This week I started to learn Italian.
No, really. I signed up for a Duolingo account and told my boss I was going to learn Italian for the sake of a project we’re going to be doing later in the year, but I’m mostly motivated by a surprise trip to Tuscany later this year. With that, I’ve asked friends to recommend some Italian films and songs, and about 95% of them got cheeky and recommended Call Me By Your Name. Very relieved to know my friends are caught up on the culture.
Nevertheless, the Call Me By Your Name vibes are looming over about half my picks this week, impressing a major early 80s, lo-fi Italo Disco-y kinda sound on half these jams.
Time for new tunes! Hopefully these five songs inspire you to check out more music by these artists, or lead to introducing you to another artist you’ve never heard 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!
“Opposing Truths” - Sean Nicholas Savage | Opening this week’s picks with a brilliant wildcard I stumbled across in a random playlist. “Opposing Truths” is truly a feeling above all else; it’s a daydream, an afternoon four daiquiris deep in a lounge chair basking in the salty-summer air. Listen here
“People to Go” - Strange Names feat. Jorge Sorcarras | You may recall Strange Names from the December 8, 2017 letter for their single “Into Me.” Now they’ve got a new album out called Data that came out last Friday, and it’s lined wall to wall with prime head bopping material. “People to Go” is a standout track for me considering the unexpected twists, from opening with distorted, bubbling audio, to the kooky lyrics, and the vibrant composition. It’s unusual, but feels a tinge nostalgic (much like “Into Me” sounded like a Jane Austen film adaptation directed by John Hughes). Listen here
“Morning Again” - Elisa Coia | Sometimes life needs you to follow the call of the disco ball. “Morning Again” is an eerily poignant soft, early 80s Italo disco inspired tune that’s so unbelievably relevant to the current hair-raising political climate happening right now in America. Elisa delivers some heavy-hitting lyrics: “The judges, the jury, the shotgun, the sway / The boys in the blue know but they'll never say / Seems like the kid was running for his grave / What was his name?” over a steady kick drum and sultry piano keys. At times, the way she delivers the lines in the song has her sounding borderline exhausted, even a bit numb. Touche. “Morning Again” is a stunning track. Listen here // Watch here (precaution: allusions to gun violence)
“Left to Right” - Marteen | Y’all, I can’t believe we got a Bryson Tiller clone out here who’s actually a baby-faced 16 year old from the Bay Area. Marteen is no Bieber tho– nah, his VOCALS got me positively shook. He’s smooth as hell, confident, and honestly I can’t believe those notes are coming out of a 16 year old??? He’s a self-taught R&B-style vocalist, which is also insane. Marteen’s only got his first EP, NOTHANKYOU., out, but he’s already blowing past the typical corny teen-pop phase and throwing down seriously strong R&B pop jams. With a voice that sounds at least ten years older than the body it’s coming out of, son is on track to releasing big, big, biiiiig things. While the entire EP slaps, I’ve plucked “Left to Right,” a groovy little dance number, to introduce you to Marteen. Listen here
“Baby Don’t Stop” - NCT U | I hands down could not resist including this song, as it’s completely consumed my entire f*cking week. Please ignore the fact it’s got nearly 5 million streams, as I can assure about 3.75 million are from me. “Baby Don’t Stop” is currently only available to stream on YouTube (at least here Stateside), and it’s in music video form. This particular track will cater to pop purists who are in for the whole package: vocals, dance, and fashion - a triple threat that is pushing more K-Pop groups to the forefront of the Western pop charts right now. We pop fans have craved this level of unattainable perfectionism for so long, we haven’t realized how STARVED for entertainment we have been. The glory of early 00s pop is bubbling in South Korea and slowly boiling over into Western music, and I am beyond ready. Now, to briefly summarize this song/video, it’s performed by two members of South Korean boy group NCT, Ten and Taeyong. “Baby Don’t Stop” sonically screams major Troye Sivan mashed with “The Whisper Song” vibes (weird, but, it totally works), but the masterfully synced choreography steals the damn show. My friend Mari described watching their choreo as “making [her] feel like an alien who took over a body [she] can’t control.” It’s amazing what the human body can do to reach that level of coordination, and so gracefully. I’m obsessed and can’t wait to watch every live performance of this damn song. Also: you'll be hearing a lot more about NCT via me and likely more relevant Western music journalists this year. Listen/watch here
New Music Friday Selects
It’s March meaning we are WEEKS AWAY from George Ezra’s sophomore album Staying At Tamara’s! George’s kindly shared a lyric video for another tune off the forthcoming album called “Pretty Shining People.” It’s a delightfully sweet tune about coming together and loving each other, paired with George singing karaoke in an ugly brown suit to a vacant room draped in tacky tinsel. What a wonderful New Music Friday blessing Watch here
New MNEK song called “Tongue” got me wigless. I expected nothing less from him Listen here
It’s been announced that Charli XCX is going on tour with T*ylor Sw*ft and Carnitas Cabeza instead of doing a world tour with Red Velvet, Carly Rae Jepsen, or virtually ANYONE ELSE
Another disappointing tour story: The lineup for the FINAL Vans Warped Tour EVER is out and it’s beyond disappointing. Then again, the most iconic bands who started out on Warped Tour are either disbanded or above the mess that is WT… even for nostalgia’s sake Look here
ALMA has a new EP/mixtape/collection of songs??? or whatever the kids are calling it these days Listen here
2018 continues to give the gays what they want: Kylie Minogue and Tove Lo are performing at NYC Pride, and Years & Years have officially announced their first comeback single is called “Sanctity” and will drop NEXT FRIDAY
I’m double bulletting this Years & Years news because next week the entire letter may just me cruising on capslock about it
ALLEGEDLY DJ Khaled has a new song out called “Top Off” featuring Future, JAY-Z, and Beyonce, but it’s also allegedly only available on Apple Music, which I don’t have, so I will have to wait until iHeartRadio gets hold of it, eh.
Welp. iHeartRadio is about to file for bankruptcy. We’ll see how much content and promo to get rising artists into Top 40 radio happens now… Read here
Everything Everything have a new EP, A Deeper Sea, and “Breadwinner” is MENTAL Listen here
Experimental pop collective Superorganism have shared their debut self-titled album. Congrats! Listen here
SG Lewis has unleashed yet another futuristic R&B jam, “Coming Up” Listen here
Need to diversify your retirement portfolio? Spotify has gone public! Read here
Kelela has dropped a SIMS-inspired music video for “Frontline” Watch here
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 March 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!