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. 

Rationale - "Loving Life"

Before I say anything, just listen to this song. It's dance-y but relaxed and smooth. Truly built for any time of day. I'm starting with this only because I don't know how long it will take for me to stop showering love onto this artist because I've been away from the site for so long that I'm just aching to heap praise on someone and no new artist is more deserving. I'm obsessed. Ok. You're listening right? Perfect. Thank you! Let's get to it.

I know this is bold but I don't think there is an artist that has emerged in the past few years that I love more than Rationale. I have been the opposite of active when it comes to the site for the last....billion months (?), but between this new single and debut LP announcement (his self titled record will be available October 6th!!!!), I was basically forced to come back and alert the world aka my single digit subscriber list. After two strong EPs he's finally gearing up for a full length. As many of you know, one of my pet peeves is when the majority of an artist's album consists of previously released material, HOWEVER in Rationale's case I will honestly take whatever he feels his listeners should hear and in the order he wants us to hear it. 

From a vocal standpoint he sits in a realm all his own. His voice is so unique and pleasing, and because he naturally dwells in a lower register, when he ranges out of that it is a genuine gift (and this single, "Loving Life," does exactly that). I also realize I sound too excited to be taken seriously but just listen, you'll get it. His ability to maintain the addictive pop-like melodies and production without sacrificing genuine emotion is something many artists that have been in the industry for years have yet to master. This guy is the real deal. Across the board. First round draft pick. Easy.

For those unfamiliar with Rationale's previous releases, fear not. I got you. Loop these EPs. And don't forget who loves you the most. October 6th can't come soon enough. But until then...

Fyfe - "Love You More"

SOHN + Joywave = Fyfe. That's what I thought when I first heard him, that's what I feel with the release of his latest single, "Love You More." It's the second track he's released in support of his upcoming sophomore LP The Space Between (due to hit us in June). For those unfamiliar, Fyfe's production is generally poppy without being pop; influences of new wave, jazz, and alternative are generally present as well making saving it from getting to repetitive. 

The overall sound is a warm one, which is enhanced by his soft and clean vocals. He doesn't need to fill each track with proper chorus' and sing-along verses because his music is able to stand on it's own sans vocals, which gives him a unique opportunity to take a step back and build it the way he wants. Reading that last sentence back I'm not sure if it makes sense, but *I* know what I'm trying to say and if you bring it up to me in person I'm sure I can explain it.  

Rationale - Vessels EP

There's really not much I need to say other than this guy is probably my favorite young musician working right now, a sentiment held by quite a few fans and industry heads alike. There isn't a thing I don't love about him. Everything commands your attention, though nothing more than prominently than his voice. His tone, which sits comfortably between a tenor and baritone, is so pleasantly crisp and unique. His natural register is so smooth that even if he had no range it would still be addicting, so the fact that he DOES have range is basically a dream come true. Add in his knack for melodies and catchy hooks and you've got yourself a hit machine. 

Though his sound is in the realm of electro pop (he's sporting that modern 80's synth vibe) there is genuine emotion in his delivery and presence, removing him from the emptiness that you generally associate pop music with. There's quite a bit I could go into but at the end of the day it comes down to this, his music makes me feel good. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, the atmosphere he presents feels fitting. For an artist to have such a universal situational appeal is a special thing, I can't think of too many others who I can confidently say work well like that. The same goes for his previous Fuel To The Fire EP, which, like Vessels, I had nothing but the highest praise for.

Rationale is the real deal and then some. Anything but a long and fruitful career would be an unfortunate future for anyone with functioning ears. I hope you've been listening while reading, it'd be a shame if you haven't pressed play on this yet. 

Tennis - "Modern Woman"

I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is better than every song on Ritual In Repeat, which was Tennis' 2015 release, and one I enjoyed quite a bit. 

"Modern Woman" is the first single in support of the husband and wife duo's upcoming 4th LP Yours Conditionally, due out March 10th. While technically their sound in general generates the "throwback" label, this track feels like it could be a cut from either of their first two records. It has the simplicity and relaxed tone that made them so universally appealing. 

The beachy 60's vibe they employed at the start of their career faded into a more pop-ish sound on their last album, and I enjoyed the transition quite a bit, but at the end of the day it was missing something. "Modern Woman" was what it was missing. In a perfect world this record could be all three releases rolled into one, but even if it isn't, they haven't let me down before, and I don't think they'll start to anytime soon. Here's to another great record. Raise your glass. Are you raising it? Because I'll wait...

