Under The Radar: 5 Tracks Released In May That You Need To Hear
Here are my top five picks for tracks released in May that you need to hear from artists that you may not know.
The artists I feature in this series are spread across all corners of the world and certainly have bright futures ahead of them. Here are my top five picks for tracks that you need to hear from artists that you may not know.
Bren Joy - "Pocket"
One of the most exciting prospects in alternative R&B, Bren Joy is certainly a pioneer and even at such a young age has already found his sound, wonderfully and effortlessly displayed in his debut album "Twenties".
Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Joy certainly provides exactly that when you listen to any of his records and first caught my attention with the release of "Henny In The Hamptons" late last year.
His latest single "Twenties" is another fine example of Joy’s enormous talent, demonstrating his songwriting and production prowess, blending influences from jazz, hip-hop, and gospel, coupled with an expert command of harmonies.
Given the fact that Joy already has such a clear vision for the direction he wants to take his music and the sound he desires, it is hard to believe that he only started singing during his Freshman year at Belmont University, mind-blowing.
It was difficult to pick a favorite out of the album-exclusive tracks to highlight in this article, with "Upper East Side" coming close but "Pocket" has the edge due to its catchy hook, changing rhythms and sweet pizzicato strings.
"Pocket" features Joy’s trademark smooth vocals and seamless transitions into his higher register, with the final chorus bursting into a new lease of life with layers of soaring, swirling ad libs and harmonies, effortlessly creating a sense of euphoria.
Certainly an artist on the rise with a very bright future, Joy will soon be the name on all alternative R&B and soul fans lips.
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Bros Bros x Jon the Gold - "No More"
We’re all gearing up for summer and this new release from Belgian producer Bros Bros is certainly one to add straight into the playlists to be listened to whilst basking in the sunshine.
Beginning his career as a professional bassist, the 32-year-old has only ventured into music production this year, a real testament to his talent and musical evolution considering the quality of his offerings to date.
A house track infused with funk and R&B, "No More" is a tale of anxiety as told by Jon the Gold, desperate to find out where his love interest is, expressing his burning desire to be with her.
This changing thought process and clear anxiety is reflected wonderfully through an interesting use of vocal panning as Bros Bros makes great use of the stereo field. We’re so used to lead vocals being placed in the dead center of the mix but the vocals in "No More" pan from hard left to slightly to the right at different sections of the song to add to the narrative. Although a little disorienting at first it’s quite refreshing and engaging to listen to and I recommend listening through headphones.
This new single is part of a two-track 'duo' release alongside the instrumental "You Like Me", his third duo release of 2019, with Bros Bros seeking to reward his fans by giving them new tracks each month with collaborations and instrumentals keeping the hype and energy high.
Speaking about the new single, Bros Bros said: "Throughout your life, you change as a person and so do your views on certain things. No More is about these different phases: it’s the reflection of someone who went through serious relationships and decided, for now, to continue their life without."
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NASAYA - "Patterns" (Feat. Sara Diamond)
"Patterns" is the latest single from LA resident NASAYA, as his retro-inspired electronic sounds delight and dazzle with each listen.
Originally from Reunion Island just outside of Madagascar, the producer is marking a new chapter in his life, teaming up with Montreal singer-songwriter Sara Diamond, who effortlessly delivers sweet and sultry tones.
Speaking about the track, NASAYA said: "Patterns is the first track I wrote after moving to LA. I was actually sleeping on my friend's couch around the time I wrote the first demo. I’m quite attached to this song, I feel that it captures this new period of my life that was just beginning."
This tropical track with moody undertones is a refreshing addition to the genre, with NASAYA making a real name for himself as one to watch in the electronica scene.
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Rukhsana Merrise - "Save Me"
For the past 18 months, Rukhsana Merrise has always been very near the top of my list when I’ve been asked about up and coming UK artists showing the most promise. The release of "Today", the final installment of her two-part album certainly showcases this.
Hailing from West London, Merrise has been carving her own path in the industry for the last five years, performing at major festivals including Glastonbury and Citadel as well as supporting James Bay and Rag’n’Bone Man.
After working as a freelance songwriter for a number of years, the 29-year-old had her own personal career breakthrough in September 2014 when deciding to write, record and release a new song every week of the month. Merrise then released this project as an EP which was appropriately titled "September Songs", swiftly leading to her being signed to Communion Records.
Combining the best of both worlds with folk and R&B, she is constantly reinventing herself and has collaborated with some big names of late including Ghetts, Kojey Radical and Wretch 32.
"Save Me" hits the ground running with a rhythmic and funky acoustic guitar throughout the verses, which completely contrasts the energy and instrumentation changeup in the chorus.
The second part of the album, "Today", is a much more positive uptempo project compared to the first part, "Child", demonstrated through "Save Me" where she is looking to change her life around and hoping she can meet someone who can help her achieve this goal.
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Seba Kaapstad - "Don’t"
Combining elements from jazz, soul and the sounds of Africa coated with calming and captivating electronic production, Seba Kaapstad will put you in a soothing trance.
The neo-soul quartet hail from different parts of the world, comprising of a South African, a Swazi and two Germans, brought together with the shared belief that the most powerful form of creativity is music that represents an idea.
Taken from their smooth and soothing sophomore album "Thina", their latest single "Don’t" is a tale of trying to escape the noise and pressures of society and find your own path to express yourself and be free.
The record begins as if entering a dream, with ambient synth pads, piano arpeggios and vocal samples creating an immersive experience. The synth-driven verses contrast beautifully with the sparse choruses featuring a piano and double bass.
The final three minutes of "Don’t" are purely instrumental, easing you into a calming state of relaxation with the return of synth pads and piano from the introduction. A timely emotive violin solo soon enters the mix, developing over time with additional violins creating a sweet and satisfying conclusion.
With the release of this album, the quartet hopes to demolish the musical boundaries between genres, and in this way also help bring people on all continents a little closer together.
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My Favourite Albums & EPs Released In May
Bren Joy - Twenties
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
James Bay - Oh My Messy Mind (EP)
Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent
Orla Gartland - Why Am I Like This? (EP)