The end of 2016 has brought an explosion of new music from both popular and under-the-radar artists. In this week’s edition of Phoenix Picks, listeners receive a taste of new rap from the likes of Lil’ Yachty, Smino, Kid Cudi and Kendrick Lamar. Hip-hop aside, plenty of rock-and-roll bands including The Wrecks and Paerish have also released re-issues, new singles and whole albums. Here is this week’s Phoenix Picks playlist:
“iSpy” – Kyle (featuring Lil Yachty)
Fresh off the heels of the immensely popular single “Broccoli,” Lil Yachty and California rapper Kyle team up to deliver incredibly catchy verses over a poppy, ditsy instrumental that features piano. After listening to the song, you’ll find yourself humming the chorus on your way to class.
“Leave” – Post Malone
A week before the release of his debut album, “Stoney,” Post Malone delivered yet another single from the record. “Leave” is an emotional track about a past lover, and at the end, Malone states with impact: “This b***h is gonna drive me mad.”
“Blkswn” – Smino
St. Louis rapper Smino has released the title track from his debut album, and it is infectiously enjoyable. Smino’s allergy to vowels and elastic delivery has propelled him from SoundCloud prominence to something far greater. Produced by Sango, the song features a moody, expansive electric piano centerpiece accompanied by crisp drums and bass.
“Move” – Saint Motel
The explosive, cinematic hard-pop band Saint Motel, to put it best, is really hard to resist. One of the top songs from its recently released album, “saintmotelivision,” “Move” is a jazzy, Philadelphia-soul inspired track that makes you want to get up and jump around.
“Baptized In Fire” – Kid Cudi (featuring Travis Scott)
Kid Cudi’s mental health troubles delayed the release of “Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’,” which was initially slated for release in September. But now that he’s out of the mental hospital, the rollout of his music has resumed. “Baptized In Fire” was a surprise release that is a firm, stiff arm to the women who pursue him for his fame, money and prestige.
“Sidewalks” – The Weeknd (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
Upon first listen, it’s evident that “Sidewalks” is one of the avant-garde singer’s best pieces of work to date. Mentioning absent father figures, mean streets and Biblical euphemisms, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar deliver a funky and fun ode to sidewalks.
“Good Luck” – The Undercover Dream Lovers
Operating under the alias The Undercover Dream Lovers, Brooklyn musician Matt Koenig surprised listeners with the single, “Good Luck.” The up-and-coming songsmith transports listeners to the 80s, cradling every interval with psychedelic synth riffs and laid-back guitar licks.
“One More Cup of Coffee” – Grouplove
Spotify is tapping Wednesdays for a new series of original, in-house recordings. Each artist includes an original track and a cover song for the series. As part of the first batch of artists to be featured on “Singles,” Grouplove released a cover of Bob Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee” and did the brilliant rock song justice.
“Favorite Liar” – The Wrecks
The five-piece indie-rock band The Wrecks make it almost impossible not to dance. The band self-produced this angsty, moody single from its first project, which sounds reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant and The Killers.
“I Got Punched In The Face, What’s Your Excuse” – Paerish
The Parisian band Paerish has taken the alternative rock world by storm in recent months. Harnessing a multitude of influences, the song includes notes of grunge and shoegaze. Its sound is effortlessly nostalgic.
“Psycho, Pt. 2” – Russ
In the past year, Russ has gone from SoundCloud no-name to SoundCloud sensation with a record deal. “Psycho Pt. 2” is self-produced and discusses a woman for whom Russ has recently fallen head over heels. Although the track is soft and reminiscent of a lullaby, Russ has continued to exercise versatility in his sound.
“I Know The Feeling” – The Franklin Electric
After their lightning-bolt breakthrough album and single “This Is How I Let You Down,” the Montreal band returns with a highly anticipated second album featuring this downtempo song. Perfect for laying down and shutting your eyes, The Franklin Electric is a great choice for winding down.