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Maverick – I Know

Maverick describes his newest as an “abstract take on contemporary soul.” While I wouldn’t consider it outright abstract, it’s indeed a disorienting angle to take as he situates the vocals within a filtered haze that feels significantly distant from the track’s core. “I Know” still manages to be an accessible piece of work due to its driving electronics, though, a notion that seems to be integrating itself into the fabric of popular music right now.

PC Music’s infiltration of the pop sphere immediately comes to mind. The collective has taken a sound that was inaccessible to mainstream audiences in 2013 and is now mentioned in the same breath as Rihanna and Charli XCX. I’ve always considered this transition to be fascinating, but a friend of mine remarked that pop fans aren’t suddenly into tastemaker music. Rather, the tastemaker sound of past Pitchfork adoration is simply better aligned with the mood-heavy, electronic sounds that swathes of people now crave.

I, for one, am thrilled at the prospect of more listeners craving the music that’s been bubbling in tastemaker circles for years; not only for selfish reasons to hear more exciting music while out and about, but for the exposure of artists like Maverick who are toying with preconceived notions of how to present a style within the framework of a track that anyone could throw into their Spotify playlist and enjoy. Exciting times are upon us.

 


LYSA – Beats And Battle Drums

Some vocalists have a talent that feels straight up generational and while I’m definitely jumping the gun I’ve gotta say I hear that with LYSA!! There’s so many artists coming out of Sweden right now but she’s one of the first to make me literally stop what I was doing the first time I heard her music…that voice is just so weighty and powerful and doesn’t feel like it’s simply using the beat as a background… She feels at one with the instrumental, like she’s always perfectly in sync with each little drum kick and synth sound.

This song also just makes me think about how fucking much I *love* pop music. I used to be such a snob but I realized that there was a reason why people like pop so much…it makes you feel instead of sit and overthink and that’s something I’ve had trouble with throughout my life! If a pop song can also make me think enough to write an essay on it then that’s great but I try to approach pop by really paying attention to how it makes me feel…each little flutter I get in my stomach, each smile that cracks on my face, every head nod along with the song, all of that makes up the most important part of pop. It’s a test of how much I enjoy a pop song that “Beats And Battle Drums” passed with flying colors, so stop listening to me ramble and listen to LYSA!!


MOONZz x Restless Modern – Navigator

I feel like a broken record with so many references to BLU J as of late, but the duo’s flip of “Goodbye” instantly put me on the syrupy sweet vocals of MOONZz when it dropped last year – thus, it was thrilling to receive a new track from the lady of Luna. Titled “Navigator,” her fresh single is a jubilant outing co-produced by Restless Modern that embraces the trope of romantic joyrides and a more traditional pop approach. While undoubtedly modern in its percussive flair, the track carries a welcoming aura of nostalgia that invokes memories of long-gone road trips and romance.

With that being said, here’s so much value in a track that can tap into deeply seeded sentiments without having direct ties to the past. Most music that I hold in high regard has years of experiences and emotions attached, but most of it made me think forward rather than backward on first listen. Maybe those retrospective instigators were also structured around archetypes of old that were destined to strike a chord with me, but whatever the case may be, there was no denying how rewarding it felt to engage with the past.

Whether those surfaced visions were vivid or abstract, they felt less like foreign ground and more like home, and that notion persists through “Navigator.”


Martin Garrix – Scared To Be Lonely (Medasin Remix)

I’ve always been scared to be lonely. I was one of those introverts who could find themselves in a crowded room amongst friends and still feel utterly isolated. Even during recent years where my social life appeared solidified from an outside perspective, there were countless moments that made me feel separated from those around me.

Over the past few months, though, I’ve applied some serious effort to bettering myself, and that’s naturally included abandoning that selfish, isolated thinking in favor of making more genuine connections that allow me to be the most honest version of me, a version that doesn’t have to worry whether or not I’m connected with my friends. Thus, I’ve found myself thriving like I never have before now that I’m in LA, a city where there are so many people that share a common passion for artistic endeavors while leading balanced lifestyles that I’ve sought. It’s remarkable that I have more friends in two months of living in a sprawling metropolis on the other side of the country than I did over four years of living in a tight-knit town, but it’s no coincidence. I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the life I was living, I made massive changes, and now I’m seeing the results – results that ensure I’m scared to be lonely no longer.

 


CATALINE – Shine Like a Firefly

 

Life is so fucking exciting right now, at least for me it is.  I have chosen to ignore all the bullshit that is going on in the world, ok I realize it’s not all bullshit so you can unclench those fists, but I just personally can’t tune into it anymore, at least for right now.  Everything in my life is really shining at a high potential.  I never want to say at it’s fullest because I always believe there is room for growth or change, and things can always get even better than you thought they could, believe me I know this for a fact.  All my friends keep bugging me about when I am going to start dating again, it’s been two years since I felt affection towards anyone.  My answer is this, I feel content right now, more so than I have ever been and I have been alone and so in control of my life the last two years that I don’t need anyone else, except my little amazing daughter of course, but I don’t have a longing for a companion.  Like I said I am shining, shining “like a firefly” right now and I think I would like to enjoy it a little longer before I take the chance having it put out.  No need for that, when you have that shine people notice, people respect it because they can feel it coming off of your body, it’s a wonderful thing and maybe one of these days I will share this shine with someone absolutely deserving of sharing it with.

This track is above and beyond for me. It’s all I need for this entire weekend to get me moving, the beat, the use of the synths and the effects on the vocals make this an effortless indie/dance pop track.  Lyrically nothing is complicated, just positive upbeat energy and a good message.  I gotta get ready to go sing my ass off tonight so hit play on this gem of a jammer!


