The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Broods, Zealyn & Galantis
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop aficionados. 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 a new feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet to help you survive New Music Friday. By now you’ve probably checked out Jason Derulo’s latest club-banger, “If It Ain’t Love,” and possibly given Skizzy Mars & JoJo’s slinky “Recognize” a spin. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with New Zealand brother-sister duo Broods, who make a very welcome return to the pop scene with “Free.” Co-produced by the always-brilliant Joel Little, it represents a bold change of pace. The siblings replace the moody electronica of debut LP Evergreen with futuristic synths and a soaring chorus. If this is their bid for a crossover-pop hit, I’m very much here for it. North London duo Aquilo walk a quieter path on “Silhouette” — an achingly beautiful ballad that feels like a punch to the heart. Their debut LP is shaping up to be something special.
Skylar Grey finds herself in a similarly introspective mood on subtle folk ditty “Moving Mountains.” The singer/songwriter has finally settled on a sound that rings true after several curious detours. (Let’s just pretend “C’mon Let Me Ride” never happened). Another radically transformed female artist is Zealyn. You might know her better as Angie Miller — a contestant on the 12th season of American Idol. She reemerged earlier this month with sparse electronic anthem “Talk” and now backs it up with the even more experimental “Sleep On It.”
What about the guys? Well, if you dig Zealyn’s eclectic soundscape, chances are you’ll love MLHLND — an Australian artist/producer who first landed on my radar with 2014 gem “Clothes Off.” His debut EP Twenty First Century Love, Vol. 1 arrived today and it’s a mind-bending mix of alt-R&B and electronica. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, “Closer” sounds like it escaped from Zayn’s Mind Of Mine album (and took a lot of drugs). Less obtuse, but equally engaging is Kevin Garrett’s killer collaboration with London producers KINGDM. “Baby” could the first step towards something much bigger for both.
It’s not all downtempo, however. YouTube sensation Sam Tsui, who has racked up 500 million+ views with covers and medleys, opts for vibrant, funk-laced pop on new single “Secret.” The chorus isn’t quite there for me, but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I’m less familiar with Swedish newcomer Tom Redwood. However, he makes a great first impression with “I’ve Fallen For You” — a blissful electro-anthem with gorgeous production and unusually poetic lyrics. I need a 10-minute extended mix and a dub!
Speaking of the dancefloor, this is a huge week for the heavyhitters of EDM. Let’s start with The Chainsmokers, who are on one hell of a roll. Andrew and Alex recently nabbed a top 10 hit with “Roses” and have another one on the way with euphoric Daya collaboration “Don’t Let Me Down.” They make it three from three with “Inside Out,” a breathy, chilled-out bop featuring Austrian vocalist Charlee. “#SELFIE” is now a distant memory.
While The Chainsmokers are the reigning crossover kings, Alesso throws his hat back into the ring with Nico & Vinz-assisted earworm “I Wanna Know.” The first taste of the Swede’s sophomore set is a melodic piece of electro-house with a pop-friendly chorus. Countryman Kygo goes down a similar path on “Raging,” a collaboration with Irish soft-rockers Kodaline. He’s proven his ability to sniff out a hit, but this feels a little undercooked in comparison to “Stole The Show” or “Firestone.” Maybe it’s a grower.
A safer bet to get the party started is Galantis’ new single “No Money.” Comprised of Christian Karlsson (Bloodshy of Bloodyshy & Avant fame) and Linus Eklöw (otherwise known as Style Of Eye), the duo has an impeccable pop pedigree. That shines through on their latest club monster, which would sound equally at home on the radio or in club. The same can be said of Chase & Status’ refreshingly brutal “NRG,” which reminds me of The Prodigy circa 1996.
That takes us to French producer Hugel’s enchanting “Where We Belong.” The floorfiller features the vocals of Jasmine Thompson, who is already a club veteran at the ripe old age of 15 thanks to hit collaborations with Robin Schulz and Felix Jaehn. This is all about the strings, disco keys and soaring chorus. Across the border, Spanish producer Juan Magan takes things in a very different direction with “Baila Conmigo” — a fiery banger that benefits enormously from the presence of UK club queen Luciana, who injects the track with a near lethal amount of verve and attitude.