“Rum and Raybans” – Sean Kingston ft. Cher Lloyd
One again, Sean Kingston has a hit on his hands with “Rum and Raybans,” the new single off his latest album Back 2 Life. The premise of the song is simple: All Mr. Kingston needs to have fun on the dance floor is a glass of rum in his hand and Raybans on his face (you know, to protect his eyes from all the bright lights and such). And all I need to have fun is this song pounding on the speakers…and some rum would be nice too. There’s a ton of synth, a robot voice, hard beat, Kingston’s signature reggae type vocals, and the one and only Cher Lloyd lending her sauciness to the mix. If you’re looking for some new party tracks I definitely recommend this one.
“How” – Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor gets dark and emotional in her new single “How.” The somber track is about breaking up and wondering how she can ever live without her ex-beau. It’s all quite heartbreaking and Spektor’s powerful pipes will give you chills. The beauty of the song shines through the video, which is shot with a combination of animation and live action. Directed by Margo Weathers, Spektor is impeccably styled with quirky violin-inspired makeup, feathers, and butterfly wings. Spektor’s new album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is out now.
“The Boys” – Nicki Minaj ft. Cassie
All righty people. If you’re at work right now I would suggest turning your laptop away so your boss can’t see you computer screen because things are about to get pretty raunchy. But what else can you expect from a collaboration with bombshells Nicki Minaj and Cassie right? The track itself is catchy as hell alternating between fast rapping from Nicki and then slowing it down with an acoustic guitar and slow singing from Cassie. The ladies strut their stuff in leotards, hang out in a very pink barbershop, and pretty much just remind everyone that they’re sexy and they know it. Then things get a little weird and Nicki kills everyone. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
“F**kin’ Problem” – A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar Read more…
RZA and The Black Keys – “The Baddest Man Alive”
While we’re on the topic of RZA and his upcoming film that’s pretty much guaranteed to be amazing (if Quentin Tarantino is even backing it, you know it’s going to be good), check out his latest collab with blues brothers The Black Keys. You know those moments when you feel like life is beating you down and all you need is a song to blast in your room to pick you back up? Yeah, this is it. Listen to the heavy beat, bluesy guitars, RZA’s rap segments, and badass lyrics and you’ll feel like king of the world again.
Bat For Lashes – “We Found Love (cover)”
Bat For Lashes (a.k.a Natasha Khan) is known for her haunting, beautiful voice and powerful melodies. Her new cover of Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ club banger “We Found Love” turns the house infused track into a pretty dark song. She strips down all the extra Harris beats and synths, slows it down, and sings over low-key guitars and a hypnotizing beat. I personally still like the Rihanna/Harris version better, but it’s cool to hear house the mood of a song can flip with just a few changes. Bat for Lashes’ new album The Haunted Man is released Oct. 23.
Jack White – “I’m Shakin’” Read more…
“Yet Again” — Grizzly Bear
Sometimes a band comes out with a music video so hauntingly beautiful you just can’t help but stare in amazement, engrossed in its drama. New York psychedelic rock band Grizzly Bear’s “Yet Again,” off their latest album Shields, is a mesmerizing piece of art. The video starts off with a beautiful figure skater who falls into a dark abyss and swims underwater only to find herself walking through a carnival, figure skates on and everything. The song is just as haunting as the video, with dark guitars and somber, dramatic vocals. If you’re into experimental rock music, Grizzly Bear will definitely impress you.
“The City” — Madeon
If only all the wars in the world were like the one in Madeon’s video for “The City,” our problems would all be solved! French electronic artist Madeon’s latest video pits armies of youth against each other… but just when things look like they’re getting serious it turns out their guns are filled with powder paint! A giant, epic colour war ensues. The dance track is definitely a catchy one, with vocals by Zak Waters. It’s a great mix of pop, indie, and dance, but now everytime I listen to it I can’t help but wish my hometown held paint battles too!
