For a little while, I considered adding Capital Cities‘s “Safe and Sound” to my best songs of 2013 list (which is still in the making), but I have to say I tired of the song too quickly for it to be added to a list of songs that I consider to be contenders for “timeless tracks” as I put them together. So needless to say, when I saw that there was a remix of the Capital Cities track released today, I was hesitant to give it my time at first. But what really pulled me in was the remix artist: Carlos Serrano. The young producer out of San Diego has a history of releasing huge remixes, mashups, and mixes. As somebody who doesn’t tend to prefer electronic music, I have to say I’m a big fan of Carlos’s work. So I gave his version of “Safe and Sound” a spin, and to nobody’s surprise I’m sure, I liked it. He made the instrumentals his almost entirely his own, and sped the track up into something a bit more club-like. Again, that’s not typically my vibe, but there’s something simplistic about Serrano’s approach. It’s not overdone, there’s no enormous bass drop that more often than not is about as appealing to me as banging my head against a wall (or maybe a human-sized speaker system), and it still maintains the original vocal elements from Capital Cities that I loved about the song so much in the first place.
Carlos released this track to celebrate hitting 50,000 fans on Facebook. Well deserved, sir.
I have to be honest with yall, I got a little nervous when I saw that Sam Smith released a song called “Money On My Mind.” It was one of those “noooo, not another one,” feelings, as though I was about to be bombarded with another song about the riches and fame. But surprisingly, the chorus of this song actually goes “I don’t have money on my mind, money on my mind. I do it for, I do it for the love.” So that’s good. The problem here is that this song is way too poppy for me. I started feeling things for Sam Smith (I don’t even think it was too soon to call it love) when I first heard “Lay Me Down.” His voice is almost too much to handle, that’s how good it is. It’s got a quivery and luminous vibe that few others can parallel (off the top of my head I’d pick Adele as the only rival). But this song seems more about the poppy production than the vocals, and that’s a direction that I don’t think Sam Smith would be well-advised to go in. When he sings “money on my mind,” it’s just a bit too reminiscent of Cee-Lo, who, don’t get me wrong, is a standout in pop music. But I beg of you, Sam Smith, don’t lose yourself in the pop scene. You’re too good for that. Keep the production minimal and play off the strengths of your vocals.
Some covers work, some just don’t, but it’s not an easy task to make something that’s actually noteworthy. Leo Kalyan happens to have the talent of bringing a cover/mashup that’ll have you melting inside. ”Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High For This” is a fusion of Arctic Monkeys and The Weeknd, which sounds a bit absurd at first but he makes it work in the best way possible. Soothing, slightly dark, and completely addictive. Listen to the gem below and grab a download of it for free while you’re at it.
Déjà vu is a very weird feeling. In fact, as somebody who grew up with a certain form of epilepsy, déjà vu can be a very scary thing. The types of seizures I had growing up brought along with them a feeling of déjà vu, as though I had experienced the moment before, but wasn’t able to pinpoint where or when. So needless to say, déjà vu feelings tend to scare me a bit. So when I come across a déjà vu moment that is a bit more recognizable, it’s actually an awesome feeling. That’s what happened to me today when I started listening to “Strayed Ocean” by Litritcha. It feels like something out of my past, and likely yours too, because it’s reminiscent of eighties music. I went through a phase in my past where I listened to a lot of Cyndi Lauper, Cher, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Styx, Billy Joel and other hit artists of the 80s. I’m feeling a bit like I’ve just been catapulted back to that time in my past. And that’s just it: this music doesn’t just sound familiar, it actually coincides with a particular time in my past, finally giving me a reason to smile about that oft-dreaded feeling of déjà vu.
Anything involving the name Frank Ocean will get my full attention without any hesitation. Therefore when I see someone has covered a Frank Ocean track, you know I’m there to replay it over and over. Trails and Ways have managed to take the addictive tune “Lost” and create their own indie soothing spin to it. It’s got a chill vibe that does not disappoint and it’s also free for download, win-win here folks.
