Celebrate your 4th of July with SITR’s Best of June playlist! Throw this playlist on as your soundtrack on your boat, at your bbq, in your backyard, wherever, whenever! Your friends and family will be impressed by how in tune you are with current music.
A lot of people who read Sunset have asked me where I’ve been; it’s been a long time since I’ve published an article. To start, I’ve been working at my day job. I’m not sure if people know that Sunset was never my full-time job. Earlier in my career, I just used to have more time to spend on it. For years, I would go to work, go home, and sit down to work on Sunset for several hours. Every day. Weekends were mostly full of listening and writing.
But after moving to San Francisco from North Carolina, this evening time started slipping away from me. The culture out here in San Francisco is very different. Work hours are longer, social calendars are more demanding, and weekends spent inside typing away on a computer are much more guilt inducing. There were a few years when I really resented that fact about my life in San Francisco. But I’ve grown into it. Two years ago, I found a job that I really care about (if you care to know, I work on the media partnerships team at Pinterest…a fancy way of saying I sell ads. And yes, somehow I care about that…), and I am devoted to advancing my career.
So what brings me back today, over two years later? Well, to begin with, I’ve still been here behind the scenes. I still contribute to the monthly playlists that Jordan puts together, help find new writers for the site, and, well, I still pay the bills. Yes, I do see the tweets and Facebook message from folks asking if I still accept submissions. I apologize for not responding to all of them; it’s just a shortage of time. But I still choose my own path of music discovery (often through my writers’ picks, honestly) and I often happen across a gem. I’ll almost always post them here. That happened for me recently, and that’s why I’m back here writing today.
I first heard of Jessie Reyez a few months ago as I was watching Pigeons & Planes coverage from SXSW. I’m pretty sure I was watching their Instagram story; funny to think that’s one of my ways of discovering music today. When I started this thing, I was using MySpace to discover most of the artists I wrote about. That’s a great reminder of how long this site has been around for (almost a decade!).
As I was watching the footage of Jessie for the first time, I saw this uniquely beautiful young artist with a stunning voice, a natural gentle strum of her guitar, and beneath those things, a distinct sense of anger, authenticity and emotion in her delivery that I couldn’t forget. I was hooked almost immediately.
I got the opportunity to see Jessie live in San Francisco this past Thursday night at Rickshaw Stop. For context, Rickshaw Stop is one of the smaller venues in San Francisco, but it packed a pretty good punch on Thursday night for the sold out show. First, let me just say that I was again reminded of my age when I saw the crowd lined up at the door. This happens at most concerts I go to, but as I stood there in the line to get into the venue in my work clothes with my laptop and all, I felt myself longing for my younger days when I could devote more of my time to my passion for music. This feeling crept into my thoughts again as I realized it was after 10pm and still no sign of Jessie. When is a girl to sleep?? Alas, I digress.
When she did come out on stage, I saw just what I hoped to see. A young artist with a hell of a lot of swagger who truly seemed excited to be up on that stage. She started the show with a hat covering most of her face while she sang “Fuck It,” and as the show went on, we saw a few different variations of her look. Hat went away, hair went up, hair came back down, sweatshirt came off – all matched the mood of the music. But through it all, we heard and saw Jessie telling her story of where she came from. She brought the attitude — and then some — that hooked me that day I stumbled across her as I was perusing Instagram. The common “fucks” she throws into her lyrics were delivered like a threat; Jessie was here to tell her story with a vengeance.
Wisconsin-based duo Brightviolet gets the summer started off right with the sparkling, bright “Blush”. This tune is the latest release by Ryan Cray and Sam Molinaro, who have spent the past year refining their ethereal electronic sound, along with the occasional Migos re-work (Soundcloud here).
This track builds up from a bed of warm textures – like those first rays of morning sunlight, it shifts slowly and gently, adding layers of percussion and lighthearted synth leads. The chorus brings a more full-bodied sound, bobbing and weaving in a way that will have Flume fans smiling.
This tune builds on an already nuanced catalog of Brightviolet releases, and an upcoming EP this summer will surely bring this fresh new sound to more listeners. Keep an eye out for these two young producers, and check out “Blush” below.
Emmit Fenn is back with “Oceans” featuring Nylo, which will be the last featured single before his debut Prologue EP drops in two weeks. This is a slightly different vibe than what we’re used to from Emmit because it features vocals other than himself, and is a little more upbeat. All that does is show the range that he’s capable of as an artist.
Singer-songwriter Ashe released her debut single “Used To It” this week and it is electric. The single tells a story of a relationship that’s gone stale, and the constant fight to make it feel right again despite knowing the end is inevitable. She embodies this perfectly when she sings, “We ain’t really fighting about the f**ckin’ dishes and all the broken pieces that we’re never fixing”- damn right, it’s not about the dishes. Ashe delivers all of the elements of a summer hit on this debut and I’m eager to see what’s next for her.
Check the single below and add it into your summer rotation!
NBA Finals game starts in five minutes. As a result, I don’t have much to say other than here’s this months playlist! #GoCavs