“Diamonds” — Rihanna Read more…
“Where Were You” — Drake & Dawn Richard
Drake’s new collab with Dawn Richard (of Diddy-Dirty-Money fame) is the perfect example of how a female vocalist can add that extra oomph to a song. The previously unreleased “Where Were You” is a classic tear-jerking Drake track about two ex-lovers still pining for each other. “Where Were You” was originally recorded as “Whatever Became of You” by Colin Munroe for Thank Me Later and was scrapped from the album. Now re-released with a haunting synth base, Drake and Dawn’s vocals complement each other beautifully and you can really hear the emotion in their voices. Thank goodness this gem of a song wasn’t lost forever!
“Closer” — Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara have been experimenting with a more electro-fied sound in the past few years, with their recent “Body Work” collaboration with Morgan Page really bringing out their radio-friendly side. The Canadian twins’ new single “Closer” is a deeper dive for them into the dance music sound. With tons of synth, Tegan and Sara have pretty much turned their backs on the alternative/acoustic rock sound they were once known for. I don’t know about you but I’m loving their new sound. Kudos to the ladies for staying current and evolving. Tegan and Sara will be releasing a new album early next year.
“Paradise on Earth” — Cris Cab Read more…
“Not Even the King” — Alicia Keys
After dabbling in the pop and hip hop scene, Alicia Keys goes back behind the piano in “Not Even the King,” the second single off her upcoming album, Girl on Fire. “Not Even the King” carries a special message: money alone doesn’t make you rich. The new, artsy lyric video for the single features positive, childlike paintings that reinforce Keys’ beautiful melody and gentle keystrokes. It’s a great track to remind you what matters most in life. “Girl on Fire” is released Nov. 27.
“Fall Down” — Diggy Simmons ft. Victoria Monet
Seventeen-year-old Diggy Simmons dropped “Fall Down” featuring Victoria Monet from his upcoming mixtape Out of This World. The track re-ignites beef between Diggy and J. Cole, who freestyled a rap about Diggy at a Kendrick Lamar show: “Picture me hating on a young n—a with talent/Album flopped, but it’s cool, he caked out on his allowance.” Diggy took the lyrics as a direct attack on him and came back with “Fall Down.” He raps: “Thought J. stood for Jermaine, not Jetsetter/ You see me and shook my hand, coppin’ pleas in person/ Now you act less than a man, mentioning me in verses.” Ouch!
“Parking Lot” behind the scenes — Nelly Furtado Read more…
“You and I” — Anjulie
Produced by Italian DJ Benny Benassi, Anjulie’s “You and I” combines a fun, danceable beat with lyrics you can sing along to. The Euro-track shows the Canadian artist’s versatility, as it’s a departure from her recently-released track “Headphones.” You can download “You and I” starting tomorrow!
“Anything Could Happen” — Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding first released a lyric video with fan submitted Instagram photos for “Anything Could Happen.” Now, the lead single from her second studio album Halycon finally has an official music video. The video is about Goulding and her soulmate getting into a car accident and is filmed on a beautiful beach in Malibu. This isn’t your typical car crash though, as the beach is littered with shining spheres, mirrored pyramids. Goulding herself wears a flowing gown. It’s a pretty heart-wrenching video and hopefully isn’t a metaphor for her real life relationship with DJ Skrillex!
“Oath” — Cher Lloyd Read more…
By Azra Kassam
“Spitting Image” — Freelance Whales
You may have heard of New York indie-rockers Freelance Whales for their soothing track “Hannah,” which I admit I still listen to on days when I just want to lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling. Their new single “Spitting Image,” off their upcoming sophomore album Diluvia, is a bit on the pop side, but holds its ground with some blissful finger-picked guitar, and electronic elements scattered in (that synth line just takes the song to a whole new level). Bassist Doris Cellar takes over the vocals for the track with smooth, airy vocals. It appears that Freelance Whales are going for a more atmospheric sound, moving away from their folky stuff, and so far it seems to be working. Diluvia hits store Oct. 9.