FINALLY. Thank you. 

Gabrielle Aplin - "Miss You"

I usually associate Gabrielle's music with a tempered, piano driven style, so when her new single, "Miss You," came out I was both surprised and in love. I always talk about how I love pop music, but actually posting about it has been a rarity, so I'm happy to do it on Gabrielle's behalf. 

The single is simple in the best way, catchy and engaging, it knows what it is and doesn't try to be anything more. She applies her knack melodic arcs and builds off of the bigger sound she presented on 2015's Light Up The Dark (though the record was more soul) to great effect; and I have to say, I dig the growth. 

The rest of the EP complements it's single, "Night Bus" and "Run For Cover" are both solid, and she ends with an piano version of "Miss You" that gives you an idea of how the single would have sounded had she released it during her earlier years. 

While there's no word on a new album, I'd imagine she's got something in the works for 2017. Until then, we've got more than enough to work with. Enjoy!

Rationale - "Prodigal Son"

It's been awhile since I've written about Rationale, a post which included some news that is WELL BEYOND OUTDATED (his debut LP was NOT released on September 23rd). Whether that was false information or it was simply pushed back I don't know, either way I'm sorry! I'll be better 4 u. All of u. 

Now, let's shake ourselves free of my deceit and celebrate that he's released a new single, "Prodigal Son," and that he has a definitive release date for the album (March 3rd, 2017 / "we were SO wrong!"). This song keeps the tone of his previous work intact, his signature crisp vocals paired with synth heavy grooves, two attributes that make him easy to spot. Though his electronic sound may have you leaning towards a more dance based label, he packs real emotion into his songs, something that's often absent from the genre. 

It doesn't take long to recognize Rationale as the real deal, and if this single doesn't convince you, his 2015 EP Fuel To The Fire will. For those new listeners who are obsessed and think this four month wait will be the death of them, know that I've been coasting on the same four songs since last year. The seven we have available now will be more than enough. 

Kingsbury - "Easy"

I'm a few weeks late to the party, but "Easy" is one of the best singles this year, and it's their debut! Light and breezy, but with a downtempo feel, basically it's a track built for the California fall season. It took a bit of hunting before I found out that this was the work of soulful folk artist Caroline Kingsbury aka The Red Headed Indian

However, if you were a fan of her then, it doesn't mean you'll be a fan now, as she's traded in her progressive acoustics for some electro dream pop. Personally, I'm a fan of both, and I think her now proven versatility, as she can obviously craft excellent music in contrasting genres, should lead to something quite eclectic. Cheers to what should be a fun 2017 for Kingsbury! 

St. Beauty - "Borders"

St. Beauty put down what was easily my favorite track from Janelle Monae's Wondaland Records' promotional release Wondaland Presents: The Eephus, and they've now backed it up with their second single, "Borders." As I've mentioned time and time again, Janelle can do no wrong, and with her widespread influences, I was really excited to see what kind of eclectic grouping she'd put together under her label. Between Roman GianArthur and St. Beauty, I'd say the future is bright. And no I didn't forget, Jidenna, I'm just not a fan...BUT "Long Live The Chief" is ok, I guess. 

"Borders" begins and maintains an ethereal atmosphere, thanks to the beautiful, soaring vocals that overlap the steady and melodic flow of Alex and Isis, the Atlanta duo that makes up St. Beauty. Though less atmospheric then "Borders," the track cultivates a similar feel to their first single, "Going Nowhere;" showcasing a consistency, despite the small sample size. While there's no word of an EP or LP just yet, I'd imagine we'll get a little more information sooner rather than later. As for now? Let's just appreciate the this gift they've bestowed upon on us.

Also, if you've been keeping up with HBO's Insecure, "Borders" will be featured on Sunday's episode (Nov. 6)! 

LÉON - "Think About You"

Swedish pop artist LÉON broke onto the scene last year with the release of "Tired Of Talking," a single off the Treasure EP. "Think About You" is the first follow up to that. It has a natural feel, and despite her state of limbo in regards to a relationship, warmth. More so than anything on the EP; though if I were to compare it anything it would be "LÉON's Lullaby" (which is my favorite track on the EP). The soulfulness in her voice, and comfort in the lower register, makes for a smooth and easy listen. 

This is the lead single off her forthcoming debut LP. While she didn't release a title or a specific date, it's definitely in the works. She definitely has the potential to do some great things, and I'm excited to hear what her album will sound like. For now though, we have "Think About You."