It’s that time again. Lately, I’ve been trying to find some alternative artists to listen to as I’m not really feeling what is currently popular and on the radio. I’ve included songs by artists such as Steve Lacy, Princess Nokia and German fem-cee Ace Tee. I look forward to hearing what these artists come out with next! Enjoy 🙂
Hello, I know it’s been a while, (nine months to be exact), since I’ve done a Fresh Music Roundup and that is inexcusable, so I’m going to show you some of the songs that I have discovered/been listening to the most during the past month. The playlist includes music from the likes of J Hus, Rihanna and Kali Uchis. I hope you enjoy!
This month’s Fresh Music Roundup features fantastic new tracks from the likes of Emile Sandé, MiC LOWRY and Tinashe. Take a listen below!
It’s that time again; time to re-up on some fresh new music to add to your collection. This selection is unusually bountiful but I’m feeling extra generous. This playlist features new music from the likes of Mila J, Usher, Mali Music and Tory Lanez. Take a listen below:
In this brand new feature I will be talking about anything from musical artists, to TV shows, to even shops that have seemingly disappeared for the time being, and trying to lure them back to doing what they are good at. This edition is about the genre-defying American trio of sisterhood, Haim.
Haim first came to prominence in 2013 with the release of their debut album Days Are Gone. The band, consisting of sisters; Este, Danielle and Alana made waves in the music world with their unique sound incorporating elements from Rock, R&B and Pop. Haim effortlessly created musical masterpieces by drawing from a vast plethora of influences including Michael Jackson and Fleetwood Mac, which as mentioned, make for an eclectic sound.
Their singles include; Don’t Save Me, Forever, Falling, If I Could Change Your Mind, The Wire and My Song 5 (My personal favourites being Forever and Falling). Each of these songs instantly memorable to anyone familiar with the tracks. These tracks are iconic not only for their vocal arrangements, and enchanting pulsating guitar riffs, as well as their hummable melodies, but for their display of the obvious camaraderie between the sisters. They know their sound and what they are about and this is evident from the album; the music speaks for itself.
The band has also proven their worth beyond the album, with cuts such as their take on Tame Impala’s ‘Cause I’m a Man, Woman which is a spectacular take on the already phenomenal track by the Australian psychedelic rock band.
In addition to their work with Tame Impala, the band have also created songs for film soundtracks including Insurgent and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. On top of this, they have also been working on their radio show HAIM Time, which airs on Beats 1 on Apple Music, and have been touring. So it is evident that they have been keeping busy amidst their absence from the music scene. However, I am hoping that the sisters are also working on some new music because the world needs another Haim album! Where you at, Haim?
With this month’s Fresh Music Roundup, I thought I’d try something different. I’ve compiled all of my picks into an easy to use Spotify playlist as it can get annoying when links to Youtube or Soundcloud die. Get into my favourite songs from the past month below and if you have any thoughts on the songs or suggestions on what I should listen to, feel free to leave a comment!
I am now going to give once sentence response to each track. Here goes:
NUMBERS – Classic Pharrell’s punchy percussion blends well with Skepta’s skillful flow.
GOT IT GOOD – Kaytranada recruits UK gem, Craig David for a groovy, guaranteed head-bop.
HONEY – Katy B and Kaytranada team up for a smooth, this shoulder-swaying single.
NO BROKEN HEARTS – Seemingly Sia inspired, Bebe Rexha also takes inspiration from hip-hop, to create a very current track.
IN COMMON – Alicia Keys has definitely been listening to Drake’s ‘Take Care’, but it’s still a tune though.
WRITE ON ME – Country inspired, Fifth Harmony, give us guilt-free Pop!
Greetings everyone. Firstly, I just wanted to apologise for the lack of a FMR for last month but it was a crazy four weeks; two of which were spent on a well-deserved holiday! But I’m back and you can expect more frequent posts in the coming months. Anyway let’s get into this month’s picks:
Andra Day – Rise Up
Who doesn’t love a beautiful ballad? Andra is on ballad duty this time, giving everyone a dose of inspiration and motivation. This self-love+encouragement anthem is sure to get everyone feeling like they can achieve their goals.
Jorja Smith – Blue Lights
Jorja Smith tells the story of the negative side of the police and their abuse of power in this track; giving sirens and ‘blue lights’ negative connotations whilst comparing them to strobe lights and fairy lights, not too different from when Kanye did something similar in All of the Lights.
Nestbeth – My Dream
When I was on holiday earlier this month, this song (along with Rihanna Work) was inescapable, and with reason too! This is another inspirational island-kissed track which talks about achieving your dreams and goals so that you will be able to say ‘look at me now!’.
Patoranking (ft) Wande Coal – My Woman, My Everything
Another track which had a huge presence on radio while I was on holiday was this track. A lot of people love this track because of the connection between the Afrobeats artist Patoranking, with the Jamaican recording artist Wande Coal – together they have made a scorcher of a tune which is sure to get people hyped in both countries.
Gallant – Bourbon
Damn, Gallant, back at it again with the glossy, atmospheric track and the throwback R&B adlibs!
As per usual, here are the fresh new songs that I am enjoying at the moment. Grab some headphones and get listening!
James Bay – Let it Go
Recently I’ve been trying to listen to things outside of my (R&B) comfort zone, and I’ve gravitated towards James. I think this is a really beautiful song and I’ve had it on loop for a while now.
Missy Elliott – Pep Rally
This has literally become the most played song on my iTunes in such a short space of time. At first I wasn’t the biggest fan of the song, but it has grown on me and never fails to get me hyped up. I just need Missy to release the video immediately!