“Out of My Mind” — B.o.B ft. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj, rapper B.o.B, and Nicki’s booty are locked up in a mental institution in B.o.B’s music video for his latest single “Out of My Mind.” While B.oB has a serious crazy of crazy eyes going on, Minaj tries to bring him back from the dark side with — you guessed it — a lap dance. Needless to say, the video ends with B.o.B being denied parole, and he and Nicki are left in a cell to be crazy together. Who knew being insane could look so swag?
“Big Bad Wolf” — Lana Del Rey
As sweet and serene Lana Del Rey appears to be, her newly leaked track “Big Bad Wolf” will have you thinking otherwise. Dubbed as the “gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” Del Ray’s animalistic new track uses the Little Red Riding Hood story as a metaphor and begs the Big Bad Wolf to come and eat her up. Err… so it’s a little risqué, but the hipster songstress just hearts her man and wants to be his girl. Is that so wrong, people? Either way, Del Ray’s voice sounds sublime and while she ups the tempo on this track, she still sounds as authentic as always.
“Trouble” — Leona Lewis ft. Childish Gambino Read more…
“Call Me Maybe (Cover)” — Kelly Clarkson
Every show, Kelly Clarkson lets a fan from the audience choose a song for her to sing, which is why we’ve been hearing her cover tracks like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and Britney Spears’ “Everytime.” This time, a few people in the audience asked her to cover Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” We’ve heard tons of renditions of this track but this simplified version works because we really get to focus on a catchy melody and great vocals.
“You’re Gonna Love This” — 3OH!3
Poor 3OH!3…they started the whole pop/rap/dance/auto tune/alcoholic/patterned pants craze and LMFAO and Kesha swooped right in and stole their thunder. The duo hasn’t given up though and in the name of all that is outrageous and obnoxious, I give you “You’re Gonna Love This,” off their newest album Omens. The music video for the track is pretty simple. They both try to win over the same girl, one-upping each other by throwing things and aiming really well. Unfortunately, the girl in the video is totally unimpressed and gets whisked away by a Tom Cruise look-a-like, leaving the boys to find some other fish in the sea.
“Kill the DJ”— Green Day Read more…
“I Will Wait” — Mumford & Sons
If you’re looking for a new song to add to that lay-in-bed-stare-at-the-ceiling-and-dream-about-my-crush playlist, look no further! English folk rockers Mumford & Sons’ new single “I Will Wait” is a bluegrass, banjo-y track filled with soft harmonies and earnest vocals that will cut straight to your heart. Ah, if only my (nonexistent) boyfriend would write music like this and sing it to me…and maybe bring me flowers every night, new jewelry once in a while, and look like Ryan Gosling. Pick up Mumford & Sons’ second album Babel on Sept. 24.
“Glow” — Mac Miller ft. Pharell
Mac Miller and Pharell Williams get glossy in their new track “Glow,” off the two artists’ upcoming EP Pink Slime. The duo released “Onaroll” back in June, and it would appear that Mac Millions and Skateboard P are a collaborative force to be reckoned with. Backed by ethnic-inspired violins, and a hyper beat, the boys lay down their rhymes, sounding confident and smooth. Sidenote: Mac Miller manages to yell “Mother f**ker” for ten seconds straight. If that’s not talent, I don’t know what is.
“Anything Could Happen” — Ellie Goulding Read more…
Cher Lloyd – “Dancing On My Own”
Cher Lloyd’s last single “Want U Back,” had the 19-year-old songstress flipping tables, acting bratty in a diner and pretty much causing her exes to start filling out retraining orders. She shows us she isn’t all snarls and sass in her new cover of Swedish pop star Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” Lloyd strips down Robyn’s electro hit into an acoustic version, singing earnestly and powerfully. Like, seriously, if you had any doubts as to the girl’s talent, Lloyd will prove you wrong with this track.
