With the plethora of good music that drops every week, it can feel overwhelming to stay on top of it all. That’s why each week, Los Angeles curates a list of the best releases that you should check out.
This weekend’s playlist features the latest offering from the pop star who has wooed the hearts of many, Harry Styles, along with Chicago songstress Ravyn Lenae’s latest, Hypnos. We also spotlight Train’s eleventh studio album, AM Gold, and a deeply meditative project from Sons of Kemet frontman, Shabaka.
Standout Tracks: “Late Night Talking,” “Daydreaming”
Harry Styles has found his groove with his latest album Harry’s House, and the vibe is truly contagious. The pop star’s third solo offering, which features 13 tracks, taps into various genres including funk, soul, rock, and jazz. Harry’s House includes contributions from Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange), John Mayer, Tobias Jesso Jr., Pino Palladino, Kid Harpoon, and more. One standout is undoubtably, “Daydreaming,” which samples the 1978 track “Ain’t We Funkin’ Now” by Brothers Johnson, which was produced by Quincy Jones. Fans will be able to see Harry’s House performed live during Styles’ “Love on Tour,” which will hit the Kia Forum in Inglewood on 10 select dates beginning October 31. [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Venom,” “M.I.A.,” and “Xtasy”
It’s surprising to think that Ravyn Lenae is just now unleashing her debut album, Hypnos. The Chicago-born songstress—who I first saw perform when she opened for SZA’s Ctrl tour in 2017—has already cemented herself as a leading voice in the alternative RnB soundscape. Hypnos is a follow up to Lenae’s 2017-EP Crush and 2016’s Moon Shoes EP. Her latest offering spans 16 tracks and features Smino, Mereba, Steve Lacy, and Fousheé. Production credits include Lacy, Kaytranada, Luke Titus, and Monte Booker. [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Ital is vital”
If you’re looking for a calming soundtrack to help set the mood for a relaxing weekend, you should check out Shabaka’s first solo EP, Afrikan Culture. The Sons of Kemet frontman, London composer, and multi-instrumentalist explores traditional African instruments such as the kora and the mbira in conjunction with a music box on the 8-track project. The track titles—including “Memories don’t live like people do,” “The dimension of subtle awareness,” and “Explore inner space,” are just as meditative as the sounds on the EP. [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Role Models” and “Cutlass”
The Los Angeles-born crooner has dropped Towards the Sun, the first installment of his two-part debut album called Seasick—the second, Towards the Moon, is slated for a June release. The 7-track effort sees the singer-songwriter delving into the emotional side of relationships. Towards the Sun offers one guest appearance from fellow L.A. artist, ScHoolboy Q on “Cutlass.” [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Running Back (Trying to Talk to You)” and “Cleopatra”
The Grammy award-winning band’s 11-track, eleventh studio album, AM Gold, includes a guest appearance from Mexican singer-songwriter Sofía Reyes on the single “Cleopatra.” Train is scheduled to hit the road with Jewel and Blues Traveler on their “Train — AM Tour.” There’s currently no Los Angeles dates on the roster, but SoCal shows will take place in San Diego on July 26 and Irvine on July 29. [artist info]
Other Worthy Mentions: Santigold, Lykee Li, Chance the Rapper and VIC MENSA
Santigold has shared a visual for her latest single “High Priestess,” which she said showcases “the future sound of punk rock.” The track is her first solo release since 2018’s I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions. Also, Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li has offered up her moody fifth album, titled EYEYE. Finally, two of Chicago’s most recognizable new age emcees, Chance the Rapper and VIC MENSA teamed up for a new single titled “Wraith,” which they’re calling a “writing exercise.” The song, produced by Smoko Ono, arrives with a music video.
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