Admittedly, Years & Years was one of the first BBC Sound of… winners in recent memory I hadn’t heard of before their triumph. I hold the yearly finalists to a high standard as most go on to international fame, but I groaned a bit upon finding the London trio claimed ’90s house as an influence. Nothing wrong with the genre; I just feel like every British band and their mothers are claiming some house influence in the wake of Disclosure. Last year’s “Real” is an absolute gem in its own right though, the highlight being singer Olly Alexander’s commanding lead into an eerily woozy club anthem about surrendered love.
“King” seems to tread a similar lyrical territory, but Years & Years have taken the last year to catalyze into a full blown pop act. Alexander thrives in the song’s arena-ready chorus while the band seems to have studied Foster the People and Bombay Bicycle Club‘s handbooks to successfully quirky indie pop. “King” will officially be out March 1st, but this very, ahem, hands-on video should tide you over until then.
I have pretty high hopes for MisterWives. The lead singer Mandy is extremely talented and she’s got great guys behind her that know what they’re doing. A talented group that is ready to take the next step in the music business, and I think they will.
Their latest single, Our Own House, is the next offering off of their upcoming album, also titled, Our Own House. You can preorder that here.
Our Own House is that upbeat, dancing pop infused track that is pretty easy on the ears, and you just really can’t get enough of Mandy.
Denai Moore turned heads when she began releasing tunes a couple of years ago, bringing a raw, beauty with every new sound. Now it’s finally her time to show the world what she’s about with her debut album Elsewhere, set to be released April 6th. The title track “Elsewhere” has many layers that make it the perfect standout. It’s slightly dark yet contains a gorgeous amount of soul. Denai Moore is bringing her own uniqueness to the table and it’s about time we get the full picture of what she’s creating.
There’s something magically beautiful about artists uploading their first soundcloud tracks. It’s one track that can get the attention of music lovers and swirl into a storm of attention. It’s all about being a hit or a miss, in this case Refs are hitting the mark in all the right ways. “Pain Goes Away” has a chill vibe yet doesn’t fall short of being incredibly catchy. There’s a hint of soul, indie, and it blends into the perfect debut tune. For fans of Chet Faker, this track will be a true pleaser. Check out the gem below and keep an eye out for this great new artist.
New Orleans’s Generationals are, in short, the kind of rising indie band commercial music supervisors have dirty dreams about. A description like that sounds damning in some circles, but a few seconds into a song like “Black Lemon” off their latest LP, Alix, and you’ll practically allow the dancing images of silhouetted iPod listeners into your head. This shouldn’t discourage indie credibility purists though, as Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer have evolved Generationals with such a genuine, New Wave-adoring quirkiness, it’s easy to imagine them spending afternoons lovingly flipping the same a-ha and Duran Duran singles over and over.
Their video for “Reviver” though feels far from the synthesized, urban pep their songs occupy though. Generationals appear as backwoods dirtbikers, winning the hearts of ’80s-redux, flag waving models and beer-smashing rednecks alike. Although it’s questionable whether the airy synthwork or heavy reverb verses in “Reviver” would convince such a normally conservative Southern crowd, Generationals just visually up their fun-loving quota with color-spewing exhaust smoke and Widmer being swallowed by the sun on a high jump. “Reviver” and Generationals as a whole make relentlessly happy sounds, intending to unite redneck and music snob alike under the good old fashioned power of a catchy chorus.
Oscar Scheller (known professionally as O S C A R or, for those who can’t be bothered with the artistic use of a space bar, Oscar) picked a hell of a stage name to go by. You’d think Googling the Londoner’s brit-poppy EP, 146B, or even a Facebook page would come somewhat easy. Alas, the hot topic trials of runner Oscar Pistorius got in the way and, of course, that whole Academy Award thing that happens every year shows up, but it was worth the extra effort to find more on the one that penned “Daffodil Days”.
Wichita Recordings, Oscar’s new label and home to Gold Panda and Cloud Nothings among many notables, are likely going to tell you this debut single is pure “bedroom pop.” I love a good bit of tape hiss and lo-fi production in a song, but no, “Daffodil Days” is worlds apart from the bedroom Oscar came from. Bursting out of the gate with infectious “oh’s”, a determined four-on-the-floor beat, and his crooner’s baritone, Oscar is mailing this one straight to any summer festival looking for a last minute spot-filler. And hey, he absolutely deserves the Freshman honors treatment; “Days” recalls fellow Englanders Swim Deep‘s penchant for seasonally gloomy pop rock and amplifies their formula with a wide-eyed, sugary chorus. It’s the kind of indie pop fit for aficionados of the genre and the people that got stoked when Coachella announced their H&M fashion line alike.
