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Lonely Benson – Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)

On his new single, Lonely Benson takes on “Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” – one of Hall & Oates’ many classic tracks – in colorfully saturated style. The quirky synths feel like they’re stripped from the workings of a psychedelic cartoon, the bossa nova flute solo feels like a tropical mid 20th century island vacation, and the vocals are as cool as the ocean breeze. I’m protective of my ’80s favorites, but Benson pays homage to the original while delivering a nuanced modern sound that makes it just as replayable as its source.

The track brings to mind a beach where the sun shines so bright that there appears to be a filtered haze. I’m laying on a towel under the crisp rays of our nearest star. A beautiful woman runs by in slow motion. A couple playfully wrestles with one another, their smiles shining pure. Leaving this daydream while I sit at my desk? Can’t go for that. No can do.

ASH – Hold On Me

Love is a visceral emotion. It’s not just relayed through happiness in our brains, but it’s a physical sensation. It makes our bodies feel exhilaration and deep satisfaction. It’s also something that can’t simply be turned on and off on command. It seems ASH understands that notion more than most on her brand new single “Hold On Me”. The attachment to her partner is a bond beyond her control – “when it comes to you, I cave in” – that she conveys with such grace. You can hear the passion in each word sung as she declares “you got a hold on me.”

The production also does the topic of romance genuine justice – its minimalist verses give way to a hook of swelling synths that glisten with melodic edges. It’s amazing how even an instrumental can convey the intimate bond between two people…ASH truly found a track that accentuates her passionate vision to perfection. It does wonders for the imagery of lines like “he’s all about me, drinking his Jim Beam, lights a cigarette“, vividly bringing them to life throughout the song.

I can’t wait to return to ASH’s romantic vision of “Hold On Me” again and again.

Kaerhart – Drain My Love

Kaerhart is a songwriter turned solo artist and her debut single makes it apparent in the most positive context. “Drain My Love” is an intricately woven electro-pop track whose structure could only be pieced together by a professional. Each verse is maximized to its fullest emotional potential, leading into a hook with a start-and-stop percussion and synth pattern that works wonders under her honest declaration: “I’m tryna fill my cup cause you drain my love.” Simply put, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fine tuned electro-pop ballad.

The transition from songwriter to solo artist can be difficult – moving from incognito creator to musical centerpiece takes a serious amount of guts and inherent star power that not every songwriter can muster. So many great songwriters who’ve had their hands in pop smashes haven’t been able make the jump, but there’s also ones like Christian Karlsson who’ve pivoted from Bloodshy & Avant mastermind to Galantis and Miike Snow member. On that spectrum, Kaerheart appears to be poised for the latter, so consider me excited to hear whatever she comes with next.

Kastrup – Try It All

I’m an absolute sucker for some sweet Swedish melodies – I don’t know if it’s in the water or what, but there’s something about the country that understands infectious songwriting more than anywhere else in the world. Case and point: Kastrup’s “Try It All”. The way they annunciate “I wanna try, try it all” is an ear worm that feels euphoric with every listen, and that’s only a sliver of the impressive entire song! Everything about it is so damn catchy that I could gush about it for hours.

It’s so rewarding to find a song that just clicks with you, whether it’s a moment or its entirety. The ability for someone else’s artistic creation to strike an emotional chord is one of my most cherished gifts of human nature. With the invent of the internet and living in it for decades, I think we take for granted how phenomenal it is that we can get direct access to said artistic creations across the world in an instant. It makes discovering and connecting to songs like “Try It All” possible, and for that, I’m grateful.

THEY. – Truth Be Told (ye. remix)

THEY. are one of the most exciting young acts that have mainstream potential. “U RITE” for example is a smash that sounds just as proper blasting through my headphones as it does soundtracking an NBA commercial. Their genre-bending energy is infectious enough to lock in audiences far beyond a cool kid niche which promises serious longevity for their bubbling career. Their genre bending sound also lends itself well to remixes (the Louis Futon flip of “U RITE” earlier this year was straight up colossal), so I’m stoked to hear another one.

Their newest remix comes from rising producer ye. and it’s a doozy. It speeds the track’s tempo until a deep ebb and flow of a drop that taps into the lowend of trap music with melodic touches – the sounds are fresh yet make sense in context of the current scene. The remix is right up there with Futon’s flip, so in other words, it’s a massive track that demands a listen as soon as possible.

SIYONI & Tazzy – Stay Young

You can always trust Elysian to deliver some of the dopest electronic trap music out there…this new joint from  SIYONI is a perfect example as he infuses haunting melodies into clattering percussion. Tazzy provides a perfect complement to the hazy atmosphere with powerful vocals that have a dramatic edge. The red fountain on the album artwork is seriously representative of the passionate sonic package that SIYONI and Tazzy deliver.

