FRESH OUT THE BOX: Cardiknox, King, Icona Pop, Missy Elliot, Sigala, Walk the Moon

February flew by, now didn't it? March will mark the end of Q1 and we've already got a full selection of bangers and potential advocates for Best Album of 2016. Not too shabby. Click to the cut to read more about (some) of the tunes I've been jamming to this February.

Click the song titles to hear the song or watch the video.

They've gotten an opening slot for Carly Rae's Gimmie Love tour, so I'll be seeing them at Terminal 5 next month. Lots of fun, lots of energy.

Thanks to Sucker, I thought Charli really found her groove. While I applaud her trying to experiment, her Vroom Vroom EP (out this past Friday) did little for me. "Trophy" is the exception -- there's something vaguely Britney-cerca-"Do Somethin'"-"Freak Show" about it.

I'm still calling BS on this whole Gwen-Blake Shelton thing because it just screams of PR stunt but if they're both happy, then cool, I guess. "Make Me Love You" is my favorite from Gwen's upcoming new solo project I've heard so far (but that's not saying too much, really). It's much lighter and poppier but still lyrically relatable and relaxed.

HAILEE STEINFELD - "Rock Bottom (feat. DNCE)"
The song is familiar, lifted from her HAIZ EP, and revamped with (I'm assuming) Joe Jonas' vocal on it. I'm not really hearing much of the rest of DNCE on it. It's worth blaring a few times as a hype ticket.

ICONA POP - "Someone Who Can Dance"
FINALLY. I was waiting for my Swedish gals in Icona Pop to come back swinging. After a handful of mediocre false starts, "Someone Who Can Dance", gets me really excited for what comes next. Fingers crossed for another brilliant era like that of their Iconic EP. The ladies recently performed the song live at the Grammis in Sweden with a special guests Zara Larsson (!!) and Elliphant (!!). Fingers crossed a studio version with both ladies is also coming soon (or will be on the upcoming album). I'm so here for this Swedish Lady Marmalade.



I'm here for vintage song interpoles, like here with the Frankie Valli  & Four Seasons' "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)" -- bonus points because no one would have expected this from Kat DeLuna (or Jeremih). But it loses some points for the casual use of the "b*tch" word. Can't you just say "woman"? "Lady?" "Girl?" (eyeroll)

KING - "The Greatest"
Fab new girl group alert! There's something so great about a trio of strong women calling themselves KING. Their melodic soundscapes envelope you and take you way. I need to see them live. Need.



THE KNOCKS - "Love Me Like That (feat. CARLY RAE JEPSEN)"
I'm excited for almost anything Carly does at this point, aren't I?

Don't you go and read me the riot act on this. While I don't think Macklemore is necessarily speaking some kind of new truth, he's no less deserving for having a plausible point of view as a Caucasian in a primarily non-Caucasian genre. "Light Tunnels" is the type of hip hop I like because it tells a story and takes you on a real journey -- here, he talks about going from indie nobody to sitting at the Grammy's next to Taylor and Bieber and what a headtrip it is/was/will always be. 

MIGUEL - "Waves (REMIX feat. KACEY MUSGRAVES)"
I. Love. Unlikely. Collaborations. Especially. When. Both. Artists. Are. So. Freakin'. Talented.

MISSY ELLIOT - "Pep Rally"
LET ME SHAKE MY JELLY.

RA RA RIOT - "Bouncy Castles"
There's something vaguely Queen about this. The entire Need Your Love album is worth your perusal.

SABRINA CARPENTER - "Smoke and Fire"
Current Disney Channel darling Carpenter is best known to fans for her role on Girl Meets World and "Smoke and Fire" is the first peek into her upcoming sophomore album. Super catchy, great voice.

SIGALA & DJ FRESH - "Say You Do (feat. IMANI)"
Might be too Euro-dance for America but something about this makes me keep wanting to listen to it again and again and again. Also, the chorus is a thinly veiled Mariah's "Always Be My Baby" reference. Also, Sigala - girl. You are #hairgoals.


TOVE LO - "Scars"
Divergent replaced Ellie Goulding with Tove Lo. Makes sense. The song could really work for either artist, to be honest.

WALK THE MOON - "Jenny (LIVE)"
I enjoyed WtM's live album (out this past Friday) much more than I initially expected to. They sound like they'd be a blast to see in concert. Catchy "Jenny" was the set's opener and isn't even from their breakthrough Talking Is Hard album (that spawned "Shut Up and Dance").


ZEDD - "Candyman (feat. ALOE BLACC)"
I could listen to Aloe Blacc sing the phone book, to be honest. #shrug

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