Gavin James – The Book Of Love (Live from the Capitol Tower)
This live performance of The Magnetic Fields’ The Book Of Love by 22-year-old Irish musician Gavin James is the kind of thing I’m always hoping for when I go digging for music. I look forward to listening to more music by him.
Tobias Jesso Jr – How Could You Babe
Canadian musician Tobias Jesso Jr is a real talent, but don’t just take my word for it. Listen to this song and then let it boggle your mind that he began playing the piano, for the first time, at the age of 27. He spent years as a bassist and guitarist before making the switch. We haven’t even discussed his incredible voice. Listen, just listen.
[Update: Since we featured him in our playlist in April he’s gone on to really make a name for himself as the co-writer of Adele’s hit When We Were Young. Here’s where I say I told you so!]
RAC feat. Matthew Koma – Cheap Sunglasses
I’ve been a fan of André Allen Ajos aka RAC since I heard his remix of Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody. I absolutely think it’s one of the best remixes of the decade. This acoustic guitar and voice version of his song Cheap Sunglasses is a great surprise find. I love it and look forward to this next phase of RAC’s career.
Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden – Bonkers
That bass! I heard this song in the movie Kingsman and it was perfect for the nuts car chase sequence that it underscored.
Adele – When We Were Young
Like everyone else on the planet I think Adele has a tremendous voice. With When We Were Young I’ve found a song by her that I want to listen to on repeat. This one has all the hallmarks of a great power ballad and I can’t stop listening.
NeedToBreathe feat. Gavin DeGraw – Brother
South Carolina band NeedToBreathe is one of my favourite discoveries of the year. I really like this song and I really really like how the singer sounds.
An evening with Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm – Trance Frendz
If you need something beautiful and hypnotic to listen to, this 46-minute video is exactly it. Icelandic composer Arnalds and German pianist/producer Frahm collaborate in a Berlin apartment/studio on multiple pieces during the course of the evening that this was filmed. It’s breathtaking. At one point Arnalds says “It’s intense to play so quiet, no?” It is to listen to as well. But in that “I never want this to end” kind of way. That pizza Frahm makes looks great by the way!
Bill Fay – War Machine
All I want is some sleep. This beautiful song by Bill Fay hits so many musical sweet spots and my tired brain is happy for it.
George Ezra – Blame It On Me
We’ve all decided that George Ezra’s music is lovely right? If you haven’t, you have to give it a listen.
Bob Moses – Talk
So. Much. Atmosphere. And that’s before the song even really kicks in. Once it does, it has the kind of pull that you experience when you walk past an empty elevator shaft – in a good way. I could listen to this song on repeat for a long time.
Sophia Pfister – Snakes
Listening to this song makes me feel like I walked into a smoky bar after a long, exhausting day that then turned around because I discovered the best new singer/songwriter in town. 23-year-old LA-based Pfister is one to watch and I’m glad I stumbled upon this song off her self-titled EP.
Keith Urban – John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16
That is a clever song title.
Chet Faker and GoldLink – On You
I watched the making of this in the Song From Scratch series episode which you can watch here. The moment when the beat settles in under the vocals is massive.
Brick + Mortar – Voodoo Child (from the Hitman: Agent 47 trailer)
Two man band Brick + Mortar bring the big guns for a cover of this Hendrix classic. I’ve listened to the song in the context of the trailer and without and it works just as well.
Para One – Girlhood
This one from the OST of the French film Girlhood gives me a very strong Steve Reich flashback. It’s a beautiful piece and works well alone even outside of the movie.
Tinie Tempah feat. Jess Glynne – Not Letting Go
Stuck in my head, this one. Stuck in my head.
James Hersey and Kygo – Coming Over (KCRW Live Sessions)
I love this guitar and piano live in studio performance by Austrian musician James Hersey and Norwegian producer Kygo. Those are summer chords right there!
City Of The Sun – Intro (The xx cover) – Sofar New York
This is something else! I’m a big fan of the music of The xx and I always marvel at how they do so much with so few elements. New York trio City of The Sun take two guitars, a cajon box, and ghungroos and put on a riveting 6-minute plus live performance that makes you wish you’d been there to watch it unfold.
Balmorhea – Days
Clocking in at 8 minutes 49 seconds, Austin-band Balmorhea slowly builds a hypnotic soundscape. I’m really tired today and this has been a good one to listen to on headphones.
Bryan Adams – You Belong To Me
For some reason–I think it’s because here in India they still play Summer of ’69 with the frequency of a brand new pop hit–it’s not cool to say you like Bryan Adams. I don’t really care. This new song is so much fun, it’s right at the top of my list this week.
Andy Grammer – Honey I’m Good
Not since Shania Twain [the 1995 era] has an artist expressed the dynamic of the romantic relationship with such accuracy and, more importantly, humour! Grammer takes a light-hearted jab at the slippery slope that is temptation and turns it into a joyous singalong. There’s even a perfect music video to go with it featuring what I’m guessing are real-life couples (from all demographics). I know they probably cast for diversity but it never feels forced. The overall effect is one of being immersed for a few minutes in the world of a really great relationship – warm, loving, comfortable, and ready to have a laugh. Plus there’s an Emmy award in there at 1:49. Just lying on a table 🙂 I love this song.
Fe – Daffodils Of Paris
British artist Fe leads our playlist with a song filled with thoughts that I find very familiar. When a woman sings quiet and contemplative people rush to make Lana Del Rey comparisons but I think that sells Fe short. With almost every word that Del Rey sings there is big drama. Fe, on the other hand, plays it matter of fact and low-key. I really like this song. Plus, extra points for the cool hats!
J. Viewz featuring Wild Cub – Into The Light
So many of my happy places come together in this song! It started off with a synth sound from The Karate Kid, a movie that was a big influence on me growing up (the sample was later replaced but it kicked things off all the same), it has vocals by Keegan DeWitt of Wild Cub (whose excellent song Thunder Clatter I remixed last year), and this is dream/synth pop done beautifully. A sound reference for this was the song Néon by French musician Para One which reminded me of the composer Steve Reich whose RBMA lecture I attended in London in 2010. Like I said before – so many happy places all coming together! You can learn more about the making of this song here.
I heard snippets of this song at a fashion week I was working at recently and it was a task to piece it together to figure out what it was. So worth it.
Noisettes – Never Forget You
That chorus when the electric guitar kicks in under the sweet retro melody is killer.
Justin Bieber – Sorry
We all have a guilty pleasure, people.