Month: December 2017

Favorite Songs of 2017

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2017 has been a really great year for music! Some of the artists I’ve been following for a while now (HAIM, Lorde, Lana Del Rey) all released albums, furthering their discography and proving their staying power. Other artists released incredible debut albums (Mura Masa, Bruno Major, Clean Cut Kid), showing there’s a new class of talent worth being excited about. And still others just got started, releasing their first few tracks (Morgan Saint, alayna, joan), making me even more hopeful for music going into the new year than I already was.

While lots of outlets make their lists of “Best Tracks” of the year, I think that’s pretty difficult to do. Part of what makes music so great is how subjective it is. I’ve spent a lot of time in the car with my sister the last few weeks and it’s funny to see how I can absolutely love a song and have it be one of my favorites, and she skips it, much to my chagrin. Because of that, I’m calling my list my “Favorite Songs of 2017”. I can fully appreciate that not everyone is going to agree with my taste, and while I do consume more music than the average person, I obviously didn’t listen to every song that was released this year. Originally I was planning on trying to order my list, but that proved much too difficult, so instead you’re getting it in alphabetical order. One more note: while I did my best to cover most of my favorite music of the year, there are a few tracks that either slipped through the cracks or haven’t appeared on the blog yet (stay tuned for later in the week), and will not be appearing on the list; I’m only including tracks that featured on the blog. Check out the list below, and, if you’re so inclined, listen to the playlist as well!

  1. alayna // High Off You
  2. Amber Mark // Lose My Cool
  3. AMERY // I Need Lovin’
  4. Anna of the North // Lovers
  5. Anne Dereaux // Mo(u)rning
  6. Anteros // Bonnie
  7. BETSY // Little White Lies
  8. Billie Eilish // Bored
  9. Blondage // Call It Off
  10. Bruno Major // Cold Blood
  11. Cautious Clay // Cold War
  12. Clean Cut Kid // Leaving You Behind
  13. courtship. // Tell Me Tell Me
  14. Day Wave // Promises
  15. demo taped // Insecure
  16. Gordi // On My Side
  17. HAIM // Want You Back
  18. Hazel English // Love Is Dead
  19. HONNE // Just Dance
  20. Jadu Heart & Mura Masa // U Never Call Me
  21. The Japanese House // 3/3
  22. Jerry Williams // Grab Life
  23. Jorja Smith & Preditah // On My Mind
  24. Joy Crookes // Mother May I Sleep with Danger?
  25. KIll J // Gravity
  26. Kllo // Predicament
  27. KWAYE // Sweetest Life
  28. Lana Del Rey // Love
  29. Life in Sweatpants // Girls
  30. Liv Dawson // Searching
  31. London Grammar // Big Picture
  32. MØ // Nights with You
  33. Morgan Saint // You
  34. MUNA // I Know a Place
  35. Mura Masa // 1 Night (feat. Charli XCX)
  36. NAO // Nostalgia
  37. Nilüfer Yanya // The Florist
  38. Pale Waves // Television Romance
  39. Queen Alaska // Run to You
  40. Rae Morris // Do It
  41. Rationale // Reciprocate
  42. RAYE // The Line
  43. Secret Rendezvous // Don’t Look at Me That Way
  44. Sigrid // Plot Twist
  45. Skott // Glitter & Gloss
  46. Tei Shi // Keep Running
  47. Tove Styrke // Say My Name 
  48. TWINKIDS // Overdressed
  49. Vasser // Little Things
  50. WESLEE // Boy Like You

 

Banner vector created by Kjpargeter – Freepik.com

 

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Artists to Watch 2018 Summary

Artists to Watch 2018

I’m so excited to have made it through my Artists to Watch posts! Like I mentioned at the start, this kind of thing was a huge motivator in why I wanted to start Symbiosis in the first place, and it’s been so fun to compile this group of artists I’m particularly excited about and share them. I know a lot of these won’t be new to some people, and I don’t even know how many of you found artists you weren’t aware of, but if anyone did, it’s definitely worth it. Plus it’s always fun for me to try to predict who is going to be an artist I’m still excited about in the future. In case you missed any of the posts, click on the name of the artist below to check it out and listen to the playlist I made on Spotify.

  1. Morgan Saint – effortlessly cool, minimalistic pop
  2. Amber Mark – irresistible dance music born out of grief
  3. courtship. – carefree pop from LA-based duo
  4. Nilüfer Yanya – totally unique guitar-led singer/songwriter
  5. Billie Eilish – dark pop prodigy
  6. Sigrid – anthemic choruses from Norway’s latest export
  7. Pale Waves – pop rock from Manchester four-piece
  8. alayna – emotive R&B from New Zealand
  9. Anteros – UK-based rock quartet
  10. joan – 80s-indebted pop from Arkansas duo
  11. Joy Crookes – jazzy, soulful music from UK songstress
  12. TWINKIDS – high energy upbeat electropop
  13. Vasser – incredible British/German producer and singer
  14. Superorganism – eclectic, undefinable music from international eight-piece
  15. Rainsford – synth-heavy R&B/pop fusion
  16. WESLEE – enigmatic trans-continental pop duo
  17. Tom Tripp – soul/R&B/pop from UK-based rising talent
  18. Blondage – left of center pop from Danish duo
  19. Anne Dereaux – glitchy R&B with fully formed aesthetic
  20. Dagny – extremely catchy pop from Norwegian start on the rise

 

Artists to Watch 2018 #1: Morgan Saint

Morgan Saint

I’m so excited to finally be here: my #1 Artist to Watch for the year! As soon as I heard her debut track, “You”, Morgan Saint was instantly one of the acts I was most excited about. “You” is effortlessly cool with Saint’s gorgeous vocals lilting atop a minimalistic beat and bouncing synths. Ever since it was released, the track has been on consistent rotation and is potentially my favorite track of the year. The fact that it’s a first single still blows my mind, as Saint blasted onto the scene with a fully formed visual and sonic aesthetic. I’ve talked about it before with a few other artists, but I’m always so impressed when an artist has such a clear vision as soon as they get started. In October, she shared her debut EP, 17 HERO, which included “You” and four new tracks. I was anxious to see how she would follow up a track I love so much, and she did so superbly. The entire EP is incredible and definitely worth your time and attention. “Glass House” fills a similar sonic landscape as “You” but with a bit more melancholia thrown in. On just the strength of those two tracks, Morgan Saint is my favorite musical discovery of 2017 and the artist I’m most excited about going into the new year. Also on 17 HERO is another favorite, “Just Friends”, which shows a significantly more upbeat and poppy side. The EP was enough to convince me that Saint has the talent and vision to make huge waves in 2018 and I can’t wait to see what they will be. It seems I’m not the only one who thinks so as Pandora has also selected her as an Artist to Watch. I’m hoping more and more people catch on and get behind Morgan, as I think it’s awfully clear that she’s the real deal.

Artists to Watch 2018 #2: Amber Mark

Amber Mark

The first time Amber Mark appeared on Symbiosis was at the beginning of this year due to her connection with one of my Artists to Watch 2017, demo taped. She featured on his stellar track, “Stay”, which is still one of my favorites by him, but perhaps more importantly put Amber on my radar with her incredible voice. Of course, it made me go back and dig into her other releases, and at the time the one that really stood out was “Way Back”. The song serves as a really great introduction to her style of danceable pop. One of the things that makes Amber so unique is the way she’s able to blend influences and genres so seamlessly. Throughout her discography, there are elements of pop, R&B, dance, and Caribbean-inspired music. In the first half of 2017, Amber released my favorite of her tracks, “Lose My Cool”, and announced her debut EP, 3:33am, which is easily one of my favorite bodies of work this year. While the EP is upbeat and accessible on the surface, underneath is the heartbreaking journey through grief Mark went through following the loss of her mother, whose voice is heard on standout track “Monsoon”. The entire EP is absolutely worth your attention and solidified Amber as one of the artists I’m most excited about. Capitalizing on the hype, she then shared another single, “Heatwave”, later on in the year, showing a different facet to her sound and a more mainstream side than we had previously seen. It seems more and more people are taking notice of Amber and I can’t wait to see what she has coming next. She’s clearly one of the artists I’m most excited about and I hope you’ll get on board too.

