My oh my -- we’ve officially eclipsed the mid-way mark of the year.
In the northern hemisphere, this is that sweet spot in the year when all the summer jams start cropping up at breakneck speed. This week I’ve mixed things up a bit, pumpin’ the brakes on the bubble gum pop bangers and instead dishing up a variety of vibrant tunes.
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!
“Cold Fire” - PREP feat. DEAN | “Cold Fire” is in fact actually pure heat. London outfit PREP is comprised of a classical music composer, a house producer, and masterminds behind some of the UKs dopest pop R&B acts (RAY BLK, AlunaGeorge). Featuring DEAN, one of the top (okay, the KING) pop songwriters in Korea (who’s also worked with Anderson.Paak, The Internet’s Syd, and Mila J), “Cold Fire” is a groovy, retro-future dance bop dusted in handclaps and punchy chords hinged over a neo-disco instrumental. If this doesn’t inspire you to hit the dance floor to pull out the hokey finger guns to help liven up your Electric Slide… then you really need to loosen up. Listen here
“Blink” - Bad Gyal (prod. DJ Florentino) | Hailing from Catalonia, Bad Gyal is OUT HERE. Working with some top notch producers (Jam City, El Guincho, Dubbel Dutch, et. al.), Bad Gyal is making waves in the Spanish urban scene. Raised on a musical diet of dancehall and reggaeton, Bad Gyal weaves lyrics between Spanish, Catalan, and English. Listen here
“Street Fighter Mas” - Kamasi Washington | If you’re lookin’ for something wavy, look no further. As one of the leading and most progressive soul/jazz-adjacent artists of the moment, Kamasi Washington is a far more familiar name than you may realize. Having performed with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Lauryn Hill, the multi-instrumentalist really hit his stride after the release of his 2015 debut solo album The Epic, and laying the groundwork with his saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Washington has an eagerly anticipated (amongst the circle who knows about his work, obv) sophomore album Heaven and Earth coming out at the end of this month. “Street Fighter Mas” is Washington’s theme song he’s imagined over the years to play prior to his personal entrance into a round of the video game Street Fighter. Listen here
“Us Vs Them” - Spring King | Heeeeeeeeell yeaaaaaaaah. Listen here
“a.t.w. (against the wall)” - Ben Khan | I’ve been waiting years for Ben Khan to release a new music, and boy has he DELIVERT. “a.t.w.” is the third single released from his hotly anticipated debut album (I’m still searching for a release date, but it’s been thrown around as ‘this summer,’ meaning in the coming months) after disappearing sometime around 2015. WELCOME BACK, BEN! Listen here
New Music Friday Selects
For the first time in my life I cannot be assed to give a single fuck about a new Kanye West album. I’m sad about it. For those who want to expend the energy, a Ye listening party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming went down yesterday with a live stream. Big shrug.
Continuing with the “too big to ignore” news for this week: K-pop group BTS became the first South Korean music act to have a number 1 album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last week -- with over 100,000 pure sales of the album alone. While the album was still heavily streamed, these sales numbers show they’re a forced to be reckoned with. Sorry to nerd out with top 40 chart stats, but in the age of streaming, declining album sales, and labels buying out ridiculous radio contracts as if the radio were indeed an advert space, it’s impressive when there’s a clear, new shift made by some dedicated fans. Like I said above: this is “too big to ignore.” Where does K-pop in the Western world go from here? For a start: Listen here
K-pop veterans SHINee honored their 10th anniversary as a group this week with the release of a house-rattled The Story of Light EP, all the while remembering their late member Kim Jonghyun who died by suicide last year. The lead single “Good Evening” is a glossy club bop paired with a highly aesthetically pleasing music video Watch here and Listen here
Happy Pride Month! MNEK has blessed this month with a vibrant collab with Hailee Steinfeld aptly titled “Colour” Listen here
The Internet have announced their new album Hive Mind drops July 20, and have shared a new single “Come Over” Listen here
Welcome to a new era of The 1975. While the music is still wildly saccharine and soaked in cliche lyrics about growing up and finding yourself in your late 20s… “Give Yourself a Try” is rather enjoyable Listen here
Allie X continues to highlight WHY she is one of the best pop acts and songwriters out right now with her ethereal new single “Focus” Listen here
Drake released a boring track (“I’m Upset”) and got bodied by Pusha T this week. Things aren’t looking too good for Aubrey.
Cardi B released the video for our future song of the summer, “I Like It” feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Her outfits are cute as hell! Watch here
Charli XCX has a new song, “5 In the Morning” Listen here
cmd+f alum Rex Orange County linked up with Randy Newman to record a new cover of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Listen here
Holy Balls: Gorillaz not only dropped a new single and music video featuring Jack Black and a swarm of Powerpuff Girls references for it, but also have an entire album dropping at the end of this month. PHEW! 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 June 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!