What I’m Listening To: Week 3

by Stephen

1. LockJaw – French Montana (feat. Kodak Black)

The visuals fit the tunes in “LockJaw”, a new single by French Montana that features Kodak Black, an up-and-coming rapper. “LockJaw” is a song that’s meant to be driven to. The sharp drum beats kick in with punctuation. The moody ambient track empties the headspace. And the seamless back and forth between Kodak and French seem to transition smoother than the old-school vehicle they’re cruising in. Here in this song, there seems to be effortless chemistry between the two. While Kodak raps like he’s on one, French clears out Kodak’s lyrical daze with an acute, pointed delivery. And it’s that contrast that sets up an sonically inviting contrast present throughout the entirety of this song.

Watch the music video for “LockJaw” below:

2. Casual Party – Band of Horses

“Casual Party” is the first single off of Band of Horses’ new album of the same name. The song plays with a modern coastal rock vibe reminiscent of bands such as Surfer Blood, Best Coast and Delta Spirit. A straight-arrow rock song coated with a well-finished pop sheen, “Casual Party” is a welcomed change of pace and sound from the band.

3. All We Ever Knew – The Head and the Heart

Another rousing track by a traditionally quiet band; “All We Ever Knew”is a new single by The Head and The Heart that hits its listeners with a robust wall of sound. Combining a plethora of instruments ranging from the piano, violins, guitars and drums, The Head and The Heart craft a vivid and enjoyable melody here. Moreover, the chorus of voices rounds out the song with a fuller bang that leaves us with a better understand of what to expect from their upcoming album, Signs of Light (to be released in September 2016).

4. Gangsta Shit – Young Thug

Young Thug is a weirdo in the genre of rap and that’s a great thing to be if it’s done well. See Kendrick Lamar and his alien sounding voices,  Earl Sweatshirt with his minimalist-style rapping and Tyler the Creator for being, well, Tyler the Creator. After listening to “Gangsta Shit”, Young Thug deserves his place amongst this group of misfit hip-hop artists. And this categorization is due to the way he shapes his lyrics in the context and structure of a rap song. In tandem with the beats, second and third interspersed vocals, there’s always been a bit of a chaotic ambiance to his standout tracks. Just listen to Jamie XX’s track, “I Know Theres Gonna Be (Good Times)” for a good example of that chaotic melody and lyricism. Nevertheless, it’s that lyrical “clutter” that somehow melds into cohesion by the end that makes “Gangsta Shit” effortlessly sounding while maintaining its head-bopping catchiness.

5. I Need A Forest Fire – James Blake (feat. Bon Iver)

Bon Iver just announced that he will be performing a set of all new music at his Eaux Claires festival. Not surprising in the least bit seeing how active he’s been this year with his Asia tour. However, this isn’t Bon Iver’s first feature on a James Blake track. They’ve collaborated before on a song entitled “Fall Creek Boys Choir“, another whispery, electronic track . The duo’s follow-up track, “I Need A Forest Fire”, is a single off of James Blake’s newest album, The Colour in Anything. To expect anything less than a heavily falsetto laden song is folly. Taking a minimalist approach in everything but the vocals, the song shines as it allow for James Blake and Justin Vernon’s voices to cut through the track’s foggy moodiness.

6. C’mon – Big Gigantic (feat. GRiZ)

I was never big into the EDM scene but songs like “C’mon” by Big Gigantic convince me every so often to re-dabble with that music scene. The combination of the bombastic horns, high-powered synth and the concluding sax solo makes for a plain fun listen. And that’s all there is to it with “C’mon”. There’s no fuss here to be made about it. It’s just a straightforward, honest-to-God banger of a song.

7. Burn – The Temper Trap

We’ve come a long way since that scene in 500 Days of Summer where The Temper Trap slid into our ears with the effervescently catchy “Sweet Disposition“. Nearly seven years later, “Burn” is one of three featured tracks off of The Temper Trap’s newly released third album, Thick as Thieves. Here, “Burn” is easily the best track off of the new album. Crisp and clean, the song is a modern rock anthem that soars on the backs of its main vocals and chorus. It’s a stadium rock song with quiet moments that crescendo back into feelings of euphoria within just a few seconds.