Eryn Allen Cane - "Honey"
Reppin' the spirit of everyone from James Brown to Janelle Monae, this throw back soulful tune from Eryn's second EP, Aviary: Act II, is as fun as it gets. She's got style all her own, and despite the short length (five songs), her wide ranging talent is glaringly evident. I honestly feel like I could have chosen any track to represent her EP, any song will hook you, as was the same as her first EP, Aviary: Act I (listen to "Bass Song"). Hop on board people, it's only a matter of time before she blows up. Great voice, great presence, great everything.
Strangers You Know - "Believe In Me"
Something to get you in the Spring mood! Their debut album, 2015's What Happened, unfortunately didn't garner too much interest, but they got right back to it and released their second EP (Loosen up the Leash) a few days ago. It features the single "Used" which is already making waves, but the rest of the EP is severely lacking in listens and it's a travesty because it's excellent. From the Vance Joy infused acoustic tune I'm featuring to the R&B style slow jam "Tell Me I'm Alright," it's all worth a listen.
Tale of Lions - "Tell Me What You Need"
Somewhat surprisingly, Alex Clare's side project, Tale of Lions, has gotten little to no recognition after releasing two solid singles. Though Clare's only hit was 2011's "Too Close," (off The Lateness Of The Hour) he has a sizable fanbase (myself included), and with Tale of Lions not being a huge departure from his sound it's odd more people haven't latched onto this single. Clare's voice will always be the main draw, unique and soulful, he can make any song listenable. This is no different.
JAHKOY - "Still In Love"
Though JAHKOY just re-released this single from 2015, but my site wasn't around then, and if he wants it out there again then dammit I'm gonna help get it out there! It has all the smooth 80's synths over steady drums that I could ask for. It's no secret that this is the music that gets to me, I just can't deny it. Driving down the PCH on a beautiful summer day, windows down, shades on, that's what this song brings out in me. Put it on and feel the cool.
Lanks - "Golden Age"
Just listen, go ahead and click play. You can read what I'm writing but honestly I'd rather have you just listen. This is top notch. A combination between Radiohead's Thom Yorke and SOHN, Australian musician Lanks is set to explode. Last years Banquet EP is something I still play regularly, and with this new single catching on like fire, it's only a matter of time until he reaches ears all over the world. His calming falsetto used over an infectious beat brings back memories of Woodkid's "I Love You." Oddly enough, Woodkid's album is actually entitled The Golden Age. Anyway, listen to the track. DO IT!
Urthboy, Sampa The Great, OKENYO - "Second Heartbeat"
How this feel good hip hop tune slipped through my fingers I do not know. Forgive me! "Second Heartbeat" is from the mind of Australian producer/ MC Urthboy. As a rapper I don't enjoy him (he's a decent producer though) so I didn't make an effort to listen to his newest record, last months The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat. In fact, I only ended up finding the track because I went to listen to Sampa The Great and saw that she was on the track! Everyone can thank Sampa by listening to her 2015 debut LP The Great Mixtape, it's good stuff! Having said that, it's the relative newcomer OKENYO that steals this track for me. She's got a smooth flow and a singing voice reminiscent of Emeli Sandé. I'll include a single of hers below as well! Let the good vibes roll!
Kill J - "Back Home"
Guys guys guys. Kill J has finally released her first EP, Quasi, and it's just as good as we thought it was going to be. While two of the songs were ones she released last year ("Propaganda" and the spectacular "You're Good But I'm Better") we've got four new tracks to mull over. While this is a little bittersweet considering she probably won't release her debut LP this year, like I was hoping, this will do JUST FINE. Her vocals start off light, but there is power to spare. Her sound jumps around but I'd say she's most comfortable in the pop genre. Think Grimes meets FKA Twigs. You're on board aren't you? Me too.
