Calvin Harris, Pvris, The Plot In You

“Feels” – Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris will have the best album of the summer and the whole year—quote me. The evidence is in his singles off his upcoming release Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, due June 23rd. The latest of these singles “Feels” continues in the same fashion as the other singles. Calvin Harris is combining fantastical collaborations with extra groovy funk-inspired EDM. “Feels” features Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean, each artist adding an extra layer of artistry on this track. The production is phenomenal, truly mixing the funky vibes with modern anthems without being over-the-top. It’s impossible to miss how summery this and the other singles are which only hints more at the fact that Calvin Harris is taking over the summer. My favorite facet of “Feels” is that each artist adds a different flavor on top the stellar, slow-burning production.

“What’s Wrong” – Pvris

As if to prove that Pvris can do no wrong, they drop a new single titled “What’s Wrong”, and in fact there is nothing wrong with this song. Pvris does everything right on this track. To mix brooding lyrics with powerfully, subtle instrumentation for the result of an infectious alt-rock anthem is a showcase of outstanding musicianship. Lynn Gunn continues to deliver amazing vocals, and it is during the bridge where you can truly feel the riveting emotion that she brings. Pvris is a stand-out band for me because they don’t go overboard with their sound. They deliver darkly-tinged atmospheric tracks that don’t sacrifice infectiousness or simplicity. “What’s Wrong” is a testament to that and is further proof that Pvris will drop a phenomenal sophomore album due on August 4th.

“Feel Nothing” – The Plot In You

The Plot In You dropped “Feel Nothing” to announce their signing with the stacked Fearless Records. Despite its title, this track makes you feel everything. From the despondently dark instruments to the emotional, gritty vocals, this track is extremely powerful. This band has been amazing for quite some time, especially after their last record Happiness in Self Destruction, but they continue to display maturity in growth, evident on “Feel Nothing”. It’s polished, mature, and extremely well-structured—ultimately allowing for this song to hit harder than ever. The way the softly crooned verse simmers slowly into the potent chorus is remarkable and unforgettable. One simply cannot listen this song and not feel anything. The Plot In You killed this track, and in turn fans will kill the replay button.

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A$AP Mob, Terror Jr., Currents

“Wrong” – A$AP Mob

A$AP Mob dropped a music video for “Wrong”, which means that Cozy Tapes Vol. II is on its way. A$AP Mob had one of the best albums of 2016, so “Wrong” and “RAF”, the two singles they have dropped so far, have certainly gotten me hyped. “Wrong” in particular is features only A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, but that does not take away from the track. In fact, those two are the best A$AP members and they prove it on this track that serves to be less hype and more chill. Rocky effortlessly croons a wavy hook that is easy to vybe with. It carries the song very well, and when Ferg echoes the end of the hook before his verses the song truly coalesces. Ferg kills his verses, discussing his thoughts about how his infidelity leaves his girl with deep scars. With lyrics that actually have an impressive message on top of a soothing beat, Rocky and Ferg deliver an amazing track that showcases their growth and maturity.

“Appreciation” – Terror Jr.

The mysterious and innovative pop trio Terror Jr. have knocked the ball out of the park on each of their three singles. Their most recent one “Appreciation” is phenomenal. The production is terrific as usual; Felix Snow can do no wrong. The track is a sweet treat with lead singer Lisa’s vocals as airy and gripping as ever. However, the track doesn’t stray to far from their hit single “Come First”. Yet I have no problem with it because I view this track as a continuation of “Come First”, but from the a different perspective. In “Come First”, Lisa reminds her lover that she deserves to be cherished above all; in “Appreciation”, she puts her lover first as a way of showing her appreciation. Infectious from start to end, I eagerly wait for Terror Jr. to stop teasing with the singles and drop their album Bop City 2: TerroRising, out June 16. And mark my words: Terror Jr. and their innovative, candy pop sound will get them on the minds and tongues of the masses.

“Withered” – Currents

This is first song I have ever heard from the metalcore band Currents, and it has made me a fan. “Withered” is a heavy-hitter from a band that is heavily reminiscent of Chelsea Grin. Yet they distance themselves from that band with their solid cleans. The fresh vocals complement the unclean vocals. The song structure is varied and keeps things interesting. The riffs, however, are what indubitably carry this song. From the riffs in the atmospheric verses to the sexy breakdowns (especially the djenty one a minute in), “Withered” is a great track that should give this band more attention. Moreover, they are signed to SharpTone Records, a label that has a ton of amazing bands, both new and old. Thus, being a part of SharpTone means that Currents is the real deal.

