Alina Baraz - "Buzzin" // "Lavender and Velvet"

I don't know what planet Alina Baraz came from or which one she resides in but I want to live in her world. Her grooves are so good, so sensual, so smooth, I can't get enough. I still listen to her Galimatias collab Urban Flora like it came out last week, her single "Electric" is on rotation always, her feature on Phlake's "Gone" is incredible, and now this. 

The double single release must mean something is coming, as she hasn't released a proper single since the aforementioned "Electric" and that was back in January. Then again, nothing has been announced, and these tracks could just be what's come from restlessness while she's been on tour (opening for Coldplay with Tov Lo). Either way, both tracks are absolute GEMS. It's sexy, dreamy, electro grooves that wrap you up and take you into the stratosphere. Lay back and drift, it's what Alina wants. 

Elohim - "The Wave"

Elohim has been quietly making a name for herself, building a body of work that's inventive, fun, and consistently solid, an accolade that is possibly the most important. Her self titled 2016 release was excellent but it's been her steady stream of singles following that release that have me REALLY excited about the future. 

"The Wave" is the third single of 2017, and the third single that I have looped. I mentioned her consistency early, but I only meant it in terms of quality, as each has been different. The first, "Skinny Legs" was off the wall and packed a punch, the second, "Sleepy Eyes," was summer soaked tropical fun, and has a night club vibe and feels like a slice from Phoenix's spectacular 2013 record Bankrupt!. The latter is my favorite of the three, as it's equal parts boundless energy and a laid back poolside groove. I'm all in. Keep exploring, I'll keep listening. 

nite swim - "Everybody's Someone in LA"

YES. PLEASE. It's hard to tag a group with only two singles as consistent so I'll just say, 2 for 2 ain't bad. nite swim's latest single is so damn smooth; one of those tracks that somehow finds it's way onto every mix you make for the rest of the year. Their brand of summer drenched electro R&B isn't exactly new, but the fact that I haven't latched onto something so quickly in awhile carries weight. It's the same reaction I had to Cool Company's 2015 Summer Daze EP (which led to one of my favorite albums of 2016, Slice of Paradise).  

With both singles showing up in consecutive months, I'm under the assumption we've got an EP or LP showing up sometime in 2017; I'll stay on the lookout as long as you agree to keep these guys in your late summer rotation. It's problem free listening at it's best. 

King Garbage - "Forbidden Lovers"

From the second "Forbidden Lovers" begins, you're hooked. The lo-fi soul is the perfect centerpiece for any occasion, as it has enough life to make you listen, but isn't domineering in that it forces you to stand at attention. Duo Victor DiMotsis and Zach Cooper have yet to reveal their grand plan, but come Sept. 22nd, the release date for their debut LP Make It Sweat, everything will become clearer. For now? We have "Forbidden Lovers" and a watering mouth, and that's just fine with me.  

Rayon Nelson - "Memories"

No matter what I'm doing, no matter where I am, I will be in the mood for this song. "Memories" is the London based artist's first single of 2017 and it's an absolute gem. It's warmth wraps you fully, but the track'ssimplicity is it's greatest strength, instantly putting you in a daze that you'd be a fool to want to break away from.

Rayon's soulful nature comes with ease, as natural as anything I've ever heard in recent memory. His soft guitar work and dream inducing vocals are addictive, and thankfully we'll have a few more tracks to work with later this year, as he's set to release his debut EP. Stay tuned, it's going to be worth our time. 

Camille - "Seeds"

It's been a long time since I made a point to listen to Camille. Like many I became aware of her after her sophomore release Le fil, whose lead single "Ta douleur" hasn't lost any of it's original appeal. But even with that in mind I never put a ton of time into the records that followed. Through no fault of her own she's always been an artist that's slides into my life by chance, I listen for a bit, and then just as quietly as she entered, she exits. Normally this occurrence isn't noted, however today she happened to release new material and I happened to find it more exceptional than I normally do. 

"Seeds" is soft and delicate, an ideal candidate for a rainy Sunday morning alone. I'm talking empty house, with gloomy scene outside, seated next to a window with a good book (although I'm playing solitaire) and whatever drink makes you feel most comfortable. The drumline-esque percussions, that become muffled during the verses, offer a steadiness that draws you in immediately. Though it's the beauty of the chorus that has me looping this track, and how it builds a little more each time it comes around. Honestly, it's just an EASY listen, and there can never be enough of those. 

I'd also like to note Camille's long running side project, Nouvelle Vague, whose down tempo, often soothing, bossa nova inspired covers have been a much more consistent listen for me in past years. 

"In A Manner Of Speaking" is their most recognized track, and also a good place to start as it a cut from their debut album. There's something to be said about the bands steady, uncomplicated sound. It builds an atmosphere and easily seduces you with it, and with Fall just around the corner, it's an atmosphere you'll want in your back pocket. 

Dana Williams - "Honey"

I love her. While I know she got started sooner, my introduction to her was the 2015 EP Let's Fall, and I have been steadily obsessing over her voice, her sound, her words, etc. ever since. The ease of listening to an artist's sound should never be understated. That's possibly Dana's biggest draw, is her ease. Her sound has classic tones to it, so welcoming, natural and warm, this self title Corinne Bailey Rae, thinkKat Edmonson, think stripped down Cape Dory  from Tennis, think Kina Grannis, I could go on, but I won't. Just know she's is all of those things and more. This isn't to say she's without her misses, I didn't really love her single "Callaway" which was her collaboration with producer Jon Lawless; but someone else DOES and that's ok. I'm not the only fan. Please the masses Dana!

Now, back to "Honey." It's a GEM. 100%. It's a warm blanket on a relaxing afternoon, it's natural sunlight, it's being surrounded by calm tones, it's comfort. That's what she does. There isn't much else to say. It's been two years since her last release, so I expect a collection of songs before the new year. She just keeps getting better and better.  

O Mer - "Icarus"

Within the first 30 seconds I was given a vivd reminder of a sound I was familiar with but in an odd twist of fate I can't remember what it reminded me of. What I'm leaning towards is maybe a cross between The Servant's "Cell" and Blonde Redhead's 23 album...I apologize, normally I'm more succinct in my thoughts. Regardless, this track has kept me in rapture, something the Brooklyn based artist has been doing in extremely small sample sizes for the last few years.

O Mer has become a bit of a polarizing figure, releasing a single track in each of the last three years . "Now I'm Alive" in 2015, "Overflown" in 2016, and now "Icarus" (he also released a couple track before that on soundcloud which you can hear HERE). Like it's predecessors, the song accomplishes more by doing less. The down tempo electro sound is one that has had quite an influx in the last decade, so no one is necessarily surprising us, but I will say that something new can refresh us, and that's exactly what O Mer's sound is to me, refreshing. 

ODESZA - "Higher Ground" feat. Naomi Wild

With their fifth single released today in support of the upcoming LP, A Moment Apart (due out September 8th!) I figured I would write something about it, considering their 2014 release In Return is one of my favorite electronic albums ever. I know, bold words. But you know what? I'M A BOLD MAN! 

ODESZA presents a rare combination in that their sound is often equal parts soothing and grandiose. Their single "Corners Of The Earth" is the latest example of that. Add to that their affinity with worldly sounds, often incorporating eastern or tribal themes, along with a slew of others, places them in another league in comparison to their peers. Each single released so far hasn't just been good, it's been incredible, and considering there have been five, I'd say signs that this album will be just as good as In Return are obvious. Plug in and zone out. September 8th can't come soon enough. 

Because I mentioned the groups other singles, I figured I'd link you with my two favorites. 

I'm With Her - "Little Lies"

Often times when you come across new artists/groups you find yourself dwelling in that familiar place of "is there enough here for me to keep listening?" It's an understandable question, with so much music available even people with the most free time (i.e. yours truly) have to pick and choose. It's unfortunate, to say the least, especially when your goal is to listen to everything...ever (PIPE DREAMS!). Because of this "time" conundrum I am always grateful when I hear a sure thing, and I'm With Her is just that.

Formed back in 2015, the group is comprised of three musicians who are all very dear to me, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek and Aoife O' Donovan of Crooked Still, who both have now been working as solo artists in more recent years, and Sarah Jarosz. All three are engaging on their own, so the marriage of these three dynamic and incredible musicians is something to get excited about. If you're familiar with their work at all, their debut single, "Little Lies" is beauty that should come as no surprise. The airy harmonies, the intricate string work, the calming tones and dreamlike melodies hit all the points you'd expect. Their EP, also titled Little Lies, features this single as well as five live tracks recorded back in late 2015 while the group was on tour. It's a refreshing summertime escape and I couldn't be more excited about a more complete release from these women, should the day ever come.

The trio has a few upcoming tour dates left with Punch Brothers, and if you happen to be near any of their stops remember that money is no object when incredible music is what awaits (CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE).