Mitski "Two Slow Dancers"
If you're looking for a little summertime sadness, here it is. Mitski will drop her new album next Friday, August 17, and you can get a taste in advance with her latest song. This jam is for the woman who is weary, tired, and kind of over it — whatever that "it" may be in her life. "Two Slow Dancers" reminds me of the sad end of a school dance, when you've stayed too long and your crush never asked you to dance. The dissonant chords in the bridge after the chorus are haunting and slightly horrifying, with a few minor chord orchestrations that add an edge of creepiness. Hmmm, sounds like the fear of dying alone. That's an absolutely appalling thing to capture in a pop song. Only Mitski could think of such a thing.
Elle King "Shame"
Elle King's first single from her forthcoming album is, obviously, a jam. If you thought the Black Keys had cornered the market on blues-based stompers, she's here to change your mind. The video continues the reversing of gender constructs; in it King plays a cult leader with a proclivity for dressing like a '70s pimp. Her followers are outfitted in track suits (like the Heaven's Gate cult, eep) and ski masks, while she runs around in gorgeous wide-leg trousers, feathers, sequins, and smokes a cigar. She leaves with suitcases full of money, either ill-gotten from her followers or from some crimes she made them commit. In a word: badass.
Sabrina Claudio "Numb"
And now, for something much lighter: Sabrina Claudio, with whom I have a growing obsession, drops a lovely, light, repetitive track called "Numb." This is one of those songs where it almost doesn't matter what the lyrics are — they could be in another language — and the song would be just as enjoyable. That is 100% thanks to Claudio's vocal acrobatics. There are major Mariah Carey vibes here. Unpacking the lyrics, you might find something reflecting the 24-hour news cycle: "my body and mind finally went numb / and I'm finally done / all I feel is numb." The beat pulsates so peacefully that you might miss the bleak message at the heart of this song, but only barely.
Chynna "leo season"
Chynna, a Philadelphia rapper, Ford model, and friend of the A$AP Mob, drops a tribute to Leos that will take your breath away. Even the art is full Leo, featuring an amazing shot of Coco Chanel and Salvador Dali, a pair of Leos with whom she shares a birthday (August 19). Her monotone delivery lets her words become the star of the track, showing off one hell of a sense of humour and the kind of spark that celebrates, well, Leo season.
Kate Teague "Good to You"
If "Stand By Your Man" needs a modern update, this could be a contender. Teague's unique vocal delivery is in the spirit of Tammy Wynette's original, but it's filtered through a '90s singer-songwriter filter. And the lyrics get a major update, with Teague crafting the story of a little romance that's a hell of a lot more empowered. The power pop hooks in the chorus propel this easy listener to an all-day type of song.
After my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to matchmake people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you're listening to this week.