It’s been three weeks of me leaving y’all in the dark about what’s poppin’ across the audiosphere.
I’ve been dealing with some health setbacks these past few weeks, and let me tell you: getting older isn’t easier. As a [redacted] year old, if you told me at 16 that my joins would ache after having one teaspoon of soy sauce and a 30% chance of rain, I would have laughed in your face. But it’s absolutely true. I can hardly finish a glass of wine without having to strategize how I’m going to carry myself up a flight of stairs without potentially embarrassing myself.
However, in these weeks of nursing my well being back to tip top shape, I’ve managed to scrape up enough energy to attend a handful of live concerts to experience NCT 127, Red Velvet, Jay Park, Mike Shinoda, and George Ezra.
I’ve also been digging through the virtual crates for some deep cuts, spending time researching the early technical and cultural histories of dance music (particularly in Chicago and Los Angeles), and populating a handful of new playlists (peep my Origins of Dance Mythologies playlist here). Through my reflection, I’ve been tending to new ideas on how to expand on cmd+f’s current template of music discovery… stay tuned.
I plan on dropping a new letter this Friday to soundtrack your (American) holiday weekend, but I really couldn't be sitting on these particular six songs a second longer. Here's a Wednesday treat to make up for the weeks of radio silence -- I've missed sharing music with you!
As always, I hope these songs inspire you to check out more music by these particular 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!
“MI Amore” - FRENSHIP | I’ve been sitting heavy on this track for the past few weeks, and each listen is still just as fresh. FRENSHIP are a rising LA synthpop duo cranking out innovative tunes for the next generation of pop. You may have heard their first mega-hit “Capsize” a couple years ago at the height of the tropical house boom (it’s amassed over 400 million streams on Spotify alone), but FRENSHIP have since tightened their sound with even glossier hooks. Their latest single, “MI Amore,” is a ghostly, infectious recount of their last few years and their brisk rise to the forefront of the music industry. Listen here
“Strangers Passing By” - Joshua KYEOT | Holy crap, y’all! This artist was sent to me via a submission on the cmd+f website! I listen to every submission sent through the form, and this one in particular struck me. Joshua KYEOT (pronounced KEY OH TEE - though I’ve been told it is also short for “keep your eyes/ears on this”–clever) is a rising South London singer-songwriter with a rich, robust, soulful tone. I’ve been really hyped on the new Leon Bridges releases for the past month and a half, so I’ve definitely been gravitating towards tunes with a funky vibe. While the production for “Strangers Passing By” at points can sound a bit tinny (and truly only the audiophiles will lock into this), the song highlights an artist brimming with promise. Get Joshua set up with a tight production team, have them churn out fistfuls of songs during their sessions, and through that process I can guarantee the results are going to shine. It’s never fair to make comparisons, though I'm compelled to insist Joshua KYEOT’s got the chops to stack up with esteemed artists much like Leon Bridges and Michael Kiwanuka. Listen here
“Blue Angel” - Danny L Harle feat. Clairo | Our (yes, our) favorite PC Music producer, Danny L Harle, continues to breach the outer limits of saccharine soaked pop music. Featuring vocals by Clairo, the queen of bedroom pop (who’s highlighted in the previous cmd+f letter), the song sounds a bit like riding a carousel at night by the beach, wrapped in a blanket, all while eating a snow cone. While you may have never experienced all of these sensations and situations simultaneously, you’ll know once you hit play. Listen here
“Barbed Wire” - Tom Grennan | Sounds like George Ezra smoked a pack of Marlboro Reds a day for seventeen years. God. Need I say more? Other than it’s fun as hell??? Listen here
“Big Mad” - GLOSS | A biracial J-pop trio? Sign me the f*ck up. “Big Mad” is GLOSS’s debut single, and it’s damn good. Featuring Sakura, Lil Domi, and Kemy Doll, the production is a step up from your run of the mill Soundcloud rapper beats. Think Tinashe at her best mixed with a slice of Terror Jr. Listen here
“Sims 2” - Coco & Clair Clair (prod. Graham) | I’d like to formally crown Coco & Clair Clair as the lo-fi queens (soz Clairo). As the title of the song suggests, the foundation rests on a chopped and distorted sample of a Sims 2 theme, instantly cradling you with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. It’s the level brainy, hard left of center pop we once craved and expected from Grimes (Pre-Elon Musk dating, pre-Stella McCartney perfume campaigns, pre-Brooke Candy’s android lookin ass pop-n-locked it on 7 inch flatforms in the middle of a desert in the “Genesis” video) when her resources were limited but her ideas were so, so big. However, Coco & Clair Clair keep it very low key, frosting over their tunes with a bit of attitude. I'm obsessed. Listen here
New Music Friday Selects
- So many amazing artists have dropped incredible tunes and albums the last few weeks, it’s MIND BLOWING
- First and foremost, I’m including this for posterity sake despite it already having close to 145 million streams on YouTube: Childish Gambino dropped the most poignant, thought-provoking music videos of the decade for “This Is America.” Warnings for graphic imagery by use of gun violence and harm of black bodies. Watch here
- James Bay has since stopped growing his hair but instead has focused his growth on his sound as an artist. His sophomore album, Electric Light, is a vibrant, exciting evolution in his career. He’s gone from brooding, sad, white male, blues-inspired singer-songwriter to full blown rockstar (who is still very much brooding and sad) Listen here
- Years & Years have shared a new single and music video for the summer-soaked bop “If You’re Over Me” Watch here
- Troye Sivan dropped the best pop track of the year so far two weeks ago and it also happens to be about getting it up the ass. Aptly titled “Bloom.” His sophomore album of the same title drops August 31! Listen here
- CHRISTINA AGUILERA IS BACK and is taking ZERO prisoners. Her return single “Accelerate” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 2Chainz is addicting and unlike any pop tune I’ve ever heard. Earworm of the year right here. Listen here
- An absolute mess happened the other week
- Leon Bridges’ new album Good Thing is fucking GREAT Listen here
- John Mayer has returned with an absolute tune. “New Light” is a delight Listen here
- Charlie Puth’s new album Voicenotes is destined for a Grammy pop vocal (lol) of the year nomination, potentially even album of the year. While I think the songs are too good for his own range, the songs still slap. The man’s got something for everyone here, too - from a hair-raising pseudo-gospel joint with Boyz II Men, to a vaguely Jazzy-Americana duet with James Taylor, to straight up BOPS - the album is a solid must listen for all pop music enthusiasts. Highlights? “BOY,” “Patient,” and “Somebody Told Me.” Listen here
- YES LAWD!!! Anderson.Paak is back with “Bubblin” Watch here
- Fifth Harmony pack it in and call it quits with one final videos for their fans Watch here
- The 13 Reasons Why Season 2 soundtrack BANGS. Featuring new tunes from OneRepublic, Selena Gomez, as well as cmd+f alums HAERTS, Leon Else, Colouring, Phoebe Bridgers, Billie Eilish, and Gus Dapperton, the compilation keeps its edge featuring goth classics from the likes of Tears for Fears, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Damn, it’s almost like someone plucked this playlist out of my BRAIN!! Listen here
- Christine and the Queens’ new single “Girlfriend” got me high key giddy, particularly the French version “Damn, dis-moi” Listen here
- Backstreet Boys have an incredible new single, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” Listen here
- Arctic Monkeys got a new album or summat Listen 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.
If you’re interested in listening to what I’m rinsing this month, you can follow my May 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 THIS FRIDAY! I PROMISE!!!