Hear It First – Martin Garrix ft. Ed Sheeran, “Rewind Repeat It”

martin-garrixFreshly premiered at the Ultra Music Festival is Martin Garrix’s “Rewind Repeat It” featuring Ed Sheeran. The song follows up on one of Garrix’s popular hits currently featuring Usher, “Don’t Look Down”. Martin Garrix is starting to look like David Guetta recruiting all of these major acts.

You can stream the song below and hear it first:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Curbi, “Discharge”

curbiIt has been a hefty sum of time since I wrote about anything remotely pure EDM, but let’s end that streak with Curbi’s vocal-less “Discharge”. The house song has a foot-tapping but unique rhythm that instantly attracted my attention upon playing it. The best part? Curbi is only 16 years old, so we can look forward to plenty more by the Spinnin’ Records signee.

The synth usage almost resembles a video game soundtrack. It has a retro-electro feel to it, while striking similarities to Martin Garrix. My biggest complaint would be how fast the beat drops, it just comes out of nowhere and feels like a bit of a let-down. Still, it is an impressive debut for the UK teen.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.25/10

You can check out the song below:

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Hear It First – The Singles, “Candy”

the-singles-candyEver wonder what it would sound like if Scarlet Johannson made music with Este Haim and a few other noted artists, including Kendra Morris, Holly Miranda, and Julia Hatigan? Me neither, but I guess this is worth hearing anyways. If you were ever unsure how many times the phrase “Candy to my heart” could be uttered before it got way old, this song will help you find out.

Johansson added on the song, “I love Grimes. And I love the Bangles. And I love the Go-Go’s. I wanted it to be like those bands: ultra pop but also a little ironic, a little in on the joke.”

The song is highly repetitive and the vocals crack a bit. The song is not of the highest quality, but I can see the sound progressing and evolving into something a bit more solid. You can check out the new song by following the link below and see what you think:

http://www.stereogum.com/1782402/scarlett-johansson-este-haim-holly-miranda-debut-grimes-inspired-supergroup-the-singles/mp3s/
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Music Recommendation – Single – David Guetta ft. Emeli Sande, “What I Did For Love”

david-guettaI hate to say it has been a while since I have written about EDM when the song is by David Guetta, but oi, you’ll like what I give you, dammit. “What I Did For Love” features Emeli Sande, noted for her hit “Next To Me”, along with – well, that’s pretty much it.

The song expresses regret and remorse for past actions in relationships but the likely prediction that it will just happen again, like it always does. I do appreciate the truthful subject matter that many fail to recognize, that often rational thinking is just impossible for someone that you have true feelings for. Also, the song is pretty catchy. But of course it is, the beat is by David Guetta.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.5/10

Though the song gets a bit yell-y and just over-zealous too early, leading to awkward pacing, I do consider one of the best songs of David Guetta’s recent works and definitely recommend it. You can check out the song below:

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Artist Recommendation – Years & Years

years-and-yearsElectro-Soul band Years & Years have quite an impressive list of recommendations, among them from Ellie Goulding. A tweet by the British singer was the only reason I noticed the young band, who currently have multiple EPs (Take Shelter, Real and Traps), a  and a recent single title “King”. The London-based group puts together complex but rhythmic music that conveys a sense of being separate from the earth when listening to it.

While that may be a bold claim, the sound of Years & Years is Soulful while exciting, passionate, and tailored for anywhere from an upbeat clubscene to a one-man dance party where you hope your parents don’t return home early. The vocals are presented in a high and absolutely smooth tone that sounds similar to The Weeknd. At times, the high pitch and instrumentals do not feel like a match when both try so hard to be unique, but “King” does a superb job of showing an awareness for that and finding the right match.

Speaking of “King”, that is my absolute favorite song by Years & Years and one of my favorite songs currently. Other favorites include “Memo” and “Desire”, which are some of their more popular songs (For a reason, of course). The EDM-portion of the music is more apparent in “Desire” while a sense of Soul is portrayed in “Memo”, so that gives some balance for both audiences of the genres.

Overall, I would rate Years & Years’ music at:

8.25/10

Expect a lot of sound layered upon more sound in the music by Years & Years, and the Pop-EDM vibe is always somewhat apparent. For some (like myself), this is more appealing than to those searching for a mellow EDM-Soul combo (such as MNEK).

Regardless, you can check out my favorites (and more) below. You can also purchase their music on iTunes here. Now go enjoy the entrancing and hair-flipping music of Years & Years:

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Artist Recommendation – Equals

EqualsEDM meets Soul in the musical duo hailing from East London named Equals. James Low and Ade Omotayo (which has to be one of the coolest names I have ever forced myself to utter out loud) come together to make music that finds a way to focus on both thick vocals and complex beats.

The blend is hardly standard but has a sense of familiarity for me, mostly due to the similarities between this group and fellow Brit MNEK. These two are not inexperienced in the music industry, however, as Omotayo has worked with the likes of Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, Amy Winehouse, and recently moved to teaming up with Low to create a mellow and entrancing style of music.

