This week you get two sets of Kris Picks! Weeks 59 & 60!
Week 59 of Kris’ Picks features songs from the likes of Sampha, Caveman, Jarrow, Wilderado, Angel Olsen, Mutemath and so much more.
The first of the four ‘featured tracks’ of this week’s Kris’ Picks comes from British R&B musician Sampha, a relatively quiet singer who tends to stay out of the limelight, but when his vocals are thrown toward the listener it’s impossible not to listen and allow the heartfelt lyrics to consume you. Take his verse in Drake’s “Too Much.” The soft piano opening, the smooth, soothing vibe of Sampha’s vocals … that ability is what makes him an artist I always tend to come back to within the R&B genre.
His recent release “Blood On Me,” off of his much-anticipated record Process, uses a simplistic beat (produced by Sampha himself) to get the listener bobbing his or her head along to the beat as the musician begins to sing-rap with a flow only Sampha could achieve. The song has a certain quality about it that just leaves an impact … the same feeling I had about this year’s “Timmy’s Prayer” popped up when I first heard “Blood On Me.”
Process will most likely be a huge album this year, and I can’t wait to hear what else Sampha brings to the table.
Next up is a track from NY-based alternative band Caveman, whose 2013 track “In The City” caught my attention for it’s eerie vibes and catchy as hell guitar riff. This time, four years later, I hear Caveman’s “Never Going Back” off of their third studio release Otero War. I’m wowed once again, but for different reasons.
The song starts off slow with the sound of front man Matthew Iwanusa’s vocals riding alongside a subtle drum rhythm in the background. Within mere seconds the song’s tempo builds and the guitar riff that caught me years ago grabs me once more. Caveman’s balanced use of synth, in-depth guitar solos, and sing-along harmonies make “Never Going Back” a song I want to listen to over and over and over again.
Jarrow’s “$$ Spoilers $$” intrigued me not just because of its title, but for its repetitive, hipster vibe. The song is one that you’d blast, almost as a way to close out a tough day. The relaxing guitar melody is everything when it comes to this track, not to say that the occasional synth/keyboard thrown in is a bad thing, either.
The final featured song for week 59 comes from LA-based Wilderado with their track “The Ocean and the Sea.” The beginning of the song reminded me initially of the start of Hozier’s “Cherry Wine,” only to shift into a beautiful Fleet Foxes-like melody that allows you to close off your stressful Monday off right.
The blend of the acoustic guitar and the harmonization of the vocals mesh together seamlessly, making it a folk ballad to relax to.
This concludes week 59, but guess what? You have four more featured tracks and 20 more songs at your disposal. Enjoy!
Kris’ Picks: Week 60 features tracks from the likes of Just Jack, William Bolton, 1000 Gram, Only Sun and so much more.
Friday was filled with new releases including Wild World by Bastille, Sunlit Youth by Local Natives, Signs of Light by The Head and the Heart, Schmilco by Wilco, Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Big Mess by Grouplove and more and more and more. It felt like the releases were never ending … I have yet to go through each and every one of them yet.
For Week 60 of Kris’ Picks, I decided to pull tracks from these releases along with some new discoveries that grew on me instantly. So, make sure to check out those you haven’t heard of first.
The first track on the featured four comes from English musician Just Jack and his catchy as hell track “Alchemist.”
“Alchemist” is a simple song to its core, and relies solely on a subtle electronic beat and the smooth carryings of Jack Christopher Allsopp. “Alchemist” is a song you’d start off with. A song that you’d hear blaring in the background in a high-end clothing store. The building intensity of the keyboard along with the monotonous, yet calming vocals from Allsopp make this a song to just vibe to.
It’s futuristic in its entirety, and it’s almost impossible not to tap your foot along to the beat either.
Next up is a bit of a change of pace. “Rain in L.A.” by William Bolton is more on the R&B side with a bit more emphasis on the piano, a sing-rap style and lyrics that embody the title of “Rain in L.A.” As Bolton croons melancholy lyrics and the song begins to throw in an assortment of horns, the listener is propelled into the singer’s narrative.
I’m sure a bit of that “California sunshine” is something everyone needs to experience every once in a while. Bolton’s “Rain in L.A.” makes that quite obvious.
1000 Gram’s “Next Of Kin” makes an appearance on this week’s selection because of its catchy guitar riffs that make it all worth it. The listener is presented with an upbeat chorus that’s almost as easy to sing along to than it is to dance to.
“Next Of Kin” is one to listen to in a pensive mood. The song’s harmonies and overall feel just makes it one to blast after a long day. It’s an indie hit at its core.
Last but not least is Only Sun’s “Overcome,” a song that’ll pick you right up. Its summer-song vibe hits you like a train, and there’s no stopping it. The listener is immediately hit with the piercing vocals of the lead singer that runs alongside a peppy drum rhythm and an anthemic guitar riff.
“Overcome” reminds me of Little Comets with more juice, more energy and a bit more of an indie rock side to them overall. The song is definitely one to blast if you’re in need of a pep in your step.
This concludes Week 59 & 60 of Kris’ Picks! Look out next week for Week 61 and find your new favorite artist with this week’s selection!
You can stream every Kris’ Picks we’ve done so far, below.