Domo Genesis - "Dapper"
Though he has a few mixtapes under his belt, his official debut will be released later this month, entitled Genesis. As part of the Odd Future you might already be familiar with him, if not then take notice, he's got potential. With "Dapper" he delivers a smooth style that's infectious, especially when combined with the soulful presence of Anderson .Paak. I dig this single, let's see if the rest of the album can hang on the same level.
Allan Rayman - "Verona The Hellcat" (feat. Jessie Reyez)
His 2015 debut Hotel Allen ok. I loved the mood and the tone of his voice, gravelly with a smooth flow, he just didn't offer much variation. It seems he's fallen victim to the same problem again, based off his two newest singles, since they sound fairly similar, but dammit I really like them! Great vibes, solid beat, and the latest has a great feature from Jessie Reyes. I'm hooked.
Private Island - "Drugs"
It's hard not to be hooked from the first second as the drum beat grabs you instantly. This track's carefree feel puts you exactly where you want to be. It's nice to see this group back after delivering the excellent debut EP A Good Look back in 2014 (listen to "Don't Call Me" and "Dissolve" when you get a chance), and if this single is any indication we're headed towards more good things from them in 2016. It's no surprise a group called Private Island is delivering quality summer vibes, keep an eye out.
Alibis - "Therapy"
I love everything about this song: the vibe, the melody, the vocals, all of it. The track is off of the bands three song EP of the same name, and first official release! They also have an acoustic EP that you can download off their website for free (click here). The feel here is very similar to one of my favorite bands, Young The Giant, so I'm curious to see what direction they take. Regardless, I'm in for the ride.
Gallant - "Bourban"
Anyone who isn't counting down the days until Gallant's debut LP drops doesn't have their priorities straight. Titled Ology, the record will drop on April 6th. I feel like I should take the day off of work. I need to make myself emotionally available. He first came to my attention when I heard the 2013 single "Sirens," and it's been a intense love affair ever since. His voice is out of this world and his brand of R&B is refreshing and needed. "Bourban" is his latest single but put on his 2014 EP Zebra and educate yourself. He's going to be around for awhile.
M83 - "Do It, Try It"
M83 has sure taken their time to create the followup to their 2011 masterpiece Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. That's not to say they haven't been working; the group composed two original scores in 2013, one for Tom Cruise's sci-fi thriller Oblivion and the other an independent French film You And The Night (written and directed by band member Anthony Gonzalez's brother Yann Gonzalez). "Do It, Try It" is the first single off their upcoming album Junk, which is set to be released April 8th! The single is a much different sound than the spacey approach they took last time around and I'm definitely curious to see if they commit to it. Also that album art is the best you will see all year. It's not up for debate.
The Strumbellas - "Spirits" // "Shovels & Dirt"
Alt-folk group The Strumbellas have released two spectacular singles this year as they gear up for the release of their third LP Hope. Having not heard their first record I was pleasantly surprised when I put on their 2014 sophomore effort We Still Move on Dance Floors by chance and fell in love with it. Their style is often a rousing affair, chorus' to chant, stomp, and clap to, all the while still offering comfort in their words. While they're not breaking any boundaries, at the end of a long day it's music you can count on. The two singles show both sides of what the group has to offer. "Spirits" is the joyous sing-a-long and "Shovels & Dirt" is the calming reflection. Enjoy!
Samuel - "These Days"
I stated that I was going to be a little less strict as far as release dates go for the singles I post. Some artists that I was really impressed by in early 2015 didn't get recognized here because I didn't start the site until November. Samuel is one of those artists. His 2013 EP Falling Star caught my ear but didn't fully sell me ("Boom Boom Boom" was my favorite). I bookmarked the name and waited for more; finally in 2015 'more' is what we were given, and though it's only one song, it's enough to get me excited for what he has planned for 2016. It's colorful and calming eastern influenced sound is so satisfying, which is confirmed by the fact that the instrumental version is just as strong as the version with vocals. The vocals complement the song perfectly, adding to its serenity. "Tell me what you want / Is it me?" he sings. The answer is yes.