February Singles (2016)

For this month and the months following I've decided I won't confine myself to singles released during the title month. I want to expand to also include singles from months past that I missed. Everything will still be relevant as I won't dip further back than 2015 (...probably). Just nod in agreement, there you go. We need to trust each other you see? It's just me and you now, it's just...us <3

 

Corinne Bailey Rae - “Been To The Moon”

You know the feeling when you love something so much that it’s hard to express how you feel? Words won’t do it justice and all you really want is for whoever you’re sharing it with to experience it for themselves and understand what you already know to be true. Now take what I just described and multiply it by infinite and that's the love I have for Corinne Bailey Rae. Her new album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers (due out May 13th!!!), has finally given us it's first single and it's everything I have hoped and prayed for. I realize how dramatic this sounds but honestly I don't care. SHE'S BEEN GONE FOR SIX YEARS!! With her soft soulful presence, her honest and poetic lyrics, and that voice that cries sunshine, there is nothing I've needed more than new music from CBR. Welcome back Corinne, we've missed you. 


Andrew Bird - "Capsized"

Andrew Bird is a rarity. From his style to his clever and philosophical lyricism to his ear for harmonies, the list goes on and on. When I watch him perform (which I've done many times) I am always met with the same thought. He is doing exactly what he was put on this earth to do. I realize how many talented artists are out there but it's different than that. I would honestly say I've probably felt that, strongly, about 10 artists, give or take a couple. Andrew Bird is one of those artists. Every album he releases solidifies this feeling and if his upcoming album is anything like the two singles he's released, "Capsize," and more recently "Left Handed Kisses," then nothing has changed. Listen, love, and explore his expansive discography. You won't be disappointed. 


Ray LaMontagne - "Part Two - In My Own Way"

In late January, LaMontagne released Part One and it was nothing short of spectacular. I stated then that based on that alone we we're in for a real treat this year and after this single my excitement has only increased. Part two is softer than its counterpart; beautifully dreamy with a nice bluesy touch to top it off. He stated on a short but insightful album commentary (listen here) that his new album plays like one long 40 minute piece of music rather than a collection of songs. I know it's early but based on what we've been given this has major potential to be in my top 10 albums of 2016. Which actually isn't much of a stretch considering his last effort, Supernova, was an easy top 10 in 2014. Regardless, I won't have to wait too long to find out, his record, Ouroboros, is due out this Friday. Until then, enjoy...


Vic Mensa - "No Chill" (feat. Skrillex)

I hesitated putting the fact that this song was "featuring" Skrillex because what he added was the beat, do we put the feature tag for every single producer in a hip hop song? No, so why should we for him? Whatever, it's what these major "DJs" crave, so be it. I just hate Skrillex's hair and think he's a mediocre talent so I don't want to bring attention to any of his work. Moving on! I know this song is pretty popular, or at least I think it is, still I thought I'd throw some love towards Vic after his vocals were sliced from Kanye's "Wolves" (the version with Vic was WAY better). This song's mood is dark and addictive and Vic's flow is hungry. As an artist I really like his vibe and style and his 2013 mixtape Innanetape was excellent. His debut LP, Traffic, is due sometime this year, hold tight!


FKA Twigs - "Good To Love" 

If you're wondering if anyone out there wasn't obsessed with FKA Twigs debut LP and subsequent EP, there is, and that person is me. I don't know what to tell you; it was complex, different, bold, and...I didn't connect with it. Not even a little. I understand the infatuation though, I do, and I'll continue to listen to everything she puts out. She's gifted, unique, and someone who I think will keep pushing her boundaries as an artist and there is nothing I respect more than an artist who is committed to the growth an expansion of their sound. NOW, let's talk about "Good To Love." It's great (I'm already coming around!). With the simplistic production it really shines a light on what a spectacular lyricist she is, and the presence she commands. Additionally, her vocal tone is strong, but not overwhelming, which compliments the track perfectly. I'm definitely curious to see where she takes her sound from here, who knows, maybe I'll even...enjoy it (gasp, shock, faint!).

Her live performance on The Tonight Show took the song to another level and is something worth watching if you get a chance (click here). 


Abhi The Nomad - "Yard Sale" (feat. Foster & Copper King)

Abhi has been doing his thing for a few years now, and though his last release was back in 2015 I hadn't mentioned him on the site yet! And it's about damn time I throw some props to a fellow Southern California boy. His Beginning EP back in 2014 really hit a chord with me and since then I've been keeping heavy tabs. I've gotta say, this dude has it going on. By definition he's a hip hop artist but his vibe and sound definitely transcend that. It's refreshing. My favorite track on 2015's Where Are My Friends is "Calcutta" but his album flows seamlessly, and at only 22 minutes it's easy to listen through the whole thing. Wait for the transition between "Calcutta" and "Anti-Matter," top notch stuff. Check him out. 


