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.
Chika feat. Charlie Wilson "Can't Explain It"
All I care about in this life is Chika and her mesmerising music video for a song I cannot get out of my head. Having Charlie Wilson on your track telegraphs something, and that something is at least partly nostalgia for early '00s Dave Chappell and a love of smoothness. Doing that in a video set in the '90s sitcom A Different World while dressed like Dwayne Wayne is a statement. Everything about this is cool.
Emily Lind "Castles"
With Lind's single we pivot sharply to a very dark place. When I first saw this audio clip's video, it immediately creeped me out. The flashing lights paired with this music and the near-monotone vibe of the music and her voice, which stays in the same key and mostly the same signature, is eerie. It's also inexplicably addictive — the acoustic guitar is doing a lot of work to humanise this track. All these elements layered together make something magical.
Kalsey Kulyk "Damn You Love"
If you're thinking something about this song sounds familiar and likeable, you may have been a fan of Taylor Swift's early stuff. Her longtime songwriting partner, Liz Rose, worked on this one and it shows. From her Southern twang to her that slow dance vibe in the tempo, I love it all.
Elah Hale "Posters"
There's a touch of a "Pumped Up Kicks" vibe to the melody of this song, but I am into it. And, even more so, I am into Hale's deadpan voice. There's a moment as the pre-chorus kicks in when the whole track lifts, thanks to a Burt Bacharach-inspired string part, and it brings her voice with it, that makes the promise of what's to come with her abundantly clear. I'd like to be listening to this song with the windows down in Palm Springs, CA right now.
Anna Shoemaker "If You're Going (I'll Go)"
If this is what Gen Z is going to be like musically, I am all in. Shoemaker is a 23-year-old NYC based singer/songwriter and the gritty realness of this song has me captivated. She's singing about being a ride or die in a relationship that is maybe noooooot the greatest for her, but damn — we don't all know that sort of passionate attachment to someone. The way the music drops out, becoming sparse and focusing on a Sonic Youth-esque guitar part is just killer. Bring on the next generation of art school kids.