So much great music was released today and throughout the week. We wanted to acknowledge some of our favorite albums, songs, and music videos. Anything that doesn't make the top 5 can still be found in the playlist. Don't take the ratings too serious, they're mostly a way to stay organized. If there's an artist on the playlist they are worth listening to, but there are a few we wanted to call out specifically.
Leeds band Hookworms' third album is full of songs that surprise. Dancey jams in the vein of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip are countered with soaring melodic ballads. The third album is a milestone in every band's career, where they reach new heights and come into their own. This album shows a band that is so comfortable in a their style that it comes across as effortless, when it's actually extremely complex. If you want to hear expertly crafted compositions, catchy melodies, and powerful lyrics this album checks all those boxes. This is the first album I've heard from this band and I'm blown away at how cohesive they are.
Someone Out There
On her sophomore album British singer Rae Morris delivers angelic synth-pop with enormous pop hooks, inventive percussion and electronics. However, while the music is creative, effective, and extremely well crafted I feel like this album's strengths are the basic tenants of songwriting. If you stripped away all the flashy electronics, these songs would still be engaging and powerful. Not to mention Morris' vocal performance adds that final 1-2 punch to just knock you on your ass. This what pop music is supposed to sound like. Hey Mr. Grammy president dude women have been "stepping up" since the music industry existed but if you need current example here she is. If Rae Morris' music isn't an example of what accessible and palatable pop can be I don't know what is.
18 Year old Indonesian rapper makes his debut and I was surprised by how much I loved this album. With a laid back yet lightning fast flow, Brain demonstrates his abilities both in the style of more classic rhythmic rap as well as the modern trap sound. This album is full of smooth melodic cuts and braggadocios trap bangers. You could draw connections to artists like Drake, Chance or Tyler, but Brian's really has a unique sound. He also discusses things that you wouldn't usually hear in rap music, like asking his dad for advice and being homeschooled. The production on this album really sets it apart, Brian spits over dense, and ever-changing compositions that don't sound like any other hip hop out there. This is an odd yet infectious debut album.
On the second album as Rhye, Mike Milosh once again delivers soft and smokey R&B tunes, only this time adds a bit of a funky edge. While these songs are compositionally dense, everything is understated and carefully placed that it never feels like there is too much going on. Groovy guitars, horns and piano come and go as the song requires, a perfect counterweight to Milosh's low key vocal style. This is album is pretty low energy but never gets boring. We've been waiting 5 years for a follow up to 2013's Woman and this album delivered the best possible outcome, subtle growth over the existing style that works so well.
Quit The Curse
The Michigan native turned Chicagoan singer/songwriter delivers a shimmering debut album. Burch delivers dreamy tunes with undertones of surf-rock and jangle pop in the vein of Wavves and Alvvays.
Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas released an album with his band The Voidz in 2014 and now they're back with a surprising new sound that is both super catchy and a bit unsettling. Screeching guitars and bassy industrial synths create a driving rhythm as Julian's chopped vocals are reminiscent of Bollywood pop, before the song shifts into a twinkling outro with heavily auto-tuned vocals. Casablancas is always doing something interesting whether it's his solo work, The Strokes, or a Lonely Island feature. I'm looking forward to hearing what he's got cooking this time.
From Virtue out March 30th on Cult Records
In 2015, folk-rock outfit Lord Huron released Strange Trails, an eerie and epic saga about the strange places life takes us. Now their following up their finest album to date with Vide Noir, an album that share that misty mysteriousness, this time inspired by Ben Schnider wandering around LA, "through downtown’s neon canyons and way out to the darksome ocean." They released this single in two parts. Part 1 is a lush 6 minute banger on it's own, but part two pushes it even further. They've taken the sound they established on Strange Trails and pushed it even further, with dense yet tempered compositions that reach an explosive peak in the second part of the song. This seems like a fitting follow up to their last amazing album, both examining the spectrum of human experience.
From Vide Noir out April 20th on Whispering Pines/Republic Records
The weekend feat. kendrick lamar
pray for me
The most racist president we've ever seen sits in the white house. Meanwhile, 2018's Black History Month will see the release of Marvel's Black Panther, which looks like it may be the best MCU film yet. What a strange time to be alive. The films soundtrack will be released next Friday and boasts an all-star lineup of rappers, singers, and producers like SZA, Anderson Paak, Khalid, Schoolboy Q , Vince Staples, and James Blake to name a few. On this song, we get some classic Weekend hooks, a badass verse from Kendrick (what else is new) examining what makes a hero. I can't wait until this movie comes out, it has one of the strongest casts of any Marvel movie, we get our first solo Black superhero, and it has some awesome music to add to the experience. I can't wait to see T'Challa kick ass to this song.
From Black Panther: The Album out February 9th
Sophie Allison has been making music as Soccer Mommy since 2015, one of Nashville's most promising DIY upstarts. This song starts with hazy guitar before busting into a breezy groove, as Sophie compares herself to another girl wishing, "I could be that cool." This song shows us what we can look forward to on the debut, demonstrating Allison's songwriting skills and compositional prowess.
From Clean out March 2nd on Fat Possum
Not gonna burn myself anymore
Last year The Proper Ornaments made my year end list with their album Foxhole, and now it looks like James Hoare might make the list again this year with his other band Ultimate Painting. Co-led by Jack Cooper, this new single finds them further honing their and it seems like this may be their best album yet. Creamy guitar licks bounce off each other in a bouncy understated groove as James states, "I turn myself inside out to give them something to talk about," and declaring "I'm not gonna burn myself anymore." This seems like the precipice for the sound that UP has been developing over the past few albums.
From Up! out April 6th on Bella Union
Directors: Sing J. Lee + Quavo
Taken from Culture II out now on Quality Control
Directors: Mario Dane and Frank Vierti
Writers: Andrew W.K. and Doug Anson
Taken from You're Not Alone out March 2nd on RED/Sony
TOKiMONSTA feat. Selah Sue
I Wish I Could
Director: Mitchell deQuilettes
Story: TOKiMONSTA & Mitchell deQuilettes
Taken from Lune Rouge
Director: Cameron Dutra
Man of the Woods
Director: Paul Hunter