Noname - "Yesterday"

I've been listening to Chicago rapper Noname's debut, Telefone, a decent amount lately, and I went back to see if I had mentioned it at all when it came out. I didn't. It came out in August. For shame Spenser! FOR SHAME. In light of this, I thought I'd just throw the first track, "Yesterday," in the singles section so you guys: A) listen to it, or B) if you already listen to it, you now know I do too, and we have a connection that will never be broken <3.

The album is carries such a lightness, it's as soothing a hip-hop release as I've heard. Listen to the main single, "Diddy Bop," and float away to a beat that carries memories of Usher's "Climax," while Noname and company sooth us with their relaxed flows. Minimal could honestly be the main theme here, and in this case, it speaks louder than if they had gone a more general route. There are a few similarities in style with fellow Chicagoan Chance the Rapper, who Noname has worked with  (Coloring Book - "Finish Line / Drown," Acid Rap - "Lost"). So if you're saying, "where do I know this voice from??" I'd hedge a bet that it was from there.

If you like "Yesterday," you will like the entire album. With her combining of R&B/ jazz/ and hip hop, but keeping the tones feathery and airy it makes it easy to put on morning, noon, or night. Which is something I do. And you should too. 

Tom Misch - Reverie EP

This four track gem came out last month, though three of the songs were released as singles prior to that. Unfortunately, I neglected all of them; so I figured I'd throw the EP on here to recognize everything I (we?) missed. Tom Misch's quiet soulfulness endeared him to music fans almost instantly following last year's Beat Tape 2, and because he couldn't wait to give us more, he's back again with Reverie. The slick and intimate grooves feel like something you'd want to get lost to in a jazz club to cap off your night (listen to "Follow" and tell me you don't want that too!). Wait a minute, there's a word for that goodness...REVERIE. I see you Tom, well done. 

The funky slow jam "I Wish" is probably my favorite track off the EP, and it flows perfectly into the beautiful "Watch Me Dance." In fact, I'm inclined to say they play best as one. He's James Blake for when it's not overcast. Trust me, you want this in your life. This sound stretched into a 10 track album would be heaven, and I hope we get to experience just that as soon as possible. Though I'd imagine that won't come until 2017. It's ok though, we've got more than enough to hold us over until then. 

I'd also like to note that his 2014 EP, Out to Sea (a collaboration with Carmody) isn't something to pass on either. My favorite track there is "With You," which I'll include below for your listening pleassssssuuuuuurrrreeee. Enjoy!

EXES - "Like You"

EXES has already made a splash this year by releasing a couple of excellent tracks, "Twentythousand" and "18." Now their back with their third single, "Like You." It's solid, though it's my least favorite of the three. Where the first two felt fresh, this one hit me with a Halsey/ Daya vibe, which, isn't a bad thing; everything sounds like something, but still I prefer the feel of the first two. Though the bridge is really good. Really really good. I wish they would have extended it a bit and taken the song somewhere and then come back to the chorus one last time. 

This electro-R&B Los Angeles duo has yet to release a set of tracks, but I'd imagine we're going to get our hands on an EP by the end of the year. Vocalist Allie McDonald has such a soothing natural tone, so when she hits you with the angelic harmonies on "Twentythousand" the urge to close your eyes and drift away is too strong to fight. Couple that with Mike Derenzo's on point production, where he balances that fine line of melodically engaging and dream-like soothing, and you have yourself music fit for a cool night drive or a day time nap. 

Kendra Morris - "Avalanche"

Sporting that retro-soul sound (think, a smoother Amy Winehouse), she climbs into your ears quickly and settles in. She found herself with a decent amount of buzz after her first LP, Banshee (a solid debut), and followed that up the very next year with Mockingbird, an album of covers. While it didn't receive a ton of attention, I enjoyed hearing her take on some classic songs with her own style; while also being impressed at the scope of artists she tackled. 

It's been four years since Banshee, and we finally have her second original record, Babble (released in late June). The seven track effort, while short, packs a punch. Vocally she's only gotten stronger, and musically she's taken her ambitions beyond that of a traditional soul sound. That sentiment is most evident in the single "Avalanche," where the noir-ish production is met with a modern vocal patterns and phrasing. The chorus sounds like a waking dream, which sounds good to me. Enjoy.  

Father John Misty - "Real Love Baby"

For whatever reason I forgot about this song. It was released a few months back, though Spotify only recently got their hands on it, thus reminding me that I've been wasting my summer months without it in my ears. "Real Love Baby" is light and airy, like the feeling of a nice summer breeze while having a perfect day on the lake. Normally, he hits us with some unconventional, and often tongue-in-cheek, lyricism, but here he keeps it simple and sweet. I like it. 

