Soundcheck: The 35 Best Music Releases Of The Week
Willow Smith, Kevin Abstract, Princess Nokia + more
Photo via @willowsmith Instagram
Every weekend, we’re bringing you #SOUNDCHECK—your new destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that aux cord. This week’s round features 35 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Willow Smith, Kevin Abstract, Princess Nokia, and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.
"November 9"— Willow Smith
Of all the terrible things to come out of the election results, Willow Smith's response is not one of them. Containing lyrics like "suppression and pain are not everything," the melodic, riff-backed track shows significant growth from Smith as an artist; a full coming into her own and into her place in the world. It's short, less than two minutes long, but in the face of everything that's been going on in the past few weeks, it feels like a warm hug.
American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story— Kevin Abstract
After months of waiting, we finally get to consume the masterpiece from this visionary Texan who's bending all sorts of societal norms. This album is packed with 16 dynamic tracks that will hold your attention from start to finish.
"Kitana"— Princess Nokia
Unapologetically rough around the edges, Princess Nokia is not letting anybody disrespect her on this track. Not only can she talk tough, but her girl gang shows just how badass they are.
If we could wait four years for this record to drop, we'll get through a Trump presidency. Besides, at least we have something groovy to dance to. Shout-outs to French producers for always showing us a good time!
"My Little Alien"— Kate Nash
Surprise! Kate Nash just dropped an obscenely cute song and video without warning, titled "My Little Alien." It's a fuzzy love song, and most of the video is spent with a dog. And it's a cute dog. Who doesn't like watching a cute dog for a few minutes, really? Either way, the happy-go-lucky track is certain to brighten up your day.
Rising star OnCue just released the neon-lit video for his track "3AM" and, well, the only word that can really describe it is sexy. Because damn, it's sexy. The mood lighting along with the lyrics makes this a perfect video for those kinds of late nights.
"Blow You Up"— Yogi feat. AlunaGeorge & Less is Moore
Aluna Francis exudes power, and in this video for her collaboration with Yogi, the full potential of that power is completely realized. The singer-songwriter looks and sounds like she's ready to kick some serious ass, and I'm almost sure she is. Her vocals mesh with Yogi's track perfectly—the duo has already worked together on her album, and on this collab it's his turn to take the spotlight. Although he takes a back seat in the video, this collab is definitely equal, and it showcases the best side of each artist.
"Us"— Anna of the North
When a song has been streamed over 3,000,000 times on Spotify, you can assume there's something about it that reaches people. Such is the case with Anna of the North's recent hit, "Us." The video was just premiered by W Magazine, and showcases the same relatable intimacy and confusion surrounding it that makes "Us" so popular. The duo's statement regarding the video and song says it perfectly: "It's about a relationship between two people with a really strong connection. When it’s so good it’s bad for you. All of us have had that special person you'll never forget where the timing wasn't right."
"Pipe Dreams"— Nelly Furtado
Ahead of her upcoming album The Ride, which is due out March 3 of next year, Nelly Furtado reminds us what we missed about the Canadian singer-songwriter. Between the spaced-out vibes and psychadelic sounds you can't help but get lost in her latest single about living out your fantasies.
"Monopoly"— EASYFUN feat. Noonie Bao
We couldn't think of a better song to kick off our weekend festitivities—or at least to help us get there when we realize that it's only Wednesday. This infectious track signals the release of EASYFUN's latest compilation, PC Music Vol. 2, out now, which means we'll have it on a loop this entire weekend, and probably far past that.
"Eyes Wide Shut"— DESSERT
This L.A.-based trio will awaken you with their latest single, keeping your eyes anything but shut. With just a taste of their upbeat tempos and catchy rythyms you'll be asking for a second serving when it's over.
"Bury Me (Remix)"— The Skins feat. D.R.A.M., Lil Yachty, Nessly, and Jazz Cartier
If three is a crowd and four is a party, then this track is an all-night-into-the-morning-no-regrets-rager because it brings together the quintent that is The Skins plus the musical forces of not one, but four other hip-hop powerhouses. Don't miss out on this full house super jam.
"Hot Is the Fire"— Alex Izenberg
A notorious recluse, Izenberg's music can only be described as the result of hours spent in slight isolation. Deep and modified vocals lay upon fun and childish beats in this track, making listeners feel as if they've transported to an alternate reality where updated and psychadelic versions of Wild West culture are the norm. The singer-songwriter's album drops this Friday, so pick it up for more alternate reality musical experiences.
"Too Far"— Laurel
This London-based indie pop star is continuing her rise to the top of the game with "Too Far." At just 22, Laurel channels powerful vocals (think Florence Welch and Kate Nash) throughout the entirety of this slow indie rock track. If Laurel's not yet included on your playlists, then go add her immediatley. It's okay, we'll wait. Stream her Park EP here.
"Crave"— Pharrell Williams
Just when we couldn't get more excited about the release of the film Hidden Figures (hello, black girl magic) we found out that Pharrell's curating the movie's corresponding album. "Crave," one of the soundtrack's standout singles, exists as a celebration, delivered to us through catchy vintage beats, on point scatting and Motown inspiration in the vocals.
