Grace by Zola Blood

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Zola Blood leave little on the internet about who they are and therefore leave a lot to the imagination.  One thing we do not need to imagine is the level of talent based on their first single, “Grace,” which was released over the summer.  Dark and rich, “Grace” gives us a hazy peak into a band that looks to be taking a more ominous approach to synth music.  The electronics are grinding, the bass is heavy, the vocals are desolate, and my fascination is barely containable.  Enjoy.

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First Light by Racing Glaciers

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There must be some kind of secret rock ballad school in the UK that trains bands to craft emotional powerhouse tracks capable of leveling cities.  England’s Racing Glaciers definitely took notes because their recent single, “First Light,” off their third EP, Don’t Wait For Me, is one of those exhilarating songs that seems to make your heart race faster with each passing note.  The verses are delicately crafted and lead to choruses that soar with horns, mercilessly pounded bass drums, and open, inspiring lyrics.  Looks like they’ve graduated from that rock ballad school with honors.  Enjoy.

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Scoop “First Light” here

Private Jet by Penthouse Penthouse

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Changing it up a bit and slowing it down a lot for this week’s entry.  “Private Jet,” the instrumental R&B track from the enigmatic LA-based duo, Penthouse Penthouse, is one of those songs that make you want to lay out on a warm night and let everything fade away.  With a subtle hand, the use of echoes and well placed electronic effects, “Private Jet” may be one of the most laid back, romantic tracks you hear all year.  Enjoy.

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Scoop “Private Jet” here

Illume by Osca

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It wasn’t all that long ago that I posted an article on the UK’s Osca and their impressive debut single, “Blood.”  The foursome returns with “Illume,” an emotional track that sways between intimacy and exhilaration.  “Illume” proves that Osca is the real thing.  The near orchestral nature of their songs coupled with the maturity and openness of the lyrics (Come on love/I hold you closer than my skin) melts together into a song that makes the blood rush through every vein in your body.  Osca is bringing us the beginning of something amazing.  You might as well bask in the glory of being there from the start.  Enjoy.

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Reconsider (Jamie XX remix) by The XX

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I might have been in the minority of people who didn’t love The XX’s second album, Coexist.  However, a remix of one of the bonus tracks, “Reconsider,” produced by band member, Jamie XX, captures the essence of what made the trio’s first album a game changer.  Not as subdued as the whole of Coexist, the “Reconsider” remix has sharper beats, a more aggressive pace, and is a great reminder of what made The XX a dominant force in the indie scene and one of the defining bands of dream pop.  It’s good to have them back.  Enjoy.

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Say My Name by Odesza

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Odesza has a way of taking vocals, bending and slicing them, and turning them into musical instruments as sharp and smooth as anything originally created by a computer.  “Say My Name,” the last single to emerge from their second album, In Return, is as addicting as anything that the duo has put out before it.  With the addition of singer, Zyra, Odesza brings its sleek orchestration and penchant for pixiesh vocalists in full force with “Say My Name.”  Odesza is not your throw away electronic group.  So many synth groups release one great track and disappear into nothingness.  I hope you are ready for the exception.  Odesza isn’t going anywhere.  In Return is out now.  Yes, you must buy it.  Enjoy.

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Scoop “Say My Name” here

No Diggity by Chet Faker

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I very rarely post covers but Chet Faker’s “No Diggity” is just too cool to ignore.  Chet’s scratchy voice achingly lays out the verses with a relaxed smoothness adds another dimension to a track that has probably been played to death by anyone over the age of 30.  The music is more stripped down than the 1996 classic, with just a synthesizer and some beats, which adds to the laid-back vibe of 2014 version.  Chet keeps the essence of the track intact while adding enough of his own personal stamp to make it fresh and original.

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Sweet Emotion by The Kooks

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I’ve never been a huge Kooks fan so I can’t really talk about how their sound has evolved over the past 10 years.  All I can say is that “Sweet Emotion” is the second song I’ve heard off the British rock group’s fourth LP, Listen, released this year, and I can’t get enough.  “Sweet Emotion” showcases an amazing understanding of simple, groovy riffs and catchy hooks that don’t seem painfully commercial or cheesy.  The group embraces but doesn’t overdo their blues influences, keeping mindful of their pop/rock roots.  Nothing like jumping on a bandwagon ten years after it started rollin’.  Enjoy.

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Scoop “Sweet Emotion” here

Throwback Thursday: My Boo by Ghost Town DJs

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It’s been about 2 1/2 years since I last posted a throwback track.  In all honesty, the throwback track is really just an excuse to post a song that’s been stuck in my head for the past few days for no good reason whatsoever.  That song is “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs.  No shame in admitting that I’ve been singing this R&B bass thumping track consistently since the beginning of the week.  I’m not entirely sure how the song snuck into my head, but this mid-90’s track (which came out the same year as a nearly identical track by a band with a near identical name – “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” by Quad City DJs) is basically a portal back to a time when R&B was consistently simple and amazing.  Listen to “My Boo” at least ten to fifteen times.  It’s the only way to get it out of your system.  Enjoy.

Scoop “My Boo” here

Blood by Osca

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London-based quarter, Osca, has released a remarkable debut single with “Blood.”  The track is almost stripped bare, giving immense weight to the solitary piano and folksy intonations of the vocals.  “Blood” courses through your veins with an intimacy and clenching need to give yourself entirely to someone because it’s all you have left to do.  Lyrically, “Blood” is somber and sincere, holding up a mirror to some of our most private emotions.  Osca’s ability to trade off between solitude, hope, love and despair so effortlessly is a remarkable feat and one I hope to see them repeat in the future.  Enjoy.

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Scoop “Blood” here