Tag Archives: pop

The Shortlist – September 9, 2016

The Best New Music Every Week

As Fall approached and the days continue to get shorter in the Northern Hemisphere the musical landscape is beginning to follow suit with calmer, more introspective themes and even drifting into downright darkness at times.  This week’s playlist is stocked with a few cuts and previews from Fall releases and a decent helping of chill hip-hop.  Put it on to ease yourself into the new season.

c0689dbc258eb062f5a712ba817f011f7f7934a8Angel Olsen – Never Be Mine

Angel Olsen’s highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness was released this week.  MY WOMAN is a collection of expertly written, dreamy guitar pop and only serves to solidify Olsen as one of the most impressive voices in the genre.  “Never Be Mine” recalls early ’60s girl-group hits like “Be My Baby” as her voice floats with ease atop the swelling wall of sound.

2dffe48b794fab2c5f915af10e6d964fd08db8b4Action Bronson – Descendants of the Stars

New York rapper Action Bronson has recently veered away from making music to hosting and co-creating TV shows on Viceland, but apparently he at least still has some free time to make theme songs for his shows.  With a simple, piano-anchored beat, “Descendants of the Stars” is a gritty track that really spotlights Bronson’s nasal tone and variety of weird non sequitur  bars.

e60c01e920a56c7bb5e1843b43e616cfb00f957eEverything Everything – I Believe It Now

The UK power pop group have a wonderfully unique sound.  They’re more artsy about a lot of things than their contemporaries.  They don’t shy away from singer Jonathan Higgs’ shrieking falsetto.  They stay poppy and danceable while sounding unlike anything that’s made to be poppy and danceable.  “I Believe It Now” is no exception.  The new single pulls from bass-driven ’80s pop before exploding into the fist pumping chorus and throwing in a gravelly electronic bridge for good measure.

8834ac4ea759929a5cb9c80505a30672cce0daaaSampha – Blood On Me

Sampha proved himself during his years of work with SBTRKT, but up until this year he hardly had any solo material.  But now he has been setting himself up to release a new project all his own and the cuts he has released sound awesome.  “Blood On Me” shows expert use of harmonies and structure and presents the artist as a singular force that can easily stand on his own.

ed4e335b4e2ecd674eeea470ea24e0d9e70a430eSylvan Esso – Radio

Before Sylvan Esso’s debut album, the suggestion that a cappella folk singer Amelia Meath and electronic musician Nick Sanborn would come together to make one of the most creative sounds of the past few years might read like the musings of a crazy person.  But it more than works, it excels and “Radio” only serves to continue the success of the fusion.  Meath’s intense alto vocals are perfectly matched Sandborn’s layered production and rumbling bass to create a thick and rich sound.

406aabe72389535e80c87f5eca520439a7249e90Joey Bada$$ – Brooklyn’s Own

Joey Bada$$ is all about the old school.  He’s demonstrated time and time again that he’s done his homework and want nothing more than to carry on the legacy of classic East Coast hip-hop.  “Brooklyn’s Own” nods to Biggie with fluid rhyme schemes and a golden era tinged beat while still retaining Joey’s point of view.  His punchy consonants and loose flow bring the old into the new quite effectively.

cd9da404eac38ab71b653f82991b7198d5c16098Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jesus Alone

With the upcoming Skeleton Tree, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds hopefully are prepping a tremendous return to form.  Perhaps not a return sonically as much as a return emotionally.  The band and it’s leader thrive in the darkest subjects and in setting an ominous mood.  “Jesus Alone” is a droning, 6-minute long expedition into the mind that flips between unsettling and uplifting piano accents.  It’s vagueness leaves everything open and gets under the skin.  It’s what Nick Cave is best at.

f6f992e8650dc28f0361c101acc6677ae479e49fIsaiah Rashad – Free Lunch

Top Dawg Entertainment has produced some of the most impressive and highly-regarded artists in hip-hop and Isaiah Rashad is a big up-and-comer from the label.  His new album The Sun’s Tirade is out now and features some modern bangers and a few chill R&B flavored cuts like “Free Lunch”.  The beat with it’s bright guitars and smooth keyboards drives this track and let’s Rashad drop some well written verses.  He’s going places for sure and the album is definitely worth a listen.

