Well, damn. Last week I sent out the newsletter to your inbox with the entirely wrong date simply because I was losing my mind over K-pop videos (as mentioned in the previous letter), and lemme tell you: that K-fever hasn’t waned. Between the Olympic games opening in Pyeongchang last week, my nine-step nightly facial routine, the music, and North & South Korea’s budding public political relations coverage, all things Korea have been thrusted in front of me this week. Naturally, I progressed deeper into the Korean music scene (with my pal Agnes) and we both managed to find a handful of sweet indie artists - one of whom is featured in my top 5 selections for the letter this week.
Please go forth and enjoy these five fantastic songs I’ve hand-harvested for you to enjoy this week. Hopefully these inspire you to check out more music from these artists, or lead to introducing you to another artist you’ve never heard of before!
Remember: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about these artists and share the love.
P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!
“Faded Love” - Tinashe feat. Future | While most of y’all may already know the name Tinashe, she’s (unrightfully) still a Who and (unfairly) slept on. Tinashe is my Ride or Die. I will join a #Justice4Joyride campaign and preach the gospel of Tinashe until she’s back on the Top 40 radio circuit. While homegirl hasn’t had a break since her smash single “2 On” a few years ago, she’s managed to throw down a gazillion features across nearly every genre, collaborating with virtually anyone, and taking on absurd marketing campaigns. She’s a hustler. On her latest single “Faded Love,” Tinashe is back to doing what she does best: sexy, slinky, repetitive hooks over watery synths. Future jumps on the track to sing about how he’s ready to give up the player life (and surprisingly not to shit talk CiCi). While repetitive, the beats are more mesmerizing than grating. The end of the track loops perfectly with the beginning, and I spent well over an hour Wednesday night perusing Target with this blaring through my headphones on repeat. Listen here
“Game Ova” - Tobi Lou | Blessings to my pal Agnes for unearthing this gem. While this song has been floating around the net since 2016 (damn!), it’s held up. While “Game Ova” is admittedly a bit of a fuckboy anthem, the hook channels some serious Chance the Rapper vibes, meaning it’s absolutely undeniable. Highly recommend listening to this one in a car on a sunny day with the windows down. Listen here
“Valentine (What’s It Gonna Be)” - Rina Sawayama | Hallelujah! cmd+f alumni Rina has pushed pop further into the hyperactive, futuristic R&B we CRAVE. This jam is a feast for the ears, packed on with lush, dense layers of jerky synths snaking their way beneath guitar licks and melodic hook after hook. There are approximately four different varieties of choruses interpolated throughout, and honestly, the first time I heard it I lost my mind. Lyrically, it’s refreshing to hear an ode to Valentine’s Day with the promise of a short-term fling, and not dripping with corny confessions of undying love: “Making promises is dangers / I’m just a phase / I’m just your Valentine” Listen here
“찰나 Ksana” - Love X Stereo | Love X Stereo are an electro duo from Seoul producing delicious, dreamy synth-pop. Their latest single, “찰나 Ksana,” was released in a Winter Olympics-inspired compilation featuring a handful of other K-Indie artists. It sounds like an outtake from the beloved and iconic Drive soundtrack, bouncing between near silence and nervous vocals over an unrelenting bouncing bassline, to a soaring chorus. Listen here
“Heart to Break” - Kim Petras | Kim Petras’s name has been floating around a lot for the better part of 7 months, and I don’t think her name is going away anytime soon. This week, Interview Mag has dubbed her the “new Charli XCX” (which has me wondering which identity Charli XCX is morphing into next???), and she unleashed a brand new face melter. “Heart to Break” is honest to god a Grade A, solid pop bop. In stark contrast to dear Rina’s anti-Valentine anthem, Kim goes the distance with a reckless attitude, risking her heart and loving for love’s sake. When you’ve got the bubbliest of pop hooks in your tune, I say bring me some wine with that cheese–let’s class this bitch up. “Heart to Break” is pure poptimism at its finest. Listen here
New Music Friday Selects
I know most of y’all are PERCHT to see the new Black Panther film this long weekend. Kendrick Lamar, the music supervisor behind the music inspired by Black Panther has gone and released the most fire homage to LA in a new music video for “King’s Dead.” The video opens with Kendrick sitting at the top of a palm tree eating elotes. Truly an icon. Watch here
Everyone’s favorite lesbian Americana singer Brandi Carlile has dropped her latest masterpiece, By the Way, I Forgive You Listen here
Ireland’s freshest rapper Rejjie Snow has released his latest album Dear Annie, and it’s got some pretty tight production and features from the likes of Anna of the North, Jesse Boykins III, Caroline Smith, et al Listen here
And as for the world’s favorite Irishman, Niall Horan’s released an “alternate version” (ahem, a shorter radio cut) of his Fleetwood Mac-lite-esque new single “On The Loose” Listen here
The highly anticipated Khalid and Normani collab “Love Lies” is out today and I have listened to it exactly one time and can’t remember enough to elaborate beyond that Listen here
Frank Ocean covered “Moon River” this week and every music critic on the net bust a nut. It was deserved, to be honest. Listen here
Aussie pop icon Delta Goodrem is back with her sexy new jam “Think About You” - written by Julian Bunetta and John Ryan (of Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” acclaim), this is a new direction for Delta that I am HERE FOR Watch here
You have to listen to this Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell album - it’s got new songs featuring vocals from Sampha, Giggs, Ibeyi, and PETER F*CKIN GABRIEL!!! Absolutely beautiful. Listen here
Ride have a new EP out called Tomorrow’s Shore - great for fans of shoegaze Listen here
My favorite music project to ever be put out has been iamamiwhoami - a creepy, maxi-minimalist experimental music project that started ten years ago in which a new song was released every few weeks with an entire fucking music video. Every year and a half, iamamiwhoami would upload a series of well produced, beautiful music videos for every song - and for ages, fans tried to unfold the mystery of who was RESPONSIBLE for the freaking project. Anyhow, word got out a defunct poprock artist name Jonna Lee decided to completely reinvent herself into this Scandinavian Tilda Swinton of synth-pop, and SUCCESS. She gained a loyal following, and entirely new identity… and now she’s thrown the towel on iamamiwhoami and rebranded her music project to IONNALEE. The debut IONNALEE album EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN is out today, and I honestly have butterflies in my stomach Listen here
Stumbled across this interesting article on why most people don’t listen to new music once they “get old” (mid-20s on up) - and appaz the music we listened to as Young Teens is so impressionable, it forms all our opinions on music during those ages! Read here
As I mentioned above, a(lmost a)ll of the tracks I have shared in this week’s letter are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here.
Subscribe to that playlist, share it with friends, or take some inspiration from the ever growing list to compile some of your own.
New month, new playlist! If you’re interested in listening to what I’m rinsing this month, you can follow my February 2018 playlist here. There I will dump a hodgepodge of new and old songs that fit my mood and the trends of the month. Having a personal monthly playlist makes a year in review so easy. Share your playlists with me!
See you next week!