By Will Hodge
Howdy, howdy, friends! I hope you were able to join in the festivities this week as fun. celebrated the fifth anniversary of the release of their debut album Aim & Ignite with a 5-day-only-limited-time download of the album in full. I hope other bands join in the tradition and a free album download takes over for wood/silverware in the traditional fifth anniversary gift department. Someone get Hallmark on the phone! For the celebratory party punchbowl, this week’s picks create a raucous cocktail of explosive alt-rock, R&B-fueled pop, infectious hip-hop, with some laid-back acoustic folk to provide a smooth finish. Bottoms up!
There’s no better way to continue the 5-year birthday celebration of fun.’s debut album Aim & Ignite than spinning their 4-song companion EP Selections & B-Sides from Aim & Ignite. While the EP features All the Pretty Girls from Aim & Ignite, the other three tracks are pure b-side/rarity/remix goodness. There’s a remix (Walking the Dog (RAC Mix)), a live track (Take Your Time (Coming Home)), and a non-album track b-side (Stitch Me Up), all of which prove to be a nice continuation of Aim & Ignite‘s inventive and playful sonic environment. If you still can’t get your fun.-fix, they’ve also got their Before Shane Went to Bangkok live EP available on our site as well.
You may recognize the name and voice of Mikky Ekko from his appearance on Rhianna’s Stay from her Unapologetic album. Just 3 short years before the quadruple-platinum single was released, Ekko put out his debut EP Strange Fruit. Available here in its entirety, Strange Fruit showcases Ekko’s otherworldy vocals and his uniquely creative sonic touch. Only In Dreams floats in and out before your ears know what hit them, leading into Sedated, the song that got Ekko his first exposure. Give it a listen and you’ll see exactly why so many artists have tapped Ekko for collaboration and why he has been able to rise so far, so fast.
This self-titled EP from Shopé isn’t his first foray into music-making (he used to rap under the name Spoken), but it is his first under the Shopé moniker. So because of that and because it’s an introduction to his new sound consider this a well-earned debut. Opening track Cinema brings you right up to speed with Shopé’s overflowing bag of songwriting and production talents. The song opens with a piano-flavored mid-tempo groove, changes direction half-way through with layered ornamental beats and aggressive tongue-twisting lyrics, and then returns to the laid-back feel for its closing. Pretty cinematic indeed.
With his unpretentious vocals and unassuming guitar-playing, Americana singer-songwriter Luke Brindley inhabits a beautiful cross-section of classic country balladeering and modern folk songwriting. With a little vocal help from Laura Tsaggaris and some banjo/mandolin accompaniment from Mike Meadows (Taylor Swift), Brindley has crafted The Whiskey Switch to be sonically relaxed and emotionally resonant. I recommend Cold Hearts for its melancholy musings and Minnesota for its Springsteenian storytelling.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t five minutes in and bored again, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack0