School may not be in session, but the music industry is as crazy as ever. While you have been on the beach, Kanye West sold out a tour, Vic Mensa dropped a viciously outspoken EP and some great cross-genre collaborations found their way to the surface. Push Play Monday is back with a playlist of discoveries I made in June, so enjoy my month in rewind.
1) "I Can Tell" by Eric Bellinger
Bellinger is a veteran of the industry these days. The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter has worked with the likes of Usher, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber over the last few years. He started releasing his own mixtapes back in 2013, but his newest studio album is by far his strongest.
2) "16 Shots" by Vic Mensa
This Chicago native is famously known as the founder of the Savemoney hip-hop collective, home to Towkio, Joey Purp and Donnie Trumpet, as well as Chance the Rapper and his younger brother, Taylor Bennett. Naturally, their music has noticeable ties to their Chicago roots and they often collaborate on projects together. Mensa's newest EP, There's A Lot Going On, is a bold reintroduction into the limelight of the hip-hop scene. This track is a shameless piece about police brutality that's well worth a listening ear.
3) "Good Grief" by Bastille
It has been three years since Bad Blood. Finally, the indie-pop band returns with its first single ahead of a new album, which is set to release later this summer. Just last week at the Glastonbury Festival, the album's title track, "Wild World" premiered. "Good Grief" is a classically fun track featuring samples of scenes from John Hughes' Weird Science that give it the perfect touch of retro.
4) "Location" by Khalid
In less than two months, this track by 18-year-old Texas native has gained over 1.3 million plays on Soundcloud. While it is not his debut track, it certainly is a bold introduction to his sound. The track was produced by a number of people, but most notably received help from Tunji Ige, who is currently a rising artist himself. Whether it is on Kylie Jenner's Snapchat or someone's Twitter feed, this song is everywhere and worth every play.
5) "A Single Thing" by Graciela Chin A Loi feat. Gustav Orphée Noah
Graciela Chin A Loi has the kind of voice genetically crafted for smooth jazz. The Swedish singer has been working on developing her debut EP for a few years now. Fans are anticipating a futuristic gospel and neo soul vibe from the project, which has yet to receive a release date.
6) "Stranger" by MOTHXR
Who knew that Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl could not only sing, but also set a mood a la Astronomyy? It is no surprise that this newly debuted indie band lead by Baltimore's own Penn Badgley just got off tour with The Neighbourhood. Now that they have released their first studio album to a very positive criticism, the band is heading on tour to spread their electro-rock vibes across the country.
7) "Disappointed" by Julius feat. 4e
This song first premiered eight months ago on Julius' Soundcloud. Julius started receiving a lot of attention recently when fellow collaborator Gnash began soaring on charts. The track was produced by 4e, a production duo who has worked with The Neighbourhood and Blackbear in the past. This song is a masterful collaboration between the two artists.
8) "Altar of the Sun" by Bahari
These Manhattan Beach teens met at auditions for a new band to sign with Rock Mafia Studios, which has worked with the likes of Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. After winning and becoming a group, they named themselves Bahari after the Swahili word for "ocean." Ruby Carr, one of the three members, is a Kenyan native and fluent in Swahili. They then wrote their smash hit debut song, "Wild Ones," in a matter of 20 minutes, and it now has over 25 million streams on Spotify. Their debut EP was so strong that indie star Birdy caught wind of it and had them jump on tour with her this summer.
9) "In Colour" by Fyfe
Previously making music under the name of "David's Lyre" until 2012, Fyfe is the new project for singer-songwriter Paul Dixon. Fyfe creates a beautifully eerie sound that resonates long after the tracks have stopped. This track is his first single since his album Control from 2015.
10) "End of the Summer" by Alec Benjamin
This songwriter threw his debut song "Paper Crowns" together in his dorm room at the University of Southern California a few years ago. The success of the track landed him a deal with Columbia Records back in 2014. The 22-year-old now returns with a cheery track to carry listeners through this hot season.
11) "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers
At the beginning of June, a video was released of Pharell Williams listening to this song in his masterclass at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, where he was critiquing students' work. With a smile, he sent her career soaring. Fans found her bandcamp profile and began streaming her albums from high school as if they could not get enough of her humbly mesmerizing vibe. It is still unclear as to where her career is going to go from here, but it is assuredly a bright path.
12) "Sucker for Pain" by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons feat. Logic, Ty Dolla $ign and X Ambassadors
I know. I had to read the artist list twice, too. It is quite a loaded track, featuring artists from a wide range of genres. The song was recorded to be included in the Suicide Squad soundtrack, which has a roster that is arguably more anticipated than the actual film. The verses laid down by each rapper tie in surprisingly well with the chorus delivered by the alternative bands and the guitar lines.
This time next month I'll be back to recap July, which has a new Frank Ocean project rumor tacked to it. We will just have to wait and see if it comes through this time.