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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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

Music Recommendation – Single – Becky Hill, Losing

Becky Hill’s song, Losing, is a soulful track that features lyrics written by one of my favorite singers, MNEK. It is a passionate song about Becky’s distaste for single life that mixes a couple of genres.

While the song starts out very soulful, it picks up pace and becomes more a pop hit. While a bit over-edited here and there, it is still a great track and the change of pace transitions well. The beat does not dominate the vocals either, making it very well balanced.

Overall, not much to say about the song except for what I said. Decent track, you may like it or may not. Regardless, I rate it at 8.75/10. Give it a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Artist Recommendation – MNEK

MNEK is back, though don’t feel bad if you aren’t familiar with him. I had never heard of his music until just today, a day after only his fifth solo song was released since he began his music career, In the Clouds. His other four songs, If Truth Be Told, Every Little Word, Don’t Call This Love, and Wrote a Song About You were all released in 2014 except for the first, which came out way back in 2011. He has also written a multitude of songs for other artists.

We still don’t know when an album will drop but with these songs, but the wait should be worth it. The British singer got his big break when he was featured in Gorgon City’s Ready For Your Love, which reached #4 of UK’s Top 100 songs earlier this year.

MNEK brings a combination of RnB and EDM in his music, putting his songs in a very specific category. The clash works well though, especially in Every Little Word and Wrote a Song About You. His voice is very similar to that of Frank Ocean. You can call it more one genre than another, but I call it good listening. The sound catches on fast and makes fun dance RnB, which is a hard task to accomplish. Expect big things from this guy, though his voice is already being known from his popularity thanks to Gorgon City.

I give his sound overall an 8.75/10, Combination and work sounds good, he just needs a big solo track to burst onto the scene in both England and America. Give his stuff a listen below:

-Austin Heath