We’re nearing the halfway mark of 2017 and while we have seen some standout releases and albums so far this year, it still feels like we’re yet to see the very best or perhaps the next contender for ‘Album of the Year’. The year has so far been dominated by disbanded One Direction members and people who aren’t vibing on Katy Perry’s new direction. So we’re happy to take a look and share some of our favourite releases over the past month. Presenting This Month In Music – June 2017.
Kalis Uchis – Tyrant feat. Jorja Smith
Colombian R&B/Pop-Soul singer Kali Uchis is quickly emerging as one of the next big talents coming out of the US right now. Establishing herself in a few short years, she’s already worked with the likes of Diplo, Kaytranada, Tyler The Creator, Goldlink, Vince Staples, and more recently featuring on the latest album from Gorillaz. Her feisty new single ‘Tyrant’ is said to be the first single from her upcoming album, and while it has been described as “a post apocalyptic love song,” Uchis delivers a combination of feisty, soulful and sensual sounds. As she dips into new album mode, it seems Uchis has found her feet and a distinct sound that’s going to make the world go crazy for her delightful blend of Pop-Soul.
RAYE – The Line
Another name that has absolutely blitzed the pop circuit over the past 12 months is UK artist RAYE. You may have recognized her voice from arguable two of the biggest commercial dance tracks over the past year in Jonas Blue’s ‘By Your Side’ and Jax Jones’ ‘You Don’t Know Me’ – both of which she was a standout ingredient to its success. If that wasn’t enough buzz for you, she was previously featured by BBC as the Future Sound of 2017, and they certainly weren’t wrong. There’d be no better time to release music for someone of her calibre who is enjoying strong momentum in the charts, however Raye has successfully kept the heat on her with her latest solo offering ‘The Line’.
Francis and the Lights – May I Have This Dance feat. Chance The Rapper (Remix)
With an album at the back-end of 2016, New York artist Francis and the Lights has returned with a remix of ‘May I Have This Dance’ featuring some extra heartfelt contributions from Chance the Rapper. His album ‘Farewell, Starlight!’ was a delight to listen to despite not receiving the recognition and attention people thought it deserved. ‘May I Have this Dance’ was one of the tracks that slipped through the radar on the album and it has taken a fresh remix from Chance the Rapper to give it some new meaning and a second life. On first thought, you’d be easy to think this is a second attempt at a failed song, however the track is humbly beautiful and it only takes one listen to realise why Francis is one of the most respected artists that you’ve never heard of.
Touch Sensitive – Lay Down
We seriously don’t know where the last 3 years have gone, but it has already been that long since we last heard new material from Australia’s funkiest bass guitarist, producer and all round purveyor of cool Touch Sensitive. You can always respect an artist that takes time and due diligence to make sure they’re putting out ‘quality’ not ‘quantity’ and that is what Touch Sensitive has successfully achieved with his slow, hypnotic blend of house on ‘Lay It Down’.
“I’ve always had a two or three year gap between releases, so why break the tradition now?…. Whenever I make something, I ask myself two questions, ‘Would I keep this in my iTunes?’ and ‘Would I show this to my friends?’ That’s really how I judge music.”.
Right you are Touch, we can have this one on constant loop for another 3-4 years.
Arcade Fire – Everything Now
It’s only been a couple of months since we heard new material from Arcade Fire, but they’re back again with some solid album plans and a single that was just too good to skim past this month. ‘Everything Now’ is the title track of their upcoming album, which features production credits from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey. The track almost contradicts the bands’ previous offering (‘I Give You Power’) which sees the gritty and robotic elements replaced for a free flowing combination of piano chords and disco drums. On first listen you can’t help to hear the disco influence that has been likened to the sound of ABBA.
Kilter – Waste Time feat. Woodes
Another Aussie doing cool things right now is electronic artist and multi-instrumentalist Kilter who has just dropped his debut album this month. The album gives us glimpse at what lies ahead in his mesmerising live show which is following the album release. ‘Waste Time’ featuring Melbourne singer Woodes is one of our personal favourites on the record, embellishing in the powerful combination of electronic/dance and gritty indie sounds. While having been likened to Flume, Jamie xx and Odesza in the past, Kilter’s sound can be compared to no other electronic artist right now, which is something that makes Kilter one of the most exciting artists to watch.
Jarami – Sketchers EP
After stumbling across the refreshing sounds of Swedish duo Jarami, it was to no surprise that they’re the blokes responsible for the past three singles from singer/songwriter Frank Ocean, offering their production expertise to ‘Biking’, ‘Lens’ and ‘Chanel’. Reminiscent of the sounds of Kaytranada, Jarami have created a funky 4-track EP of certified bopping material. While ‘Aurora’ is the standout of the package, the entire 4-track EP is a worthwhile journey that you’d wish would never end.
Buddy – Find Me
How could we go a month without talking about our favourite Montreal based producer Kaytranada? Just as we thought he was quietly working away on his next album, he has gone and dropped a collaborative EP with Compoton rapper Buddy.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that he featured on the latest EP from Nick Murphy (Formerly Chet Faker) before teaming up with the Pharell signed rapper Buddy. Coming together to release a 5-track EP titled ‘Ocean & Montana’ after Buddy’s Santa Monica residency, it’s ‘Find Me’ that’s the standout of the pack. ‘Find Me’ encapsulates the loss of one’s self and longing for self-discovery through spacious lyrics and harmonising synths in Kaytranada’s production.
Wafia – 83 Days
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard new material from Wafia and ‘83 Days’ is a beautiful return. It’s a subtle pop hit that touches right on the heartstrings, something that Wafia has always done best. Once again working with fellow Aussie beatmaker Ta-Ku, ‘83 Days’ is an emotionally honest account of heartbreak, beefing the production where it needs to and stripping the vocals back down in times of vulnerability. It’s simply a beautiful track and we look forward to hearing more Wafia in the near future.
Album of the Month: Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song
If you’re a fan of The Black Keys, you’d be glad to know that one half of the 2-piece band Dan Auerbach has released his own solo album this month. The album which has received mixed reviews online delivers a more southern soul/blues sound when compared to the discography of The Black Keys, not that you’re comparing (we secretly were). You have to compliment the recordings on this album as the rock n’ roll elements could have easily been cluttered and distorted, however they maintain clean and crisp without being too over-polished throughout the record. Overall the album might not be a contender for Album of The Year, however Dan has put together a beautifully enjoyable record – even if you’re not a blues/rock fan.