NMF Picks!

 

“Love Galore” – SZA feat. Travis Scott

Pairing up with hip-hop vets is in SZA’s musical nature; “Galore” is no different. She’s worked with Rihanna, Chance the Rapper, Drake… this time, Travis Scott. A repetitive song about the everlasting need for love. SZA proves her R&B chops one note at a time.

 

“Quit” – Cashmere Cat feat. Ariana Grande

This track marks the third collab between the DJ and pop songstress. As usual, Grande’s vocals steal the show as she sings about a love that’s taken over her; “I can’t quit you” she wails beautifully. Cat merges pop vocals with inventive electro sounds that make him stand out among the rest.

 

“Cherry Hill” – Russ

Low-key hit maker, Russ, is back with the hauntingly beautiful “Cherry Hill”. Wavering between rap, hip-hop, and R&B, he can do no wrong. “Maybe I’m a food, maybe I’m a fool for you…” he sings repeatedly. A brief electric guitar riff adds to the sultry element felt throughout this song.

 

“Love Gang” – Whethan feat. Charli XCX

Charli XCX brings attitude to Whethan’s gritty dance beat on “Love Gang.” Her punky vocals make this track radio ready any minute. There’s no doubt, we’ve missed Charli; “Gang” reminds us of just how cool she is.

 

“I’m the One” – DJ Khaled, Quavo, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne

As usual, what makes for a good rap song? Throw on about 4 people and something’s gotta sound dope, right? “I’m the One” is your summer car jam; cruising down city streets with your friends. Bieber carries the chorus while Chance and Lil Wayne shut it down with some hot verses. I’m patiently waiting for this to take over radios everywhere.


 

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Hiatus Over; Paramore Is Back

Last Wednesday marked the official return of the pop/punk band Paramore. For fans everywhere, this day has been a long time in the making. It’s been four years since their self-titled album, Paramore (“Still Into You”, “Ain’t It Fun”) was crushing the radio waves. As a diehard fan since my high school days, I sat at my desk at my big girl adult job and teared up knowing that my favorite band was back with new music.

new pmore
Image via nytimes.com

They dropped their first single, “Hard Times”, the accompanying music video, an album tracklist AND release date (May 12). Not to mention, the first leg of their TOUR. Paramore went from behind the scenes to front and center stage in a matter of hours. You could almost hear the twenty-something old school Paramore fans grabbing their hi-top Converse and rifling through dresser drawers to find the perfect Hot Topic tee.

“Hard Times” is as fresh as it gets. It feels like the right transition coming after the electronically driven Paramore. The rock sound is still there deep down, but the surface is lighter, more eclectic. One thing that always remains the same is the music. It’s always honest and it’s always good. Although the band has had their fair share of complicated drama, they continue to remain driven to make only the best for their fans. “Times” is actually a dark song, but it’s one you can dance to in your kitchen for hours on end.

The music video explodes and becomes an epic retro pop collage. Think Saved by the Bell meets Mario Kart; inventive yet right on trend. Williams is her usual expressive self (minus the new bleached hair). The Mississippi native trades in her headbangs for head bops as she twirls around arms wide open to a new tropical pop beat. A tri-theme remains prevalent throughout the video as we also saw in the 2013 video treatment for “Still Into You.” Welcoming back OG member, Zac Farro, the three seem to finally all be on the same artistic page.

The four-year hiatus was a pivotal moment for the band. In a recent interview with The New York Times, lead singer Hayley Williams said, “I didn’t even know if we were going to make another record. There was a moment when I didn’t even want it to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.” Williams often feels inspired by adulthood as we heard several times on Paramore (“Grow Up”, “Last Hope”). “Times” follows suit. The chorus rings, “hard times, gonna make you wonder why you even try, hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry.” A call & response element adds to the never ending appeal of Paramore’s sound. One we can’t wait to hear more of.

 

Paramore’s new album, After Laughter will be released May 12.


 

Mt. Wolf’s “Heavenbound”

mt-wolf-1024x681.jpg
Image via barrygruff.com

“Heavenbound” is that song at the end of the movie that finally makes the last tear roll down your glistening cheek. You think about it for days after and then add it to your “cry” playlist on Spotify. Some night, you’ll go back, listen to it, and feel those same feelings all over again.

