Saturday, February 07, 2015

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Hayley Kiyoko, Marina & The Diamonds, Vanbot, & More

We're one week into February already! Q1 is flying. Here's this week's new faves. Click the song titles to hear the songs for yo' self.

If you're in the mood for some crunchy electrodance.

Reflections was pretty much a wash except for the singles (sad) but "Like Mariah" is getting a lot of buzz for a reason -- it's the one (new) morsel from 5H's debut album that's worth shouting out. Probably because of the ridiculously heavy-handed interpolation of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby". 

It's a shame that The Stunners were put on relative ignore (by myself included) as now we can add another name next to Ms. Tinashe in their post-career success column. Like many of The Stunners gals, 23-year-old Hayley Kiyoko also has a pretty successful filmography with lots of small roles in film and television. This Side of Paradise, released this past week, is her second EP and there isn't a bad apple in the bunch.

A warm return to the Jessie James I knew and loved! Now, since getting loved-up, having a baby, and officially changing her stage name to be Jessie James Decker, her blend of country-pop still rollicks. "Clint Eastwood" is hardly re-inventing the wheel and sounds right at home with previous tunes like "Bullet", "Wanted", and "Boys In The Summer." If it ain't broke...

This Froot era is really shaping up nicely. Each new release seems to be better than the last.

Yeah, okay -- so this isn't new. At all. (Side eye at all the children potentially reading this after watching Katy Perry's halftime performance and assuming as such.) But any excuse to blast Missy works for me. I sincerely hope this means new music is in the works. Welcome Home, Missy!

Can I just say, kudos to Mr. DeGraw for stepping out of his predictable comfort zone for this? (Well, sort of.) A revamped version of "Brother" -- which was originally featured on Christian rock band Needtobreathe's fifth album, Rivers In The Wasteland and was released last year -- has been offered up to the mainstream. It was co-written by Ed Cash, who's worked with other great Christian artists like Britt Nicole and Amy Grant.

It's not yet "truly" available for consumption but this sparkling midtempo landed on Neon's Soundcloud page recently after she's been touting it around on tour for months. It's also worth mentioning it was produced by the Norwegian Dsign Music Group -- a mainstay for KPOP's SM Entertainment (most recent collabs: Jonghyun of SHINee's solo work and Super Junior's "This Is Love").

I'm such a sucker for revisionist covers. "Crazy In Love" is such an iconic song in its initial form -- its a true snapshot of Beyonce's first solo dalliances long before she was the brand entity she is today. You hear it slowed and stripped down by Sofia Karlberg and it sounds like a different story entirely.

Following an excellent debut bow in the vein of her contemporary and fellow Swede Robyn, Vanbot returns to the scene with the decidedly more ethereal and dreamy "Trooper". 

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