Tuesday, November 29, 2016

10 New Songs (I Think) You Need To Hear Now

Long time, no blog! Life has been very busy (in a very great way), and I haven't really been able to find a minute. I still spend just about every waking hour of the day listening to music, though - so I've accumulated a number of song obsessions that I'll limit to 10 here today.

Here are the songs I recommend you listen to immediately, if not sooner:

"Baby" - Helena Deland: I'm so lucky to be part of a team who, more or less, spends their days sifting through new music and music videos - thinking of how to best get them out there. So much of it feels meaningful and exciting, but, a few weeks back, this song and video aired in a meeting, and I nearly dropped my pen at the first echo of this Hope Sandoval-esque voice. With only one EP out so far, Montreal-based Deland is still mostly flying under the radar, but I really, truly predict that will change very soon.

"Cookie" - Dessert: And the prize for the least SEO-friendly track goes to... Dessert, and their new song "Cookie." It takes awhile to dig up information on this Los Angeles band, but that in itself makes their lowkey brilliant songs even more endearing - even if there are only a few of them readily available. On "Cookie," the neo-soul trio blends horns, xylophone, spastic percussion and, thankfully, puts those silky R&B vocals front and center.

"I Will Follow You" - Toulouse: Can I get a "holla" from all Sister Act devotees? While it was Peggy Lee March who brought the 1963 hit "I Will Follow Him" into the limelight before it was religiously repurposed for Whoopi Goldberg - err, Sister Mary Clarence - and her Sister Act choir, mysterious New York artist Toulouse's stripped-down, ethereal take on the old classic is a bit of a show-stopper. Interestingly, the artist nods to Sister Act for introducing him to the song, even though I think it's his slow-mo spin that blows all previous versions out of the water. And that's a huge statement, because I love the Sister Act movies so (so) much.

"C'est Toi" - Cameron Avery: Sticking on that slow jam note, Tame Impala touring band member Cameron Avery scored a huge home run with one of his first solo tracks - this slow-chugging, soulful love song that feels way older than its time.

"Edge of Town" - Middle Kids: Sydney-based band Middle Kids also only have two songs to their name, both of which I added heavily into my rotation this fall. The early-onset buzz around this Aussie three-piece is the product of a pretty simple recipe: uncomplicated, feel-good, hook-heavy indie-rock with an awesome frontwoman and lyrics worth listening to.

"Easy" - Kingsbury: Yet another band with limited tunes under their wing is Nashville electro-pop duo Kingsbury, whose first single "Easy" is a really impressive first go. Both Caroline Kingsbury's powerful voice and their starry arrangements remind me a bit of Kimbra's Vows, which I still maintain is one of the most underrated debuts of the last five years - so, let's hope these guys score bigger play.

"Be The One" - Dua Lipa: Not her newest single, but I had the pleasure of seeing this British gem in an intimate setting recently, and was blown away by her kind disposition and raw talent. The model/singer-songwriter already has a dedicated following thanks to her adorable pop singles and opening spot on Troye Sivan's tour, and it's safe to say that's going to multiply once her debut album drops in February 2017.

"Pyramids" - Common:
Common, quick-witted social commentary, Ol Dirty Bastard (sampled) on the hook, a mean beat and the line, "I ain't nothin but a sandwich/ A gluten-free one at that." Need I say more? Both Common and the late ODB were a huge part of my hip-hop upbringing - decorating my tween and teen years with more realness than I was probably ready for, so any sign of them (even a new album, in Common's case) is A-OK by me.

"Get Bigger / Do U Luv" - NxWorries: 
This is a few months old - but, Yes Lawd!, the newest project from Anderson. Paak and Knxwledge (who perform together as NxWorries), has probably already been one of my most spun albums of the year. Although, anything .Paak touched was one of my most spun albums of the year, because he won 2016.

"We The People..." - A Tribe Called Quest: Similar to Common and ODB up there, I really don't need to elaborate on this one. I grew up listening to Tribe, and from the first buzz, beat and Q-Tip rhyme on this track, I knew 18 years did nothing to diminish their flame. I'd say I've listened to this album opener three to five times a day since it dropped.

"Stargirl Interlude" - The Weeknd (feat. Lana Del Rey): As I type this, I'm realizing I don't think I've ever called out an interlude on this blog. But this little ditty, off The Weeknd's third album Starboy, is so much more than an interlude. It may seem like I'm just pumping a Lana track, seeing as Abel only spends 30 seconds on the 2-minute song, but the hazy, pulsing collaboration represents exactly everything you would want from two of music's sexiest, mystique-draped stars. The rest of this huge release is off the hook, but "Stargirl" is the perfect palate mid-album palate cleanser.

A video posted by Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey) on