Let’s be honest—There have been a slew of major music releases this year, but many (most) of them have been a letdown (at least IMHO).
That said, as we get closer to ending the year (<– I can’t believe I’m already typing that), we actually have some top-notch new tracks and full albums that deserve some serious recognition!
Tove Lo‘s Lady Wood and Empire of the Sun‘s Two Vines, which were both just released, are at the top of my list right now. Both acts continue to stay true to their original sound, unlike so many current artists who succumb to whatever vibe is trending on the radio. I’ve got to respect artists who continue to go with what they know best.
But in addition to these two, there are 19 other artists with fresh material sure to keep your fall days hot, even when the temperatures are dropping.
From Craig David (‘memba him?) and Mr. Little Jeans, to this combo between Tycho and Wild Nothing I’ve found called Coma Pony, to fabulous folks skyelyfe has interviewed (lookin’ at you, Alexx Mack, Foster, Aston), I’ve got 21 songs that’ll tide you over from the lull of post-Halloween until the excitement of Thanksgiving nears. Happy New Music November, everyone!
I’m so excited about Empire of the Sun‘s upcoming Oct. 28 album Two Vines, and I’ve included their brand new track “High and Low” on this week’s New Music Monday playlist.
Additionally, I’m totally digging Dua Lipa‘s high-energy “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” and my girl Alexx Mack‘s collaboration with Goldhouse called “Pleasure.”
There’s something for everyone this week. If EDM is your thing, check out Borgeous‘ “Higher,” if you like hip-hop, you’ll probably enjoy Dej Loaf‘s “Miami.” Into rock? Give John Travoltage‘s “Heist” a listen or Bad Suns‘ “Heartbreaker.” And for you pop lovers, had to include a little Britney on the list. I’m surprisingly digging Glory, and I added “Slumber Party” to the list. Speaking of pop, “Higher” by Carly Rae Jepsen is the perfect retro-sounding tune.
From Tacoma, Washington, just outside of the alt-rock-friendly Seattle area, The Fame Riot (brothers who go by stage names Liz Scarlett and Shazam Watkins) are shaking things up in the Evergreen State with their indie-electro debut EP Dust Funk (scroll to the bottom), which was just released yesterday.
“I think the music sort of speaks for itself, like that I think it’s a big mixture between all the types of really good vibes you get along the west coast,” Scarlett tells skyelyfe. “It really sort of influences the music in that sense. [The EP] is a soup. It’s a soup that never stops cooking, you can try it any time you like.”
“Heart Stray,” the first single off the EP, gives listeners a taste of the dance-rock style the duo dishes out on the remainder of the nine-song selection of tracks.
Drawing inspiration from their surroundings and the past four decades, The Fame Riot – who performed at Seattle’s Bumbleshoot Festival during Labor Day weekend – has been described as “a mix of electronic, pop, disco, rock, and everything in between.”
“Aw man, we love the old stuff, like back to [David] Bowie and Queen, and freakin’ Iggy Pop, and David Byrne, all the way,” Scarlett says. “We could push it back further, but I think those and Michael Jackson.”
As for modern music, they list Hot Chip, Empire of the Sun and Flume as some of their go-to artists.
Their colorful mix of musical influences also reflects their own personal style. Sporting crazy prints and shades, it’s safe to say they aren’t afraid to stand out in a crowd.
“We go to outer space and take little adventures and we come back with different garments,” Scarlett jokes. “No, we like thrift shops, we like antique stores. I like to find old air-force fur coats and anything that’s lasted 30 years. [Vintage items] usually [have] a good energy about [them] when you put them on.”
Adds Watkins: “People give us a lot of clothing that they don’t wear anymore. So, when you wear their clothing on stage, it’s sort of like a transcendental sort of transference of this energy they had back in the ’80s, ’70s, and then we’re sort of continuing it on.”
The guys seem pleased with how far they’ve come as musicians, but Scarlett acknowledges the road to success as an independent artist is no easy feat.
“I think the biggest challenge as an artist is continuing to grow everything on your own – acting without a label and acting without someone doing everything for you,” he says. “It’s a challenge to keep doing it yourself and keep topping yourself with your own assets and your own resources and capabilities.”
Luckily, the guys describe their Tacoma home base as “a constant creational environment.”
They also said they would eventually love to live out here in the Golden State.
“It’s very much calling our name,” Scarlett says. “A big part of us is still in California, so I believe we’ll be back many-a-times.”
This past weekend’s TBD Fest in Sacramento was one 2014 music event I was so sad to miss. I’ve had my sights set on this since it was officially announced at the beginning of the summer. From RAC, Empire of the Sun and Goldroom, to Teen Daze, Ghost Beach, Keys N Krates and many, many more, I seriously cannot imagine a better lineup. I’m super bummed that I couldn’t make it, but either way, I still gave this extravaganza its much deserved recognition by putting a 30-song playlist together so that I could feel like I was there in spirit and share the talents of such great artists with my readers.