1. Tune-yards Nikki Nack
tUnE-yArDs caught my attention with 2011’s w h o k i l l and has kept me busy since then trying to effectively describe the sound Merrill Garbus produces. There’s African drumming, choirs of children, nearly atonal yell-singing. It’s odd, but very exciting. The act continues on Nikki Nack where Garbus uses her familiar resources to create some great school yard chanting material. Also, Garbus might have stolen “woo-ha” right from under Busta Rhymes’ nose.
Standout Track: “Water Fountain”
2. Kishi Bashi Lighght
Violinist for Of Montreal, K Ishibashi started his solo career in 2011 and released the beautiful 151a in 2012. Thick with layered instrumentation, Kishi Bashi brings dream-pop soundscapes to counteract the crazy violin riffs that give Kishi Bashi his distinct sound that sets him apart from the sea of indie pop acts prevalent today.
Standout Track: “The Ballad of Mr. Steak”
3. Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour
England’s next classy crooner comes in the form of a 21-year-old singer who gained notoriety from the Disclosure track “Latch” and the radio tune “La La La” from producer Naughty Boy. Smith takes the more classical vocalist approach to his debut akin to Adele’s my-vocals-are-production-enough-thanks format and Smith backs up with some beautiful tracks. The lyrics are fairly non-specific and they remind me of the woe-is-me material that Marcus Mumford penned.
Standout Track: “Stay with Me”
4. Kitty impatiens EP
Formerly known as Kitty Pryde, the internet tumblr rapper releases a few more songs that sound pretty much like her older material. The intimate feel of Kitty’s bedroom whisper lines give her a specific style that cannot be confused with any other rapper, female or not, and she sticks to her guns here. Also, check out the loony track titles!
Standout Track: “☆:*・°☆:* emob0unce °☆.*・°☆”
5. Christopher Lee Metal Knight EP
Christopher Lee is 92 years old. He started acting in 1947, just after WWII ended. This month he is releasing his third EP of heavy metal covers which includes songs inspired by Don Quixote. This is not a joke. I am just…I don’t know what…
Standout Track: Just listen to the whole thing here.
Cover of the Month:
This is just too adorable to pass up.
Best Music Videos:
Fall Out Boy finishes their epic tale chronicling each track from last year’s Save Rock n Roll
XXL Freshman 2014 Announced! I only guessed two out of twelve right (Chance the Rapper, Isaiah Rashad)
Ted Talk on the history of Sampling in Hip Hop