Parade – “Light Me Up”
With the Spice Girls announcing a reunion musical, it would appear that British girl groups are all the rage right now. Parade is the latest group of five gorgeous, talented women to band together, and lemme tell ya, you’re going to like what you hear. Their latest single, “Light me Up,” produced by Tom Powell (of Girls Aloud and Sugababes fame) mixes influences of synth pop, electro, and dubstep into one catchy, crazy track. Trust me, one listen to thing song and the girls will “Parade” straight into your hearts. (Sorry, I had to!)
David Guetta ft. Sia – “Falling to Pieces”
After David Guetta and Sia’s monstrous hit “Titanium,” it was inevitable that the French DJ and Aussie songstress would collaborate again. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, we have a massive hit waiting to happen. Guetta debuted “Falling to Pieces” last weekend at the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium and judging by the videos out there, the crowd was eating it up. I’m definitely a fan of the Guetta/Sia collab and can’t wait to bust my moves at the club to this jam!
Jojo – “Demonstrate” Read more…
“Silver Springs” — Lykke Li
Lykke Li’s recent cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” puts a new spin on the emotional classic. While Lykke Li may not have as strong a personal connection to the song as Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, she manages to give the song new life with her expressive vocals pounding with reverb and a slow buildup to that heart wrenching chorus. Move over Adele, I think I just found my new breakup song. You can catch Li’s version of “Silver Springs” on the upcoming Fleetwood Mac cover album Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac, released August 14.
“Mean Girls” — Rachel Crow
Finally, an up and coming pop star who doesn’t rely on sex and partying to sell her first single. Fourteen-year-old ex X-Factor contestant Rachel Crow is a breathe of fresh air in the bullying themed music video for “Mean Girls,” off her debut self-titled EP. The video features candid shots of young girls who have been victims of bullying, and Crow gives a heartfelt performance urging her audience to stay strong and never give up. The girl is extremely talented and seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Hopefully future pop stars will learn something from Crow.
“I wish you would” — DJ Khaled ft. Kanye West and Rick Ross Read more…
“Oh Yeah” — Chris Brown ft. 2 Chainz and Snoop Dogg
Between getting into bar fights with Drake’s entourage and leaking a new song, Chris Brown has sure had a busy week. The young rap star just released a new single “Oh Yeah” as a promotional song for his upcoming album Fortune. And while fans might already recognize the single since Breezy released a solo version back in April, this new version enlists the help of his rap buddies 2 Chainz and Snoop Dogg. I listened to both versions and got sick of Brown’s autotuned rapping within the first 30 seconds, but this new version has some extra padding in the form of clear rhymes by the two big name rappers. I would advise you to check out both versions and make your judgments accordingly. Fortune hits shelves on July 3.
”Liquorice” — Azaelia Banks
Azaelia Banks is a “Wild West Liquorice Bitch” (her words, not mine) in the video for her new single “Liquorice.” As usual, her song mashes genres together, this time laying her feisty raps over a retro house/ dance track. The video itself plays out all the stereotypes of a typical western – leather chaps, riding horses alone through a valley, cowgirl on cowgirl showdown, hot dogs, …wait what? Okay, so I lied. The video is anything but typical, and with styling by Nicola Formichetti (of Lady Gaga fame) and direction by fashion photographer Rankin, the video is a must-see.
“The Only Place” — Best Coast Read more…
“Princess of China” — Coldplay ft. Rihanna
Princess of China, the much-anticipated collaboration between Coldplay and Rihanna, was finally released last week with a dramatic, eye-popping music video. I never thought Rihanna and Chris Martin’s voices could complement each other so well but RiRi impressively holds her own with the alternative rockers. The R&B songstress looks amazing in her sexy Asian-inspired outfits, and Chris Martin is a dreamboat as usual, playing Rihanna’s star cross lover. With flying ninja sword fights, desert landscapes, and some amazing on screen chemistry between Chris and Rihanna (hopefully Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t too hard on Chris), the video definitely does the song justice.