"Trust Nobody"— Cashmere Cat feat. Selena Gomez & Torey Lanez
Our favorite Norweigan producer ventured into the deep end with "Trust Nobody." Casually exploring the notion of trust in relationships through catchy verses and club beats, Cashmere Cat makes us rethink just how much we really trust our significant others right now. The video for the slow pop anthem, depicting dependent choreography, drives home our concerns. Maybe we should check up on our partner's social media now?
"Lavender"— BADBADNOTGOOD feat. KAYTRANADA
Void of vocals, this Canadian quartet's track and accompanying video provides some serious suspense for all those looking to subject themselves to low budget comedy-horror this weekend. A cross between an absurdist infomercial and a black comedy, the video's whole premise revolves around a murderous game of the cult classic, Dungeons and Dragons, duh. BADBADNOTGOOD's accompanying electronica definitely ups the drama. Tune in for submersion into their odd cultish environment.
Project 11— Jorja Smith
Trying to spend this weekend sobbing, staring into the void, or sitting on your couch alone downing carton after carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream? Definitely don't do it in silence. Blast this 19-year-old singer's soulful tracks while indulging in the blues to maximize the drama, making your small post-election breakdown feel like a melancholy scene from a mid '00s rom-com.
"Stay Young"— NE-HI
Chicago's rising rock group NE-HI just dropped this completely nostalgic and indie film-inspired video for their single "Stay Young" and can we just say, we're slightly tempted to travel back to our high school days right now. This three-and-a-half minute long track places energetic punk vocals over enchanting celebrations of youth culture, making us hit play constantly.
"Penthouse Floor"— John Legend feat. Chance The Rapper
Our favorite dad in the music industry teamed up with President Obama's favorite rapper on the most recent single off his upcoming album, Darkness and Light. Perfect for easy listening, the track features everything from simple beats and silky vocals to Chance's best knock-knock jokes (yeah, you read that right).
"Maniac"— Jhené Aiko
On top of planning another Twenty88 project with Big Sean, this singer-songwriter just released a new single of her own. As her first offering since the release of her debut EP Souled Out, the sultry track is only the first taste of what's to come.
"Redbone"— Childish Gambino
"Redbone" is the second track to be unveiled from Childish Gambino's forthcoming album, Awaken, My Love! Listen at your own discretion—the groovy track will be stuck in your head for days!
"WAITING (Getting on this train)"— PAULi
Reconciliation is not the move in London artist PAULi's latest track. Mixing together a slew of beats, the musician delivers the message of letting go of a toxic relationship that will suit any tempo.
"Nothin'"— Syd Tha Kyd
Syd Tha Kyd strengthens her resolve to give life her all in this ode to self assurance. Set over melodic beats and delivered with silken vocals, this track is one to bring you up when you are feeling low.
"500 Horses"— Cousin Stizz
The Boston native Cousin Stizz releases his visual to this come up anthem. Featuring fast cars, weed-filled jars, and an entire squad of day ones, this video is just another day in the life when you are on your way to making it.
"Redemption"— Dawn Richard
Dawn Richard's highly anticipated album Redemption is finally out! The singer has completely revolutionized her sound, hitting soul, techno, and R&B notes in this latest work. It's definitely something to check out.
"You Should Know"— Samuel Larsen
Heavily inspired by the sexually liberated vibes of the '70s, Samuel Larsen gets us all the way into the mood with his latest video.
"Slumber Party"— Britney Spears feat. Tinashe
Britney Spears throws a slumber party for her latest music video off her ninth studio album “Glory.” Fellow pop royalty Tinashe is invited and the collab turns a simple sleepover into fantasy slumber party goals.
"Snowday"— Yoke Lore
As we all prepare to make the trip back home to our parents' house for the holidays, Yoke Lore is the first one back in his hometown with this video reminding us of the gratitude that is sometimes lost between child and parent.
“Love For Everyone”— Courtship
You deserve it all and you can have it all right now. Courtship’s latest disco-inflected bop is ceaselessly hopeful and is a wonderful way to go into the wild weekend.
Serious EP— Anna Straker
Anna Straker is fast becoming one of the most exciting musicians to watch. She packs British cool with an elevated sense of electronic productions. She’s captivating and entirely hypnotizing. This is mandatory nighttime listening.
“Saint Claude (Tourist Remix)”— Christine and the Queens
Tourist has gone and taken Christine and the Queens’ blissful song of longing and added a cosmic production of glittery chimes, synths, chorus chords, and dance beats that will have you grooving with tears in your eyes.
“Easy on the Game”— MELD
MELD is fresh on the scene, but you best believe the waves she’s making are big. “Easy on the Game” is rich with soul. MELD’s sound is straight-up comforting, a thing we all need more of these days.
“Postcards”— Equal feat. Sam Island
There’s a timeless quality to “Postcards.” It sounds like wanderlust. Perhaps that’s why the narrative of life post-breakup works so well. There itch to find clarity and start new, and this track knows that too well.
"Minnesota"— Lil Yatchy
The tune we just can't seem to get out of our head now has a video that we won't be able to stop watching to match! Lil Yatchy and his sailboats show that an ice rink is a perfectly appropriate place for the turn up.