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.
AlunaGeorge feat. Cautious Clay "Superior Emotion"
It's so easy to get obsessed with the voice of Aluna Francis, the vocalist in AlunaGeorge. Her voice is complimented here by verses from Cautious Clay, who brings a less polished edge to a track that is all polished edges and high tones. "Super Emotion" invites you to step into a world of tension that glistens with expectation; beautifully capturing that feeling of longing that love can bring.
Black Belt Eagle Scout "Indians Never Die"
Get lost in this gorgeous song by Black Belt Eagle Scout, a.k.a. indigenous queer musician Katherine Paul. It was inspired by the events at Standing Rock and written, Paul explains in a press release, as "a call out to colonizers and those who don’t respect the Earth; they don’t care about the water, they don’t care about how they are destroying what is around them." There's so much about the song that is haunting and tragic; the minor chords remind me of early Cat Power arrangements while her repetition of the phrase "wasting, wasting, wasting away" is bookended with questions to those who would destroy native land. The lilting guitar chord progression in the song's pre-chorus offers a bit of hope in the darkness.
Ari Lennox "Whipped Cream"
Ari Lennox sings about a familiar moment: when you're killing time (possibly indulging your sweet tooth) and waiting for your love to come back to you. The feeling of limbo invades her voice (just listen to her delivery on "Wish I didn't care"), but it's paired with a classic driving soul beat that keeps the song marching forward — the same way life does whether you hide away from it or not.
Kodie Shane "Sing to Her"
Kodie Shane is a 19-year-old phenomenon from Atlanta whose name you are going to want to remember. One listen to "Sing to Her" will make it completely clear why. Shane has a quick wit with her bars and is completely unique in her delivery. She raps with a slowed-down tempo, in a style that reeks of Southern influence. That sped-up beat on the chorus keeps pulling me back in to this track, though. Putting it on repeat.
Closing out this week with another duo, this time it's Venice Beach and Brooklyn based EXES. Singer Allie McDonald has a voice that reminds me a bit of Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches, but the beats producer Mike Derenzo pair with it are much more in the vein of Jimmy Tamborello of the Postal Service. Their aesthetics are an appealing melding of cynical and light, with her darker tones making the summery California washes over the music feel that much more chill.