Wednesday, July 27, 2016

5 New Songs (I Think) You Need to Hear Now

OK, so it's been way too long since I last blogged. As always, life has been insane and I haven't had the chance to sit down and pen a few thoughts on what I've been listening to - even though, trust me, I have been listening. I currently have a backlog of things I need to get on here, but to start, here are five fresh tracks I've had on constant repeat these days.

1. Happy - Your Boy Tony Braxton: If I told you that Shad, Canadian artist and host of CBC's Q, had released a surprise new project - chances are you'd assume it's the follow-up to his hopeful, socially-charged 2013 hip-hop album Flying Colours and be very excited. And you still should be excited, even though this new Shad is sort of the exact opposite, but in the most magical way. Morphing into his newfound alter ego Your Boy Tony Braxton, Shad has gathered years of his sung, 90s-laced pop-rock material (think early John Mayer, Jason Mraz) and assembled it into an upbeat collection titled Adult Contempt, which might be 2016's most unexpected Canadian earworm to date. 

2. R.E.D. - A Tribe Called Red featuring Yasiin Bey: Sticking to that dope Canadian note, there's probably no song I've jammed harder to in the past week than this one from First Nations electronic trio A Tribe Called Red. Enlisting the help of Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def), MC Narcy and the drumming group Black Bear, ATCR deliver a palpable stomp with this huge banger, which is the first single from their forthcoming September album We Are The Halluci Nation.

3. It Ain't Wrong Loving You - HONNE: Also dipping into the 90s pop-rock handbook, this track off the London duo's debut LP is a pleasant, rom-com-ready ditty that, unlike the rest of the album, felt like it warranted some repeat plays. I've always been a fan of Andy Clutterback's raspy, blissed-out vocals, and paired with this sweet message and melody, I don't see why this shouldn't be the band's next single.

4. VRY BLK - Jamila Woods: You might recognize Jamila Wood's sugary pipes from Chance the Rapper's "Sunday Candy" or Macklemore's "White Privilege II," but her powerful debut is proof that although she rolls with hip-hop's coolest new class, this is an artist completely equipped to stand on her own. An honest, spiritual album about black girlhood, this standout track is nothing short of exquisite, with its wobbly, childlike production acting as the perfect minimalist platform for her words on systemic racism.

5. Timmy Turner - Desiigner: The blogosphere is pretty divided on the merit of "Timmy Turner," the highly anticipated, highly curious follow-up to Desiigner's breakout single "Panda." The song got its legs as a simple XXL freestyle, turned piano duet with Mike Dean, before dropping as a fully-produced, shockingly impactful single last week (that's already been remixed hundreds of times over). All the while, the thing is still founded on a cartoon reference and is 75% incomprehensible (because, Desiigner). Yet, potentially genius G.O.O.D. Music promotional ploy aside, the song itself can't be overlooked. From the dark chanting to the layered effects and that melodious last-minute key change - all of it might prove that Desiigner has more up his sleeve than expected.

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