Miloux - "Paris"

I have been WAITING for this day. New grooves from Miloux day, and much earlier than expected! Excuse me while I pop some champagne. Now, in case you aren't familiar, she's an New Zealand based artist who came on the scene last year with an EP that HIT THE SPOT. Smooth, dreamy, arresting, it had (and still has!) it all, and this new single is no different. 

"Paris" has all the atmosphere that made her such a presence in life last year. She knows the power of simplicity when it comes to her backing beats and keeps things driven vocally, which is my personal preference, generally. Between her harmonies, phrasing, and melodies, I can't get enough. It's sexy without throwing it in your face. I love it. Welcome back Miloux. Whether it be an EP or LP on the horizon, I'm here for it. 

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...

Two Feet - "Had Some Drinks"

After the overwhelming success of his First Steps EP thanks to lead single "Go Fuck Yourself" and "Quick Musical Doodles" I don't feel like I need to bring Two Feet to light but honestly, his second single in support of his sophomore EP is really really good and I want to talk about it! Ok?? "Had Some Drinks" is SHARP. It's alt electro sound is biting and might best be described as, and forgive me for this, badass. It's COOL. I feel COOL listening to it. And isn't that enough?? *chest bumps bro, shotguns beer, desperately searches for meaning* But seriously, just like First Steps, it puts you under a spell, and anything that can retain my attention fully is primo in my book. 

A side thought: Two Steps might fall into the same division that I've placed Allan Rayman in that I love his sound, but it's VERY repetitive. Of course there's nothing wrong with having a theme, but I would like a bit of growth. I will say, it's still extremely early on in both artist's careers so for me to categorize them as one trick ponies is a bit harsh, especially when I dig that one trick, but I'm just saying...variety. That's all, as you were. It's probably also worth noting that if I had a sound like this in my mind I stick to it too. Remember? It's cool, baby. And cool ain't nothing to fuck with.

LAOISE - "Halfway"

In late 2016 LAOISE released her first single and it was a GEM. I assumed we would need to wait long, as to build off the momentum the single, titled "YOU," brought. It's May now, so I was wrong, but that's ok because her follow up is HERE and it is GOOD. Her sound is sensual, vocals are soothing, and the atmosphere consuming. It's easy to listen fall under her spell and I can't imagine anyone wanting to leave it. 

"Halfway" is a little more more haunting than "YOU" but it's exactly that type of eeriness that has me falling for it. Her backing vocals are subtle and ethereal, causing me to fade in a familiar way.  This isn't anything new, but it is something very good, and there is never enough sounds to send me dreaming. I dig LAOISE, I dig "Halfway," and I'm excited for what's next.    

JAYLIEN - "Lucky Guy"

Despite it's July 2016 release, JAYLIEN's Summer's Over EP didn't drift into my line of site until early 2017. I wish I could say I was on top of things right away, but...better late than never. And maybe it was better it happened this way, as my consumption of R&B from summer until the new year consisted of Frank Ocean and other artists who I wished were Frank Ocean. In other words, my patience for anything else was severely limited. Thatchanged (kind of), and when I finally got around to Summer's Over I definitely regretted waiting so long. 

JAYLIEN's style is more traditional than not, but his command of said style makes it feel like he's a seasoned pro. His slick delivery and knack for hooks back up the consistently solid production, so it was no surprise when this single "Lucky Guy," had me on board immediately. The atmosphere is unique, and I love the last 45 seconds or so (when it feels like he channels a bit of Kanye's "I'm In It"); the percussions hit heavy while the synths add a layer of steadiness, but it's never too much leaving JAYLIEN himself to be front and center. 

The Dip - "Sure Don't Miss You"

I am ALWAYS down for a finely tuned retro groove and this definitely fits that description. This seven piece Seattle outfit has that timeless soul sound down pat, bleeding life through the speakers. Their 2015 self titled debut was one of the best surprises of 2015 and their all instrumental follow up EP Won't Be Coming Back was amazing as well. There's something to be said about groups like this, they might not be pushing the genre forward or challenging your ears, but their sound will ALWAYS come through when you need it to, and there's nothing better than a mood you can count on. 

