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.
Grimes "We Appreciate Power"
There are a lot of layers to the video game metaphor Grimes plays with in her new single. Those disembodied "perfect" female bodies that make up a faux menu option are skewering Gamergate and the notoriously unfriendly-to-women game industry, while the song itself skewers our political system and the annals of power that allowed for years of oppression against marginalised people. At the same time, Grimes creates a new definition of her own power with those masculine guitars in the song, All the while, she attempts to accumulate power of her own in the pop star game. If we appreciate power, how do we feel about the system?
Yola "Ride Out In The Country"
Sometimes, a nice cold bottle of soda and a vintage truck will do the trick. Yola takes us out to the country to — wait, bury some bodies? This video takes a sharp left turn from that easy country vibe, but damn it's a nice song with that slow, warm feel that life needs from time to time.
Lily & Madeline "Self Care"
While we're on the "slow and warm" music trend, take a listen to Lily & Madeline. This piano-driven breakup ballad will break your heart, but only into two big pieces and not a million tiny ones. Sometimes a breakup is in your best interest. This duo encapsulates discovering that idea in the form of a gorgeous song.
Lexie Liu "Sleep Away"
Lexie Liu wants to be China's next breakout star and if this is what she's working with musically, then I say, bring it on. I love the grand, sweeping backing track and how she flexes between rapping and singing in both Chinese and English. Our ears like when we don't quite know what is coming next in music and my ears are very into Liu.
Dounia feat. Kehlani "Rich Girl Mood"
Why is SoundCloud rap so much more interesting when women do it? Dounia and Kehlani are making a case for saying "screw it" to all your problematic faves and blaring their rich girl mood instead. The music on this track is full of the expected genre tropes: minor keys, a sped-up and sparse drum track, and minimalism. The "rich girl" chorus and those fluttery voices together make it unique, levelling up the normal sleepiness of this new arm of rap into something more mysterious and compelling.