The Cult - "Dark Energy"
Though The Cults have been around since the 1980's I wasn't made aware of them until 2004 film Layer Cake when their song "She Sells Sanctuary" was used in the opening scene. A fun fact about Layer Cake is that it features the only scene in film history in which I find a woman smoking a cigarette sexy. Bless you forever Sienna Miller. Now, back to The Cult. Despite them having been around the block you wouldn't know it by the sound of this track, as they continue to mold their sound for a new generation and quite successfully might I add. It's about time we had a little rock on here. And I'll throw in the Layer Cake opening for good measure. Good movie, better soundtrack.
Major Lazer - "Light It Up" // "Wave"
To say that Major Lazer has had a few hits this year would be putting it lightly. Started back in 2009 as the pet project of producers Diplo and Switch they are now working on their fourth album and have now added producers Jillionaire and Walshy Fire to the crew. They've just released an extended version of their album Peace Is The Mission which adds five new tracks to the mix. Because the album came out in June I didn't put it in the albums section, choosing to just highlight a few tracks and throw it in with the singles. They maintain to mood of the album here which is essentially reggae on fire; and if these five new tracks weren't enough to hold your attention they have another record, Music Is The Weapon, all set for 2016. The two tracks I chose were the dance track "Light It Up" featuring Nyla and Fuse Odg and "Wave" featuring the fast rising Kali Uchis. Enjoy!
Kali Uchis - "Ridin Round"
Since she was mentioned above I figured I should just give her her own blurb. Kali Uchis is a singer/ songwriter who was born in Columbia but moved to Virginia at a young age. I don't know how that's necessarily relevant but I told you anyway. She released her first album, Por Vida, for free on her website (http://www.kaliuchis.com/porvida/) and has been dropping singles throughout the year to much acclaim. Her style is rooted in oldies and reggae, and is addictive to say the least. This track was released earlier this month. Check it, see what's good.
J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar - "Black Friday"
If you haven't been paying attention the last few years, these two have been intertwined in two conversations, one involving who is the top rapper running around today, and the other involving a supposed collaboration. The latter was given some fuel on Friday when they released tracks rapping over each others beats, both titled "Black Friday". J. Cole was first, rapping over To Pimp A Butterfly's "Alright" (an album I talk about in my Top 15 post) followed by Kendrick taking on "A Tale of 2 Citiez" from Cole's 2014 ridiculous 2014 Forest Hills Drive. J. Cole is tight and I like his remix but still prefer the original but Kendrick goes BERSERK on Cole's track, further cementing his status on top. Regardless these two are on another level and I really hope the collab they've been hinting comes to fruition. Go go go!
Foxes - "If You Leave Me Now"
After putting out one of my favorite albums of 2014 (Glorious) they've kept up their presence with a string of singles throughout the year; this one, fresh off the press, is hands down my favorite. Beautiful, melodic, intimate, it's one of those songs that draws you in and lets you drift. I'm sitting here with it on loop wishing it was 30 minutes instead of five. Overall their sound is a little bit louder but this single is still complimentary of their style. They have yet to release a song I don't like so don't set them aside. Embrace Foxes people! EMBRACE THEM!
Panic! At The Disco - "LA Devotee"
I don't know what the general consensus is for Panic! but I know my friends are pretty heavily opposed. Maybe it's because of the bands they're associated with, or their appeal to the pop community, honestly none of what anyone thinks matters. I love them. There are few bands that are as consistently fun and that's not something I say lightly. Brendon Urie is one of the best frontmen in music today. I can't get enough. He's energetic, original in his approach with each album, and his ridiculous vocals seem to get better with each album. They've released four spectacular singles and this is just the latest. Also I should note that if you took my appreciation for them and multiplied it by infinity then you'd have a slight glimpse at how much my sister loves them, so that could play into why I like them so much as well. Who knows! Something I do know, however, is that their upcoming album Death of a Bachelor is coming January 2016. Get ready.
HONNE - "Gone Are The Days"
HONNE has come on pretty strong in 2015. They have a familiar sound but at the same time you can't really pair them with anyone. They switch off between a slower, methodical style and relaxed uptempo. They've released several EP's (my favorite being the Coastal Love EP) and a handful of singles, which once again begs the question why not just release an album?! Doesn't matter, what matters is that this single is their latest, and actually represents their style really well. Check it and explore.
Miike Snow - "Heart Is Full" & "Heart Is Full (feat. Run The Jewels) - Remix"
I'm guessing most of you have tuned into the original track, which was released late October, but I included it just in case. If you haven't heard it then you're in for a treat! It's got a retro-soul style backed by a hip hop beat. Add in Miike's penchant for catchy hooks and pop sensibilities and you've got yourself a hit. Add in a verse from the best duo in hip hop (Run The Jewels) and that hit just got even better. Listen to it, feel it's cool. Tell your dad, head bob with him.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - “Hot Coals”
Though starting off simply it slowly expands into a spacey and beautifully layered piece of music. I’ve been a fan of Edward Sharpe for quite awhile and I’m happy to say that what he’s done here has blown me away. Through an explosion of sound he and his band have taken their art to a new height while still maintaining the style and approach that I love. Once in awhile a track starts where all you can do is sit back and let it flow. So what are you waiting for? Press play already…and when it ends go ahead and press play again.