Artists to Watch 2018 #3: courtship.

courtship

I was unfortunately a little late to the party with LA-based duo courtship.. The duo, made up of Micah and Eli, released their first two tracks, “Stop for Nothing” and “Love for Everyone” during 2016 but I didn’t get to them until the beginning of this year. As soon as I heard it, I was instantly hooked to their carefree, youthful sound. Another shout out to 20XX for recognizing their instant appeal and helping them get started. This year they’ve released a string of equally excellent singles that have both solidified and expanded their sonic aesthetic. They’ve definitely stayed in their summery lane, but have toyed with their vibe over the course of their six tracks, perhaps most notably on their most recent, and my favorite track, “Tell Me Tell Me”. It’s perhaps their most danceable yet and, in my opinion, is universally enjoyable. courtship. make the type of music you just can’t help but enjoy. When so much music seems to be tending to serious topics like politics etc. (which is also important, of course), it’s nice to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy not having to think about it for a while. With almost all of their songs racking up over a million plays each on Spotify alone, it’s clear that they are finding their audience and people are taking note. I’m fully on board with what courtship. are doing and I can’t wait to see what they have in store going into 2018. Make sure you check out a few of my favorite tracks below.

Artists to Watch 2018 #4: Nilüfer Yanya

Nilüfer Yanya

UK-based singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya is one of the most unique artists on my list with her unique approach to guitar led indie pop/rock. While most people are tending towards bigger, fuller production, Nilüfer’s songs are bare, usually only her vocals and guitar with occasional other elements. Like several other acts on my list, Yanya had an incredible debut with her track “Small Crimes” last year. Starting off with a simple guitar riff, it served as a great introduction to Nilüfer Yanya’s distinctive voice and brand of music. Her next track, “Keep on Calling”, showed off a different side to her sound and definitely pointed towards lots of potential. Moving into 2017, Yanya’s first entry, “The Florist”, was what really sold me on her moving forward and solidified her as one of my top artists to watch. With the release of her debut EP, Plant Feed, I knew she would be in the top few places on my list moving into next year. Her music sounds completely different to everything else coming out at the moment but in the most irresistible way. It’s one thing to be unique, but it’s another to make it accessible and not off-putting: a balance she’s found perfectly. Nilüfer capped off her year with the release of her latest single, “Baby Luv”, in September which shows off a slightly heavier side to her sound. After finding herself on several major tip lists for 2018 and a handful of her tracks on best of 2017 lists, it’s pretty obvious she’s going to have a monumental year. I’m so excited to see where she’s heading next and I’m sure it’s going to be incredible.

Artists to Watch 2018 #5: Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish first grabbed my attention way back in 2015 with her track, “Ocean Eyes”, a gorgeous bit of subdued electropop that made waves all over the internet, even more so when people realized Eilish was only 13 at the time. “Ocean Eyes” is the kind of song most artists would work a career for and Eilish released it in the first year of hers. She went on to follow it up with “Six Feet Under”, another piece of bedroom pop reminiscent of Lana Del Rey. After that, we didn’t hear much from the young prodigy until she shared “Bellyache” earlier this year, a departure from the melancholia of her early releases, showing more of her pop sensibilities. If she didn’t already have the attention of the music world, she certainly did after this track, and she continued to capitalize it. She next featured on the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack with “Bored”, my favorite track from Eilish thus far; its minimalist, atmospheric production sets the stage for her vocals to really shine and makes for something truly special. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks of the year and was the moment I knew she would be on this list. Since then she’s been extremely prolific, releasing her debut EP, dont smile at me, in August, collecting most of her previously released work and including several new tracks, including another personal favorite, “Watch”, of which she released a remixed version with Vince Staples just last week. Billie is another artist finding herself on essentially every tip list going into 2018 so a place here is probably pretty insignificant, but she’s one of the artists I’m most excited about moving forward and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Also Happy Belated Birthday to Billie as she just turned 16 yesterday!