Last month, Brooklyn’s Small Black announced an upcoming release Best Blues, streaming the first single “Boys Life.” Now there’s a second track, “No One Wants It To Happen To You.” The latter has a more distinct club beat than its predecessor and a darker tone, but both songs’ strengths rest in the build-up to pretty overlapping rhythms: “We live in the dark / We do what we can / The rest is up to them.” Best Blues is out October 16 on Jagjaguwar. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Wicked. Always enjoy e-mails with links to music like this. FKA twigs is streaming her new EP titled M3LL155X, featuring five songs: “Figure 8”, “I’m Your Doll”, “In Time”, “Glass & Patron” and “Mothercreep”. Four of the songs, excluding the latter, are accompanied by a video directed by FKA twigs. It’s a fascinating listen. My favorite track is “In Time” — with that addictive chorus that kicks in at the 9:50 mark (along with some old-school synchronized dancing). Just wait until you hear FKA twigs rattle off the verse: “I’ve been feeling the same / In the club / In the rave /Everyday, everyday.” Be sure to check out her tour, with these three upcoming dates: August 23: FYF Festival 2015, Los Angeles Calif.; Sept. 4-6: Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Ireland; Sept. 11: Bestival, Isle Of White, UK. Follow FKA twigs on twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
North Oakland duo Main Attrakionz is back with a 12-song LP 808’s and Dark Grapes III, and one of the best tracks on it is called “My Story”. Fitting the duo’s style, the instrumentals are laid back and floating, with an elegant Japanese influence — with some kind of instrument that sounds like a koto. It’s ironic that this slow and mellow vibe is accented with lyrics about time and the urgency felt to do what one needs to do — in this case tell a story via music: “I couldn’t sit there and watch my time steady ticking on the clock …” Follow Main Attrakionz at facebook. The new record is out now via Vapor Records. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Keep Him” is the feathery and quietly soulful new lead single from It’s Love, The Legends’ fifth studio LP. There’s nothing much to the track on its surface, but there’s no denying its soothing sound, a salve for the heartbroken soul. Johan Angergård’s whispered vocals offer up a kind of quiet reflection, tailing off into pillowy keyboard, punctuating verses with soft sighs like air loosed. It’s Love is due June 30 on Cascine. Follow The Legends at facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Alessia Cara’s single “Here” is already on my list of ‘Best Songs So Far …’ this year, and if you haven’t heard that one yet you can hear her intimate and stripped-down version of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”. Sure, the song was originally written and performed by The Zutons, off their album Tired of Hanging Around (2006), but many will most-likely remember it as a song featuring the late singer-songwriter, which appeared on Mark Ronson’s Version (2007). It’s a bold move to from Cara, defining a kind of natural lineage in trying her hand at a song associated with a singer whose inimitable voice gilded notes into utterances and jazzy bends more often than singing songs straight out. Sure, the jazz quality is muted without electric guitar, a horns section, and drummer — but there’s a beauty to this version, in part because it sounds so heartfelt, paying a quiet soulful homage as equally as it puts Cara’s own stamp on the song, which has always sounded as Motown as Barry Gordy to me. Follow Alessia Cara on twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Stockholm-based TVÅ are streaming two pretty bubblegum electro-pop songs, “Keep Me a Secret” and the more upbeat and catchy “Always Be”. Sometimes it’s good not to have any sharp edges. “Always Be” is pretty straight forward, danceable, well-rounded pop music. But it’s the exactness of the track that sets it apart from the rest, with its acute club beat, golden floating piano chords, glimmering double-tracked lead vocals (with a slight reverb) and the no-nonsense quality of the lyrics about a steadfast love in the face of hardship: “Baby, if you want me in your life / I will always be / If you want me in your arms / I will always be.” Their sound is like a lighter, breathier Everything But the Girl. These two tracks are out via CSCN, Cascine’s singles label. TVÅ is the duo of Marcus Andersson Lara Andersson. Follow them at facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.