Tweet – Never Shoulda Left Ya
I’ve never really known of, or really listened to Tweet’s music, but her music has recently appeared on my radar and I love it! I love her tone and chilled vibe, especially this track. It has such a groove and it’s definitely a jam!
Zendaya – Something New (Ft. Chris Brown)
Zendaya’s mixing something old with ‘Something New’ for her new single with the TLC sample. It’s a great touch and the song is an undeniable banger. However, I do wish Chris was more creative with his verse because it changes nothing from the original song, Creep!
Fifth Harmony – Work From Home (Ft. Ty Dolla Sign)
Can someone say Smash Hit? 5H have found their lane and are cruising. Although not too different to any other song on the radio, it does show maturity and consistency with their debut album.
Back in August, I featured Here by Alessia Cara in the eighth edition of Fresh Music Roundup, and what a journey through time this song has had. The sleeper hit has scorched airways worldwide as well as granting Cara with her first US top ten hit AND album, Know-it-All. The song paved the way for a phenomenal 2015 for Cara as it stood out from the rest of the tracks on radio at the time and created its own lane between contemporary and retro.
The track samples two tracks; Ike’s Rap 2 by Isaac Hayes
and Glory Box by Portishead.
I think it gets its soul from the first and its angst from the latter. Glory Box definitely does make me feel uncomfortable for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the repeated chords or the style of singing or both but it does make me cringe a bit.
Another song which comes to mind when I hear Here is Feeling Good by Nina Simone. The brash brass is forbidding and impending adding to the song’s menacing character, creating a masterpiece.
With these three songs as inspirations it is no wonder why Here struck a chord with people and I’m sure it will be Here for many years to come.
It’s a new year which means a new awards season. With that being said, the 2016 Grammy nominations were announced last month and the awards show will be taking place next month, so now is a good a time as any for me to predict, or rather say who I want to win in my favourite categories.
Record of the Year:
- D’Angelo & the Vanguard – Really Love
- Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars) – Uptown Funk
- The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
- Taylor Swift – Blank Space
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
To be honest, I would be happy with any of the three artists winning in this category. Their efforts were great in 2015 and each were fantastic songs in their own right. Also, these three artists were all dark horses as they just sort of exploded onto the scene in a huge way. I don’t know where the major mainstream success came from for The Weeknd because it seemed like on Monday he was an underground artist and then on Tuesday he was snatching number one spots on charts across the world, while for Ed it was more obviously gradual, and as for Mark, he was just always hovering about.
Best New Artist:
- Tori Kelly
- James Bay
- Meghan Trainor
- Sam Hunt
- Courtney Barnett
I must admit that I’m a little bit disappointed with the selection of artists in this category as I am not entirely familiar with some of them. That is not to say that they do not deserve nominations, however I feel as though there were other artists who made more of a sonic splash in the past year and were more creative, unique and authentic. For example Alessia Cara, Bryson Tiller and Tinashe. Also, hasn’t Meghan Trainor been nominated for Grammys before this year? If so, why is she nominated for Best New Artist. Also, I don’t want to get into it too much, but do you mean to tell me, Grammy Academy, that there were no black artists or musicians of colour who have released music in the past year who you feel were worthy enough for a nod? It almost feels as if they went out of their way to find as many white artists eligible to nominate in this category. I mean, you have Meghan, who has had previous noms and therefore is not a new artist, then you have Sam Hunt and Courtney Barnett, who’s songs I have never heard. I have, on the other hand, heard Tori Kelly and James Bay’s music and I feel as though they are deserving of their nominations.
Best Urban Contemporary Album:
- The Internet – Ego Death
- Kehlani – You Should Be Here
- Lianne La Havas – Blood
- Miguel – Wildheart
- The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
This category also has my feathers ruffled because of a snub. A certain Miss Tinashe most definitely should have been included in this list, and I am not being partial because I am fan. Her Aquarius album was the embodiment of urban contemporary and was critically praised. It may not have sold tonnes of copies, but neither did any of these albums apart from The Weeknd. Her album was noteworthy and she had a breakthrough hit with 2 On. So I am baffled as to where her nomination was this year. But anyway, I’m not really a huge fan of anyone in this category. I am, however, proud of Lianne La Havas, as a British artist getting nominated. I liked her song What You Don’t Do which was released last year. Also, I’m not one of them, but I’ve noticed that Kehlani seems to have a large and growing fan base and she has been gaining traction this past year so good on her. I would be happy for either of the two to win this award.
Best Rap Song:
- Kanye West – All Day
- Kendrick Lamar – Alright
- Drake – Energy
- Common/John Legend – Glory
- Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
In my honest opinion these selections are pretty underwhelming. I appreciate All Day which grew on me a little later than most. Kanye really made a spectacle of the song at The Brits earlier this year and it was very generous of him to showcase British talent by inviting all of those grime artists on stage with him. Also, the message behind the song Glory by John and Common had a good social message but as far as I remember it was around at the time of last year’s Grammys and feels pretty old to have been nominated this year.
- Best Rap Album:
- 2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole
- Compton – Dr. Dre
- If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake
- To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
- The Pinkprint – Nicki Minaj
Now this is a competitive category. Cole and Lamar released sombre, introspective and socially conscious albums, Dr Dre finally released a new album which his fans had been awaiting for over a decade, Drake did a Beyoncé and released a surprise mixtape which topped the charts, while Nicki made the world stop and then carry on, with Beyoncé, along with bringing social issues including racism, sexism and gender inequality to the forefront. It would be fantastic to see quality win over commercial value so it would be great to see Cole or Lamar to win. However, it would also be good to see a female win for Best Rap Album. However, I definitely think Kendrick has it in the bag.