After her fantastic features in the last year (particularly on Drake’s “From Time”), I’m SO here for Jhene Aiko‘s music, especially this track featuring Kendrick Lamar from her upcoming EP Sail Out. “Stay Read (What A Life)” apparently leaked as a snippet about a week ago, but this full-version absolutely does it for me. Jhene’s voice pairs perfectly with Kendrick’s short, terse rapping. Sail Out is currently available on iTunes, but hopefully we’ll be hearing more from my future wife in the near future.
NONONO seem to be blowing up these days and it’s no wonder. With the fabulous tracks they create, it’s a given that they’ll only continue to climb in fame. This time around they’ve got a dance indie jam made for the Kitsune Maison Compilation entitled “Scared”. It’s as addictive as they come so beware when you press play because you’ll be immediately hooked.
Some things just happen to be on fire and this remix of AlunaGeorge’s amazing tune “Best Be Believing” just happens to be a perfect example of that. Ta-Ku takes an already addictive track and makes it a bit spicier than the original. It’s got some serious flavor and I can’t say I’d mind hearing his one in the clubs. Make it happen DJs? Listen to the incredible remake below.
Jon Bellion, a 22-year old singer and producer from New York, released a music video for his song “New York Soul” today. The lyrics (read full lyrics for “New York Soul” after the jump) tell a story of a young man having to be away from his family and friends and likely battling with the emotions the divide creates. The sentimentality of it all comes through via a stripped down, minimalistic song that starts with a simple piano pattern, then adding Jon’s vocals that build to layered vocals in the chorus. It culminates in a stunning acapella ending with beautiful harmonization. It’s a beautiful song throughout, but most so at this ending, with the focus on the simple chorus in which Jon sings of being away from his family and having to watch his niece grow through Instagram pictures. So often today we live in a long-distance world, where cities like New York call for us as young professionals, but we’re torn away from our families and friends in other parts of the world. Jon captures this emotion beautifully in this simple song, paired with an equally minimalistic music video.
“New York Soul” is the third single from Jon’s upcoming free album due out later this year. It was entirely written and produced by Jon himself.
Beatenberg, a three-piece pop band from South Africa, might be onto something here with their songs titled with girls’ names. Their last single release was called “Chelsea Blakemore,” and today they released a short song (only 1:54, unfortunately) called “Jessie Colyn.” Despite it’s short length, it packs a lot of punch. It sounds straight out of the 80′s or early 90′s, and it’s catchy as hell. If you have the strength to not press play and listen again after one listen, I guess I commend you. Though I think you’re missing out, so maybe I actually shun you. It’s most likely the latter. Anyway, I like these dudes. Partly I like them because they’re from South Africa, not Sweden, and yet they’re still able to penetrate the infectious pop market. And partly because there’s something incredibly familiar about their sound. Maybe it’s that their lead singer Matthew Field’s voice sounds a bit like Paul Simon’s, particularly in their song “In B Flat,” which you might remember we featured on a Tape Tuesday. Anyway, I’m a believer. #Beatenberg4life.
A dash of dreaminess, pop and addictive beats is exactly what we need for the perfect track. “Bridges” has all those ingredients and is something truly beautiful. Broods bring a sweet, innocent sound and blend it with pure catchiness. Can anyone really argue with that? I think not. Grab a free download below and become absolutely drawn into this tune.
I fell in love with Wet when they released “Bad Idea” earlier this year, and I haven’t stopped loving Wet since. That almost sounds inappropriate. Why are they named Wet? Honestly, that is my least favorite thing about the Brooklyn trio (although I LOVE that their Twitter handle is @_kanyewet).
They recently released this four track EP, and it’s just great. It’s co-produced by ex-Chiddy Bang member Xaphoon Jones a.k.a. Noah Breakfast a.k.a. Noah Beresin who has recently worked with Ellie Goulding. The EP covers every type of love song. The front half does the head-over-heels, more uptempo tracks, and the back half does the aching, minimalist ballads. A perk of doing a clean four songs is that every song is a highlight; although, I have to say I prefer the slower ones. One thing I kind of miss from the trio is the shared male-female vocals that we caught a glimpse of on “Bad Idea.”