Baby Rose - Show You
It is an unequivocal fact that Baby Rose has one of the most unique voices of this decade. From her appearance on "Without You" with Insightful, to being featured on Ari Lennox's Shea Butter Baby Tour, to the August release of her first album, the Atlanta artist is having quite the year.
A lyrical weightiness, coupled with a sultry, cavernous voice in "Show You" underscore a maturity and musicality not often found in many peers of Baby Rose. Certainly a reflection on an uncertain relationship, lines like "Tell me baby / How you like me now? / Wasn't life beautiful / When I was around?" sit delicately atop classic R&B hi-hats and a jazz-inspired bass line. Filled with equal parts feeling and energy, "Show You" demonstrates only a fraction of the versatility, talent, and timelessness encapsulated in Baby Rose's music.— Jazzmyne Pearson on October 10, 2019
King Princess - Ain't Together
King Princess craves commitment and certainty with her partner on "Ain't Together," the latest in a string of singles preceding her debut album, Cheap Queen. A listless sense of longing permeates the song as King Princess, aka Mikaela Straus, finds herself stuck with someone who will say "I love you," yet deny to others that they're in a relationship. Self-consciously, she ponders, "Do you think labels make it taste much better?" desperate to sound nonchalant. "Baby you ain't gotta worry about nothing," Straus assures her partner, though it's clear that it's herself she needs to convince. With a breezy choir humming casual "Ah's" and "Do-do-do's" throughout the track, you almost start to believe she's comfortable in the in-between, until she admits, "Oh it kills / I ain't chill at all, at all." The song features a drumbeat from Father John Misty that's as effortlessly compelling as her hazy, psychedelic rock guitar. Alongside previous rock-driven single "Prophet," "Ain't Together" has Straus traversing genre without losing her delightfully unique melancholy-tinged pop essence. Cheap Queen is due out on October 25, marking the first full-length album to be released on Mark Ronson's Zelig Records.— Ysabella Monton on October 2, 2019
Brittany Howard - Short and Sweet
Timeless and emotional, “Short and Sweet” is an entrancing acoustic ballad from Brittany Howard’s debut solo album, Jaime. The stripped arrangement, inspired by blues and old soul, is soft and intimate, like walking peacefully into a dream. Singing with just a guitar and a wash of white noise, the track finds Howard, the lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, at her most vulnerable. Channeling the likes of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone,Howard’s vocals are close, raw, and so gorgeous. The lo-fi production emphasizes the track’s timeless feel, giving Howard’s voice a velvety, hypnotic sort of appeal. The lyrics, much like the song title, are simple and powerful, and Howard’s easy croon makes them feel effortless. “I may be a fool to dream of you,” she sings, “But god it feels so good to dream at all.” “Short and Sweet” proves that the queen of modern soul does quiet just as well.— Britnee Meiser on October 1, 2019
Corinne Bailey Rae - Jersey Girl
"Don't you know that all my dreams come true when I'm walkin' down the street with you?" Corinne Bailey Rae's dreamy revamp of Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl" is made of the same stuff Old Hollywood love was built on. The British soul singer is part of the upcoming Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits, a Tom Waits cover album featuring names like Aimee Mann, Phoebe Bridgers and The Wild Reeds. For her part, Bailey Rae picked the 1980 hit that was on Waits' Heartattack And Vine album. In an interview, she explained that she loves how the song expresses so clearly "the rush of first love" and "the thrill of finding the one in a crowd of many.” The song, which was already memorable to those of us who have been in love with our own Jersey girl, gains a new life with Bailey Rae's sweet and captivating voice and allows a whole new set of feelings to settle in the hearts of the listeners. After all, "Nothin' else matters in this whole wide world, when you're in love with a jersey girl." Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits comes out on November 22.
