The music world has become obsessed with broken-down electro R&B lately, and in just the past years we’ve seen names like FKA Twigs, BANKS, and Tinashe all go from relative obscurity to stardom. Anytime a specific genre experiences a renaissance and several artists hit the big time by innovating, we’re sure to see a swarm of others follow in their progressive footsteps—and with one listen to newcomer Alo Lee’s music, it isn’t hard to imagine her being the next big star in the growing genre. Her style has a softness that’s sexy and sensual, strong, yet delicate.
Her new track, “Mean It,” is an ode to true, deep love, and Lee’s emotions come through loud and clear on the track. It’s easygoing but serious, and the sing-along chorus makes this tune one that gets stuck in your head pretty quickly. It’s romantic in sound, but the lyrics (You can have it whenever you want it / You want it / You want it / I can tell right now you wanna go further) show that Lee has other things on her mind as well. Check out our premiere of the song below (off her debut EP Twice Burned, out tomorrow) and listen to more Alo Lee HERE.
No matter who you are or what you do, sometimes Mondays are just a drag, aren’t they? From waking up in the morning after a few days off to the afternoons which never seem to end, just making it through the day can often require some assistance, be it from coffee, the thought of a looming happy hour, or some new music.
If you’re in need of a bit of a pick me up this afternoon, here are three brand new tracks that have enough energy to share some with you.
Passion Pit – “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)”
Glitchy and beautiful, “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)” is a perfect place to start getting yourself into a better place today. Everything about the song is upbeat and optimistic, including the lyrics “it wakes you up and puts you in a mood”, which may actually be about something a little less sunny, but when paired with the glorious electronic beats of Michael Angelakos and co, you can’t help but feel like they’re cheering you on through the day.
The track is off the band’s forthcoming third LP Kindred, which is due next month off Columbia. Listen to the song HERE.
MS MR – “Painted”
The New York City-based indie pop duo have been beloved in the underground for some time now, and with new track “Painted”, it sounds like they’re looking to become one of the bigger acts that’s just waiting to break. The song sounds like the group has been listening to a lot of Florence + the Machine, including lead singer Lizzy Plapinger, who bounces between her own style and Florence’s. The 90’s-esque keyboard is enough to differentiate this from their inspiration, so you know you’re listening to an energetic MS MR fan-favorite in the making.
Kaskade – “Never Sleep Alone”
Globetrotting DJ and producer Kaskade also joins in the fun this Monday afternoon by releasing his latest, “Never Sleep Alone”. The track is somewhat of a standard EDM jam, but it’s the meaning behind the lyrics which truly give the power (and the unidentified female vocalist) something special.
The idea for the song comes from Kaskade’s self-professed loneliness, which comes from touring so much. About the song’s inspiration, Kaskade says “The road can be lonely and I feel this the most when I lay down at night. However, I’m never truly sleeping alone because I’m with my thoughts and dreams.”
Just when you finally got “Call Me Maybe” out of your head, Canadian pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen is back to continue to hook you in with her infectious pop tunes. Last month she gifted the world with the insanely catchy “I Really Like You”, and now she’s changed directions slightly, offering up the much more toned-down “All That”.
Produced and co-written by indie mainstays Dev Hynes and Ariel Rechtshaid, “All That” is a slow jam for all kinds. Carly shows us a sultry side we couldn’t imagine her having before, and she does so with surprising aplomb. The 90’s-leaning throwback will get you in the mood for some alone time with your special someone…which is something you never thought you’d feel from the “Call Me Maybe” star.
The singer performed “All That” for the first time this past weekend on Saturday Night Live, accompanied by her collaborators Hynes and Rechtshaid.
Carly has been out of the pop spotlight for a minute, as she’s actually been on Broadway starring in Cinderella. Now that her stay on the Great White Way is done, it’s time to get back to what she does best: making us all dance and sing along.
While she’ll never be able to escape her “Call Me Maybe”-related fame, true pop fans are coming to realize that the singer-songwriter is a true, unmistakable talent.
Dropping new music out of the blue seems is very quickly becoming Beyoncé’s thing, isn’t it? The singer popped a new song called “Die With You” on the internet yesterday in celebration of her seven year wedding anniversary to rapper Jay Z.
Even though Beyoncé has proven herself capable of expressing true, deep emotion through her songs in the past, “Die With You” is especially beautiful. Lines like “I wake up just to sleep with you / I open my eyes so I can see it’s you / And I live so I can die with you” show just how in love with her husband Bey still is.