“Run” — Flo-Rida ft. RedFoo
Once again, our friend Flo-Rida has taken an 80s classic and turned it into a sexualized pop hit (“Right Round,” anyone?) His new single “Run,” featuring LMFAO’s RedFoo, is a four-minute club banger that samples Bryan Adams’ “Run to You.” It includes Rida’s usual catchy hooks that will get stuck in your head for days, and of course, the chorus is ridden with some clever sexual innuendos. Somewhere, I’m sure Bryan Adams is shaking his head in shame, but the song makes me want to pour myself a shot, throw on some heels, and go out dancing, so it’s an A+ in my books!
“Spectrum (Calvin Harris remix)” — Florence + the Machine Read more…
“Silk Pillow” Childish Gambino ft. Beck
Have I died and gone to heaven? Childish Gambino and Beck in one song? And Beck finally rapping for the first time in six years? Music Gods, you are too kind. This collaboration has all the elements for an eccentric hit. The jam is a little on the somber side, with eerie backing vocals and electric piano chords backing Beck and Gambino’s intellectual rhymes, but in the fashion of both artists, they throw some synth in the mix to bring up the groove factor…amazing!
“Entitled” Leighton Meester ft. Check in the Dark
Leighton Meester decided to take some time off stealing boyfriends and ruining lives (on TV that is) to release a new song, “Entitled.” After skyrocketing to fame by playing Manhattan’s queen bitch Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, Meester launched a pop singing career, with her only memorable hit being “Good Girls Go Bad” with Cobra Starship. I was never a fan of Meester’s music, but I have to eat my words when it comes to “Entitled.” The girl has an impressive set of pipes and the song is just beautiful. It’s worth listening to, and Gossip Girl fans may be a bit surprised to see the girl who plays such a ruthless character can be such a sincere performer.
“We Are Young (cover)” — Alex Clare Read more…
“Reunion (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. remix)” — M83
From Detroit indie-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. comes this remix of M83’s “Reunion,” off their recent album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The remix is a great, toned down version of M83’s heavily 80s-inspired track. Dale Earndhart Jr. Jr. keeps the essence of the track with M83’s signature atmospheric vocals, but adds their own twist with some synth, and a driving beat. Reunion will be officially released later this month and serious fans who buy the disc will be treated to six remixes of the single, including this Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. version.
“Blood Brothers” — Ingrid Michaelson Read more…
“Breath of Life,” Florence and the Machine
The upcoming blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman is set to be released on June 1, and who better to create the lead single for the epic tale than cinematic songstress Florence Welch and her Machine? “Breath of Life” is possibly one of Welch’s most dramatic songs to date, with pounding drums, and a 60-person choir backing Welch’s intense voice. The video for the single shows Welch recording the track in London’s Abbey Road Studios, 60-person choir included, with vivid scenes from the film woven through the recording session. The video looks like an impressive trailer for the Snow White re-interpretation, and I will definitely be forking over 10 dollars or more at the movie theatre to watch it. You can hear “Breath of Life” on the film’s soundtrack, which will be available May 29.
“Part 5: Su-Barbie-a,” Marina and the Diamonds
A few days ago, Marina Diamandis uploaded this gem onto the Marina and the Diamonds YouTube channel. It’s Part 5 of her online video anthology, which exposes the four female archetypes that her new album Electra Heart is based on. The video is a two-minute flurry of various audio clips from old Hollywood films and Barbie doll advertisements all playing over the instrumental track from her song “Valley of the Dolls.” It also features Diamandis in a creepy Stepford-esque outfit standing in front of a perfect house, with her face engulfed in shadows. The next video to be released will be “Part 6: Power and Control.”