52abd9c07908386d56681b87a3c22b54bc904ed6Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Bon Iver already dropped a few alternate versions of upcoming tracks from 22, A Million but “33 ‘GOD'” is the first fully formed, final version of a single we’ve heard and it finds the group veering pretty hard from their roots.  They are introducing a lot of electronic production and samples and pulling equal influence from experimental art-pop and mainstream ’80s rock.  It’s clear that Justin Vernon and company are doing some heavy experimentation.  Let’s just hope it isn’t so heavy that it buries the songwriting that originally drew people to the band.

adb5816c319e0cab20a422af0bee5c4801b448d6Shakey Graves – Tomorrow

“Tomorrow” comes off of an upcoming compilation from Dualtone Records who have housed Americana giants like Shovels & Rope, Brett Dennen, and the Lumineers.  It’s a stripped down recording where Austin singer-songwriter Shakey Graves gets to play with his tempo and rhythm.  It’s not a happy song exactly, but you can hear him having a good time.  This track’s aggressive, loose guitar work  and emotive vocal performance honestly might be the high point of the compilation, but if it is, it’s a really solid high point.

Listen to the playlist below and follow Altwire for more

An Introduction to artist Moxie Raia

Moxie Raia Is an artist that manages to blur the lines of Hip-Hop, R&B , and Pop. It’s a lethal combination that kills you a little bit softly. I just listened to her mixtape 931 which was released back in March, and I was pleasantly surprised by the growth of this artist. She recently gained notoriety with her singles “Buffalo Bill”, and “Bad Decisions” ,and “I love it when you cry”. So far I have loved everything that this artist has released, and this mix tape is no exception.  

 

“Rudimental” Is a track that features rapper Jimi Tents. It’s a great opener for a mix tape that plays more like an album then you would expect for an artist’s debut project. It’s a smooth tune balanced out with warm simple piano chords.

 

“Could You Be Love “, picks up the tempo a bit with a bass line that makes you nod your head along  .There is also a featured rapper on this track by the name of Buddy .This is is probably one of my favorites on the whole record .

 

There are a few notable tracks that really grabbed my attention ,like the song “On My Mind”. “On My Mind” is a track that features Pusha T,and some pretty nice samples. The lyrics are pretty well executed and laid down with sultry vocals by Raia .

 

“Hey Love” is a really nice track that has some well thought out background vocals. You can hear the pain of loss seeping through Moxie Raia’s vocals.

 

“Healer” has an addictive piano line that is well complimented with amazing lyrics. This song grabs your attention and keeps you thinking about it long after you’ve finished listening.

 

“How to feel” is definitely a favorite of mine. The song is just so well executed. Simple piano chords chase haunting lyrics, and you’re left  wondering if you even know how to feel anymore.

 

“Over Now” Is a big track featuring Love Mansuy. It’s Not one of my favorites but it does compliment the mixtape well.

 

I love “Follow Me”. It’s such a beautiful song, it’s simple and complicated in way that can’t really be explained. This duet with Wyclef Jean is probably the most surprising song on this whole mix tape.  

 

“Bad Decision”, is my favorite song by this artist period . It’s such a strong song .The production is amazing and I love the lyrics . We all make bad decisions ,but not all of us can turn those decisions into such a catchy song .

 

“Write Our Names” featuring Post Malone shows of the vocal capabilities of Moxie Raia. This song is the last song on this mixtape and it leaves with something to remember .

   I won’t call this an album review because this isn’t really an album , even though it feels like one by the time you’re done listening to it. I know we all have mix tape fear but this is a really well-rounded mix tape. It’s only the beginning for Moxie Raia and I can’t wait for her debut album. You can listen to her mixtape 931 on her sound cloud which is posted below . 

