When you hear George Ezra’s soulful, deep bass-baritone voice you think you’re listening to a much older person, but he’s actually very young (and quite good-looking). This English singer-songwriter has been on a steady climb to success since he was discovered on YouTube at 18 years old. Now, at 22, his debut studio album, Wanted on Voyage, has reached number one in the UK. He grew up listening to American folk and blues artists like Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Lead Belly, and these musical influences are quite evident in his bluesy swoon-worthy songs.
Horns Glorious Horns!
Beirut is releasing their first album in four years in September, and has generously already gifted the world with the infectious title track, “No No No.” For those of you not familiar with Beirut, I enthusiastically encourage you to give the band a go. Not only due to the use of afore mentioned horns (I really love me some trumpet, folks…and flugelhorn, for that matter), but also for their worldly and eclectic sound. Formed in Santé Fe, New Mexico, the band pulls together a sweeping list of influences and is audibly inspired by jazz music, mariachi bands, Balkan folk tunes, etc. There’s even some glockenspiel thrown in occasionally for good measure. Listening to Beirut sometimes feels like taking your ears on a melodic tour of the world, and I happen to think that’s pretty awesome.
Check out the strangely delightful video for “No No No” below, and don’t forget to revel in that trumpet!
Despite her youth, Irish songstress Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, wisely keeps away from the trendy. Guiding her sound with an airy earnestness, her 2015 debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream, is a journey of simple, elegant, pretty, somber tracks, with echoes or hints of the likes of Tegan and Sara, Camera Obscura, a stripped-down Chvrches, maybe even Sharon Van Etten.
“Ship to Wreck” - a third preview track from the upcoming Florence + The Machine album, How Big How Blue How Beautiful - was released a few weeks ago, and has been played innumerable times in my Spotify account ever since. Blending the haunting trills of Flo’s vocals with an almost manic dancability, I find this track slightly reminiscent of old favorite “Dog Days Are Over,” while also finding it lyrically more straightforward, less of an obscured reality, than much of her previous two albums.
Released this morning as another audio-glimpse at Passion Pit’s upcoming third album, Kindred, the new track “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)” sounds like the frantic quest of adulthood for something more, something better, perhaps something like what we once had imagine for ourselves. Packed with texture and almost prickling to the senses, the song does seem to inspire movement – if not towards a better home or situation or life, at least towards dancing in the moment. Listen to the new track here.