Courtesy of the artist
Swedish singer Seinabo Sey.
Courtesy of the artist
Swedish singer Seinabo Sey.
Courtesy of the artist
Every month, we ask some of our favorite public-radio hosts to share the one new song they can't get enough of. This month, our panel came up with an eclectic mix of new music that includes tracks from Swedish R&B singer Seinabo Sey, rising L.A. country star Sam Outlaw, young New York rapper-producer Bishop Nehru and more. Hear all the picks below.
Seinabo Sey, 'Hard Time'
From 'For Madeleine'
Authenticity is one of those mysterious yet crucial intangibles that can mean the difference between "good" and "great." Swedish artist Seinabo Sey hasn't invented something new when she sings of personal struggle in the soulfully stomping "Hard Time," but the song is undeniably unique. Sey's effortless voice is powered by the legacy of her West African father, Afropop star Maudo Sey, and intersects with the Swedish pop sensibilities of her peers (Robyn, Tove Lo, Lykke Li). This is Seinabo Sey's birthright, and she owns it when she sings, "This time I will be louder than my words."
—Carmel Holt, WFUV
The Weepies, 'No Trouble'
It was a year that felt "otherworldly, hopeful, terrible." That's how Steve Tannen, one half of The Weepies, describes 2014. At the end of 2013, his wife Deb Talan (the other half of the folk duo) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spent the next year fighting it with the help of her husband and musical partner. The end result? A new recording called Sirens — the duo's first full-length release in five years — and a cautiously optimistic clean bill of health for Talan. As you might expect, Sirens is intensely personal, incredibly emotional, triumphant and fearful at the same time. And that, The Weepies' members say, is exactly how 2014 felt to them.
Some of the songs were written at the couple's home, while others came together at the hospital during Talan's treatment. And some, like "No Trouble," were written before the two learned of Talan's diagnosis, which lends them even more poignancy. "I don't need no trouble," Tannen sings in this modern-day prophecy, "but sometimes trouble needs me." The good news is that, like the end of The Weepies' tumultuous year, "No Trouble" concludes on a hopeful note: "The more you look for love, the more you're gonna find."
—Elena See, Folk Alley
The Chemical Brothers, 'Go'
From 'Born In The Echoes'
The Chemical Brothers' return accompanies what could easily be the jam of the forthcoming summer: "Go," from Born In The Echoes. It's the duo's first new album in five years, and it marks a return to the groundbreaking dance-party efforts of The Chemical Brothers' early years. "Go" features former A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip — who, as some may recall, was featured in 2005's "Galvanize."
The official music video for "Go" was directed by Michel Gondry, who's known both for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and for several memorable Bjork videos.
—John Richards, KEXP
Sam Outlaw, 'Keep It Interesting'
For the last several years, singer-songwriter Sam Outlaw has been at the forefront of the modern L.A. country scene. Drawing on the musical spirits of Dwight Yoakam and Georges Jones and Strait, Outlaw has crafted an instant classic with his new album, Angeleno. To help him, he enlisted a top-of-the-class group of musicians as his collaborators — including co-producers Ry Cooder and Joachim Cooder, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket and Gabe Witcher of Punch Brothers. Outlaw, whose real name is Sam Morgan (Outlaw is his mother's maiden name), is a soulful crooner, and in the upbeat "Keep It Interesting," he offers a fresh take on pure country.
—Bruce Warren, WXPN
Gay Nineties, 'Hold Your Fire'
From 'Liberal Guilt EP'
One of my tests for a great song is whether the melody pops up in my head days or weeks after I first hear it. That was the case with Vancouver band Gay Nineties and its high-energy single "Hold Your Fire." I had to dig around to remember what band had that catchy chorus, not to mention a guitar riff so searing-hot you could fry bacon with it. But I found it, and I'm sharing it with you now. Gay Nineties' music has been compared to Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks, but whatever the comparison, it rocks with an irresistible swagger.
—Grant Lawrence, CBC Music
Coliseum, 'We Are The Water'
From 'Anxiety's Kiss'
I lost my dad late last month, and reorienting has been a tough, strange process. During the last few weeks, the presence of life-affirming music has not only helped me put one foot in front of the other, but also inspired me to start running full speed ahead. The new Coliseum record, Anxiety's Kiss, is full of that propulsive energy. Every time I put the needle down on "We Are The Water," my eyes get wide and my body feels recharged. On a less personal note, this might just be Coliseum's best album yet. The band has grown into its sound after years of experimenting, and "We Are The Water" is a phenomenal example of that.
—Sean Cannon, WFPK
Bishop Nehru, 'User$'
From 'Nehruvia: The Nehruvian EP'
Bishop Nehru's "User$" is essential "backpack rap" — and I mean that in a good way. Hearkening back to early-'90s hip-hop, the song features a melodic, non-rump-shaking beat and soothing rhymes that urge listeners to be true to themselves and follow their own path. (Keep in mind that this advice is coming from an 18-year-old New York MC who's already managed collaborative albums with MF Doom and a European tour with the Wu-Tang Clan.) I can't wait to hear more head-nodding tracks from Nehru's upcoming solo LP — executive-produced by Nas — later this year.
—The C.M.E., Youth Radio's ADP.fm
Elvis Depressedly, 'New Alhambra'
From 'New Alhambra'
Under the punny moniker Elvis Depressedly, Mat Cothran has churned out a steady stream of songs defined by atypical recording techniques, a hodgepodge of junk gear and the use of only a single microphone. Cothran's latest, New Alhambra, still hews to a lo-fi aesthetic, but the Asheville, N.C., songwriter — along with his bandmate and fiancée Delaney Mills — presents Elvis Depressedly's most polished and affecting work yet.
The album's title track sets the scene with a staticky snippet of a man chanting "Forever!" amid noisy cheers — a clip that sounds lifted from an old TV broadcast or a decaying VHS tape left out in the sun. Considering that the title name-drops a South Philadelphia arena that frequently hosted professional wrestling, that eerie, echoing crowd noise serves as a perfect mood-altering intro for a reflective pop song that ruminates on the past. "Break these wild horses, I have wasted my whole life / Cavities caving to numbness, I am never going to die," Cothran sings amid a swirl of shimmering synth textures and an icy drum-machine beat. Grappling with pain, religion and love, "New Alhambra" is the sound of an artist in search of happiness and deeper meaning.
—Mike Katzif, WNYC
Rhodes, 'Turning Back Around'
From 'Turning Back Around EP'
We first heard Rhodes after he was featured on his local BBC Introducing show. He's released just a couple of singles, and we think he's got an incredible voice, which you'll hear in "Turning Back Around." Rhodes is also one of the latest to play the Radio 1 Piano Sessions; you can watch his performance, along with stripped-down sets from Chilly Gonzales, SOAK, Aquilo and Little Simz, on the Radio 1 YouTube channel.
—Huw Stephens, BBC Music
Moses Sumney, 'Seeds'
When I listen to Moses Sumney's delicate, graceful songs, time stops. He creates his music in solitude, using his voice, a guitar, a looping pedal and little else. Some of Sumney's songs swell into uplifting gospel choruses, but in "Seeds," he remains mostly alone, his dark verse offset by harmonies and gentle guitar. Sumney is a tender soul who opens his heart fully in his songs, seemingly incapable of anything less than complete emotional candor.
—Anne Litt, KCRW