never been the biggest Mac Miller fan, but throw some Anderson .Paak and a funky Julliard horn section into *just* about anything and I'm game. And, come September when Miller's fourth album The Divine Feminine drops, I could see my opinion changing, if the rest of it is anything like this highly addictive acid jazzy gem.
4. A 1000 Times - Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam: If you've read this blog consistently over the years, you know I'm a Walkmen fanatic, and didn't quite know what to do with myself when the band decided to go on "indefinite hiatus" in 2013. Lucky for me, frontman Leithauser has kept busy churning out a slew of very Walkmen-y tunes - whether completely solo, with bandmate Paul Maroon or, in this case, Vampire Weekend's low-key songwriting mastermind, Rostam Batmanglij.
5. Feel Like Me - Cassius (feat. Cat Power): It's also not news that I've loved Chan Marshall, AKA Cat Power, through the various cycles of her sometimes turbulent, other times empowered career. Therefore, I was over the moon to hear her vulnerable throaty vocals featured on this soulful new single, which was tailor-made for her by French electronic duo Cassius. Chan, who Cassius call their "favourite living singer on earth" lends vocals to two other tracks on the group's new album, which is set to drop August 26.
6. Bleeding Heart - Regina Spektor: Few things can make me feel like I'm 17 again, but Regina Spektor sure can. Even if I get old, Spektor's coined blend of convincing vocals, piano and vibrant synth honestly never will. I've always said Spektor's quirky, exceptional talent made it feel like she was our generation's Joni Mitchell, and I like to think the rich layers and segments of this comeback song only prove me right.
7. Juniper - Begonia: Maybe not as well known a vocalist, but an equally powerful one, is Toronto-based artist Begonia, who I was lucky to catch live last week. Following her stunning performance of original songs, the only way I could describe Alexa Dirks was like "a Canadian Adele," since her effortless pipes seemed to know no limits. While Dirks is also part of the JUNO-winning harmony group Chic Gamine, I think it's her individual star that's set to shine extra bright in the coming year. Don't sleep!