The Shortlist – September 2, 2016

September is here and with it comes a whole crop of killer new preview tracks and one-off singles.  Here is a list of the week’s best and brightest releases complete with plenty of great earworms and envelope-pushers.

ce67f18181e0c3221a7470b60765d4dbf132bc79clipping – Air ‘Em Out

Daveed Diggs and company have been working hard in between Diggs’ Hamilton performances to record a full-length follow up to their 2014 breakthrough album.  Splendor & Misery is due this month and “Air ‘Em Out” has a promising sound built on a beat that sounds like a trap-rap track if all of the drums were replaced with kitchen tools.  Diggs’ delivers more of his impressive technicality with a flow so dense it begs to be put on repeat.


8113716f80ec21e56cf59d81a70eb9c06d01e725Hoops – Going Strong

Hoops is something of a mystery.  The band essentially came out of nowhere with a sound influenced equally by 80’s blue-eyed soul and modern dream-pop.  They now have three solid EPs under their belt, each one with it’s own unique, self-contained sound and concept.  With this song from their their new self-titled EP, the group seems intent on perfecting the short-tape format and their own clever take on shoegaze-y pop music.


26520615e751c0bc31b8a82bb5c708140afc6e81Midnight To Monaco – One Way Ticket

With a fresh take on French House music, this LA duo is trying to pioneer a nostalgic fusion style that combines Euro-disco, doo-wop, and surf rock into a tightly composed final product.  “One Way Ticket” is only the third track from the band but they’ve already started to attract the attention of electronic music fans and vintage pop fans alike.  Any forthcoming album will certainly be worth a listen.


284aaf15f2f9343183428373be1afd35bc583469Banks & Steelz – Wild Season (feat. Florence Welch)

Interpol’s Paul Banks plus Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA equals the fascinating new sound of Banks & Steelz.  This track combines moody, ambient synths and a old-school feeling beat to frame Banks’ bold, reverberating vocals and RZA’s distinct flow, and the presence of Florence Welch adds another layer of complexity.  The sound is dense and takes some time to dig through, but it the kind of experimentation that really pushes the boundaries of genre and form.


85e766076d0075e61e789c9638cb4bb939329c51Brent Cobb – Black Crow

After being a songwriter for a number of other artists, country boy Brent Cobb is gearing up for his first solo release.  “Black Crow” is a bluesy, roots country track with gut busting steel guitar work throughout.  It’s fresh sounds and great songwriting like Cobb’s that make it harder for people to say they like all music “except country”, because pop-country this ain’t.


216fcfaefe8cd8cdc530bae5799e6e32d70d39b9Local Natives – Coins

The last major release from indie rockers Local Natives was 2013’s Hummingbird.  New music is finally coming from the LA band’s upcoming third album Sunlit Youth.  “Coins” recalls the group’s talent for intricate harmonies and tight rhythms but there is also a sense of adding complexity and playing with genre combinations in interesting ways.


b2ff5cb4926b09b4987ae95fad1b8e899bbf28b5Goldlink – Fall In Love (feat. Ciscero)

Washington D.C. rapper Goldlink has come to be known for injecting his tracks with samples and sounds from genres that don’t usually get explored in mainstream hip-hop.  The production here is funky and heavily bass-forward with a little Euro-house tint and plays well with Goldlink’s sing-rap flow but drops off to highlight Ciscero’s wordy verse.  It’s got a solid hook and is a track that continues to show off the kind of pop-sensible experimentation Goldlink is good at.


da2acb266434feeb4d67422dd8db6e444429780bTeenage Fanclub – Thin Air

Teenage Fanclub are alt-rock giants.  The Scottish group helped to pioneer the sound of the 90s, influencing what would become college rock, shoegaze, and dream-pop.  And to be completely honest, this newest work from the band sounds pretty similar to their more successful tracks in the early 90s with production that smashes most of the elements into one solid chunk and vocals so bright and airy they almost float away.  But for fan’s of the band, the sounds is familiar and comforting that you can’t help but be excited about the new album.


cfe7bf2ec64505e1bf114b6ec36a7f9fdc003c3cDe La Soul – Whoodeeni (feat. 2 Chainz)

A previous single from De La Soul’s “and the Anonymous Nobody…” was features on this list, but now the actual album is out and it nicely combines the group’s original sounds, more experimentation, and an injection of modern sounds held down by some choice features like 2 Chainz on this track.  Posdnous’ verse is poetic and classic, Dave delivers technical prowess, and 2 Chainz doesn’t feel out of place in the more abstract atmosphere.  It’s a solid track that indicates a solid album.


bf0d3ce73671212b3dfdd4c83ae0f761e456617bKishi Bashi – Hey Big Star

The newest track from violinist/avant-garde songwriter Kishi Bashi sports more of a dance-pop sound than some of his older classical influenced tracks.  It’s dense with synths and drum pads with a jangly guitar and bouncy bass.  The effects of touring and playing with Of Montreal for so long are clear on this song, but the oddness is balanced with pop sensibility making it one of Kishi Bashi’s more accessible tracks.


Listen to the playlist below and follow Altwire for more

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