“Unnecessary,” Childish Gambino ft. ScHoolboy Q Read more…
Cher Lloyd – Want U Back
“Want U Back” is British pop star Cher Lloyd’s first single in the US and is a great, feisty debut for the 18-year old who competed on The X Factor UK two years ago. The song was originally released as Lloyd’s third single off her album Sticks + Stones, and was re-cut and re-released for her introduction to the US. The music video shows Lloyd confronting her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend in a diner while wreaking havoc all over the place. Apart from looking like an American Apparel advertisement, Lloyd shows off her serious sass and has a great “don’t care” attitude while keeping things PG for the young ones.
Lykke Li – Come Near
Lykke Li’s label Ingrid released a compilation called Volym 1 for international Record Store Day on April 21. The compilation featured Scandinavian artists including Miike Snow, Starlight Serenade, and a brand new track by Lykke Li. “Come Near” is an ethereal tribal inspired track with no apparent hook or chorus, but shows Lykke Li’s raw talent with some creative African inspired wails and drums. Those Swedes are a talented bunch.
Kanye West – Lost in the World
Even though Kanye West’s last album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasies was released over a year ago, the rap superstar teamed up with fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben to create this video masterpiece. His video for Kanye’s “Lost in the World,” which features Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, is stunning and goes far beyond the norm of usual rap aesthetics. It’s an art piece shot in black and white featuring anguished dancing, layering effects, and strobe. Lots of strobe. Whether you’re a Kanye fan or not, this creative video is definitely worth checking out.
Young London – Someone Like You Read more…
Metric – Youth Without Youth
I’ve been a Metric fan since I was 14 so I’ve been waiting anxiously these past three years for some new Metric music and FINALLY “Youth Without Youth” is here to cure my Metric withdrawal! The first single off their upcoming album Synthetica is a great guitar driven track. It’s faster and louder than most of Metric’s other music and it’s nice to hear lead singer Emily Haines using her voice to its full potential. I could see this being a serious song to jam out to during one of their upcoming concerts. You can pick up Synthetica on June 12.
Santigold – Proud Mary
I had the good fortune of seeing Santigold at Coachella and this woman has some serious talent. In her cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s famous “Proud Mary,” Santi White adds her own flavour to the jam. Instead of a straight up cover of the song, she adds some synth, African beats, and belts the song in her own robotic style. I’m loving this new take on a classic track.
Foster the People – Houdini Read more…
Dragonette – Let It Go
After lead singer Martina Sorbara’s stints with Martin Solveig offering her distinct vocals on “Hello” and “Big in Japan,” Canadian electronic band Dragonette is back with a new single “Let It Go” and an upcoming album with the same name. We know we’ve got a hit on our hands since Laidback Luke has already remixed the track. If you’re a Dragonette fan, you won’t be disappointed.
Mayer Hawthorne ft. Rizzle Kicks – The Walk
Off Mayer Hawthorne’s second studio album How Do You Do, “The Walk” is a mashup of funk /soul and indie pop, and is pretty much about telling a heartbreaker to f**k off. The harsh lyrics combined with smooth vintage trumpets and old school beat makes this song absolutely charming. British hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks appear on the record lending their sweet English accents as well. One listen and I guarantee you’ll fall in love. Read more…
Here’s your weekly dose of music to help you get through a rough week, as prescribed by Azra Kassam.
Hey Ocean! – Cover of Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains)
First Soulwax, now Hey Ocean! Sprawl II is turning into a pretty popular song to play around with! The Vancouver band breaks down this elaborate song into an acoustic rendition with some beautiful harmony that showcases Ashleigh Ball’s sweet voice brilliantly. If you’re an Arcade Fire fan like me I guarantee you’ll be impressed. [ChartAttack]
The Ting Tings – Soul Killing
If you’re familiar with the band, you’ll know The Ting Ting’s electro-pop signature style. Soul Killing, the first single off their newest album, “Sounds from Nowheresville,” is a great reggae-esque tune reminiscent of No Doubt in the old days. It sounds nothing like their past album but shows that the duo have more to them than catchy beats and obnoxious yelling.