 

Vince Staples, Sworn In, Mura Masa

“Big Fish” – Vince Staples

From production to the lyrics, Vince Staples is reasserting himself into the discussions on the best new school rappers. With “Big Fish” as his second single off the upcoming album Big Fish Theory, Vince demonstrates slick flow that he effortlessly meanders through. He displays his exceptional lyricism that groups him with highly-esteemed artists like Kendrick Lamara and Earl Sweatshirt. The production on the track does not smack you in the face with lots of bells and whistles, but through its sleek subtlety it perfectly accompanies Vince Staple’s smooth rapping.

“Make It Hurt” – Sworn In

As if Sworn In couldn’t get anymore raw and gritty in terms of lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation, they really button-smash the unbridled aggression that they have become known for. Yet they deliver above and beyond with a chorus that is as catchy as it is unsettling. The disjointed instrumentation keeps it heavy and raw. In fact, most of the song is jumbled and would seem as if a flight of ideas from the band. However, the abrupt nature of the different sections of the song adds an extra punch to a song that is both disquieting and head-turning.

“All Around The World” – Mura Masa ft. Desiigner

I had to double-take when I saw that Mura Masa, an artist I adore, had a track with Desiigner, an artist I could care less about. However, the collaboration gets a shocking thumbs-up. Both artists triumph on the track. Mura Masa kills it on the production, crafting a wavy, flute-filled trap song. My fear was that Mura Masa would produce a track that Desiigner would come up flat on, yet Desiigner delivers a catchy hook and does a sufficient job on the verses. And thanks to his clear enunciation on this track, I can definitely see people singing the whole song at the top of their lungs this summer.

Marshmello, Pvris, HAIM Reviews

Lots of amazing music came out today, so I decided to review three songs at once. Expect an album review of Russ’ There’s Really A Wolf and an artist to watch over the weekend. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the new vybes given to us by Marshmello, Haim, and Pvris.

“Moving On” – Marshmello

Marshmello is killing the EDM game, and he continues to do so with his newest track “Moving On”. The enigmatic producer who weaves trap and EDM together so effortlessly crafts another song that will have you dancing nonstop and singing at the top of your lungs. Marshmello is very much an artist who seeks to spread positive vybes through the music he creates, and “Moving On” is nothing short of positive. It’s simply a jovial song that will make you smile at one point or another. From the bludgeoning bass to the jolly melody throughout, the song is crafted very well. The shrill vocals before the drop act as the icing on the cake, something one should expect on a Marshmello track. “Moving On” certainly isn’t Marshmello’s best track, nor does it do anything drastically mind-blowing, but it is solid track that will continue to get people ready for an album release that seems to be closer than we may think.

For those who vybe to: Galantis, Slushii

“Heaven” – Pvris

Pvris can do no wrong. Following a large period since their debut release White Noise that came out late 2014, the three-piece alternative rock outfit is back with an impassioned song titled “Heaven”. This song is impeccable on every level. The song is composed to perfection, transitioning from a piano-driven ballad into the moody atmospheric anthem that is the band’s signature. The lyrics are poignant, the pinnacle being the chorus where vocalist Lynn Gunn belts out the passionate “You took my heaven away” that is a quite quotable and pertinent for any person subject to heartache. Pvris seems to be going down a darker route as this single is different from “Fire” and “My House” off of their debut. But this is not a thing to be feared, as Pvris has proven that they can craft masterpieces whether they emanate lighter or darker tones.

For those who vybe to: The Neighbourhood, Tonight Alive

“Want You Back” – HAIM

Their breakthrough debut put them on the map back in 2013, but they are destined to make bigger waves with their future release. “Want You Back” is an infectious track that provides a sparkling glimpse into what’s to come from this trio. Their music is highly tinged by the 80s, and it’s front and center on “Want You Back”. This song is highly reminiscent of The 1975, which attests to Haim’s ability to smoothly blend the 80s with pop rock. The vocals, instrumentation, production, and composition are cohesive and ultimately serve to make this song extremely memorable. As a result of “Want You Back”, I eagerly await their upcoming material which should be nothing short of remarkable.

For those who vybe to: The 1975, CHVRCHES

image via Billboard.com

“Empty Throne” – ALAZKA

With a new name and new label comes the single “Empty Throne” from ALAZKA. And it doesn’t disapppoint.

