Music Monday | Ben Khan

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I’ve been playing this track from Ben Khan‘s 1992 EP like crazy. London based and 21, his music has been described as “glitzy R&B” and “neo-soul.” I’m digging it a lot and really looking forward to a full album.

Stream: “Youth”

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iTunes | Spotify

Music Monday | Thomston

Thomston4Photographed by Josh Griggs

There is so much more coming out of New Zealand that demands attention besides Lorde, who in my opinion, could use a little less. 

Enter Thomas Stoneman, aka Thomston. He’s 18 and he’s cranking out some solid jams that he describes as “pop/r&b/electronic.” His latest EP release, Argonaut, meets every bit of that description topped off with some hip-hop vibes. It’s a tad dark, a tad catchy, and a lot of the sweet voice you hear in “Caffeine” (below) – my favorite track. 

Here’s to hoping Thomston doesn’t stay in the shadows of Lorde for long, a place he doesn’t want be and doesn’t deserve to be…

“Any New Zealander who releases pop music is instantly the second coming of the Lorde,” he explains. “I’m a fan of her and her music, but the comparisons are growing tiresome. Plus, I haven’t got Grammys so I’m like the lame, non-famous, less cool, and not critically acclaimed version of her.”

I disagree with the lame and less cool part. Now, onto trying to get him famous…


Download his Argonaut EP for free on Soundcloud | Stream on Spotify.

Music Monday | How To Dress Well

howtodresswellPhotographed by Tom Spray

It shouldn’t be news to you how deep my love for good R&B jams goes. So when I came across Tom Krell, aka, How To Dress Well, I sort of lost it, and I couldn’t believe he’d been hiding from me all this time. His new album “What Is This Heart?” has just about everything I love wrapped in one incredible gift. And bonus points for having dubbing one of the best stage names in the game.

Since my first listen a little over a week ago, it’s been my most played album by far. I can’t quit it. To directly quote Rolling Stone, his “velvet voice is at his best when he’s most vulnerable…His early recordings were grief-stricken and raw; subsequent releases have expanded and refined his sound without ever quite reaching the same heights. Krell’s third LP continues to elevate his R&B-inflected music into sonic clarity, though his emotions remain muddled as ever.” Velvet voice. R&B-inflected music. I can’t stop won’t stop.

Stream: “Repeat Pleasure”

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Go jam What Is This Heart?
iTunesSpotify

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Music Monday | Iggy X Reba

I just can’t get over how much I love this mashup by Dan Chamberlain

Stream: “Fancy”

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This is on his Heat EP, which you can download for free here.

 

Music Monday | Passenger

passengerPhotographed by Jarrad Seng

On June 10th, British singer Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger), released Whsipers - his fifth album as a solo act. Passenger began as a five piece band but became a solo project in 2009. Chances are, you’d recognize his hit “Let Her Go” from his last album. It was on that Budweiser puppy commercial that made us all cry when it aired during the Super Bowl last year. The song is still going strong on the Billboard Hot 100.

But I want to talk about his new songs.

His new album Whispers debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums. His voice will grab you. It may remind you at times of Ed Sheeran, Brett Dennen and even (sometimes) Cat Stevens, but it still manages to stand strong on it’s own. Whsipers lives up to the press release pre-album: “It’s quite cinematic. There are lots of big stories and big ideas. There are also some somber moments about loneliness and death but, hey, it wouldn’t be a Passenger album without those. Mostly though, it’s a really positive album.”

I couldn’t decide between “Hearts on Fire” or the track below, but as always, make sure you check out the entire album. I chose the later because of the way my heart felt when the song builds halfway through. I found myself turning it up and up every few seconds, and then at about 3:05, I may or may not have cried a little bit.

Stream: “Whispers”

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You see all I need’s a whisper
In a world that only shouts…

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Now go enjoy the rest of Whispers

iTunes | Spotify

Music Monday | Augustana

IMG_3640Photographed in Atlanta, GA (2012)

Sadly, I think Augustana is known by most as a one hit wonder for “Boston” from their 2005 album, All the Stars and Boulevards. They’ve put out 3 albums since then, and their self-titled release in 2011 is without a doubt one of my favorite albums. When I heard they’d be releasing Life Imitating Life in April, I was ecstatic, but also a little nervous. How could they top Augustana? I was worried I’d be incredibly let down after 3 years of falling more and more in love Augustana. 

I have to admit, at first listen of Life Imitating Life, I liked it…but I didn’t love it. It was new, and new Augustana music felt a little weird to me. But the more and more I listened, the more I started to love it, and this summer, it’s been one of my most played albums. The other night after a summer storm with a sunset that no Instagram account could possibly do justice to, I played “Need a Little Sunshine” with the windows down at full volume at least 15 times in a row. It’s quickly becomming my anthem for Summer 2014. That track, and the one below, are my favorites from the album, but the entire thing is truly fantastic.

Stream: “Alive”

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Now do yourself a favor and watch Dan Layus talk a little bit about the song and absolutely kill an acoustic version of it.

iTunes | Spotify

Music Monday | Stop Light Observations

dannyclinchPhotographed by Danny Clinch

Y’all did great. You sent over so many awesome recommendations with a handful of bands I’d yet to listen to.

The album I played most this week was Radiation by Stop Light Observations. They were recommended to me in an email by Joe, whose wedding I shot in New York City this weekend! Extra high fives to him for bringing the band to my attention the week of this wedding.

The most played song (the one shared below) was “Circadian Rhythms (Dusk).”
My other favorites are “Come on Down”, “Daydream”, and “16 Year’s Dream.” Make sure you turn the later up real loud, the last minute deserves full volume. And then go ahead and leave it up because the next song, “Smilers of the Night,” has some of the most impressive guitar riffs on the album. It’s freakin’ epic.

SLO hails from Charleston and have been playing together since they were 13. This may be their debut album, but it’s damn mature. With a wide range of moments from classic rock to power-pop, it should have you rocking out at your desk like it did me.

Stream: “Circadian Rhythms (Dusk)”

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Oh and guess what? You can download Radiation for free on Soundcloud!