ILoveMakonnen (aka Makonnen Sheran) is streaming his best single since 2014’s “Wishing You Well”. It’s called “Side 2 Side.” The rapper has been releasing a number of lesser tracks during the year and he continued his mix-tape series “Drink More Water 6” before taking a break from the pace of pushing out all that music. This time around, ILoveMakonnen is rapping about the highs and lows of hanging out with his boys and the life that finds him singing the catchy Drank-infused chorus, “Side to side / That potion got me leanin’ / Side to side” and one verse about living fast and hard: “I been trippin’ / I been dippin’ / I been fuckin’ sellin’ dope / I been out here with my white friends / They been movin’ all this coke / We been on them fuckin’ boats / I been playin’ on this ship / I been feelin’ like I’m ballin’ / Need the ring, championship.” Note: Lyrics are unofficial. Follow ILoveMakonnen at twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
I like the new direction a number of indie artists are going in, highlighting their love for pop and catchy tunes over their more esoteric stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the more experimental, but it’s good to take a break and have some fun. That appears to be what happened with Dum Dum Girls’ frontwoman Kristin Welchez’s new moniker (Kristin Kontrol) and her pretty record “X-Communicate”. And it also appears to be the direction of the ladies at Warpaint with their cheekily titled dance-track “New Song”, which will be featured on the band’s upcoming LP release Heads Up, out 23rd September. This is the first new single we’ve heard from the band since 2014’s self-titled release and bassist Jenny Lee Linberg’s underrated right on! (2015) — David D. Robbins Jr
Massive Attack released an eerie but cool video for one of their latest tracks “Come Near Me” featuring Ghostpoet. This tense video, written and directed by Ed Morris, shows a man walking one step forward and a woman walking one back, staying equidistant throughout different locales. The song and video are a follow up to a four-track EP released back in January of this year called Ritual Spirit. Earlier this week, Massive Attack previewed three new songs on their mobile app Fantom. Two of those songs, “The Spoils” (feat. Hope Sandoval) and now “Come Near Me”, have been officially released on streaming services. Note: Images are screen captures from the video. — David D. Robbins Jr.
I’m a bit late to this track, but I love it. This Charlotte Cardin song, “Big Boy”, feels like where Esthero was coming from with her 1988 luxury “Breath from Another”. Cardin’s recent release is all about a used love and is sexy as hell with its lyrics about kissed necks and R&B-infused indie slinking. The singer-songwriter teases with the opening line of possibility: “Maybe if I spell it, big boy, you’ll take me out proper.” The rest of the EP (of the samed name) is just as good, with “Talk Talk” being the highlight of the album. She’s got a strong but deep-throated rasp not unlike the great Angela McCluskey. Follow Cardin on twitter and facebook. Note: Photo: John Londono. — David D. Robbins Jr.
How great is this new Wilco track? This song has been on heavy rotation in my apartment. Wilco busted out a kind of late-60s Beatles sound (think Revolver) with their first new single, “Locator”, since last year’s release Star Wars. The song features heavy, scuzzy guitar with feedback and lyrics about a big brother culture told through lines about an inescapable omnipresent eye like a GPS for all humanity. “Locator” is available for free through the band’s website (in exchange for an email address). Follow Wilco at twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
We should just declare San Francisco artist Sean Hayes a national treasure — an underappreciated one, that’s for sure. The guy’s been making fantastic music for awhile now, tweaking his sound here and there, blending his folky-soul with everything he’s picked up around the Bay Area, and singing his heart out amid a West Coast circuit. There are only so many artists who are as pure a songwriters as Hayes — who can easily place himself into the canon with musicians like AA Bondy, Joe Henry, Joey Kneiser and even Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. He’s that good. But don’t look for him on sites like Pitchfork and Spin or hitting the next lat-mnight show — at least not yet anyway. But if there’s any justice in this world, perhaps his audience will expand beyond the dedicated group who know what they’ve been lucky enough to hear for the past decade and a half. The syrupy-paced “Love That Woman” is the first real single his fans have heard since his 2012 LP release, Before We Turn To Dust. The new song will be featured on his upcoming recording Low Light, out August 19th. Without hearing the record, it’s easy to understand why the record is called Low Light — because Hayes has been singing in it throughout his career. He sings songs for the lovelorn, the contemplative, the romantic and the soulful that best love the dawn. Note: Follow Sean Hayes on facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.