The song smoothly juggles between raspy, passionate clean vocals and harsh unclean vocals. Atop solid, melodic instrumentals, “Empty Throne” comes together quite well, striking at the heartstrings in a catchy enough way that should capture the intrigue of many listeners. Imagine a far better version of Slaves, and you have ALAZKA. They exude passionate emotion with the lyrics and vocals much like Johnny Craig, but the instrumentals and overall result is way better. With rising label SharpTone Records and a solid single in “Empty Throne”, ALAZKA is primed to make waves.

Vybes like: Being As An Ocean, SLAVES

“X” – Counterfeit Culture

There’s a ton of bands that spring up every day. The struggle to stand out and bring something new to table is a challenge, one that many bands fail to overcome. However, New Jersey four-piece outfit Counterfeit Culture rose to the occasion and delivered with their new single “X”. They do everything right on this track, setting themselves apart from the crowded scene and setting in sight a bright future.

“X” is a bop from start to finish. The instrumentation is top-notch, ranging from the atmospheric guitar to the powerful bass and drums that perfectly carry the track. The song juggles melody and heaviness with immense skill and precision, each section flowing smoothly into each other and not feeling abrupt or forced. The chill vibe that imbues the verses feeds right into the epic heavy parts that are destined to cause chaos in the pits.

Two factors that ought to spotlighted are the vocals and more importantly the lyrics. Vocalist Nick Broglio shifts between clean and unclean vocals with ease, which helps to bolster the powerful lyrics. Focusing on drug addiction and how it can haunt you like a nightmare, the lyrics are straightforward and poignant, easily resonant with anyone who has dealt with it or knows someone who has. It’s always great to hear young bands with substance and messages to share.

All in all, Counterfeit Culture is certainly a band to keep your eyes on. They prime you with the melody and deliver with the heavy on a catchy track that ought to be on repeat for a while. Their EP Deathwish is on the way, so peep the pre-order bundles on their Big Cartel.

For those who vybe to: We Came As Romans, Northlane

“On Her Mind” – Volumes

Volumes is a metalcore/djent outfit that prides themselves on the laid-back vibe of Cali that they infuse into their music. From their releases of Via and No Sleep, its clear to see a shift into more polished music that retains the excellent musicianship of each member. Instead of staying stagnant, they’ve always been prone to switching things up a bit, whether its bring the heavy on tracks like “The Mixture” and “Wormholes” or adding a ton of melody on tracks like “Across the Bed” and “Erased”.  Therefore, to see them switch it up on their newest single “On Her Mind” is not a surprise. I’ve come to expect it.

“On Her Mind” exceeded my expectations because I was wondering how the band would follow up “Feels Good” which was released last summer. The track was satisfying, but it wasn’t better than anything they created prior. It served as a good introduction to new vocalist Myke Terry. Now, “On Her Mind” was a great follow-up because for all the things that it lacks it makes up elsewhere. And that’s why I’m amazed by the track.

The song infuses rap and metal so seamlessly. Most bands or songs that attempt to blend to two genres fail in creating something that feels genuine and not forced. Other bands just throw in rapping, but fail to blend both genres into one uniform entity. I believe Volumes succeeded in doing just that. The best move was in bringing Pouya on the track. Pouya is an actual rapper who floods the song with both the flow and the vibe that fits Volumes. He kills his verses and was a bright spot on the track. Moreover, the transition from rapping verse to soothing chorus is impeccable and the cleanest I’ve ever heard. It seems natural rather than forced. Moreover, both the vocals from Gus Farias and Myke Terry are on point throughout the entire song. They combine with Pouya to really push to the forefront the vibe that sets them apart from others in the scene.

The only thing that lacks in this song is the instrumentation. Don’t get me wrong the chugging and sick bassline works for the track and gets me moving. However, in comparison to what they’ve done instrumentally on previous releases, the instrumentals on this track are lackluster. I’m used to the intricate, vibey djent instrumentation Volumes is known for, so the repetitive and simple nature of the instrumentals of “On Her Mind” are somewhat disappointing.

Yet does that ruin the song? Absolutely not! The positives outweigh the negative. The song flows, is incredibly vibey, and does what it’s supposed to do as a single, which is to get people talking about the song and craving more. Rap and metal have rarely been done in such a polished and fluid manner, so I’m exceptionally proud of Volumes. I expect great things on their upcoming release Different Animals available June 9th, as should you.