Sunday, July 26, 2015

SPOTIFY SAYS: Mel's Discover Weekly (#1) with Syd Youth, Jordan Bratton, Mocki, Brayton Bowman & ...EXO?

L to R: Brayton Bowman, Syd Youth, Jordan Bratton
You all could probably guess that I'm #TeamSpotify in the current Stream War debate. This past week, the company rolled out their brand new 'Discover Weekly' program, creating unique playlists for each user based on their song streaming habits. The playlist will change weekly automatically, "curated" by Spotify themselves to feature new music and "deep cuts" the user would potentially enjoy. 

Fellow blogger Adam over at POP! Goes the Charts offered up an interesting breakdown into his personal list this past week. While his overall takeaway was the playlist mostly offered re-discovery (much of what was presented to him were artists/songs he was already aware of), I had a much different take with the playlist that I received and wanted to bring that to the overall discussion. 

As a blogger, I'm constantly exposed to a very broad array of artists and pride myself on being quite knowledgeable of that broad array. I may not listen in depth to every artist I'm aware of, sure, but I'm confident in my knowledge about them. So when I received my first 'Discover Weekly' playlist, I was shocked by the pure amount of artists I was not familiar with (with songs that I very much enjoyed to boot). Touche, Spotify. Touche.

Let's dive in to my "new" favorite picks from this curation, by artists I was not familiar with prior:
(click the titles to hear the songs)

Syd Youth is a little-left-of-center girl group comprised of three American-based gals (one member was born in Bangkok). Their look is super trendy, they all have great hair. The group is independent, signed to Rebel Lane Inc. Their debut EP, Maya, is full of hooky pop gems of varying tempo -- clear proof they are definitely not one-note by any stretch of the imagination. "Workshop" is the set's opener and kind of sets the tone for this funky girl group -- sort of like if Neon Jungle had a girl group baby with Red Blooded Women and Krewella. Basically what I'm saying is, I feel an obsession coming on and I don't know where they have been all my life. I'm hands in for this.

Jordan is from Long Island (come throughhhh!) and is a newly minted "mainstream" artist, signing with RCA somewhat recently after the underground success of his indie mixtape The Grey Area last year. His major label debut EP, Youth, dropped in May and features a collab single with Chance the Rapper. If the comparisons to The Weeknd weren't obvious enough (not that it's a bad thing), Bratton recently covered "Can't Feel My Face" in a promotion with Billboard. "Victoria" is much more in the pop vein of things and initially came across to me with an interesting a capella kind of feel (a bit like "Don't Worry, Be Happy" with lots of mouth-created rhythm noises and handclaps). He'll be playing all over New York this summer and has officially joined my bucket list of artists to see live.

I know precious little about this dancefloor duo other than they appear to be apart of this hipster swell of great alt-dance music curated by Kitsune. Their single, "Weekend", has a few different remix versions to play with -- the Jai Wolf version seems to be most popular. By my favorite is the original incarnation, it feels much more discotheque proper.

Yet another fab indie darling to squawk over, although I'm thinking he won't stay indie for long. Imagine Ed Sheeran's soulful lyrics and timbre (and ginger hair) mixed with the melodic alt-soul feel beats of Kendrick Lamar reset while riding this 90's dance wave. Brayton is a true-telling singer/songwriter but its clear he has many different, varied influences. By the time "Jaywalk" got to its bombastic retro-funk chorus over laser synth, I was hooked. His latest song, "Real", was co-written with MNEK. Oh, and he's covered Britney's "Baby, One More Time" as the slowed-down R&B-soaked yearner that perhaps Max Martin originally envisioned it to be when he first pitched it to TLC. Long story short: this guy needs to be everywhere.

In addition to these stellar cuts above, Spotify also served me some goodness I was already aware of:

Her high-pitched voice could be a bit abrasive at first but unabashed pop lies in wait underneath. It's basically if JPOP was produced in the UK in English.

I've spoken about it before, it's a great jam any day of the week.

The latest single from JHUD, released back in June. Produced by Gorgon City, this should have led this project. Jennifer can and should dominate at the club right now.

From their 2014 reunion album, Lines & Circles. Chilled out 70's bass bumper (a la "Uptown Funk") meets space age bop, slick beat, and still full of female popstar references a la "Liquid Dreams". The video literally just dropped. Oh, and Dan Miller is still sexy af.

I imagine the Spotify Curation Algorithm to be like, "Hmmm -- she listens to quite a bit of KPOP. Let's scan whatever track's most popular in the overall from South Korea and add it to her playlist. Odds are in our favor she will like it." But of literally the thousands of idol groups to serve as the obigatory KPOP track on my Discover Weekly playlist, it had to be EXO, huh? Spotify, are you trolling me? (Heads Up: if you're gonna pick an EXO track, go ahead and pick "Overdose". Thanks.)

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