So you’ve been blasting the Weeknd and Drake all summer and now you’re looking for something that will get “Cheerleader” out of your head. Here are five solid summer releases to carry you into the fall.
1) FKA Twigs — M3LL155X
Formerly a highly sought-after background dancer, FKA Twigs has been making waves in the music industry since her high profile debut with LP1 last year. Captivating listeners with her provocative lyrics, lavish production and avant-garde music videos, the 27-year-old quickly earned comparisons to Bjork and other progressive artists. On M3LL155X, pronounced “Melissa,” Twigs seamlessly balances her mesmerizing vocals with otherworldly instrumentals, for a record that simply can’t be given justice from a 100-word recommendation. Be sure to watch the captivating 16-minute video accompanying the tracks that includes the clip for “Glass & Patron,” featured during the YouTube Music Awards.
Best tracks: “In Time,” “I’m Your Doll”
2) Jamie xx — In Colour
This highly anticipated album from Jamie Smith, member of the popular London-based outfit the xx, did not disappoint listeners upon its May 29 release. Featuring atmospheric and catchy dance-house music and guest appearances from vocalists from the xx and American hip-hop artist Young Thug, this album is a great go-to for music that will please a crowd.
Best tracks: “Loud Places,” “I Know There’s Gunna Be (Good Times)”
3) Tame Impala — Currents
You may recognize Tame Impala from their 2012 psychedelic-pop hit “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” On their latest record, Tame Impala introduces synths and more modern instrumentation that showcase lead singer Kevin Parker’s talents as a producer, songwriter and vocalist. Here you’ll find some very catchy tracks with a retro flare.
Best tracks: “Let it Happen,” “The Less I Know the Better”
4) Injury Reserve — Live from the Dentist Office
On their latest release, Arizona-based hip-hop trio Injury Reserve abandoned the boom-bap style found on their first release Cooler Colors to embrace a more alternative hip-hop feel. This album spans a variety of moods and styles, from the grimy banger beats on “Everybody Knows” to the more jazzy and somber tones on tracks like “Whatever Dude.” Co-emcees Steppa and Ritchie with a T seamlessly work together, delivering clever, funny and reflective lyrics.
Best tracks: “Yo,” “Whatever Dude”
5) Thundercat — The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam
OK, so you’re not going to find your summer pump-up jam on Thundercat’s latest EP, but if you are looking for some songs to help you chill out while cranking out problem sets, this record is for you. Part of Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder collective, fans of Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington may recognize the name as he was featured on both of their most recent critically acclaimed releases. Check this out if you’re looking for some groovy baselines, head nodding syncopation and reflective lyrics.
Best tracks: “Them Changes,” “Lone Wolf and Cub”