Aria's second single, Shot In The Dark, gives her 80's power ballad worthy voice a platform to be fully showcased; she soars through the guitar and synth in a way that cuts right to the core but also marries the surrounding sound. Give this British newcomer a shot… it'll be worth it.
Sondre Lerche, several albums into the game since his 2007 release Two Way Monologue, has just recently dropped his newest album entitled Please, featuring the single Bad Law (below). The album itself is as articulate and unique as it is an essential dose of good-natured pop-rock; Lerche delivers once again with a well conceived and even better executed, head-bopping hit.
Australian & South African Troye Sivan may be barely as old as our wee Ariana Grande, but he’s already packing punches with his film career and penchant for creating electropop hits. His single Happy Little Pill is the first to come from his collaboration with Universal Music, with whom he has just released his debut album TRXYE, a 5 song EP of atmosphere, genre-blending electropop.
It’s not often that something genuinely stripped down and raw comes along that is simultaneously haunting and complex while still being simple. British singer-songwriter RHODES is serving us two classics: piano and voice. Paired together he creates beautiful, lilting music that is already making waves on the blogosphere, and just in time for the October 19th debut of his second EP entitled Home. Supporting new acts such as Sam Smith and chamber-pop classics like Rufus Wainwright, RHODES seems to be someone to keep one eye and two ears on.
Lorde graces us with yet another hit, Yellow Flicker Beat, to be featured in the new Hunger Games (Mockingjay Part 1) soundtrack. She also rocks this mock-turtle neck thing going on (Mockingjay turtle neck?), but I guarantee the song rocks more.
Remember our sweet darling Estelle and her big hit American Boy? Well, let’s just say she figured out what to do with her American boy real quick, if anything in her track Make Her Say (Beat It Up) is any signifier. Blast this song to drown out those late night noises… but remember, everyone is still going to know exactly what you’re up to.
Truthfully, I can’t tell if the song or the artwork is better. They’re both so damn rich.
Vision The Kid & Tru, currently residing in Minneapolis Minnesota, are a pair of visionaries. Their hip-hop release Somewhere in a Dark City, released on Be Easy Music (of which Vision is co-founder), is a personal and telling tale sprinkled with heartache and drug addiction, maintaining a level of truth while still being danceable and approachable.
Voted best local rapper by a poll on Vita.mn (Vision The Kid) and recently featured in Minneapolis City Pages Gimme Beats mixtape (Tru), this is the duo’s second release together; their first release Lost Summer stayed on College Media Journal’s charts for a solid 10 weeks and peaked at #12.
Check out the video for their single Devil below, and listen to their soundcloud above. Prepare to dance to the braggadocio without abandon.
Lady Gaga presents Cheek To Cheek, a recent collaboration with the ever-charming Tony Bennett, which is garnering much success on the jazz charts, debuting at number one. She dons a gigantic Cher-inspired wig for the live performance, and according to her instagram it seems that this is the Lady’s newest lewk. She’s giving her everything the whole way through, and expertly, might I add. This cover of Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra is heart-wrenching, seductive, beautiful and honest. Definitely more honest than that wig.
Perfume Genius is just that, a genius. Mike Hadreas, man behind the moniker, the Seattle-based frontman of Perfume Genius gives us yet another provocative and rich music video. He is Edmund with the White Queen, and this is Narnia. Let me tell you, this entire album is beautiful.
LA-based BANKS has been gaining notoriety for her new album Goddess, as well as her recent television performances (notably Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers). However, this cover of Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody from a session on BBC 1 should have everyone tripping over themselves to purchase everything BANKS puts on the airwaves. Stripped down to the acoustic bone, she gives you feathery R&B vocals with a slap-guitar rhythm that makes your grind in your seat exactly the same way Aaliyah once had us doing. Or in my case, still does.
Danish electro-pop artist MØ cites The Spice Girls as one of her initial inspirations steering her towards a life of music (and a phenomenal debut album, entitled No Mythologies To Follow) so it’s only fitting that she release a cover of the Brit-Pop girl groups track Say You’ll Be There. MØ gives us a little more edge and a lot more grit, but even while spicing things up she stays true to the Spice Girls smooth sound.
Tunde Olaniran, native of Flint MI just outside of Detroit, is blowing up and not just on my own personal speakers. He’s been featured in the New York Times Sunday Edition as an upcoming artist to watch out for because of the way “his productions use a deluge of ideas,” and also on NPR’s All Things Considered. His style is fresh and his music is exceptional, dirty, everything we’ve been waiting for.
Above is his most recent video for his single Critical, where his voice swoons with impressive, expressive control over aggressive, industrial beats.
Even Pitchfork likes him, rating his debut EP a 7/10 and proclaiming the five songs a “pitch-perfect mashup.” Do yourself a favor and listen to Tunde Olaniran’s debut EP Yung Archetype below.
The forever-loved Kimbra has finally released her much anticipated sophomore album The Golden Echo. Featuring the throwback funk jam “90’s Music,” “Miracle,” the video featured above, which is a Bjorkian homage to “It’s Oh So Quiet” with a nu-disco sound, and “Nobody But You” which is a standout amongst an eclectic whole.
The album is less pop-driven and much more experimental than her previous Vows, but all in all the New Zealand chanteuse is creating exciting new sounds and paying tribute to some of the most exciting and fascinating genres in music.
Starting as a battle rapper, Jelani Lateef debuts his first album My Soul To Keep 2, and it shows in his style; his rhyme-laden, off the cuff flow seems so second nature to Lateef it’s as if that’s precisely how he himself thinks. With over 10 years in the music industry, his polish shines on this album, utilizing a narrative rhythm that effectively tells his story all the while keeping you nodding to the beat in agreement.
Above is the video for his single Forward Advance, and below you can stream My Soul To Keep 2. Once you’re done streaming, check out Lateef on iTunes.
Chicago-based artist James Hrabak, who writes music under the moniker Slack Armada, has released a second EP (check out his first one here) and it is an ambient soundscape of textures all reminiscent of the fading summer. Directly inspired by Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins, Hrabak uses this release “to create a song cycle that was more groove oriented” than his last. This sophomore EP comes to our ears after a significant amount of positive feedback from his first, and Hrabak delivers continuity, maturity and clarity of sound on this new piece, even just a few months later. He is solidifying his own voice in the shoegaze/ambient world of electronica.
Planning only to release music in the EP format, Hrabak gives himself the freedom to deeply explore his motifs while “focusing on releasing diverse but conceptually focused experimental music.” If you’re a fan of Washed Out, Four Tet, Jon Hopkins or Brian Eno, give Slack Armada a whirl.