Shaun Frank – No Future (ft. Dyson)

So many songs I’ve been hearing lately are about rough breakups where the people involved aren’t sure if they’re making the right decision but this new song from Shaun Frank flips that trend on its head!! It’s called “No Future” and Dyson lays out some serious truth by singing about how it’s so damn obvious that her and her lover have no future together anymore…the sex isn’t the same, the emotions are gone, and there’s nothing left except some phone calls when they’re lonely.

I love how natural her vocals sound cause it makes the whole situation feel even more matter of fact which is how some relationships that are ending should be approached…no drama, just a mutual parting of ways between two adults. And hey I’ve gotta give it to Shaun Frank too, his production makes the end of a relationship almost sound straight up fun!! The song has such bouncy carefree vibes that are *perfect* for the honest and straight forward approach to Dyson’s lyrics. There’s nothing to be ashamed or sad about here, just another part of life to appreciate and even celebrate cause we’re living another day on this beautiful planet we call home!


Jacob Banks – Chainsmoking

Chainsmoking is something I enjoyed *a bit* too much during my smoking days. One cigarette was nice but once I got that buzz and calming relief I just wanted more and more of it (here’s to addictive personalities!!). After months without smoking, I recently picked up a couple packs during a stressful stretch and realized I was going straight back to my old ways…even if I was hanging out with friends and enjoying myself I still felt the need to go chief down a couple cigarettes because they were giving me a buzz that my body couldn’t naturally. That might not seem like a big deal to some people but I know myself well enough to see the path I was going back down…

Fortunately I caught myself and am learning to be content with things that make me feel naturally happy like good company or good music. Jacob Banks’ newest “Chainsmoking” is a perfect example of something that makes me feel naturally great. The guy has a ridiculously powerful voice with so much soul that would sound amazing over classic tracks just as much as it does over this song’s modern approach…I love autotune and vocal effects a ton but damn, it’s phenomenal to hear a dude come through with such a naturally attention-grabbing voice! I hadn’t heard of him til this song came out but there’s no doubt I’m gonna be anxiously waiting to hear whatever he graces us with next!!


Darci – Arts and Crafts

You ain’t seen nothin’.”

We all have a guard up when we are unsure of what it is we really want.  Sometimes this comes off the wrong way, I think we all care and want something substantial whether we want to admit it or not, you just have to find your “ride or die”, that one person that gets you.

This track definitely sets the mood for the rest of the weekend to come.  You want to play it cool like you don’t care, you gotta have that swag so she/he thinks you don’t care, but then you glance back real quick to show them there might be something.  Maybe this will be a weekend that comes and goes and you forget everything that happened, maybe it’s one that lasts in your mind and the people you meet last as well.  You just never know but that is the feeling I get from this track.  It’s got that hip-hop beat that makes you want to dance ever so slowly that every curve on your body has it’s own vibration.

The weekend is upon us like weekdays don’t even exist anymore, fuck yes!


Melf – GUILTY (feat. Maja)

Guilty…we’re all guilty of something, there’s no doubt about that! Whether it’s casually fibbing to a friend or making an illegal u-turn cause we need to get somewhere faster there’s likely *something* from our lives that we’re guilty of. It’s great to be able to take a step back and recognize if you might be guilty of these things cause it allows you to become a better person and evolve into your best self…you can’t do it if you think you’re perfect!! On the flip side though, people can feel too guilty for their actions even when they shouldn’t which is something I’m learning to deal with.

As I’ve learned to get to know myself more over the past few months I’ve become in tune with my emotions again which has been a double edged sword…I’m so grateful to start feeling whole again but at the same time my emotions can be super strong since I’m still learning how to handle them again. If I do something I feel like I shouldn’t have, even if it’s just eating way too much greasy food during a day, I take it as some sign that I’m guilty of not doing my life *exactly* how I should be which is just fucking ridiculous! I’ve gotta use some perspective and be happy about the person I am today compared to the one I was, say 4 months ago. I’ve improved so much and I can’t let feeling guilty for a bunch of little things add up into feeling guilty about who I am right now!

I’m gonna continue trying to take things easier on myself, and while I do that, some good music helps. Big ups to Melf’s new song “Guilty” for not only starting this important train of thought but providing a banger for me to enjoy while I work on enjoying life more and feeling less guilty!


Louis Futon – Surreal (Feat. RKCB)

Some smooth sonic porn is what this song is, especially for lovers of post-New Jack Swing early 90’s R&B. Buzzing beatsmith Louis Futon and modern day crooners RKCB team up for a rich, dreamy, Color Me Badd-esque panty dropper that sounds like an instant classic. Every detail is arranged with precision, from the intro vocal chops to the drum roll that leads into the swooning first verse, down to the beautiful melodies that brush over the chorus like a fine gloss. “Surreal” is a perfect way to describe the soundscape that Futon provides here.

Plus, the DNA of this song is fantastic – it reminds me of oh so many R&B legends from 20-25 years ago. Artists like Jodeci, Guy, Aaron Hall, Al B. Sure, Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown. Those guys were lucky to be at the peak of their careers at a time when being a big guy with no shirt on and a soft, sentimental side was a popular thing. Think about 1991 LL Cool J. He didn’t have a shirt in his entire wardrobe, but wore a fuzzy red kangol hat, track pants and 15 pounds of gold chains. He would lick his lips and whisper sweet nothings to all the around the way girls, but he also might kick your ass if you half-stepped. Artists these days are so one dimensional. They’re one thing, and they’re a whole lot of that one thing. Artists of yesteryear could be a whole bunch of things at the same time and not get roasted for it on Twitter. Plus, all of these guys in this era sang on and on about how much they loved women in a way that glorified them rather than treated them like objects, as do most hiphop songs these days. Innocent times, those 90’s.