If I would’ve started this blog back at the end of 2015 like I had originally intended with my Artists to Watch for 2016 list, LION BABE would have been in the top 5 for with their unique take on R&B that pays homage to previous decades but with production that continues to push the genre forward. They have very much surpassed my expectations since then, releasing Begin, one of my favorite albums of last year. Unlike most new artists that release most of their music with their album and remain quiet for potentially even years afterward, LION BABE has had a fairly steady output since their debut. All of that has lead us to their newest single, Hit the Ceiling, which in my opinion stands with the best tracks from Begin, which is high praise! With this song LION BABE seem to be eschewing the pop found on their debut without losing accessibility. It’s the perfect song to beckon in summer with its instantly cool groove and floating vocals. From what I understand it’s taken from an upcoming sophomore album, so be on the lookout for that, and in the meantime enjoy Hit the Ceiling!
Australian singer/songwriter Wafia first came onto the scene back in 2015 with her excellent debut single, Heartburn. It instantly became one of my favorite songs of the year because of its subdued but forward thinking production, but mostly because of Wafia’s beautiful vocals. It’s rare to hear a voice as pure as hers so it definitely stood out immediately. She followed it up with her first EP, XXIX, which spawned another excellent song in The Raid. In 2016 she teamed up with Ta-ku for a joint EP, (m)edian, which showed how well the two work together. Aside from that, it’s been a year and a half since we’ve heard new solo music from Wafia, so it makes sense that she’s recruited Ta-ku to produce her comeback single, 83 Days. This new track still puts Wafia’s beautiful vocals right at the forefront as she sings about not being able to get over someone, but is backed with more driving production than we’re used to hearing from her. This sonic change reinforces her ability as an artist to tackle different sounds with success. Check out 83 Days below and be on the lookout for a sophomore EP coming later in the year!
I’ve been a big Kllo fan since I first heard Makes Me Wonder back in 2014 when they were still known as Klo. I’ve said it several times on the blog but if you can make laid back music that still feels danceable, I’m going to enjoy it, and no one does that better than this Australia-based duo. They also do a great job of making experimental production and beats palatable and enjoyable on a broad scale, as evidenced by their debut EP, Cusp, released in 2014 and last year’s Well Worn EP. Since their latest release in August, Kllo haven’t released new music but have recently started teasing it, posting pictures saying they have started mixing their debut album and filming for a video treatment for their next single. While we wait for that to reach the public, luckily they have shared a single as part of a compilation project with Adult Swim titled Predicament. Present as always is the effortlessly cool production that lays the foundation for layered vocals to float overtop. If this is any indication of what Kllo have in store, I am definitely on board. Do yourself a favor and check out Predicament below and be on the lookout for their aforementioned debut album and forthcoming single!
I’ve been a big fan of Favela since I heard his single, Gong, released over two years ago. The UK based singer and producer has calm and gorgeous vocals that pair excellently with the beautiful atmospheric production he creates. He has a way of using production that’s forward thinking but still accessible and completely enjoyable. After sharing a few more tracks in 2015 Favela has remained silent with the exception of an acoustic video to a new song released a few months back. Luckily for us, last week he has finally given us a new single in the form of Nevermore My Temples Leave. It has everything that makes me love Favela, smooth vocals with engulfing synths but with percussion that keeps it moving forward. It seemed to me the perfect song to help ease the transition into the week. Do yourself and check out Nevermore My Temples Leave below and be on the lookout for more music hopefully soon!
RAYE was on just about every list of artists to watch for 2017 and it’s not hard to see why! She makes some of the best pop music coming out at the moment but it’s always forward thinking, using current sonic trends but pushing them to the next level. Her EP released in the second half of 2016, Second, exemplifies that clearly with incredible tracks like I, U, Us and Shhh. Since then she hasn’t released any original solo material, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t made her presence known. She featured on the international hits By Your Side by Jonas Blue and You Don’t Know Me by Jax Jones, the latter of which was a top 5 hit in the UK. She also has proven herself as an incredibly sought after songwriter, working with Charli XCX and Snakehips. Now, however she’s ready to step back into the spotlight with her first offering of 2017, The Line. I’ve only had it for 15 minutes at the time I’m writing this and I’ve already listened to it 4 times and I’m convinced it’s one of, if not the best pop song of the year so far. It not only does a great job of showcasing her incredible vocals and songwriting, but it also keeps her trend of boundary pushing production. I know some people want the dancehall vibe to die, but if it’s used this effectively I’m happy for it to stay around as long as possible. Do yourself a favor and get on board with RAYE before she’s topping the charts on her own, which seems rather likely given how great this single is. Check it out below and be on the look out for more from the star on the rise!
Joy Crookes is now 3 for 3! She came onto the scene with a gentle roar at the beginning of 2016 with her excellent debut track, New Manhattan, that immediately drew favorable comparisons to Lana Del Rey, who is one of my favorite artists so I definitely mean that as a compliment. She followed that up with the equally great Sinatra in August. Both of which I think are worth your attention. Since then she has remained quiet as far as releasing new music is concerned. Luckily that silence is over with the recently released Bad Feeling. On the track, Joy Crookes shows she can do more than the sultry crooning seen on her first two efforts as Bad Feeling is significantly more upbeat. My favorite thing about her music is that even though she is using modern production, her songs still have an instantly classic feel to them, and Bad Feeling is no exception. With the release of her new track comes the announcement of her debut EP, Influence, set for release July 21st, which includes her previously shared singles as well as two new songs. Be on the lookout for that release and in the meantime enjoy Bad Feeling below!
I’ve started getting more email submissions as the blog continues to pick up, and while some of the music I get is good, a lot of it just isn’t what I enjoy listening to so I pass on featuring it here. Today I’m posting about the first artist I found through having music submitted! Woohoo! DIICE are a UK based trio that walk the lines between electronic, pop, and R&B music very adeptly. Last year they released their debut single, Multigold, that garnered attention from the music world and put them on people’s radar (unfortunately I missed it). They have now returned with their second effort, and it’s one that I personally enjoy even more than their first! Do Wrong starts off pretty easy going, putting the vocals and eclectic production on display, but builds to a double time chorus that gets me dancing along. For the record, if music can be described as chill, but it’s still danceable, there’s a good chance I’m going to like it, and I’m loving this track by DIICE. Do yourself a favor and check Do Wrong out below and look for new music hopefully coming down the road!