"Baptized in Fire" by Kid Cudi, Travis Scott
Kid Cudi is back and with a vengeance. Fans will know that he was going through some dark times back in October. But now, in his words, he's "feelin' great and brand new." And, according to this track, wearing a "three-piece suit and I'm lookin' so cute." Equally mellow and bangin', this is a great way for Cudi to break the silence.
"U" by Michael Brun, Ben Alessi
The snappy production of Haiti's own Michael Brun meets the powerful vocals of L.A.-based Ben Alessi in this irresistible dance track. Filled with luminous beats and plenty of drops, this one's a real game and mood changer.
"Rennen" by SOHN
SOHN spent a month alone in northern California writing his upcoming album, Rennen. Contemplative and sullen, this title track hints at the solace SOHN experienced during that time. His heavenly vocals float over a darkly melodic piano line and swelling synths, making this a perfect winter solstice track if we've ever heard one.
"Coaster" by Khalid
Texas-based R&B singer-songwriter Khalid knows just how to describe the up-and-down feelings of a turbulent relationship. "Maybe you weren't the one for me / But deep down, I wanted you to be," he sings. "Coastin', roller coastin' / I'm hopin' that you'll come back to me." And then: "You weren't the one for me / Don't come back to me." We'd tell him to make up his mind, but we know how it is.
"Bright Lights" by Gibbz
According to New York-based singer Mike Gibney, "Bright Lights" is all about a night out with friends on "whatever drugs you can find." While we don't endorse reckless drug use, we do wholeheartedly endorse this sunny, upbeat electro-pop jam.
"Blow Out the Light" by GEMS
Moody and melancholy, Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John sing a duet about a fast-fading relationship. "You know you're not the only one that wants for this to end," Clifford sings. Lindsay counters with, "Don't come home to me tonight / You've been holding someone tight."
"Crew" by GoldLink, Brent Faiyaz, Shy Glizzy
GoldLink teams up with rappers Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy to make a banger about fair-weather lovers. "She see money all around me, I look like I'm the man / But I was down and out like last week / Tell me where have you been," Faiyaz croons on the chorus. "You came out of hiding, girl / Don't act like I'm your man / You just a fan."
"Happy Family" by Sundara Karma
U.K. indie quartet Sundara Karma's new album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, is a highly anticipated release, especially after the arrival of this jaunty, harmony-infused single. With hints of Fleet Foxes and Two Door Cinema Club, it's safe to say that their first full-length will be well worth the agonizing wait.
"Matter of Time" by Surfer Blood
"Matter of Time" speaks to the idea of the inevitability of marriage. But Snowdonia as a whole (out February 3) is about the group's struggle with aging and, specifically, the tragic loss of their dear friend and talented bandmate Thom Fekete, who passed away from cancer this past May. Leave it to Surfer Blood to write a somber and beautifully poignant album that still manages to sound like something you'd happily blast from your car while speeding down a seaside highway on a sunny day.
"Utopia" by King Woman
Singer Kristina Esfandiari is here to change the doom-metal game. Dark, brooding, and strangely lovely, her haunting vocals drone over a brutal, brilliant wall of guitars and a resounding clash of drums. It's not often that something so beautiful-sounding elicits an urge to headbang. King Woman's debut LP, Created in the Image of Suffering, will be released on February 24. In the meantime, we'll be listening to this on repeat as we bid 2016 a bitter adieu.
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