The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Annabel Jones & TYSM
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Louis Tomlinson and Bebe Rexha’s “Back To You” and possibly bopped along to PRETTYMUCH’s retro-tinged debut single, “Would You Mind.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of feel-good bangers. Smallpools shifted away from the punchy pop/rock of “Dreaming” and “Karaoke” in favor of a more electronic sound on recent single “Million Bucks.” That trend continues with “Passenger Side,” the latest taste of their upcoming EP The Science Of Letting Go (due August 4). A nostalgic ode to car sex (I think!), this is seriously catchy. The same goes for Draper’s “Worst Of Us.” The UK producer dropped one of my favorite songs of 2016 with Prides-assisted “Break Over You” and his latest is another TUNE.
While we’re on the topic of tunes, Annabel Jones has already crafted more than her fair share (“Magnetic,” “IOU” and “Happy”). The lovely Brit returns today with a feature on AOBeats’ “Strangers” — a hypnotic electro-pop experiment with typically incisive lyrics and a mercurial drop. Another banger worthy of your attention is Gianni Marino’s “Make You.” The Amsterdam-based DJ, who has co-written songs with Major Lazer, teams up with Aussie singer Luna May for a floaty floorfiller built around Asian instruments.
Speaking of songwriters, TYSM is the latest to dive into an artist project. After going viral with debut single “Honeymoon Phase,” the mysterious diva returns with “Rearview” and it’s another stone-cold gem. Produced by Felix Snow, the loved-up bop is a heady mix of sugary synths and breathy vocals. More please! Another act stepping out from behind the scenes is Ghosted (otherwise known as UK production team TMS). After crafting hits for Little Mix, G-Eazy and Birdy, they team up with Kamille for X-rated bop “Get Some.”
Daniella Mason has also written for other artists and recently featured on a Nick Jonas song, but she’s currently focussed on her self-titled debut LP (due October 13). The Nashville-based singer begs to be put out of her misery over twinkly synths on alt-pop gem “Tell Me It’s Over.” If this is any indication, her album is going to be special. The same goes for Billie Eilish’s sullenly-titled EP, Don’t Smile At Me. Every song from this project has been great and “idontwannabeyouanymore” (try typing that on a Friday afternoon) is no exception.
Looking for something a little more relaxed? Sharaya Summer’s gorgeous “Light Of The Moon” should do the trick. This is the revelation of the week for me. A melancholy, shoe-gazing ditty about climbing out of a pit of darkness, the LA-based newcomer delivers ’70s singer/songwriter honesty over jangly guitars. She is definitely One To Watch. An artist further along their artistic journey is Tep No. After going viral with a bunch of unofficial remixes, the Canadian producer is now cranking out gems of his own. “Eighteen” is a nostalgic, summery bop laced with acoustic instruments.
Next up are a couple of hybrid-R&B anthems. I’ve been wanting to write about Luke Christopher for a while now because every track from debut LP TMRWFRVR (due July 28) has been fire. The 24-year-old takes it to the next level, however, on self-produced earworm “Believer.” This marries old-school soul with rapped verses with breathtaking ease. BOSCO is another alarmingly talented newcomer. The buzz artist describes her music as electronic indie R&B wave and that (kind of) gives you some idea of what to expect from the very good “Adrenaline.”
That leaves us with two downtempo tracks. Lee DeWyze finally shook off the chains of American Idol with “Blackbird Song,” which went viral after appearing in an episode of The Walking Dead. He delivers another haunting ballad with “The Breakdown,” a track that documents the aftermath of a break-up. This is raw singer/songwriter fare with an edge. Less intense but equally enjoyable is Ember Island’s stripped-back cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Listen to the Swedish trio’s clever reworking in my playlist below.