Until The Ribbon Breaks - "A Taste Of Silver"
Guys. THIS. This is where it's at. Though the album came out early this year I thought I might throw some light on it before my year end list. Much like SOHN's 2014 album Tremors, which was a couple songs shy of a perfect debut album, this album took me over. Diversity is the name of the game in debuts. I've mentioned this issue before but it's easy for artists to rely on the strength of a few songs and let their album get repetitive. A Taste Of Silver does not do that. Please listen to the entire thing. And if you refuse my polite request then I only ask that you listen to this song off it. Then hopefully you won't be able to resist.
MOTHXR - "Touch"
There aren't too many albums I'm anticipating more than MOTHXR's debut. With only four singles under their belt they've got me begging for more. Their sound, a sort of new-age 80's vibe, is smooth, sexy, and fun while the vocals are a mix between Sam Smith and Robin Thicke. Night drive through the city with this and you're sailing.
Cloves - "Frail Love"
Beautifully intimate. She carries emotion with every word and has a rasp in her voice that's easy on the ears. It's honestly nice to hear a raw talent not be botched by overproduction. The EP "XIII" flows with the same simplicity. I'm excited for her full length, which is sure to be released within the next six months or so. At least for now we have this...
Gnash - "I Hate U I Love U"
For those you who sat around thinking, "I love Jhené Aiko, I just wish there was a male version of her" I give you Gnash. He deals in methodical, airy beats. Combine that with his calm vocal delivery and you've got yourself a relaxing three minutes. He released his first album earlier this year titled U. This is my favorite song he's made, mainly because of the feature by Olivia O'Brien. The song was released earlier this year and does not appear on the album but if you like it check out more of his stuff.
NIHILS - "Not a Man of Violence"
Last year they released a decent track called "Help Our Souls"but it didn't blow up until this year when Urban Contact remixed it and made it possibly the catchiest song I've heard this year. NIHILS has now released a single that's great all on it's own. Relaxed but upbeat it makes for a great vibe. Anxious for these guys' full length. I'll link the "Help Our Souls" remix as well just in case you haven't heard it.
Emilie & Ogden - "Ten Thousand"
Her full length album 10 000 came out in early October. Her voice reminds me of a less nasal Joanna Newsom, who also released an excellent album in October called Divers (not available on Spotify). Her style is akin to Joanna's as well, both having harps as their primary means of sound. Emilie's approach is subtle but layered with the music simple and attractive; and though her sound isn't necessarily joyous the result is soothing, genuine poetry. I'm a fan.
Grace Mitchell - "Jitter" // Ghost Loft - "Overflow"
Here are couple artists I really really like. Both had EP's that came out during the summer time and I think compliment each other musically so I'll put them together. Grace's EP Raceday exudes strength and cool. Ghost Loft's Chocolate Haze EP keeps it smooth and light and a nice compliment. The chorus on "Overflow" makes me feel like I'm weightless and free.
Missy Elliot - "WTF (Where They From?)" ft. Pharell Williams
Missy is back. I repeat MISSY IS BACK. You wouldn't even know that she's been gone for a decade by the way she kills it. There's absolutely no rust here. I'll wait for her full album to gush but this comeback is one of the best things that has happened in 2015 overall, not just musically. I'm also a huge fan of dance and Missy's videos were where that appreciation started so instead of posting just the song check out her new video, badass as ever. GO GO GO
Troye Sivan - "YOUTH"
Troye has released a handful of singles and two EP's since last year. Had he combined all of those tracks for an album it would have been really REALLY good (I listen to the 2014 EP TRYXE all the time), so I can't figure out what the hold up is. Either way, this is another solid track. Go forth! Listen!
Lawrence Taylor - "Chains"
Though the single was released a few months back he just released his four song EP Bang Bang and I thought I'd throw some listens his way. He's talented. A soothing and soulful voice with tons of emotion and a raw sound. "Bang Bang" is his featured track so check that out too. But for now...
Wet - "It's All in Vain"
Love it. Wet, like Troye, has been releasing EP's and singles (check out their 2014 EP Wet ) and I'm getting impatient. I like you! I like your music! Reward me! "It's All in Vain" is actually my favorite single they've released this year. It's simple, smooth, and though it's a bit brisk you don't feel the chill.
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes - "Always/ Never"
Who can say no to a summer track as winter is kicking off?! I love the mood, the lyrics, and the 10 second piano break towards the end sealed the deal. After their great 2014 full length Kid Tiger (check out "Phantoms" and "Sun Goes Out" for a taste) so it's nice to see them back at it so soon.
Daughter - "Numbers"
And to counteract the joy you might have felt after the above track I give you Daughter. For those of you who are unfamiliar, her music isn't the most upbeat you'll find, but it is incredible. She has an emotional intensity that's hard to pull away from and while you might need to be in a certain mood for her when the time is right there is no one better. Though her 2013 LP was good, it was actually her two 2012 EP's, His Young Heart and Wild Youth, that I preferred. As always she's moody and complex, but make sure the mood is there.
Cheat Codes - "Follow You"
You need a pick-me-up after Daughter. You don't even have to say it, I know you, I know...us. So here is the breezy "Follow You" from newcomers Cheat Codes. The song is sweet and low key.