RJD2 - "The Sheboygen Left"

Guys guys guys. Listen up. RJD2 is BACK. And he's come bearing gifts. "The Sheboygen Left" is the first single off his upcoming release Dame Fortune (due out March 26th). This is very much in the feel-good realm of RJD2 as he presents that modern soul we've come so accustomed to hearing from him. With his last release coming three years ago, I would be pleased with anything new he decided to give us but this smoothly layered track is a genuine treat. Once the horns drop in the track really elevates. And the final minute?? GROOVES. I can't wait for this record because that means we've got a new tour coming and his live shows are something else. Get on it!


Ludovico Einaudi (performed by Chris Snelling) - "I Giorni" 

At first I was hesitant to post this because technically it's not a new song. The track was originally written by, Ludovico Einaudi, one of my favorite modern day composers, for his 2015 album Portrait (beautiful album). Then we have pianist Chris Snelling, who over the course of 2015 and into the beginning of this year has been performing simplified or extended versions of songs from numerous film scores as well as classics from the classical genre. I've been wanting to bring this to light for a while but never knew where to put it, then I remembered this is my site and I can put it anywhere I please, so here it is. Though the song is a severely stripped down version from the original work it's still very involving, proving just how moving simplicity can be. I'm also including the original work, which I have to say I still prefer, to give you both sides of the spectrum.  


A l l i e - "Yemi's Song"

So I'm a little late to the party as this song is from late November of last year (off her debut EP Moonlust), but I'm here now, thank goodness. Since coming across Moonlust a few days ago I haven't been able to listen to much else. Vocally I was instantly hooked, though that might be due in large part to the fact that she sounds almost identical to Lianne La Havas. Whatever it is, I'm not complaining. Her sound is sensuous and sultry, classic R&B with a space-y (futuristic?) makeover. She's been shown some love but not nearly enough so far, start listening people! This is a spectacular start and I hope she's got more planned for 2016. 


Moderat - "Reminder"

This track was actually brought to my attention by the guy who runs a music focused Facebook group that I'm in and I couldn't be more pleased. The build up that starts around 2:30 and finally breaks free at 3:05 is a real treat. It's alternative electro-pop style is a sound I can never deny. I was hit with heavy visions of Joywave's album last year, which I loved, so it's nice that to know there's a replacement on the way. Their new album will be called III and if it's anything like their previous two then our ears are going to get some serious love when it drops on April 1st. 


beGun - "Dora" (feat. Ela Minus)

Though this gent from Barcelona has been releasing singles since 2013, he has yet to create a full length album or even a true EP for that matter. I'd imagine it's due to DJing and other activities but I honestly don't know, I just don't know!!! Hopefully he's been amping up to drop his debut, but even the occasional single is better than nothing at all. He released this one in late December, it's airy, smooth, and sexy. Groove time.


Photo Ops - "You Could Be Great"

Photo Ops just released their second full length and while it's a decent album it's not one that, in my mind, warrants a full review. However, I would like to shine a light on a track that I loved from it. "You Could Be Great" caught my ears as I was using the album as background music, it had this warmth to it that couldn't be ignored. Like the rest of the album, it promotes a laid back, beachy attitude. The saxophone solo that finishes the track is what really sold me. Easy going stuff, and a nice way to start the month of February. Enjoy! 


mAsis - "Good Life"

I remember back in 2013 when SOHN dropped his Bloodflows EP and I just about flipped. His sound, his execution, the atmosphere, it was nuts. That's exactly how I felt when I put on mAsis' Kennesaw EP for the first time. It's smooth, melodic, dreamy presence had me floating. Now we're in 2016 and the band has released their first single, "Good Life" and it's their best work yet. The whispered vocals flow over echoed beats, leading up to a soft climax that's a thing of beauty. I can't wait to see what's next, here's to doing big things in 2016 mAsis! *cheers' self, tries to remain optimistic about drinking alone*


Rostam - "Wood"

When Rostam finally releases his debut LP it will be cause for massive celebration. His unique approach I can liken only to Kishi Bashi. Acting as main producer and co-head writer for the first three Vampire Weekend albums has really given him many freedoms to pursue producing for other artists as well as for himself. His style is distinct and though I enjoy his collaborative work it's his solo stuff that really gives me a high. The moods he's able to capture and transform are incredible, there is real heart in his work and you can tell. For his latest single, "Wood" he stated, 

"I wanted to try and capture the feeling of being in bed with someone, and dreaming something wild beside them,"

and you feel that, completely. I don't think I've experienced such a vivid imagery of warmth since Washed Out's Within and Without, one of my favorite albums of all time. He has a real way with sound, it's beautiful. I just love it.