Wahoo! We’re back in action, folks. Please accept my apologies for the unannounced spring break last week, but I think not having an update last week is going to make the letter this week that much sweeter to enjoy.
I’ve got five incredible tracks that’re gonna knock your socks off. Not to set your expectations too high or anything… but you should brace yourself. I'm not accepting responsibility for any burnt eyebrows.
Oh, and the New Music Friday Selects this week is a laundry list of tunes for you to check out from the past two weeks. Grab your headphones – it looks like Friday the 13th is going to be a wild ride.
As always, I hope these 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!
“Just A Stranger” - Kali Uchis feat. Steve Lacy | It’s with great delight to share the absolute best song to be released this month. Columbian-American singer Kali Uchis has a steadily growing, devoted fan base and a Latin Grammy nod under her belt, and her debut album Isolation dropped last Friday. Her vibe is heavily influenced by doowop, reggae, and R&B, and she’s already worked with music heavyweights: Snoop Dogg, Gorillaz, Juanes, Lana Del Rey, Major Lazer, and a handful of other recognizable artists. For “Just A Stranger,” Kali links up with Steve Lacy (of The Internet acclaim) for a deliciously funky bop. Not to get totally obnoxious music blogger on y’all, but it sounds a bit like Billie Holiday with a blunt on the way to the beach riding down the 10 freeway with the convertible top down.This song sounds especially good over car speakers. Listen here
“Evil” - Ruthven | [checks calendar] Well, well, well. Look at the month -- it’s JAIPRIL, aka the month in which musicheads tiptoe around the idea of reclusive music producer Jai Paul actually releasing a debut album after an unfinished (but absolutely solid and highly influential) album informally leaked on the internet. The album was promised in April 2014, nearly 4 years ago to the date, but the entire project was scrapped, and Jai Paul has since kept under the radar – until late last year. “Evil” is one of two songs first released from the Paul Institute, an experimental music project based in London started by Jai and his brother, fellow megaproducer A.K. Paul. I slipped “Evil” into the new music Friday selects section in December, but my pal Amanda brought this back to my attention a couple weeks ago and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. The throwback production is insane, hoisting a tinny two-step hi-hat. Ruthven is allegedly a firefighter from Lewisham, but deep down I want to believe the Paul Bros have actually broken the Jaipril void and quietly released a bop under the guise of a fictional vampire’s name. Listen here
“Bittersweet” - Only Girl | South London’s Only Girl first released “Bittersweet” in 2014, but has since grown into her voice, and re-released the serene track last week. The song builds on waves of her harmonies, gently rolling through waves in a a bay. Listen here
“911” - Mt. Si | A little over a year ago I plucked a Mt. Si track onto the weekly picks. Like the previous Mt. Si track, "911" ignites a luminous, glistening mood best served for night drives. I'm a sucker for mountains of reverb and a dope saxophone solo. Listen here
“Ride With Me” - Thutmose | Theeeeee hottest record out there you haven’t bumped yet. Holy, holy, holy -- “Ride With Me” is fucking perfect. After two spins, you'll already be humming along to the hook. If iHeartRadio didn't control Top 40 radio, "Ride With Me" would already be rolled out and destined to be a summertime hit. Listen here
New Music Friday Selects
- For those of you reading and consider yourself a pop music fan and happen to not be indulging in K-Pop, I must ask: what the hell is stopping you? How are you ignoring an entire market that is flushed with enough cash to produce excessive, elaborate music videos and promotional photo shoots with ten different wardrobes… and the pop stars themselves? Trained literally as if they are Olympic athletes, and paired up with the most left field, experimental pop producers in the industry. For a while a lot of the K-pop machine sounded a little too off kilter, but with the rise of alt-pop pioneers Robyn, Grimes, Charli XCX, and more, it’s clear western pop is starting to be heavily influenced by Eastern pop’s saccharine hyper-reality, the obsession with commodify-ing every aspect of popular culture to the point they’re labeling their stars as Idols…. Okay, so maybe I’ve freaked you the hell out. But there is a point I’m getting to here, but I have to start a new bullet:
- This week CBX, a sub-unit made up of three members from K-pop super group EXO, released a new mini-album, Blooming Days. Each of the 7 songs are based around a day of the week. Visually: it’s soft boys with pastel hair, swimming in flower petals and Dior Homme, but still managing to look very Lost Boys-esque with the choppy haircuts and dangling earrings. I can’t imagine the amount of youths having a sexual awakening with this content. Anyhow: I’ve been waxing poetic with one particular friend of mine all damn week about it, spending nearly every moment not at work looping this album, and we've both declared it the EMOTION (yes, Jeppo's 2015 critically acclaimed pop masterpiece) of K-pop. It’s a sizzling summer album laced with neo-80s inspired hooks and beats. Blooming Days is just campy enough, just sweet enough, and still manages to not be ridiculously juvenile. While all 7 tracks are great, my top two favorite tracks are “Vroom Vroom” (Friday) and “Lazy” (Sunday). Readers who consider themselves pop purists have got to pencil in some time to listen to this album. Listen here and feast your eyes on the soft grunge “Blooming Day” music video right here
- Janelle Monae has released another pop masterpiece, this time a pussy power anthem aptly titled “Pynk” and featuring dulcet harmonies with Grimes. The video has unleashed a second wave of questioning young women to come forward and declare “wow, I’m gay as hell,” after seeing Janelle gently caress Tessa Thompson’s face that’s very clearly between two lips–anyway, you get the gist Watch here
- RCA threw Tinashe a bone and finally let her release her second album Joyride Listen here
- Drake sampled Lauryn Hill who sampled Wu Tang who sampled Gladys Knight to foster one of the greatest onions of music history in decades for his latest single “Nice For What” Listen here
- Lord help us: Gallant’s beautiful ass has shared a new song and video for "Gentleman" Watch here
- Other K-Pop legends Super Junior released an entire album, but the highlight here is their lead single “Lo Siento” featuring the delightful Domincan-American Latin pop star Leslie Grace. It’s in Korean! Then it’s in Spanish! Then it’s in English! Then it’s in Spanglish! “Lo Siento” is fire Watch here and listen here
- Princess Nokia got a whole ass EP out! Listen here
- The new 5 Seconds of Summer single “Youngblood” somehow passed by my ears and since they’ve dropped the pop punk sound for more mature rock songs, I was pleasantly surprised. You will feel that, too Listen here
- cmd+f alumnus Hatchie released a sinfully sweet new single, “Sugar & Spice” Listen here
- Nicki Minaj is back with two new songs: “Barbie Tingsz” and “Chun-Li” Listen here and listen here
- CHVRCHES share the desperately lonely, crowd stomper “Miracle” Listen here
- ALMA has remixed Years & Years’ “Sanctify” meaning she’s jumped on the track to add a verse Listen here
- Kylie Minogue served us an entire album last Friday, and it’s perfectly fun Listen here
- Everyone has been bumping Cardi B’s debut album Invasion of Privacy all week, so if you haven’t yet: GET ON IT Listen here
- Billie Eilish recorded a new COLORS session last week 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 April 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!