Equals released an EP titled Single Soul, whose tracklisting included two of my favorite songs by the duo: “Trap” and the title track, “Single Soul”. However, their new release “Black On Gold”, which goes in a more upbeat direction, feels to me like their best song to date and resembles the vocals of Aloe Blacc.

Overall, I would rate the sound of Equals at:

8.25/10

The music seems to be developing still and finding its balance between focus on vocals and the beats’ intensity. The songs all have a catchy yet elegant tone to them, and provide beautiful harmonies. While the transitions from Soul into pure EDM can be a bit too quick on Single Soul, “Black On Gold” seems to be a step in the right direction when it comes to resolving that issue while still tempting me to go from a foot-tap to a full-body dance-out.

You can check out Equals on SoundCloud to hear their Single Soul EP and new single, and learn about the duo’s collaboration history since their formation in the summer of 2013. I recommend at least checking out my favorites below:

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Billboard Hot 100 Favorites #1

billboard

In honor of hitting 5,000 views today, I decided to do something special. Just because I write about less-than-mainstream music sometimes does not mean I have no ounce of soul. AKA I do not consider myself a hipster. If you do, go ahead, but I thought I would share my favorite mainstream music picks. So let’s jump right into this, I’ll even give quick ratings!

Disclosure: I will not write about songs that I have already given “Hear It First” articles. These songs and their positions are as of the week of January 17, 2015 on the America (‘Murica!) chart. You can read about each song below the jump:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown, “Don’t Kill The Fun”

Sevyn-Dont-Kill-The-FunAs revenge for all of the songs Sevyn has backup vocals in on some of Chris Brown’s biggest hits, I want her to cut any recognition of Chris Brown’s contributions in the credits; Just completely Avicii him. I’m sure there are no bitter feelings, but imagine how hilarious it would be if Sevyn called out Brown on the fact and I had called it early on my silly and miniscule music blog. Alright, let’s kill the fun and talk about “Don’t Kill The Fun”.

This song barely made it past the “Hear It First” category for not being very enjoyable. I decided to give it a recommendation for Chris Brown’s part in the song and Sevyn’s previous commendable record. The song is upbeat, as it attempts to fit RnB into House music’s arse (without lube) as much as possible. The song feels intellectually plain and as it was forced to be more Pop-y than her first EP to keep up with the times. Chris Brown’s part is a bit more pure and unmixed (though not much), and his feature might be the best part of the song.

That being said, Sevyn’s vocals are not bad either. She has showcased her talent before, and you can hear it hiding behind the elongated autotuned background notes. I would say stripping a whole lot of the background noise that passes off for a constructive beat might fix this song quite a bit. Sevyn Streeter has explained that the upbeat sound was to represent her attitude towards life and her work, which I can appreciate. Not to mention, the song starts out solid and consistent. As it continues, the bass appearing in and out drives me crazy, and it could do without sounds like so popping up and disappearing. Also, can we drop the Spongebob Squarepants video game theme music that pops up before the chorus?

The song could be catchy when you pick up the lyrics to the easy chorus, but it hardly feels like RnB by the end. Overall, I would rate this song at:

6.25/10

This may be more of a disappointment due to how much I loved her debut EP. I played “It Won’t Stop” for months, and it is one of my favorites. Regardless, the song just released today, as Sevyn dropped it earlier than anticipated for fans to hear and you can check it out below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Sirena, “Chemicals”

sirenaSwedish Indie artist Sirena (The not-metalcore one) released a song called Chemicals a couple of months ago that I had saved for ages to post about. I am now just getting around to it, but hearing it again, I can still say that this is a rather good song.

The vocals and sound seriously resemble those of Sia or ultimate synth-pop bae of mine, CHVRCHES. The bass is gentle in the first verse and Sirena’s voice just seems to drift until it explodes in the chorus. The second verse is low-key similar to the first, and does not use the chorus as an anti-depressant drug like most songs do to spice up the second stanza.

My only complaint about the song is how misplaced the vocals feel in the chorus. Either downsize the bass and what sounds like the beat sneezing. It just feels as though too much is going on throughout the hook and both sounds just mesh together.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9/10

This is definitely my favorite Sirena song. The electro-pop sound is catchy while remaining low-key and mellow. You can go ahead and check out Chemicals below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – MNEK, “The Rhythm”

MNEKIf you could not tell from my artist recommendation ages ago (check it out here), I really enjoyed MNEK’s music. While he does not have a load of songs to hear, there had yet to be a song of his I did not like. Therefore, his month-old single The Rhythm had a lot of pressure to continue the streak of success. So how does it hold on?

The song is a classic combination of EDM with RnB and Soul music. The beat drops on each hook makes it a jumper and exciting, though the “Break it down like this” is a bit tacky. The bass almost has a Martin Garrix feel to it, though I prefer the RnB aspect of the track.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.5/10

The song is enjoyable, though my opinion might be biased by how good songs such as Ready For Your Love and Wrote A Song About You turned out. You can stream the song below:

-Austin Heath