Welcome to the August installment of New(ish) Music Tuesdays, our monthly feature in which our music staff write about their favorite new songs. This month, we head into back-to-school season with music that is rocking our early autumn.
Reagan Harrison’s picks
BASTILLE – “FAKE IT”
Before I even listened to this song, I had been obsessively keeping track of its release through every social media account Bastille runs-I was going in with anticipation and high expectations to say the least. Running off of the momentum “Good Grief”, another single, it left the band in a good place when this came out. It is the song I groove to when I’m home alone because of the catchy beat and rhythmic 80’s feel. The lyrics really deeply convey relationship trouble, and Dan Smith’s smooth singing gives them life, even topping some of his other songs in the past. This certainly has me anticipating their release of Wild World even more than before.
NEEDTOBREATHE FEAT. SHOVELS & ROPE – “GREAT NIGHT”
Messing around on Spotify always seems to bring me to the best music, and this happens to be a great example of a recent one. It comes from the band NEEDTOBREATHE and their recent album H A R D L O V E and it’s upbeat and sounds just as interesting as the all caps used in the title. It’s short, simple, and inexplicably just fun to listen to. These lyrics, “I got a fever, fever burning inside/I got a fever, fever getting me high” really is the focal point leading to the chorus where it is all about letting loose.
Hannah Atkins’ pick
THE LUMINEERS – “CLEOPATRA”
The title track and second single to be released from The Lumineers sophomore album, “Cleopatra” is a catchy follow-up to the moody but glorious “Ophelia”. With the band’s distinctive vocals and guitars, its a song you can’t help but hum along to. While the melody is deceptively upbeat, the lyrics are bittersweet, telling a story of lost chances and what-ifs. I’m really loving it – Cleopatra strikes me as a great addition to a roadtrip playlist.
Ryan Gibbs’ picks
DEXYS – “BOTH SIDES, NOW”
Dexys (they haven’t been Midnight Runners since 2011) have been trying to escape the shadow of being the “Come on Eileen” band for 35 years; Never mind the fact that they’ve released four tremendous albums and were one of the most unique acts of the new wave era. On Let the Record Show, their new fifth album, the band covers an array of Irish folk and country-soul tunes in their trademark genre-hopping sound. Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now” wouldn’t normally be a fit in either of those genres, but Dexys’ rendition gives it a soulful spin that meshes perfectly with the album’s theme and gives the song new life. At the center is Kevin Rowland’s gripping voice, which has not aged a day since 1981. If you only know Dexys for one song, you should remedy that. This cover is not a bad place to start.
HANNAH LOU CLARK – “IT’S YOUR LOVE”
“It’s Your Love” is a sweet, spiky indie rocker from Hannah Lou Clark, a singer-songwriter from the south of England best known as the singer for the band Foe. The song has a great, infectious chorus and fantastic set of lyrics. Clark’s only put out two solo EPs so far, but if this song is any indication, she’s got a tremendous future ahead of her. Definitely a must listen for anyone with a soft spot for early 90s alternative.
Jon Winkler’s picks
HEY VIOLET – “BRAND NEW MOVES”
I’m really enjoying this quiet disco/funk music revival in the last five years. With “Get Lucky,” “Blurred Lines,” “Uptown Funk,” “Cake by the Ocean,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” it’s nice to hear that big name artists are starting to make dance music that’s actually danceable instead of that monotonous dribble of EDM that gets played (lookin’ at you, Chainsmokers). Now it seems that new artists are catching on as evidence of “Brand New Moves,” the lead single of the second EP by Duxbury, MA’s own New Violet. Imagine if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs decided to make an album inspired by Duran Duran and you’ll get a sense of this four-piece band’s funky and spacey dance track. Propelled by disco drums and a low bassline, singer Kate Sylvester sounds like the girl all the boys want and yet she’s a step ahead of them. She’s got some brand new moves and wants to try them on you in the chorus, which is also complemented by the scratchy guitars of Christian Sibley. “Brand New Moves” is a near-perfect blend of sugar-coated sex appeal and snot-nosed attitude, both sorely missed on the pop charts.
ZARA LARSSON – “AIN’T MY FAULT”
Hey, remember that blonde chick singing that song that sounded like “Where Are U Now?” Yup, Zara Larsson (and yes, I had to look up her name because, despite her hit song’s title, I did forget her) is back with a brand new single. Also produced by MNEK (though no singing from him as he did on “Never Forget You”), the bouncy club jam is backed by handclaps, a sped-up horn riff, and synthesizers asking for hands in the air. Ms. Larsson sings about being the other woman and how it ain’t her fault she gets guys drooling all over her or her horniness towards hot guys, so at least she’s honest about it. “Ain’t My Fault” sounds like a Rihanna album cut, from the booty-shaking beat to Larsson herself singing in a slightly-Caribbean accent like RiRi. What separates her from Drake’s lady is that she at least has the good will to flex her impressive vocal chops. It’ll be interesting to see if this attitude and actual singing talent translates to a full-length album.
TY DOLLA $IGN (FEAT. TRAVIS SCOTT) – 3 WAYZ
If you’re a fan of Future’s R&B jams but would like to actually understand what he’s saying in his raps, you should probably listen to Ty Dolla $ign more. In preparation of his upcoming second studio album Campaign (out September 23), the rapper/producer found a solid match by teaming with Travis Scott for this codeine-infused party jam. Ty’s organs and trap beats mix very well with Scott’s tendency for auto-tuned vocals and echo effects. The songs stays in its slow tempo throughout over three-and-a-half minute length, but the groove is indeed cruise-worthy. It shows Ty is the unsung hero of the trap revolution in hip-hop and ready to take a bigger position onstage.
What are your favorite new songs? Let us know in the comments!