Have a listen to a couple of jams from well-known artists, and a few from ones you’ve likely never heard of before:
1. Milo — Poet (Black Bean)
The 25-year-old rapper from Wisconsin (by way of Maine) recently released his fifth album — Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?! — on August 11th. While he’s still somewhat of an unknown on a mainstream level, Milo (real name Rory Ferreira) is immensely introspective and deep for an individual five years shy of his 30th birthday. “Poet (Black Bean)” is an excellent bit of poetry spliced with solid flow and clever symbolism.
2. The Pheels — Don’t Play Yourself
The Pheels are a two-man group based in Atlanta. Led by Curtis Fields and Phil Jones, the duo’s initial EP likeWise premiered in 2016. The Pheels followed that success up with “Don’t Play Yourself” — a sultry track cloaked in soulful rhythm and an ethereal sound. There’s a lot to like about this track, including the genre versatility with which its presented. One could easily see the song in the R&B realm — though there are also elements of deep synth.
3. Meek Mill — Shine
The Philadelphia native first released this track back in 2016. As we’ve seen during his feud with Drake, Meek Mill isn’t bashful about opening up on personal issues. This song has a twang of sadness to it. Lyrically, emotions run deep — explaining the path Mill could’ve walked down. Much of it speaks to his rough childhood in North Philly. The accompanying beat behind his lyrics makes this a solid track.
4. Alex Turner — Piledriver Waltz
“Piledriver Waltz” was a track created by Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner for the 2010 film Submarine. It was one of six songs Turner put forth for the film — which coincidentally enough garnered plenty of praise. In this track, Turner beautifully delves into the heartbreak over a presumed break-up. Though melancholy, Turner’s haunting vocals help in adding a tangible richness.
5. No Vacation — Dræm Girl
NO VACATION is a group hailing from San Francisco — though they migrated east to New York. “Dræm Girl” is a 2015 track courtesy of band members Basil Saleh and Sabrina Mai. The two met in college, ultimately producing sweet-sounding ‘dream poppy’ jams. Saleh has since left the group — though Mai has been buoyed by the entrance of four other members (James Shi, Marisa Saunders, Nat Lee, Harrison Spencer). After a two-year hiatus, the band has reemerged, ready to release a new album later this year.
6. The Marías — I Don’t Know
There’s something highly intoxicating about lead vocalist Maria Conway’s voice. Paired with her partner Josh, the duo explore a plethora of musical genres — including jazz, psychedelic, funk, dream pop, and synth. “I Don’t Know You” showcases the immense potential of this group. Hailing originally from Atlanta, the Conway’s figure to be a fixture within the Los Angeles music scene in the immediate future.
7. The Smiths — Panic
The Smiths were not shy in grappling with social issues throughout the world. A highly outspoken individual, lead singer Steven Patrick Morrissey wrote this song in response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Essentially, the upbeat song was an attack on what Morrissey perceived to be empty and rather meaningless pop music during the time period (which then turned out to be a Wham! song). We see this within the line “Hang the blessed DJ.”
8. Morrissey — You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side
Once Morrissey became a solo act, much of his content further waded into the waters of empathy. “You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side” employs heavy guitar riffs and bombing drumming. It also lyrically tells the story of a sympathetic individual offering much in the way of support. Morrissey did experiment with different methods of track presentations. In this case, it’s one heavily rooted in rock as opposed to pop.
9. KAYTRANADA — GLOWED UP (Feat. Anderson .Paak)
Kaytranada is one of the hottest DJs in the game today. A native of both Haiti and Canada, the 24-year-old (named Louis Celestin) has already worked with many of the heavy-hitters in the industry. This track comes from his 2016 debut album entitled 99.9%. Anderson .Paak adds a smoky — yet seductive quality to the track. The eerie, almost Halloween-like beat offers a marvelously constructed juxtaposition.
10. The Buttertones — Matador
If Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire had a love child, The Buttertones would be born. Based in Hollywood, Richard Araiza’s robust voice booms amidst the complex instrumental accompaniment. While we most certainly see similarities with the two band previously mentioned, there’s even hints of surf rock waiting to burst through. Though severely underground, they’re an intriguing bunch.
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