Back in February, Glendale’s mAsis released the single, “Make Me Higher”, a soft slow-jam with quiet electronics and gorgeous high falsetto. That single is the lead to a new three-song EP called “Kennesaw”. The new tracks, “Pop Rocks” and “Salt” are just as good. The former is a more sultry, electronic R&B style reminiscent of some of the more sensual jj tracks. It’s a relationship song fueled by these sweet lyrics: “Take off your shoes at the door / Come and lay with me / I have something to say / Don’t walk out the door / You’ll be making the biggest mistake …” Where “Pop Rocks” stands out as a moody and atmospheric song, “Salt” is a bit more visceral, about the velvety vocal stylings, upbeat tempo and musical transitions. It’s a beautiful beginning for a group that seemed to come from out of nowhere. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Wilsen is streaming a pretty, new song, “Garden”, the first track from off the band’s upcoming LP to be released later this year. The track was produced and mixed by Ben Baptie. There’s a good deal going on here, the track opening with a kind of stuttered metronome, acoustic finger-picking ala Jose Gonzalez-style, and a warped instrumental, like merry-go-round music in reverse. It’s multi-textured without feeling like the experimentation for the sake of itself. Tamsin Wilson’s vocals are soft but confident. Follow the band at facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
The beats are iron. The drops are heavy. The delivery hard. The most clever rap lyric in Haleek Maul’s new song “Kingdom Come” (Prod. By DKAD & Shy Guy) is the repeat at the end of the chorus, about what sounds like an observation made in contemplating a life of 24-7 drinking and clubbing his way down the rabbit hole: “It’s been so long since I heard my own thoughts.” There are some great end rhymes: “They swimming in while I float / I’m slitin’ ’em by the throat.” This track is hard-driving, and I hear a little bit of Tupac influence in the first verses, where Maul sings “nigga chill” and ends his verses in a rising cadence. It’s been over two years since the last time I wrote about a video our friend Jamie Harley created for Haleek Maul’s dark track, “Fraulein”. Since then he’s been on a track with Saul Williams and created a song called “Brainscan” which featured Jacques. Follow Haleek Maul at twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Meg Baird is streaming a new song, “Counterfeiters”, from off her upcoming June 23rd Drag City release, Weigh Down The Light. It’s a soft, contemplative folk song just this side of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The song expands into beyond the textured guitar, carried by caressing harmonized vocals that ease into what sounds like a drowsy saw. It’s a gorgeous trip into the open prairie spaces. The Drag City promo paragraph describes the music on the forthcoming album as “songs of memory and forgetting … within the architecture of shimmering guitars and melancholy light … razor sharp edge of her voice in your bones.” This record is the San Francisco artist and Espers’ lead singer’s third solo effort, following 2011’s Season On Earth. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Kidä has a beautiful sound. She calls it experimental R&B, and that’s about as apt a description as you’ll get. Of course, there’s the sweetness of her voice, which you can hear when she sings “baby, baby, baby” on a track she posted a few months ago called “Diälogue”. I mention that older track because in listening to her new song, “Door to the Cosmos” (Prod. by Natty Reeves), I also went back to the three other songs she’s streaming via soundcloud. What I heard in “Diälogue” was the lushness of the lounge, but also a kind of refreshing eclecticism that’s refreshing to hear in R&B-based music. It feels like a love song, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just another slow jam. If you listen closely, you’ll hear its sumptuous textures. There’s that warped synth breathing life into soft bass thumps that punctuate like a heartbeat. But it’s how the song’s tone blends with the intelligence and elegance of the lyrics that sets it apart. Kidä sings the thrust of the chorus in a kind of broken staccato, like someone daring a potential lover: “I need somebody / To translate / My language / Do you speak to me?” It’s a song with non-traditional R&B imagery, like the Milky Way (just one of many head nods to the stars in her songs), dreams and dancing in the cosmos. “Door to the Cosmos” is another song for those that love the dim light, but there’s a kind of pretty sedateness to it that’s different than “Diälogue”. Partly that’s because the music and the vocals play at an almost equal volume, with Kidä gliding her sensual phonetics across a slowly-quickening beat like lip gloss across a slightly-parted mouth. It’s futuristic, jazzy, digital, and sexy as hell. You can follow Kidä at facebook and twitter. Note: Photo comes from the artist’s instagram page. — David D. Robbins Jr.