SUMMER 2013 PLAYLIST: Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Question for you: have any of you ever been to New York City in the middle of July? To be quite honest, I don't totally recommend it. Yes, there's so much to do and yes, a lot of it is air conditioned. But if you find yourself without the comforts of air conditioning, you better make damn sure you have a lot of water. It is hot here -- I'm talking 100+ degree with humidity hot. That's why I'm holed up in my little Brooklyn apartment, hiding from the sun and cranking the tunage. Here's some of the songs that have been doing the most damage to my Last.FM lately:
I was quick to toss off Ariana as a teen actress turned idol, thanks to her years spent on Nickelodeon's Victorious (and now her new show Sam & Cat) -- but I urge you to not make the same mistake I did. The 20 year old singer/actress has really done her vocal dues, appearing on Broadway and singing alongside various symphonic orchestras. Once you know that, when you hear "The Way" -- it's not her official debut but it's definitely the tune that broke her to the mainstream, non-Nickelodeon-familiar public -- the comparison's to Mariah Carey make so much since. She sounds so much like vintage, controlled Mariah, and vocal comparisons just don't get much better, to be quite honest.
 
Raspy-throated Gin (short for Virginia) is from New Zealand and she's opened for Sheryl Crow. Her sophomore album, Gravel & Wine, is a must listen all the way through. "Kill of the Night", although never released as a single, is one of those buzzworthy tunes here in the States because it's been subliminally used in a bunch of teaser ads for television shows like Teen Wolf and 666 Park Avenue.
 
Selena, I give. I giveeee. Demi's got the pipes and Miley's got the "swag", I suppose, but if anyone is properly emulating the teen pop chanteuse formula that I grew up with, it's Selena. "Come & Get It" (just like "We Can't Stop") does sound like a Rihanna cast-off (because it probably was...and I use probably loosely) but at least it has the refreshing addition of India-inspired sounds to make it stand apart. This one sounds real good in the heat, doesn't it.
 
Undoubtedly my favorite "album cut" off Charli's True Romance disc. It's become my go-to, even over ace singles like "You (Ha Ha Ha)".
 
Because obviously.
 
No, it's not a Florence cover (although I'd be cool with that). This punchy little album track is quite literally all over the place. Produced by The Underdogs, it's one of those "everything plus the kitchen sink" kind of pop/dance songs and through this, it demonstrates Jessica's wide (but still powerful) vocal range.
 
With each day that goes on, Bruno continues to do no wrong. Listening to "Treasure" inspires nostalgia for time long before I was born (and, to be fair, long before Bruno was born, too), and yet it still feels within my grasp just by getting lost in his velvet vocals. Listen up, Robin Thicke -- Bruno proves you can be throwback, vocally capable and not degrading to women. It is possible, dear -- and women are eating it up. And this video? Come on.
 
BASTILLE - "Pompeii"
Will Bastille be the next breakthrough Brit rock band to conquer the US a la Coldplay or Muse? Highly possible. "Pompeii" went to #2 in the UK and has that epic, anthematic feel that Coldplay is so infamous for. And that "eh-oh eh-oh" motive is just so freakin' catchy.
 
Truthfully, M.I.A. could release just about anything and I'd at least check it out -- she's one of those throw everything against the wall and see what sticks type of artists. You know that something called "Bring The Noize" is gonna be "noizy" as eff, especially coming from M.I.A. And it is. Turn it up loud.
 
My favorite of the new songs featured at the iHeartRadio show I attended with the brothers Hanson back in April. Funky and confident and right in the pocket with that groove -- this kind of self-assured maturity is what I wanted from my Jonas Brothers (but wasn't getting from "Pom Poms", obviously). Take notes, boys. Hanson is providing an excellent example. Their latest, Anthem (released the day after my birthday), is good from front to back. "Fired Up" comes in a close second, but "You Can't Stop Us" needs to be a single like yesterday.
 
The lead single from John's Love In The Future album. It's a grand mixture of what makes John so vocally valuable plus a pinch of electronic sounds and click-clocking beats. Basically, it sounds very now without sounding like a carbon-copy dance track. And BONUS - yeah, that's Kimbra providing uncredited complement vocals.
 
The bouncy, guitar-driven, hand-clappy "Dance Apocalyptic" (sha-langa-langa-lang!) follows "Q.U.E.E.N" from Janelle's upcoming The Electric Lady project. These two songs are polar opposites, confirming the statement that Janelle's upcoming sophomore record celebrates all different types of music. Janelle, I want to be you, girl. Keep rockin'.
 
Listen to me -- I refused the "Thrift Shop" bandwagon and I still cringe whenever that song pops up. But Macklemore as an artist is one I can't and won't deny. "Can't Hold Us" reminds me a bit of "No Church In The Wild" -- it's a monster for a million instrumental reasons alone and as soon as it's queued up you immediately exclaim "I loveeee this songgggg" (or at least I do). The lyrics are a sum-up of what so much of the industry is about these days -- the struggle of the indie artist. What a great summer anthem. Seriously. 

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