The stripped-down nature of the track makes the song that much more powerful, and is quite surprising. The world has come to know Beyoncé for her over the top productions and perfect notes, whereas “Die With You” is flawless because of its slight imperfections.
As of now, the song is only available on Jay’s newly-relaunched streaming service Tidal, which I’m sure you’ve heard something about by now. Does this mean new music from the global superstar is coming sometime soon? Don’t hold your breath, but with her, you never know.
World traveler and experimental musician Lia Mice’s latest single “Everything’s Sailing” starts out like your typical ethereal jam, but the singer-songwriter has a few tricks up her sleeve that make this ride a lot more fun.
Just when you think you have the song pegged, the Lia throws in some very unexpected bongos, which separate this track from all the other quasi-experimental prog/psych pop out there. Those hand drums begin phasing in and out, sharing duties with an electronic substitute, which does a similar job, but mixes things up even further. An added guitar highlights just how much the artist can put into one track and still make it all work.
While the video obviously had a smaller budget, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the watch. To get a truly spectacular visual, Lia worked with NYC-based projection duo EYEBODGEA, who helped her transform relatively tame spaces like car back seats and blank rooms with colorful, abstract forms of light.
The musicianship on this song (and the album it comes from, I Love You, which was released this past November) realy must be appreciated, as it is all Lia’s work. She composed and plays every note of every instrument, so whether you love the song or not, you really can’t say the woman isn’t talented.
Lia Mice Austrasia Tour April 2015
Thursday 16 April – Blackbear Lodge, Brisbane
Friday 17 April – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Saturday 18 April – Grace Darling Bandroom, Melbourne
While she was quiet in terms of previously-unheard music for many a month, it seems like 2015 is going to be a big year for Rihanna, as she offers up brand new shiny tune after tune.
Yesterday, the Bardados-born singer began teasing her new single “Bitch Better Have My Money”, telling fans via Twitter that they could hear a few seconds if they downloaded a new app called Dubsmash. The internet of course went crazy, and not long after the song was out in full.
The decidedly not radio friendly “Bitch” is Rihanna at her most ratchet, following in the footsteps of previous tracks like “Pour It Up” and “Birthday Cake”. RiRi asserts her dominance over all those tuning in with lines like “Shit, your wife in the backseat of my brand new foreign car / Don’t act like you forgot, I call the shots, shots, shots” over an incredibly trapped-out beat, courtesy of Kanye West and Deputy.
While the song has more attitude than any of her fellow pop divas could stomach, it doesn’t really add up to much. True Rihanna fans are sure to appreciate her departure from her Paul McCartney-assisted “FourFiveSeconds” and “Towards The Sun” (off the soundtrack of the animated film Home, which she stars in and is curating) and her return to ultimate bad bitch status, but will this really be a hit? Her star power is sure to bring some attention to the track, but this is more likely a buzz single, and she’s probably got more enticing offerings waiting for whenever that eighth album finally drops.
When they founded Neon Gold Records back in 2008, not even Lizzy Plapinger or Derek Davies could have predicted how much extraordinary talent they’d help uncover. The company is creating quite a name for themselves by identifying some of the biggest and best new talents in the pop world long before they go mainstream with big albums and even bigger hits.
The two founders put together a playlist of acts they suggest we all listen to before they blow up. If their past is any indication, you should get to know these ten names pretty well.
1. Christine And The Queens – “Saint Claude”
Already at Sam Smith-level ubiquity in her native France, Christine And The Queens is about to be everywhere here too. Combining tight, plucked HAIM punctuation, Lorde-esque production and the throwback sweetness and poise of Peter Gabriel with a live show to make them all jealous, she’s our number one must-see tip for the week.
2. Tigertown – “Papernote”
Every year an unsigned band drops a big song in the lead up to SXSW and becomes the band everyone’s falling all over themselves to see all week. We’re pretty sure Tigertown are that band this year. One listen to their summer anthem-in-waiting “Papernote” and we had to have them on everything we were doing down there.
3. Catfish & The Bottlemen – “Cocoon”
There are very few good rock bands left in this world but Catfish & The Bottlemen are a VERY GREAT rock band. Their whole album is perfect…but there’s no moment better than the transcendent bridge that comes in at 2:50 in “Cocoon”.
4. Cathedrals – “Harlem” (BØRNS x Tommy English Remix)
Cathedrals and BØRNS are two of the hottest tips for SXSW 2015, and here they are united on one track in holy remix matrimony. Lush cinematic bliss.
5. Seinabo Sey – “Younger”
Seinabo Sey is without a doubt THE. VOICE. in this year’s SXSW class. One listen to instant classic debut single ‘Younger’ and it’s not hard to see why.
