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. Get everything I've recommended this year on Spotify, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and leave a comment below telling me what you're listening to this week.
Normani & 6LACK "Waves"
"Thank god for the weekend," Normani sings, opening "Waves." The line is accompanied by a beat that sounds like a more raw version of what The Weeknd himself might be drawn to. That raw edge isn't wasted as she uses it to rough up her usually smooth delivery while singing about a shitty relationship. Throw this one on your playlist for that moment when you're in between a peak and a valley in your own relationship, or just on the verge of a breakup.
Karen O & Danger Mouse "Lux Prima"
I am forever fascinated by my queen Karen O, but this track is wayyyyyyyy out there. It's the debut from their collaborative album, coming in 2019. The duo say they wrote it while in search of a place more than a sound and once you hit play that actually makes sense. It's got roots to Pink Floyd's sweeping, dramatic sound to nicely fit any exploration, be it interior or exterior. Take a listen, and add a little wonder to your life.
Lauren Jenkins "Maker's Mark and You"
I normally shy away from country songs that put a brand of booze (or drinking at all) in the title; it's a cliche that not a lot of people have anything worthwhile to add to. But this track from Lauren Jenkins is musically so damn good and, well, pure that I was immediately drawn to it. Her breathy delivery of the word "Maker's," cooed almost in a whisper, is not the typical rumination on alcohol. Way to take something so very, very old and make it new again.
Ayanis "Wait A Minute"
Yes, please draw me in with your vocal callback to the New Jack swing gem "Too Close" by Next and then hit me with a song I cannot get out of my head, Ayanis. This is the template that Diddy built in '95. It's nice to see a woman using it in 2018 and finding a way to make it new and exciting.
Rosie Carney "Zoey"
Be careful: this haunting track may follow you around for days after you press play. Rosie Carney is an Irish singer/songwriter, as her style will make obvious immediately. It's written as an ode to her mother, who stepped into the role of caretaker when her grandmother became ill with dementia. A story that personal can't be told without a lot of love and care. And those etherial harmonies you hear on this track come courtesy of Lisa Hannigan, a fellow Irish woman who spun off a solo career after a time backing up the Irish ballader Damien Rice.