Painted On - Passed Forward
Today, Brooklyn-based indie duo Painted On premieres their second single, “Passed Forward.” The melancholy song is somewhat of a more austere ballad in comparison to the band’s first release, “Fall,” which creeps through an electronic ascension of slow, ambient percussion. In “Passed Forward,” Painted On’s comprising members Hillary Capps and Anthony Farina explore their signature cinematic crescendos alongside something folksier and more stripped down. Sounding not entirely unlike Of Monsters and Men’s 2012 sensation “Little Talks,” Capps and Farina find a vocal meeting place amid layered echoes and exultant chants with the refrain’s grounding hook: “You’re my home.”— Lindsay Thomaston on September 27, 2019
Ackerman - A Day At The Beach
Ackerman’s “A Day at the Beach” follows “84 Palms,” their first trippy, Animal Collective-inspired single from their upcoming EP, A Million Sunflowers, due out November 1. The Brooklyn trio started out as the solo USB-microphone recording project of singer Jordan McAfee-Hahn, but the “yummy collaborative effort” has evolved to include over a dozen members. That sort of sprawl is present in everything they touch—“A Day at the Beach” is a six-minute song, more than half of which is instrumental, taking its sweet time with an echoing guitar solo. On “A Day at the Beach,” the band concerns itself primarily with the feeling they evoke. When Bernardo Ochoa sings the opening lyrics, “Come sink / To the sea / It’s so sweet,” he sounds like a siren, beckoning the listener to join him, to float endlessly away. In the lead-up to the release of “A Day at the Beach,” Ackerman has been teasing the song with photographs of band members on beaches, accompanied by the song’s other terse lyrics: “The sun / Over me / And the beach,” or “My toes / Are sandy, yeah.” Sprawling, moody, and self-aware.— Daniel Shanker on September 27, 2019
Blu DeTiger - Tangerine
From the moment she declares, "The crown look good on me, don't it," Blu DeTiger demands your full attention on her funky new single, "Tangerine." DeTiger transports you to the world that flashes in your mind when you lock eyes with someone in a chic Lower East Side club: a vibrant reverie of glittering lights, where her name is scrawled on the walls in Glossier lipstick and she's made a throne for herself among silk sheets in your bed. Her voice, while more commanding than on her other tracks like "Mad Love," remains distinctly languid, and is the perfect vehicle for "Tangerine"'s allure. "Roses at my feet if I let you," she sings. If you're with her, she's in charge. "There's a vulnerability in admitting what you want," she says of the song, "It’s flirty, cheeky, empowering, badass, and the groove just glides." Produced by Benjamin Ruttner of The Knocks, her signature syncopated, "gasoline"-tinged bass sits at the forefront, while splashes of new wave guitar, punchy horns, and futuristic glitchy synths meet to create a high-saturation sound as fresh as tangerine.— Ysabella Monton on September 27, 2019
Blush FM - Move
Blush FM's "Move" is nothing short of a beautifully haunting power-ballad. The solo project of New York native Andromeda Hewson explores what it means to "allow one’s self the space to develop their own integrity." Evocative classical piano eventually builds into a groovy crescendo of drums and electric guitar as synths loom in the background and Hewson's voice reverberates through the lines, "I can’t do what you want me to do / I don’t know how to move that way / You don’t see who I wanna be / I only need to see that way." Sung with such conviction, Hewson said, "Move' encapsulates that trust in myself, while acknowledging that it doesn’t look the same on everyone.”— Jazzmyne Pearson on September 27, 2019
Angel Olsen - Lark
Angel Olsen wrestles with the past and tries to locate some level of clarity in her recently released track “Lark," the second single off her forthcoming record Full Mirrors. Olsen paints a poignant picture of trying to navigate the idea that change is actually not something to run from but to accept and understand in order to push you toward who you’re meant to be. Her singular, concise voice flows through the fragmented arrangements focusing in on more tender, intimate moments before exploding alongside a set of complementary strings. The six-minute and eighteen-second offering acts as an anthem of self-realization, where Olsen decides that you can’t compromise what you want in order to please someone who only loves a certain version of you. She progressively radiates a darker tone as she makes her dynamic stance, “You say you love every single part / What about my dreams? / What about my heart? / Trouble from the start / Trouble with the heart.” As the heightened instrumentations slowly scale down, Olsen departs from the idea that her goals aren’t worthy enough to pursue and recognizes that the only way to move forward is to be true to herself. Full Mirrors is officially out on October 4 via Jagjaguwar.— Meredith Vance on September 26, 2019
Lana Del Rey - Cinnamon Girl
Lana Del Rey released her sixth album Norman Fucking Rockwell! at the end of August via Interscope Records and has once again proven herself to be an insightful, eloquent songwriter. Del Rey offers up her unapologetic observations on love, the maze that is human emotion and the communication breakdown that everyone seems to have on a daily basis. One track in particular that grabs your attention is “Cinnamon Girl”, which details the cycle of a caring, but unhealthy relationship. The delicate piano kicks things off and softly rings as Lana’s melodic, longing voice begins to build before you’re engulfed in pools of light, cinematic layers of synth. She poignantly recaps her desire to connect, “All the pills that you did / Violet, blue, green, red to keep me / At arm's length don't work / You try to push me out / But I just find my way back in.” As the song comes to an end, we get a dose of swirling instrumentation—leaving room to conclude that maybe Del Rey has found some sort of closure. There’s no sugarcoating or beating around the bush, which is a consistent element of the album as a whole.
Okay Kaya - Ascend and Try Again
Okay Kaya’s newest single, “Ascend And Try Again,” is intimate and ethereal. Like lounging on a cloud or floating underwater, the weightless, jazz-inspired arrangement is lush with reverb and rich instrumentation. A steady, intricate guitar line along with Norwegian-born Kaya Wilkins’ breathy, dreamy vocal are the moody center of the song. The light plucking and repetitive lyrics, “ascend and try again,” reflect the emotional power of the minimalist melody, and the added harmonies serve to further emphasize that theme. The arresting lyrics, simple and straightforward, were adapted from a scuba diving manual and double as a meditation on life. “Ascend And Try Again” is a hauntingly smooth, sonically rich slow jam.— Britnee Meiser on September 24, 2019