6. Alex Wiston – “Careless”
One of the most talented musicians we’ve ever met. Joanna Newsom meets PJ Harvey with top 40 hooks. This song is desperate and free at the same time.
7. Shamir – “On The Regular”
I absolutely cannot wait until Shamir is performing late night at festivals. His music falls somewhere between Donna Summer and LCD Summer but ultimately it feels like fresh modern pop music. His voice is iconic and he’s entirely lovable.
8. Ryn Weaver – “Sail On”
She has THE most incredible vocal—soaring and powerful while also being fragile and nuanced. I’m so excited to be hear the full album coming later this year. This girl is fire.
9. Verite – “Wasteland”
A rising star on the pop scene, her hypnotic and intricate vocal runs and biting lyrics will put you in a complete trance. Sweet on the surface, she has a sinister edge that will only draw you closer.
10. Tove Styrke – “Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You”
Cheeky bad ass attitude on lock. Tove makes fresh power pop that will be sure to get you moving.
The music portion of SXSW begins next week, and for those heading to Texas, there are over 2,000 bands waiting for you when you arrive. Seeing everyone you’d like to is impossible, but you should do your best to catch some of the hottest acts before they blow up. Even if you’re not going to trapse up and down Sixth Street, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the best bands the indie world has to offer. We could discuss great acts playing the festival for days, but here are ten to get you started.
While the musician’s bio talks a lot about the intersection of man and machine and about our dependence on the internet (even though it’s how we all discover new music, including Big Data), that’s not what’s most important about producer Alan Wilkis—it’s the music, plain and simple.
When Johnny Hwin met Brodie Jenkins in San Francisco back in 2012, he had already been stocking up on electronic-focused productions, just waiting for something to do with them. Brodie had been singing and writing for years, and when the two finally decided to work together, it was magic, and the they’ve been recording and touring ever since, building a name for themselves pretty quickly.
The best music is honest, and Courtney is nothing if not that. Also, she’s one of rock and roll’s best hopes for a shining female star at the moment, but the pressure doesn’t seem to be making her nervous about taking chances or playing around with less-than-savory lyrics.
King is doing her part in bringing blues to the forefront again with her signature blend of rock, blues, and enough hooks to give her a broad appeal. Her voice is raspy and sounds like it should belong to someone twice her age…and that’s what makes it so incredibly captivating.
If you didn’t know better, you’d assume that Bridges was from another era by listening to the old school soulful rock he’s creating. Everything about the Texan singer-songwriter is retro, from his style to his melodies, and even the vocal effects and the microphones he’s using. Plenty of artists have looked to the past for inspiration, but how many made their tunes so historically accurate?
One listen to the brassy saxophone hook in “I Got It” and you’re a fan for life. That should be enough to get you started.
Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight were both recording under their own names (CatacombKid and BeachesBeaches, respectively) when they met at college, but their work together is what helped them explode onto the electronic scene. Their signature use of glitched-out vocals as part of the music is genius and unmatched.
What started as one man in Brooklyn has become a full band, adding people to match the size of the group’s sound. What sets the band apart from the rest of the indie-pop world is the incredible amount of time and effort they focus on arranging, including a full horn section.
Russian-born singer, songwriter, and producer Shura brings a gentle sensuality to everything she does, following in the footsteps of artists like Jessie Ware. This is music for making love, or, as the video for her breakout single “Touch” suggests, making out.
Tuxedo is a newly-formed duo comprising of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One, a producer who has had hip-hop’s biggest (Drake, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent) rap over his tracks. The two just released a funky-as-hell self-titled album earlier this month.
Boy bands come and go, but there is always one member that stands out and manages to stick around after everyone has gone their own way. With Nsync it was Justin Timberlake and with 98 Degrees it was Nick Lachey. Now that British all-male singing quintet The Wanted is on hiatus, it’s time for the guys to all find their sound and attempt solo careers. Nathan Sykes is the first to put something out under his own name, and it’s actually rather good.
The 21 year old just released “More Than You’ll Ever Know”, which is intended to give the world a taste as to what we can expect his solo material to sound like. Instead of the top 40 radio fodder that we’re used to from the group that brought us hits like “Glad You Came”and“Chasing The Sun”, Sykes opts for an even sexier R&B-inspired style. Gone is the four-on-the-floor dance pop, and instead we have a more mature, much more interesting sound.
Sykes also shocks us with his voice, which until this point has been covered over by layer upon layer of studio effects and mixed with four other tracks. “More Than You’ll Ever Know” is just the first taste (and not officially a single), but already this new solo career is sounding pretty good.