Friday means one thing and one thing only here at Howl & Echoes – playlist day! We have spent all week compiling this week’s best releases and narrowing it down to just 10 songs we think you need to hear. This week, there’s a lot going on. We’ve got Canberra’s Safia, the tragically beautiful track from Szymon, and a Cyril Hahn take on a Caribou classic, as well as a bit of hip hop from JayCee, MIA, Bon Voyage, and another Notorious BIG mashup. In between all that you can be taken away to a dreamier place with Genghar or Sofi de la Torre, and get down to an amazing cover by Winter Islands. Enjoy!
1. Safia – Counting Sheep
This track is a bit strange, as is to be expected with Safia. Dramatic, dynamic and infectious, these three guys know how to make a good dance track, and Counting Sheep is no exception! Following along similar lines from their eerie Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds, this track is a little spooky but so groovy and fun it doesn’t matter!
2. Szymon – Golden
This is a special track. Szymon wrote a series of tracks in his bedroom in 2008, but it wasn’t until his tragic loss in his battle with depression that they were to see the light of day. Eloper Music and his family joined forces to release his beautiful songs, and so they should. Golden is lovely, smooth and definitely deserves your time.
3. JayCee – Vibe
This is one of the smoothest hip hop tracks I’ve heard in a while.The sparse, relaxed production allows the lyrics to take centrestage, with the beautiful vocals of Naomi Lee paired with the chilled out rhymes of JayCee. This has sunny afternoons written all over it.
4. Gengahr – Haunter
Gengahr have just supported Alt-J and Wolf Alice, so already you know they must be good. Haunter is a beautifully delicate track; hazy and emotive with fragile vocals and acoustic guitars. Keep an eye out for these guys, as they continue to capture hearts at SXSW, then support Circa Waves and The Strokes – definitely ones to watch!
5. Sofi de la Torre – That Isn’t You
Alternative R&B is quickly becoming one of the most popular genres in music at the moment, meaning it takes something extra special to standout. Spanish singer-songwriter Sofi de la Torre is exactly this. That Isn’t You is lifted from her forthcoming EP out next month, and I cannot wait for that to drop. This sultry, emotional track features powerful production full of skittering percussion, swirling lasers, whistles and swelling synths. Sublime.
6. Winter Islands – Don’t Let Go (En Vogue Rework)
This En Vogue track is definitely a guilty pleasure/go to karaoke tune for me, so to hear it reworked by Winter Islands in such a way makes me very happy indeed! They’ve made it explosive, with booming drums and soaring guitars, as well as vocals delivered with almost as much passion as me during my karaoke performance.
7. Caribou – Second Chance (Cyril Hahn Edit)
Caribou had one of the most critically acclaimed releases of 2014, with each track on his Our Love album an example of bar raising electronica. It takes a brave soul to step up to the plate to remix this legend, but Cyril Hahn took it upon himself, and spun Second Chance into a slowed down and more soulful, sweeping number. He’s definitely done it justice.
8. Bon Voyage – Booshie
This track is so much fun. Lots of bass, cheeky lyrics and light synths make for a seriously contagious track from this fresh new three piece. “Booshie” is to consider oneself to be above everyone else, and if Bon Voyage are making tracks like this I would say that belief is justified. I’ve had “She way too good for that” stuck in my head for two days now.
9. MIA – CanSeeCanDo
I fucking love MIA, and I’m so glad she is back to her good old angry as hell self. CanSeeCanDo marks the return of her politically charged dance tracks, where her messages of global politics are thinly veiled by immediately likeable and accessible dance music. There was a brief stage where, with the release of her 2013 release Matangi, she was told her music was too dark. This surprise track was accompanied by the SoundCloud description, “DEMOCRACY CONVERSATIONS ! TAMILS ARE STILL WAITING! AND NO MY BEATS ARE NOT BETTER WITHOUT MY POLITICX” so it’s safe to say she’s back, and ready to tear the world a new one!
10. Terry Urban – Who Shot Papi (Prod. Chi Duly) Notorious B.I.G x FKA twigs mashup
We’ve covered the first release of this mashup series, as well as the whole damn album Terry Urban dropped this week, so this track is included merely as an indicator of what has been on repeat for me for the past 5 days. Who would have thought Papi Pacify would be so well suited to Who Shot Ya? The whole album is a dream I didn’t know I’d had come true, and this little number is a definite stand out.