"Sure Don't Miss You" is their first single of 2017 and it's one that I'll be pushing all summer long. I don't even know what to say other than this track is fun. It's FUN. What else is there?? It's got a steady, upbeat guitar line backed by their killer horn section and held together by Tom Eddy's clean vocals. I love this track and I can't wait for the new record!!

Jalen Santoy - "Vices"

Anyone who listened to Jalen's 2016 EP Charlie Eastern already knows what I'm about to say. Jalen Santoy is the real deal. He's got that J. Cole live album energy you just can't teach. From the opening track of Charlie Eastern you get it, and every song that follows is just as compelling while also sounding different than the last. Granted, we're without a full length, but with this new single it shows that he's only getting started.

"Vices" is short, but packs a punch. Just enough to remind you that his breakout was no joke, and I look forward to him keep reminding us for years to come.  Think Vince Staples Hell Can Wait and bask in the glory of everything that's followed, that's where Jalen's headed. Strap in. 

Celeste - "Milk & Honey"

It's easier to be excited about singles then it is to be excited about artists. Singles are separate entities, they stand alone, body of work and continuity don't play a part, it's very much a here and now take. I say this because when I first heard Celeste earlier this year (she released her single "Daydreaming" in 2016but I didn't get to it until 2017 and I'm SORRY) she was just a single to me; an amazing single, but a single nonetheless. Jump cut to March and now I'm sitting with a three song EP, The Milk & The Honey, that solidifies it, she's more than a single, I am excited about this ARTIST.

"Milk & Honey" was what changed it, it's a slow burn from start to finish and let me tell you it is SMOOTH. The sparse percussions, the steady synths, and atmospheric backing vocals all work to hold her subtle vocal dominance. She doesn't have to do anything to command our attention, once she opens her mouth to sing I'm in. It's that simple. And I don't see that confidence in her ability waining anytime soon. I don't know what her next steps are, but I will say, tune in now for what should be a compelling next few years.

LOT - "Take A Look"

I came across LOT's debut EP Mother Board earlier this month and haven't been able to tear myself away from it, mainly because I crave the opening track "Take A Look" and then can't help but let the rest play. 

Based in Portugal's capital Lisboa, this moody, synth heavy electronic trio definitely maintains an atmosphere, each song adding it's own personality to the feel. The EP as a whole is a groove throughout, though I really think "Take A Look" is the strongest of the bunch. It's such a slick offering, the steady vocals grab you and the slow build is so smooth it could exist forever on it's own, so the fact that the the drop hits is just another reason to show this track love. 

Mother Board is sensual and trance inducing, built for a late night drive through the city - crisp air and good vibes. Remember Barcelona's string of EP's from a few years back (Love Me / Love You / Know Love)? Well if you've been missing a new addition to that mood, look no further than LOT. 

Notable Tracks: "Take A Look" // "Glimpse" // "Swing"

Earl St. Clair - My Name Is Earl

WELCOME BACK TO ME. I say that because, and I KNOW you've noticed, I have not been very active on the site outside of a few major posts regarding awards shows (Grammys / Oscars). Well, I'm back now baby, I had to all thanks to Earl St. Clair's debut EP, My Name Is Earl. While I've been working largely with down tempo and classical sounds, this has broken me free from the tyranny of comfort sounds, it's time to explore again. Adventure is out there! 

Earl St. Clair is a bluesy swiss army knife. In this seven song EP he delves into all aspects of the genre: classic, soul, funk, gospel, etc. and it all feels oh-sooo-fine. The opening track, "Pain," instantly reels you in with it's moody rawness. I loved it. It's the kind of song where you KNOW the live performance is absolute fire. The album doesn't let up there, especially during the lively four song stretch of tracks three through six. "Criminal" gets the feet tapping, but once the combo of the funk heavy "Bad Love" and summer time jam "Feeling Alive" hit you've got no choice but to groove.

Earl's got it all, and it's not hard to hear. You feel it from beginning to end. If he can expand this great an output into a full length release there's going to be no stopping this guy. The fact that I need to personally thank him for slapping me back to reality makes My Name Is Earl that much more important. Good God almighty, this is the real deal baby!