Thinking about the title “Stay Young”, I can’t help but look back on all the little existential crises I’ve had throughout my life. When I was in elementary school, I was terrified of never going to the beach at the same age again. When I was in middle school and turned 13, I confessed to my friend that I was in fear of leaving my youth behind. These days I don’t worry too much about my age – it’s my passion for the things in my life, whether it’s the arts or good discussion or letting loose, that keeps me young. The fountain of youth is the little things that make me happy day to day, moment to moment.

Ruchir – Made of Gold Ft. Deverano

I first stumbled upon Ruchir via “Sleepless”, a vibrant single that brought out the best from one of the scene’s rapidly rising topliners, Emma Sameth – not to mention a grandiose atmosphere that was beyond impressive for a debut. There’s a similarly dramatic quality to “Made of Gold” that sets it apart from its modern electronic contemporaries – the subtle keys, the harmonized vocals, the uplifting melodies, all components that come together for a sound that transcends the status quo.

It’s interesting that Ruchir wasn’t going to release “Made of Gold” until family and friends encouraged him to consider otherwise, but sometimes artists need a second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes to help them decide what work to share. It’s an exciting process that, in my experience, is rewarding to everyone involved. The artist receives an outpouring of positivity from their inner circle that gives them confidence in their art, the inner circle is given the honor of assisting in a highly personal process, and the listeners are rewarded with a relatable piece of work that could change the course of their day, week, month, or life.

With all that being said, Ruchir is three for three when it comes to killer singles, so I’m looking forward to whatever he delivers next.

Moglebaum – Slow Love

Much like the flora from its album artwork, Moglebaum’s organic electronic approach continues to flourish on their new single. It’s an aptly titled track called “Slow Love” that’s a lush blend of slow-jam synths and sultry vocals…fuck I’m using a lot of adjectives in a two sentence stretch, but there’s so many elements to appreciate here. For a relatively new act, Moglebaum has a sound that’s wholly their own – I listen to hundreds of new tracks a week, yet I can’t pinpoint anyone else that’s executing this style to such great heights.

As someone totally immersed in music day in and day out, it’s easy to lose the thrill of discovering new acts that I had before working in the music industry. I’m a product of the streaming era and a member of the music industry, so it’s all too easy to accumulate hundreds of songs in a playlist that I enjoy without ever digging into the catalogs of each individual artist (or even remember that I added them to said playlist to begin with). That being said, there’s still releases out there that keep me actively returning to listen repeatedly, a ~prestigious honor~ that both of Moglebaum’s 2017 singles have warranted.

StéLouse – Bones Feat. Tilian (Flapo Remix)

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Dance Gavin Dance – I was never into them during the peak of my scene kid phase, so I missed the glory days of the Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis eras, but I caught them on their first tour with Tilian Pearson. I had seen hundreds of bands up until that point, but I’d never heard a vocalist that outright blew me away until that night. Every time he hit a high note it was borderline euphoric, and after the show, I immediately began digging into his back catalog with Tides Of Man. Cuts like “Chemical Fires” became the soundtrack to some of my fondest memories from my senior year of high school, and once the first Dance Gavin Dance album featuring him finally dropped, the soundtrack to my freshman year of college was confirmed.

I was an outright fanboy, so I naturally was also fascinated by his solo pop project that channeled his sleek vocals into a purely melodic space – it amazed me that someone who sang on post-hardcore records could also have songs featured on ESPN. Thus, it makes sense that I’m loving his transition into the electronic space with a recent Stèlouse collab (which has now been flipped into a gorgeous, vibed out remix by Flapo). As my taste has expanded from post-hardcore to pop to electronic, Tilian’s artistic growth has been there every step of the way.

Julien Mier – New Eyes

There’s so much to love about Julien Mier’s new single. The down-pitched prelude has a codeine-soaked, college radio station charm. As for “New Eyes” in its entirety, calling it charming would be a serious understatement – it’s an intricately woven cut that exudes childlike wonderment, where every high-pitched synth feels like an individual twinkle in a starry eyed gaze. Its “drop” is an outright revelation as stretchy synthesizers and record scratches are warped into a head-nodder of a flow.

Songs usually trigger memories about various points in my life, but this one transports me to another world that I’ve never previously explored. It’s a soundtrack to lush, rolling hills where flora and fauna are abound. It’s a soundtrack to achieving natural bliss. It’s a soundtrack that I want to revisit again and again for the music and the daydreams alike. There’s no doubt I’ll keep coming back.