The song was released as a single and only that. He made it clear it won't be on his upcoming record; a record which, as of now, I know nothing about. None of that matters though, what matters is adding this song to all your summer mixes while we still have one month left to enjoy it!

Phantogram - "Run Run Blood"

Just a month after releasing the spectacular lead single, "You Don't Get Me High Anymore," off their upcoming LP Three, they've given us another track, and it's just as good. "Run Run Blood" features the heavy beats and sharp hooks you've grown accustomed to, but what crept up on me was the use of brass along with Josh Carter pulling off a solid Beck impression when it was his turn on the mic. Add to that the down tempo bridge, my favorite part of the song, and I'm hooked.

The aforementioned album, Three, is set to be released September 16th, a date which can't come soon enough.  

Venus and The Moon - "Marry Moon"

Sitting on the porch with someone you care about with a cold drink on a nice summer night. That's where "Marry Me" is best served. The song is off Venus and The Moon's debut EP Brother, Son. The EP as a whole has a relaxed bluegrass feel to it that makes for an easy listen. Members Frally Hynes and Rain Phoenix are on point with their soft harmonies and the delicate vocals, which compliment both their sound and the words they speak. 

Regina Spektor - "Bleeding Heart"

WELCOME BACK REGINA. "Bleeding Heart" is the first single since 2013 (though her last album was 2012!). It's been a long four years. She was one of my first ventures out of the mainstream (praise be to Soviet Kitsch!), or I guess what I thought wasn't mainstream, only to find out later she's REALLY popular... 

"Oh, EVERYONE'S heard of her? Ok yeah, no, so cool. So so cool. Talk soon? No? Ok."

But none of that matters. Good music is good music is good music. If you like it, if it makes you feel what you want to feel, then that's what's important. Sometimes it may seem like I don't like, or listen to, the hits of today. That couldn't be more wrong, I love them (I'm just like you <3), I only don't put them on here because everyone has already heard it. I want to expand your scope, not enforce it. And though I assume many of you will be listening to this in no time, she's an artist I really enjoy, and her return is reason to celebrate! "Bleeding Heart" starts off a little more electronic, a little more spacey, then she's been in past, before building to a loud bridge into her more classic style, intimate, poignant. Even after all these years I feel there's no one that is truly like her. I don't know what it is, she's always been so unique, and even as the years past that sentiment never fades, it's a beautiful thing.

Her new album, Remember Us to Life, will be available September 30th, so clear your schedules. We can rent a party bus and listen together, but only if you promise not to drink too much, it's so annoying when you do that. 

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - "A 1000 Times"

Here's a pairing I didn't know was taking place but couldn't be more excited about, Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam. Rostam has made multiple appearances on this site for his solo work (which is some of my favorite stuff to come out in the past few years), but he's best known for being 1/4 of Vampire Weekend (produced Vampire Weekend and Contra, co-produced Modern Vampires of the City). Though Rostam has now left the band (in a full time capacity) to pursue different directions, he will still remain a contributing member. Hamilton, who is best known for his work as the frontman for rock outfit The Walkmen, took his act solo as well, in 2012. It's a bit of a surprise that Hamilton chose to go solo after, what I thought, was The Walkmen's best, and 7th, album, Heaven. However, his 2014 solo debut Black Hours (listen to "The Silent Orchestra" to become an instant fan), was a spectacular start to what I'm sure will be a solid continuation to an already great career in music. This extremely condensed history lesson has now come to a close. Thank you.

"A 1000 Times" seems to be the perfect blend of Rostam's light and dreamy style combined with the retro-rock crooner persona Hamilton adopted on his solo album. They compliment each other beautifully, as Hamilton belts over a heavy drum beat before the two harmonize over a soft to loud chorus. I'm really excited to see what else they have in store for us, as it has all the makings of something special. 

S U R V I V E - "A.H.B."

They've been relatively silent after releasing what was basically two albums in 2012. The first, their self titled debut, and the second, the two song, 40 minute, space-like pleasure dream, HD009. They're brand is securely in the modern 80's synth movement, giving love and respect to the electronic sounds of the decade. Their music is extremely visual and makes for a great mood creator; I've honestly never felt cooler driving then with them in my ears. Next time you hop in the car late at night, when the streets are empty, throw on "Omniverse" and tell me you don't run shit. You can't, because you do.  

"A.H.B." is the first single off their up coming album RR7349, which is due out September 30th. The single was released on the heels of Netflix's newest original series, Stranger Things, for which S U R V I V E provided the music. And let me tell you it's spectacular (both the show and the music). Below is both their recent single, and the song I mentioned above from their first album. Enjoy!