Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Are You Onto The Voyagers?

Unlike certain American communities where hip-hop greatness has historically manifested, Connecticut might not immediately come to mind when paired with mention of the genre. Still, Connecticut has produced a worthwhile batch of competitive rappers in the past, and it looks like new quintet The Voyagers are ready to put New York's neighbour back on the map.

For The Voyagers (not the cast of the 80s TV series or Dutch dance duo), Hartford, CT has been the lab for concocting clever, challenging material that, in my opinion, puts them up with some of hip-hop's most intriguing collectives. Ripping a page right out of the 90s playbook, The Voyagers' effortless and punchy flows pop over the smacking, old school beats and scratches. Their plucky rhymes are a solid dose of reality which are good enough to make commonplace talk of chains and b*tches seem pretty trivial. 

Keep an eye out for this crew, and listen to their latest single "Lock n Load" below.

img via

Monday, August 31, 2015

Miley, What's Good?

The only three words that matter today. Hats off to Queen Nicki for calling out the ridiculous, painful-to-watch spectacle that is Miley Cyrus and her big mouth.

Friday, August 28, 2015

PSA: Justin Bieber's New Single "What Do You Mean?" Is Really, Really Great

As a music writer, the thing I love most about the ever-changing music landscape is that I'm always proved wrong, time and again, about not only the direction of music, but my own taste. I'm pushed way out of what I thought were my boundaries and find myself not only co-existing with, but excitedly consuming genres and artists that I previously (stupidly) could have scoffed at.

Kacey Musgraves, Carly Rae Jepsen, pretty much every delectably hilarious rapper and now this, one of the most heavily marketed pieces of music since Taylor Swift's 1989 (white pop stars seem to be anti-surprise album) - Justin Bieber's first single in two years, "What Do You Mean?". For the past month, Bieber has summoned every big celebrity to participate in the countdown to the single's release - proving that, despite his extracurricular issues these past few years, public opinion of the kid is still very strong. Or, at least the anticipation around what he's doing is.

Over a slow-burning, tropical house arrangement, the Biebs' subdued (but highly capable, post-pubescence [amen]) voice asks about some relationship miscommunication over (and over and over) again - making for what might be one of the last melodic candy bangers of the summer. If you liked "Where Are Ü Now," his pretty collab with Jack Ü (Diplo and Skrillex), you'll eat this single right up.

I just fucking love where we are in music. Nothing matters, none of your predispositions, none of the pressure to like this and that; indie shoegaze can be just as recognized and critically acclaimed as a solid country effort or shamelessly bubblegum pop record, and critics themselves will be the first people to yell that at you. If you've gone through more than half your life believing certain genres or artists are more acceptable to publicly support than others, than get off your high horse and start enjoying the sounds before it's too late and you've missed what's happening.

Because Bieber is obviously back, and he'll be damned if you're not toe-tapping proudly. Watch out for his "What Do You Mean?" performance at the upcoming MTV VMAs, as well as a new album out this fall/winter.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Best New Track: Destroyer's "Times Square"

This has been a big week in music and criticism of the music industry, which is probably why I haven't had the chance to share a few uncontroversial, but amazing, singles that have also had my full attention.

For one, Destroyer's new single "Times Square," has been giving me life for a few weeks straight. On "Times Square," longtime Canadian indie staple Destroyer, AKA Dan Bejar (also a guitarist for the New Pornographers) seems to have sonically captured the notion that engrosses New York residents and wannabe residents: the Big Apple is what dreams are made of. Evoking hints of Bowie and Dylan, "Times Square" is full of possibility and romance - as everything NYC is - while the jangly piano, acoustic guitar and lounge saxophone dance around Bejar's wispy voice. "Oh, you could fall in love," is a fitting sentiment about both the big city's commercial spectacle, and this - one of Destroyer's dreamiest, most accessible folk-pop masterpieces yet.

Destroyer's 11th (!) album, Poison Season, is out tomorrow on Dead Oceans.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Weeknd Drops "Tell Your Friends"

Last night The Weeknd debuted the video for his latest, Kanye West-produced track, "Tell Your Friends," and it's further evidence the Toronto crooner's rebirth is well underway.

The dark storyline shows The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) burying himself alive, dancing through the desert and effortlessly killing someone else, before making his escape in a getaway car. Sounding old school Weeknd-meets-grungy Yeezus, the jazzy "Tell Your Friends" is a statement about his evolution, but also his allegiance to who he's always been: "that n—a with the hair/ singing ’bout popping pills, f—ing b-itches." 

The new track, along with previous singles "The Hills," 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack contribution "Earned It" and pop gold "Can't Feel My Face," comes ahead of his anticipated second release, Beauty Behind The Madness, which finally drops this Friday. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

TGIF: City and Colour's "Lover Come Back"

City and Colour, aka Dallas Green, has released the eighth single (!) ahead of his fifth album, and thankfully, it's just what I needed to revive my love for the Canadian singer-songwriter. 

"Lover Come Back" is a sunnier, soul-tinged ode that strays from the gloomy acoustic mold Green sometimes slips into. His voice, desperate and powerful as he calls back his sweetheart, is pretty much impeccable - reminding me his pipes have always been the primary reason I love him. The Ryan Adams-esque composition of this single is definitely another surefire catch.

Unadorned and perfectly rootsy, "Lover Come Back" will sound even better on the highway this weekend. Roll the windows down for this one, and look out for If I Should Go Before You on October 9 via Dine Alone Records.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

BØRNS Premieres New Track "The Emotion"

Less than two months ahead of the release of his highly anticipated debut album, Dopamine, California indie-pop sensation BØRNS has dropped his first non-EP single, titled "The Emotion."

On what might be his most honest, straightforward ballad yet, the free-spirited and vocally capable Garrett Borns trades in some glam production, but none of the sparkle. "The Emotion" glimmers from start to finish.

Get your hands on Dopamine on October 16; I have no doubt it'll be one of the top albums of the year.