Ever since my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to match 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.
Sharon Van Etten "Seventeen"
If you spent your teens or 20s in New York City and have since seen it change so wildly that you don't even recognise it because all your favourite spots have been razed to the ground or replaced with a Duane Reade, then you will instantly connect with Sharon Van Etten's video for "Seventeen." The track is an ode to youth and innocence lost, and the wisdom gained in the ensuing years. The video, on the other hand, is a gutting commentary on a city like NYC that is constantly changing — you can't revisit the places you used to go except in your memories.
Ex Hex "Cosmic Cave"
This week brought a plethora of exciting news for women in rock: Sleater-Kinney is dropping their first new album since 2015, produced by St. Vincent; indie rock supergroup trio Ex Hex (Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris) are back with another LP in March, a taste of which dropped this week (it's part power pop and part riffs for days). The 2018 trend of women ruling indie rock is still going strong in 2019.
Raiche's latest single feels like getting a glimpse into the very private hell of a breakup, cushioned by her soulful worldview. Her lyrics touch on the struggle of weighing desire against pride, one that everyone who has gone through a breakup has to face, and her soft "oh oh oh" on the chorus is a great vocal arrangement. You can almost hear her heart breaking.
Ariana and the Rose "Night Owl"
If Robyn's brand of cerebral pop music appeals to you, then Ariana and the Rose is right up your alley. There's a Europop beat that kicks in at the chorus, which is itself a Katrina & the Waves "Walking on Sunshine"-indebted musical treat. Add this one to your good times/happy place playlist of bops.
Lauren Jauregui "More Than That"
I get more and more intrigued with Lauren Jauregui's forthcoming solo LP with every new track that I hear. The production on this track is gorgeous, both sparse and lush, like a feminized take of a Migos production. Jauregui raps as much as she sings, allowing the unique raspiness of her voice to shine. There are even hints of Beyoncé from her 2013 self-titled album, and a tinge of Cassie with her whispered delivery. Still, the end result is fresh, new, and undeniably Jauregui.