Much like M83, Jónsi, and others, Mt. Wolf takes music and makes it bigger. It becomes more than music, it becomes a moment. “Heavenbound” walks us through this moment. The sounds mirror landscapes while the vocals remind you of hymns. Lead singer, Sebastian “Bassi” Fox’s deep voice tells a story of life, specifically the end. Backup vocals echo brilliantly throughout while a pounding beat drives the song home to heaven’s gates.

Fox told Yahoo! News, he listens to a lot of soundtracks and instrumental music, such as, Hans Zimmer, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Joep Beving. Other favorite artists are The National (who they mirror quite well), Bon Iver and Joy Division.

The band has a big year ahead and can’t wait to play more music for their fans; “It’s pretty amazing now that we get to play to a crowd of people we don’t know – it means a lot to know that they’re there solely for the music.” 

 

Mt.Wolf’s debut album, Aetherlight comes out May 26. 


 

Spring Playlist

The sun is out, flowers are bloomed, and music is blasting out car windows. Some of these artists are featured on my spring playlist. Check them out!

 

njomza
Image via hiphopstoners.com

Njomza has somehow captivated me. Her sound is so beyond unique. It’s the future of pop. Top track, “sad for you” is hauntingly beautiful highlighting a broken heart. Her vocals are breath-y perfection like a warm breeze in June. Pulling various musical genres out on “baggage” this Chicago native marries R&B, pop, and jazz in such a cohesive way that you crave more. She’s one to watch.

 

 

 

the maine
Image via phoenixnewtimes.com

The Maine have somehow managed to continue to pump out dope rock/alt you can’t get out of your head. Their latest album, Lovely Little Lonely is a true homage to that sound. Tracks like “I Only Wanna Talk To You” and “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu” show the emotion behind rock that we often forget about. Lead singer, John O’Callaghan continues to tell romantic stories in his classic sultry fashion.

 

 

sam g
Image via bbc.co.uk

 

Sam Gellaitry makes you feel like you’re in a movie. Looking out a rainy car window, walking down a crowded street, watching a couple dance in a dark club. Gellaitry’s latest EP titled, Escapism ||| takes over your mind. “Acres” feels fresh, while “Jungle Waters” feels enchanting.

 

 

 

the chain
Image via globaldanceelectronic.com

The Chainsmokers have finally released the full length album their fans have been waiting for. Although, Memories…Do Not Open is a little bit of a slower sound than the boys started out with, it still serves some serious heat. Singer, Emily Warren takes the lead on a couple tracks showing off her unique voice. “My Type” is a huge standout on the album with an elegant piano accompaniment and an incredible EDM drop we all needed to hear. R&B vet, Jhene Aiko also steals the show on “Wake Up Alone” keeping her sound while infusing a little bit of Chainsmoker serum…

 

frnk ocean
Image via hiphop-n-more.com

Frank Ocean knows how to keep fans guessing. After the surprise release of his album, Blonde last August, people are wondering, will Ocean release another album this year? His latest single, “Biking” is an upbeat jam following in the footsteps of the trendy “Chanel” released in early March. “Biking” features a rap verse from Jay-Z and some jabs from Tyler the Creator. Only time will tell what’s next.

 

 


Who You Need: Amber Mark

 

amber mark
image: junodownload.com

WHO: Amber Mark

WHERE: Manhattan, NY

GENRE: R&B/Soul/Alternative

TOP TRACK: “Way Back”

New single, “Lose My Cool” takes on a couple different shapes. Mark’s deep voice slides above some jazzy piano chords as a slick intro makes you think “hmmm, this is cool” (pun intended) A tropical beat takes over, showing off the span of genres this track covers. Mark has a captivating voice that takes you to a somewhat higher place. Something we felt similarly on her 2016 single, “Monsoon (feat. Mia Mark)” as she honored her late mother, Mia. If you close your eyes you can feel an ocean breeze brush your hair past your face.

She describes her sound as, “a mix of alternative R&B mixed with a little tribal and topped off with a little soul.” Being a tri-artist herself (singer, songwriter, and producer), Mark is quickly making a loud presence in the music world. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.


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