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.
Amber Mark "Mixer"
I just want to be somewhere in the vicinity of as cool as Amber Mark: this video, those lyrics, the denim jumpsuit, THE HAIR — it's all goals. There's something timeless about her music, which incorporates elements of New Jack Swing from the '90s and '70s funk and R&B in equal parts to create a retro style worn by a singer who is so completely now. No surprise this catchy as hell jam was a co-write with Andrew Wyatt (a.k.a. Miike Snow), the guy who had a hand in "Shallow," Bruno Mars' "Grenade," and Lorde's "Perfect Places."
Kylie Rae Harris "Twenty Years From Now"
The open chord that this song starts on sets up the uneasy tone here. It's a gorgeous, classic country song about love and loss that reminds me of a lot of the '90s country ballads by great women singers. The Dallas singer wrote a lament for her daughter that any parent can relate to — which also reminds of me the subjects '90s country stars like Suzy Boggus, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Martina McBride explored. Those voices are few and far between on country radio today. Good for Harris for keeping the flame afire.
Minke "Too Late"
In any major city across the world, it's a rite of passage to go home crying openly on the subway. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who hide behind sunglasses, earbuds in while your favourite sad song plays. Minke is here to soundtrack that moment after your next bad breakup. In her video, directed by Aisha Taylor, she busks and lives the fantasy, but those big bad major chords contain something a little more sad. Cue it up for the next guy who is already gone.
Claude Fontaine "Hot Tears"
If you love a good Jamaican-inspired beat, then Claude Fontaine will have you hooked from the jump. This song marries her French-chanteuse sounding vocals with classic Jamaican drums and dancehall trumpet for a longing, tragic song that embraces the summertime sadness we all fall into now and again.
Rosie Lowe "Pharoah"
There's so much going on in Rosie Lowe's stable of influences — that much anyone can glean from listening to this track. It's earthy and warm, letting the guitar lead in the first bars. Her voice spits out lyrics it a quick pace, less like rapping and more like telling a story — classic talk/singing. She's got an assured manner when she sings about her power that makes me want to slip into her groove. And this song has left me wanting to know more about what she can do, musically.