Friday, April 15, 2016

8 New Songs You Need To Hear Now

Landcruisin' - A.K. Paul: It didn't take long for me to fall in love with this song after stumbling across it a few weeks ago. Seconds into the muffled guitar riff and varied percussion, I wasn't sure if I was listening to a newcomer or Frank Ocean - and, anything that sounds like Frank is A-OK by me. As it turns out, it also doesn't take long to hear that while it's a little unpolished to be Ocean's anticipated return, for Jai Paul's brother A.K., it's a stellar turn at some ultramodern R&B.

On My Mind (feat. Pusha T) - Moxie Raia: I first heard "On My Mind" via Ebro Darden last week, and couldn't believe the addictive ear candy wasn't the product of a long-established pop star. Raia might not be a household name yet, but the 25 year-old New Jersey native is definitely gearing up for a mainstream breakout, seeing as she nabbed Pusha T for the feature, as well as a spot opening for Justin Bieber's Purpose tour alongside Post Malone.

I Remember - alunaGeorge & Flume: I'm not a house/electronic aficionado, but I've followed alunaGeorge's accessible indie-electro for almost five years. Although almost achieved with their Jack Ü collaboration last year, I'd say the sugary sweet sentiment of this midtempo jam might be what finally gets their names on the big charts.

The Sickness (feat. Nas) - J. Dilla: 
Unless you're a huge hip-hop head, you might not know who J. Dilla is, so, let me put the late rapper/producer's legacy into quick context for you. In the 2014 Stone's Throw Records doc Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, Kanye West was quoted saying, "We gotta make music and think, ‘If Dilla was alive, would he like this? I have to work on behalf of Dilla." With this star-studded posthumous album, which sounds like an early-00s time warp, it's easy to appreciate every sample-heavy, Dilla-led song - to remember the visionary he was as both an MC and producer - but very, very hard to accept that he's gone.

Strive (feat. Missy Elliot) - A$AP Ferg: Oof. Two-stepping, early-90s-reminiscent downtown beats like these ones are the key to my heart. It's nothing complicated, but the pulsing dance production laid down for Ferg and Missy gives you life with each rapid rhyme.

Breakers Roar - Sturgill Simpson: Breaking the mold of the above tracks, and most other things I've covered during this fabulously beat-inundated year, I have to throw a shoutout to alt-country singer-songwriter Simpson's eclectic new album A Sailor's Guide to Earth, and this beautiful, twang-filled lullaby.

Man - Skepta: Finally, Skepta recently revealed he'll be releasing his new album on May 6, which came with the announcement of a full tracklist and this brand new banger, via Zane Lowe. On "Man," the revered grime MC spits fearlessly about how people treat him following his rise to fame, all over a thick, speaker-rattling beat.

One Way to Pray - Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop: It might have taken Sam Beam, a.k.a. Iron & Wine, to give folk singer Jesca Hoop the airtime she deserves with their debut collaboration Love Letter for Fire, and although I'm not happy about the spelling of her first name, I'm happy she's excelling. Hoop's throaty vocals perfectly harmonize with Beam's barely-there croon throughout the whole album, but especially on this sunset-ready Americana sway.

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