Here are the best tracks that I came across (in no particular order) through my audio travels this week when prepping for my show or writing for my local music blog. Enjoy!
Sampa the Great – “Mr. Valentine” – A Zambian-born, raised in Botswana, and making music out of Australia, this young up-and-coming hip-hop artist knows how to do it right, even without delving into the misogyny and sexism that plagues so much of this, and many, genres. She kills it with verses about love, being a better person, spirituality, and the political environment around her. This is a great, small yet powerful track that effectively represents her sound.
Cosima – “Un-Named” – Another up-and-coming artist from South London, who put out a great audio-visual mixed-tape, South of Heaven, featuring a timeless track, “Girls Who Get Ready.” She finds influence from Nina Simone and Wong Kar-wai, which explains her incredible maturity and depth of emotion in each of her singles. She really knows how to dig down into the depths of passion, hurt, and a sense of frailty, and this track will pull these elements out in you, as well.
Talmont – “Moving Further Than Before” – A trio of South East Londoners who know how to really mix various elements into their music, which is fully on display here. Having only released a handful of singles to this point, these three young experimentalists brought their individual talents and interests to bare, leading to a sexy combination of hip-hop, indie rock, and jazz-influences that reminisces of the trip-hop heyday of Portishead with a loungey dream pop sound. Let’s hope there’s more to come from this group of innovators.
Anna of the North – “Someone” – Anna Lotterud goes by the moniker, Anna of the North, which seems like it would be fitting for a new character in Game of Thrones. However, this Norwegian singer-songwriter knows how to lay on the relationship-centered synthpop really thick, but in a way that reminds of you why the 80’s station is always a good fallback on a long road trip when all else is seeming to fail. She even includes a change-up of notes and pitch (I’m sure there’s a musical term for this) towards the end of the song that seems like a signature of all the greatest past hits. With only one EP and several singles under her belt, we can only hope a full-length album is on the way.
Halia Jack – “Careless” – Another Londoner! They must be doing something really well over there, as this alt-R&B artist has all the elements of a darker electropop sound in this sophomore single. She sings here about being remiss with love and affection, and just downright careless.
Sure Sure – “Friends” – Heavy on the drums and piano accompaniment, this L.A.-based quartet formerly known as Jr. sings about the longings, desires, and emotional letdowns that comes when you want to be so close to someone, but they just want to keep your relationship at a friend distance.
Brian Eno – “An Ending (Ascent)” – I was reintroduced to this beautiful instrumental piece from the king, and arguably the father, of modern electro-ambient music while watching Beatriz at Dinner, an unusually short film as they go these days that explores the socio-economic and class barriers that can make even small, insignificant social situations seem foreign, painful, and uncomfortable for all people. This track can bring the full impact of a scene’s emotion to the listener, and has been used to such effect in a variety of films and television shows when heavy-handed sadness and pain is needing to expressed and understood. Such a beautiful piece!