 

 

Artist to Watch: Little Scream

(Photo courtesy of Little Scream’s Facebook Page)

Laurel Sprengelmeyer, better known by her stage name Little Scream, is set to be the next indie darling. Sprengelmeyer get her start in the music industry by working as a backing vocalist on The National’s 2008 album High Violet. Her debut album, 2011’s The Golden Record, received a rating of 8.1 from the notoriously critical Pitchfork, and was on the longlist for Canada’s Polaris Prize. The Golden Record saw collaborations from Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, who co-produced the record, as well as his bandmate Sarah Neufeld, The National’s Aaron Dessner, and Silver Mt. Zion’s Rebecca Foon.

    Five years later, Little Scream is signed to Merge Records (Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, Conor Oberst) and managed by Zeitgeist (Death Cab for Cutie, Best Coast). Having just come off tour with fellow Zeitgeist act Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Sprengelmeyer is preparing to release Little Scream’s sophomore album, Cult Following, on May 6. Cult Following will see Sprengelmeyer working with even more celebrity collaborations.

    The 12-track album will include appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Aaron and Bryce Dessner (The National), Owen Pallett (Arcade Fire, Final Fantasy), Sharon Van Etten, Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), and Mary Margaret O’ Hara. Richard Reed Parry is once again credited on the album, this time as Sprengelmeyer’s “creative partner”.

Despite these all-star guest appearances, Sprengelmeyer holds her own where it matters most: her music. Cult Following has seen four singles so far leading up to it’s release next week, and each single explores a different side to Sprengelmeyer’s blend of top 40 pop and her roots in the experimental/art rock world. First single “Love as a Weapon” occupies a space between Ingrid Michaelson and St. Vincent, with a vocal melody and beat so simple and infectious that it’s impossible not to get into it.

“Someone Will Notice” is a lush track in the vein of Broken Social Scene that was inspired by Amanda Todd and the many other victims of depression and bullying. “The Kissing” features Kyp Malone’s guest appearance as well as waves of guitar riffs. The fourth and latest single “Dark Dance” is a glistening effort that manages to marry the pop sensibility of “Love as a Weapon” with the lo-fi vibe of “Someone Will Notice”. The big names attached to Cult Following and Little Scream will give Sprengelmeyer’s project the attention it deserves, but her achievements and talent are enough to turn her into the next mainstream crossover.
Little Scream’s next album, Cult Following, will be released on May 6. Check out the leading singles from Cult Following and her debut album The Golden Record below!

The Temper Trap Unveil New Album; Premieres Electronic Rock Opus “Fall Together”

Australian indie rockers The Temper Trap have finally pulled back the curtains on their long-awaited third studio album. The new record, entitled Thick as Thieves, has been three years in the making, and will feature production work from Grammy award-nominated producer Malay, who had previously worked on Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE and Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine. In addition to the announcement, the band also premiered a new,  electronically-charged track from the album, “Fall Together”; the second cut from the album released by the band, after the spaciously-produced title track was released as a single in February.

Thick as Thieves will notably be the band’s first without founding member and lead guitarist for over a decade, Lorenzo Sillitto, who had parted ways with the band in October 2013, citing a need to “try new things”, after what he described as “an experience I will never forget and one that changed my life.” The Temper Trap had reached stardom in Australian music culture and achieved international success with their first two albums, 2009’s Conditions and 2012’s self-titled The Temper Trap, the former of which certified Platinum in Australia and Gold in the United Kingdom.

Along with the new album’s official release date of June 10, 2016, the band also unveiled the album’s light-hearted artwork, which features two children identically dressed in camo shorts, white singlets and werewolf masks. The band also debuted the album’s fifth track, “Fall Together”, a song where profound lyrics describe a tangled love-hate relationship between two people. A triumphant electronic rock opus, the track features a perfect equilibrium between instruments and electronics, contrasting the heavyweight electronic and pop rock-centric sounds of the band’s previous studio album. You can check out the brand new slice from Thick as Thieves down below:


Thick as Thieves will be released by Liberation Records in Australia and the United Kingdom and by Glassnote Records in the United States on June 10, 2016. You can pre-order the album on iTunes. A limited-edition 10″ white vinyl version of the album is also available to pre-order in Australia through JB Hi-Fi.