The music of North Carolina’s Boulevards belongs in bins of discount 45s like the dust that perpetually coats their crates, but there’s no better time than now for his brand of pop funk to rise up. My college roommate last year was a bassist that surrendered his heart and soul to funk. A day would not pass without praise to Maggot Brain and the Blessed Trinity: Parliament, Funkadelic, and The Immaculate Combination (i.e. when the two became Parliament-Funkadelic) When Daft Punk dropped the “punk” for disco beats, it was through him I saw that the robots merely borrowed Herbie Hancock’s vocoder and rode the Soul Train for a couple of stops.
My roommate (if he’d ever pick up his damn phone and call) would be overjoyed though that funk is #1 in America right now. Mark Ronson‘s brand of “Uptown Funk” has charted for weeks and perhaps we’ll see many acts like Jamil Rashad’s Boulevards riding the trend’s wave. I think Rashad should be given more credit than that though by the sounds of “Got to Go”, which runs deep with admiration for funk’s machinations of staying relevant in the ’80s. The work of Hancock and, chiefly, the King of Pop himself are alive in “Go”, bolstered by the undeniably groovy bass work of producer Rollergirl. Seriously, try not bobbing your head to this. It’s impossible. As Boulevards’ Facebook page readily hashtags, just “let the groove be with you.”
We are only three days away from a brand new year. Crazy. How you spent your 2014 is on you, but I can tell you the music scene in 2014 was quite successful. This is by far my favorite post of the year and I’m glad I can share it with all of you. The writers over here at SITR were very high on some artists this year, and it shows in this playlist. Artists such as BANKS, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, Skizzy Mars, G-Eazy, Kevin Abstract, Milky Chance, Sam Smith, Zhu, and Young The Giant have multiple appearances while Skizzy Mars has the most. Safe to say 2015 is Skizzy’s for the taking? I know I’m most looking forward to him and Chance (he had a relatively quiet year) the most!
Here’s how we did the playlist this year:
- There’s a Spotify and Sound Cloud playlist
- Not all of the songs are on Sound Cloud
- Not all of the songs are on Spotify
- The following download links below are the tracks that aren’t on Spotify so you can upload them in your Spotify with ease
- Part 1 contains tracks 1-34 while part 2 contains tracks 35-69
- The Leftovers Track List: 1-26, 27-52, 53-69
- Hit the jump for the playlists
I sit here around the same time every month wondering what I should put into these little write ups. Sometimes it comes to me, and sometimes I’m just like blech. Sometimes I even wonder if anyone reads these or if they just skip to the music. Sex. I’m not going to go into a deep thoughtful post, or predict how many touchdowns Johnny Football (sex) will have for my brownies next week, but, yeah, enjoy the sex (music)!
PSA: I’m out of it tonight. Thanks, finals!
MNEK seems to be on top of the world with all the tracks he’s been involved with in the electronic world in the last year, but he has yet to release his debut album. Instead, he’s been teasing us with some seriously epic solo tracks that show us what exactly he’s about. “The Rhythm” is his latest tune to hit the public and it’s a perfect mixture of powerful r&b vocals with an electric beat that’ll have people wanting to hit the dancefloor. Needless to say, it’s explosive and we are ready for more. Listen to the addictive gem below.
A twisted pop darkness with an addition of r&b vibes, this is what you hear when turning on Made In Heights’ new track “Panther”. It’s got an addictive thing about it that should have everyone turning their heads and wondering where to get more. Luckily for us all, their forthcoming new album will be released sometime next year. For now, give their other catchy tracks a spin including this new one below.
Brooklyn’s My Body, best known for their recent remix of Phantogram, has finally found time to record their own brand of sugary mutant pop and will be releasing an EP full of it – entitled 6 Wives. Their new single “All I Can” comes on strong with tight break beat production and simple synth pop prowess. A hooky combo that emphasizes the innocent vocals of singer Jordan Bagnall.