There have been a lot of weird, laughable moments in 2016 — a lot of overreactions over tweets and the like. A root cause of these reactions is people taking themselves way too seriously. The world is full of big problems, and little things seem to irritate people and consume their daily thoughts. In music, too, you feel people driving themselves crazy with their own seriousness. The reason so many people get into music is, of course, for self-expression, but also to entertain. It is easy to forget that, and important to remind yourself. It’s not that serious. You might want it to be, but it’s really not. Just have fun with it while it lasts.
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 4 (“Moon II” by Louis Val) and track 16 (“Movie Screens” by Rory Fresco). Original image by Damon Casarez for NYT.
If your hearts flutter thinking about artists like M.I.A. and Santigold, we may have the artist that’ll be your new best (music) friend. Jess Kent is an Australian artist that has that quirky edge that’ll get you hooked within seconds. “The Sweet Spot” is her second single and it oozes coolness without even really trying to. It has a funky vibe that’ll remind you of the artists we mentioned earlier, but it’s definitely no imitation. Jess Kent is here to bring a new freshness to the female pop game and we are all in. Check out “The Sweet Spot” below and keep your eyes peeled for more from this up and coming gem.
NY based act, Computer Magic aka Danielle Johnson, produces shadowy synth pop in the vein of New Young Pony Club, YACHT and other early bloghouse pioneers. Danielle’s music is a fixture in Japanese advertisements and has also caught on stateside with taste-makers like Rookie, NOISEY and Wonderland. “Gone For The Weekend” is a fanciful taste of what you can expect to hear on her forthcoming release, “Obscure But Visible” – due out October 7th.
“Down in a Minute,” the second track on Chicago-based Soulnoise’s debut EP Future plays almost like a recap of what’s brought the city to the musical mainstream over the last few years. There are sharp bars, a soulful sax solo, and rich, complex guitar that add flavor to the song’s killer hook and pristine drums.
On Future, the group succeed in blending their vast influences into a project that is easy to connect with emotionally and still feels distinct. So many artists nowadays blend genres that trying to distill too many into a single project can leave a group without a country so to speak, but the rock edge and consistently stellar guitar helps ground Soulnoise.
“Take Me Over” is a powerful tell-all that focuses as much on battling substance abuse as it does one’s own anxieties and inner demons. The trap-tinged drums create a grittiness that’s well-suited for the varied talents of both MC Jamal Gaines and singer Jonah McGowan.
All in all, Future is focused and purposeful, a strong mission statement from a group with real talent and serious aspirations.
MAKA is a singer and producer from Cambridge, MA, who has been on my radar for quite some time. His new track “Better,” produced by rising Boston rapper and producer Haasan Barclay, is the full realization of the MAKA sound. His voice, as always, is the star of the show.
In any given moment, MAKA has a seemingly limitless number of ways to attack a beat with his dynamic voice. The trick is to pick the correct lane for his vocals, and on “Better,” he picks the right moments and pockets to show off that Makonnen-esque deep, undulating voice. I fully believe MAKA is a star in the making. He has undeniable originality, a solid team of collaborators, and an opportunity to make a dent in this industry.