Can I get an amen? With the year winding to a close, this new release from Irish gospel-americana singer Hozier is a stunning preview of what to look forward to in 2014. The title track off his debut EP, “Take Me To Church” is a jaw-dropping exercise in southern American soul. It’s the kind of track that will be lauded by serious music critics early on and become the bread of sorority girls eager to replace Andrew Bird or Kings of Leon in their lives. Keep. An. Eye. On. This.
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Adding to the list of 2013 list of “sounds like Frank Ocean & The Weeknd” R&B producers is British crooner Dornik, who spent time touring as PMR Records labelmate Jessie Ware’s drummer. Though, to be honest I think Frank Ocean and The Weeknd comparisons are being overused as a catch-all for this new school of progressive, heavily electronic influenced R&B artists. Dornik has more in common with Michael Jackson than the aforementioned artists. What’s more noteworthy is he joins the likes of Sampha in making a case to take the British R&B movement seriously. Regardless, 2013 has been a sexy year for music and it just got a little sexier…
Related playlists: R&B Flavored Ice Cream
Maybe Drake or Rob Ford’s crack pipe won’t end up being the hottest thing out of Toronto after all. Now based in Berlin, Sway Clarke II comfortably fits in with the new generation of R&B artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Having built his career being one of the unsung heroes behind the scenes, writing songs for major artists, he must have (correctly) realized that he had a real gem on his hands and decided to keep this one for himself. “I Don’t Need Much” shows off some incredibly talented songwriting ability that could easily translate to hit R&B track and perfectly executed vocally by the man who made it. While a lot remains to be seen, this track could be the start of something special. After all, Frank Ocean’s career started out the same way.
As much as this artist goes against my wish to see the “white guys making soul music” trend go away, this track from new Austin-based artist Max Frost is an absolute gem of a single. Drawing strong comparisons to Gnarls Barkley (not entirely unwarranted), “White Lies” is a hand-clapping finger wag against a shady former lover. Though, you may get too caught up in dancing along to notice.
Lest you thought this blog was going to get all dub nasty after the events of SnowGlobe, here comes a deliciously retro jam from Terri Walker and Nicole Wray. The two R&B veterans have teamed up to form Lady, and join artists like Lee Fields & The Expressions and El Michels Affair on Truth & Soul Records. Without the production values, you might expect “Money” to be a rare, unearthed soul record from the 50s era from which it owes its sound. Chirpy and full of sass, it’s a throwback tune that’ll earn a few repeat plays.