It appears as though The XX are no longer the only english indie pop band to make use of ambient vibes and stunning vocals to chart themselves. After being featured on Disclosure's debut LP as well as releasing their own EP in June, London Grammar is making waves with their new album 'If You Wait'. The trio is quickly gathering youtube hits and even peaking at #2 on the UK charts. Check out more here.
Between being Hollywood’s sweetheart and its heartbreaker, John Mayer has somehow found time to also release albums steadily over the years. Although he hasn’t had any hits as big as “Your Body Is A Wonderland” or “Dreaming With A Broken Heart”, Mayer has managed to never release a flop and has always sold heaps of critically acclaimed work- a testament to his incredible prowess as both a guitar player and songwriter. From classic albums like Continuum to a new folk-ier sound explored on Born And Raised (the title song is a MUST listen) and his most recent release Paradise Valley, John Mayer always delivers the sweet love songs and laid-back guitar solo’s that make his music a step above. Listen to more here.
Fresh off of his upcoming album The Afterglow, here’s a new song from Blackbear. Showing off his musical dexterity once again, “Nyla” (awfully close to his also talented girlfriend Nylo…) is an emotional love ballad outlining the troubles of having a relationship while living on the other side of the country. Check out more from Blackbear from here.
There are very few 16 year old artists that can say they have a chart topping song and especially one that has gone platinum. Lorde clearly didn’t get the memo and happens to have TWO number ones, both of which went platinum (Royals is double platinum) in her home country of New Zealand. The young artist has released two Ep’s this year to critical acclaim and played a festival in front of thousands— all before graduating high school. Minimalist sounds and lyrical focus give her songs a much more intellectual sound than most pop music, but that doesn’t stop a catchy chorus from being stuck in your head for weeks. Check her out here.
XXL freshman Joey Bada$$ has released his mixtape Summer Knights as a last release before he puts out his debut album later this year. The Pro Era captain flows over mainly classic hip-hop style beats on the mix tape, including the DJ Premier produced single ‘Unorthadox’. The independent rapper continues to give faith to the underdog by gaining more and more buzz as his debut album release approaches and his self promoted music continues to take off. Download Summer Knights as well as his other mixtapes here.
Something that has been definitely lacking from my life and I’m sure the life of many others over the past year or so is new music from Childish Gambino. Lucky for us iamdonald.com has come out of its plain black screen state and offers us a new track in return for an email address. I know it seems like a pretty shady transaction, but we don’t get the short end of the stick on this one. ‘Centipede’ is a camp-esque track that ventures away from the typical hip-hop sound of his last effort, Royalty, and more towards a continuation of his more well known sounds circa camp and before. Download it here.
Source: SoundCloud / Childish Gambino
Chicago native and recently signed songstress Nylo does it again with her FREE mixtape Indigo Summer (Download Here). Her signature soft sounds continue to shine and outline her vocal ability on Indigo Summer where breathy synths and vocal layers show us why she compares her music to “Snow”. This latest release only solidifies her undeniable talent and taste in sound (Nylo produced or co-produced most of the mix tape) making her a definite artist to watch in the upcoming year.
The current commercial music industry isn’t exactly the place to look for a honest guy that stays true to his music, especially in hip-hop. But of course every once and a while you find that one exception in life that replaces all that doubt in your mind; today that exception is Asher Roth. The Pennsylvania rapper has returned with a brand new mixtape The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 2 along with an open letter to his fans explaining the past few years of his life and explaining his general absence since his 2009 debut Asleep in the Bread Aisle. The letter breaks down the past few years, including his several album-less singles (G.R.I.N.D/Last Man Standing/Party Girl) and why he’s decided to leave his label. As one of my personal favourite rappers (and most underrated MC in general) both the mixtape (here) and letter (here) come to a warm welcome and a hopeful glimmer of the future.
Relatively unknown in North America, Rizzle Kicks are already making a splash in England and ready to take on the world with a new album in September. The England rap duo deliver high energy hits and pass verses back and forth often over very atypical beats. Check out https://soundcloud.com/rizzlekicks and http://rizzlekicks.com for more.