Sunday, February 02, 2014

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Gorgon City, Imagine Dragons, Karmin, Kelis, Sam Smith, Strange Talk & Tensnake

You guys, this week was a good one -- with comebacks from established artists (albeit with varying degrees of success...I'm looking at you, Jennifer Lopez) as well as exciting newbies vying for attention. Here's a rundown of what I was most stoked about this week (well...most of it -- we'll get to Kylie in a second).

Brit dancelectronica duo Gorgon City are always down for a good time but the excitement for this one is. All. About. MNEK. Dark, seductive and subtle, this is the second "official" nugget we've heard from the burgeoning British songwriter/producer (who's hit brigade includes The Saturday's "All Fired Up" and Little Mix's "Nothing Feels Like You" amongst many others). I cannot wait for the ferosh that will be his debut disc. Impatient doesn't even begin to cover it. 

You've probably heard it a million times but prepare to hear it a million times more. What a great tune, eh? It's latebus (further) explosion in popularity is totally justified. The inclusion of Kendrick doesn't feel like a marketing tactic -- the genre fusion actually makes sense (whoa, what a concept!) and the re-release of this fanatastic single with Kendrick on the heels of arguably the best performance at the Grammy's gets an A+ from me.

I have such a soft spot for the quirky duo Karmin. Their prior singles have read a bit like a smorgasbord of fun -- dallying in different sounds all with the common thread of sass spewed by lead vocalist Amy Heidemann. Their releases issues with Epic Records shouldn't be too much of a surprise -- it's clear that the folks at Epic don't quite know how to position Karmin effectively. You can file them somewhere between The Ting Tings (also underrated) and Fergie. While the first single off the upcoming Pulses ("Acapella"...which it wasn't a capella...err...) left me underwhelmed but "I Want It All" definitely has just that. Toe-tapping and snazzy, it has the feel that make "Brokenhearted" such a runaway success with more of an emphasis on Amy's killer fluid vocals over her rap-talking (not hating, just saying). Plus it's got electric guitar and horns! 

Kelis is such an interesting artist -- every album era of hers can totally stand on its own and speak to a different demographic of fans. I was a longterm fan of hers for guilty pleasure reasons but Flesh Tone sealed the deal for me for its dancey feels. Her upcoming sixth offering, Food, is due in April (the entire new disc will be produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio -- I'm loving how open to interesting collabos she is, a true artist) and "Jerk Ribs" is the first official single. It's super-stripped down (are we sensing the trend yet?), feeling a bit like a poetry slam in a jazz club with trumpets and horns a-go-go. Earthy and rich, I highly suggest you get into and rock out. It might take a few spins but trust me when I say, it's worth it.
For more on Kelis, check out my live show recap when I saw her on tour with Robyn during her 'Flesh Tone' era back in 2010.

SAM SMITH - "Nirvana"
The current reigning "It Kid" over in the UK -- soulful bb Sam Smith's vocals literally drip passion and intensity. I fell hard for his vocal upon hearing Disclosure's breakthrough "Latch" (yep, he does the vocals for that one). His ace Nirvana EP saw release here in the US this past week and it's more than worth the $$ if you're into drum & bass soul like I am. It includes an acoustic blue-eyed soul version of "Latch" as well as the Disclosure vs. Nile Rodgers jam "Together" that he also spouts vocal on. He's got an incredible set of pipes on him and he's just 21 years old. If we're willing to let it happen, he very well could be the male Adele. Get ready.

I'm hungry for more music from these hunky boys from Down Under and "Morning Sun" surfaced this week as a part of the soundtrack to that new Zac Efron movie, That Awkward Moment
For more on when I saw Strange Talk live during CMJ back in October 2013, check out my live show recap here.

TENSNAKE - "Love Sublime (feat. NILE RODGERS & FIORA)"
This German DJ has his own fanbase but "Love Sublime" is the first of his material I've heard and got swept up in (I'm quite fond of his remix of Little Boots' "Every Night I Say I Prayer", however). Not unlike Pharrell, guitar god Nile Rodgers is seeing a literal renaissance of his career and this adds to the package quite nicely. This jam reads like a 90's dance hit of old -- perhaps why I love it so much. The chorus is insanely catchy.

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