Santigold "Run the Road"
Ring the alarm, Santigold has been gone for too long. Her all-too-welcome return with her new mixtape, I Don't Want: The Gold Fire Sessions. The sound layering on this track, especially with her vocals, really grabs me. It's like being dropped in a gorgeous swirling vortex of sounds. A Santigold tornado, if you will. There's some Jamaican dancehall influence in the beats and the sound effects, mixed with a touch of Swedish-inspired pop in the backing vocal arrangements and that something special (I think it's the live drums) that makes it feel like its got a toe in the New York City indie rock scene. She does a super job of marrying disparate influences into a highly enjoyable track.
Charli XCX "Girls Night Out"
I'm such a sucker for Charli XCX. Her left field song lyrics, her out of the mainstream production, and her unabashed girliness come together to make her such a delight. This track is flirting with Madonna's "Celebration" in the way the vocals are arranged and with those retro sounds, but dirties the sentiment up with some absolutely nasty beats. Um, can I be invited to the girls night out?
King Princess "Holy"
Watching this video was like watching an artist level up in sophistication right before my eyes. She wowed me with "1950," which is just a killer song, but the visuals paired with "Holy" are a fascinating read on evolving ideas of beauty and sexuality. The shot compositions frequently put King Princess in the place of famous art: she's literally a painting hung on a gallery wall, done in Renaissance style but updated with modern clothes. The Renaissance reference is a nice touch that circles back to the idea of holiness, as much of that art was about exhausting religion. But casting yourself as a woman in a painting that looks back (plus those "girl in a pearl earring-esque shots in the white lace dress) is a strong statement about women not just being art to be evaluated, but having a gaze of their own. I didn't know that I could like King Princess more, but somehow I do.
Herizen "Social Jungle"
If you recognize Herizen from Baz Luhrman's The Get Down, then you'll go into this track with some notion of what to expect from her vocally. If not, you're in for a treat. Her laconic delivery on the verses will lull you into one idea of what this song is, but when the beat picks up and hurries her along in the verse, you can immediately hear there is a different thing going on. Could there be a more biting lyric than, "Ain't got no filter on your selfie?" Truly, this is "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To" for the Instagram generation.
IDER "You've Got Your Whole Life"
How about something uplifting? IDER made a lovely quarter life crisis song. This is a must-hit-play on it track for anyone who is freaking out about money, their job, or things not quite going like they expected in life. You, more than all of us, need someone to croon softly in your ear that you've still got you're whole life ahead of you and that you don't have to stress on today's problems. It's amazing how much better a major chord will make you feel.
After my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to matchmake people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you're listening to this week.