FEBRUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

Updated: 18 March 2018            Written by Natalya Davies

DISCOVERIES 

Killa Yan – Like I Used To

For fans of: Louis Mattrs, Paperboy Fabe, Eros Taylor

If as the saying goes, “Less is More”, then debut single ‘Like I Used To’ from Irish singer/songwriter Killa Yan is certainly the most. The arrangement is pleasantly minimal while the melody is equally as delicate, allowing for the honest and vulnerable lyrics to dwell in the limelight, making it a piece which can resonate with mostly anyone.

The ultimate way to embark upon what one can only assume will be a considerably fruitful musical future for the artist, if all continues as it has started.

 

Iyamah – Cryptic Love

For fans of: SZA, RAY BLK, H.E.R

For any music lover, finding a strong connection with a song upon first listen is sometimes very rare but, nevertheless, a wonderful thing. This, however, was very much the case upon my first listen of ‘Cryptic Love’.

A soulful piece with a delightfully gentle hint of funk, Iyamah’s debut single touches on the increasingly popular topic of the empowerment of women which is executed in a way that is more tasteful and elegant, than irrational or ambiguous.

 

Dan Caplen – Two Fingers

For fans of: Zak Abel, Daniel Caesar, RAY BLK

If you’re a fan of infectious soulful rhythm and blues then look no further; Dan Caplen is bringing Christmas 2018 10 months early! The young singer/songwriter has had a rewarding introduction to the music world by collaborating with well-renowned names like Macklemore, RAY BLK and Jess Glynne.

‘Two Fingers’ is the perfect song to bridge between the glum and gloomy winter days to the highly anticipated spring months where road trips and the best music are once again upon us.

 

Lewis Capaldi – Bruises

For fans of: Khalid, Tom Grennan, Rhys Lewis

The lyrics “It’s your love I’m lost in” thoroughly sums up Scotland hot topic Lewis Capaldi’s debut single ‘Bruises’. Hypnotic, powerful, heartfelt, emotional and sincere, Capaldi serves up everything you could ever want in a conflicted battle of a ballad.

With many reputable collaborations under his belt, 2018 is said, by many, to be the year to watch this artist rise to stardom.

 

Declan J Donovan – Better

For fans of: Lewis Capaldi, Adam French, Tom Grennan

Another one for any of you which may be looking for a rising star, or a star-to-be for that matter, Declan J Donovan’s 2017 release ‘Better’ is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

The essential remedy for those loathsome, figurative rainy days, Donovan’s compelling and distinctive voice is instantly soothing, while the song’s minimal structure is just as appeasing. So, next time you’re in need of some well deserved recovery, put on my February favourites playlist, pour yourself a glass of wine (or ten), and get lost in the music.

 

feb disc

SONGS

Sam Wills – So Bright

For fans of: Will Heard, Sipprell, James Vickery

Potentially one of my favourite artists of 2017, Sam Wills’ entire So Bright EP (2016) is inevitably a must-listen collective if you’re a fan of electronic soul, or even if you’re simply looking for something slightly unique with ‘pop-esque’ elements.

Single ‘So Bright’ is a pleasing mixture of repressed layers and captivating choruses which makes for an extremely infectious result, the addition of soulful synths only doubles the song’s genius.

 

Xavier Omar – Afraid

For fans of: Sabrina Claudio, Daniel Caesar, Sinead Harnett

Following on from the very ‘soul’ ridden pattern forming in my current favourites, ‘Afraid’ by American R’n’B artist Xavier Omar is a delicate track, overflowing with a vulnerability and uncertainty that is quite compelling as it is so relatable.

In this 2017 single, Omar showcases his fantastic vocal range, varying from a low and moody vocal to hinting ever so slightly at a rather satisfying falsetto as the song progresses. This variety only helps the meaning of the lyrics to be even more enticing and believable.

 

Sinead Harnett – If You Let Me

For fans of: Jorja Smith, Zak Abel, Kiana Lede

With her best selling single ‘If You Let Me’, Sinead Harnett has embodied the essence of romantic conflict that can relate to almost anyone. That feeling of conflict between ‘letting go or letting them in’ is pictured very realistically within her lyrics, so convincingly that if you closed your eyes, you can most certainly feel the dispute firsthand.

 

Press to MECO – Affinity

For fans of: Arcane Roots, Mallory Knox, DON BROCO

My favourite thing about Press To MECO is the clear efforts put in to do one thing only; create quality music for people to enjoy. Being within a genre in which bands are all too but ready to expose themselves to a mainstream audience rather than focus on what really matters can mean sticking out like a sore thumb, but for PTM it is doing many favours.

Affinity, especially, is a musical masterpiece; glazed with the chunkiest of riffs and the most blissful harmonies, a perfect blend of anything and everything a rock fan could possible want. Truly, addictive content.

 

Tom Misch, Loyle Carner – Water Baby

For Fans of: Jordan Rakei, Barney Artist, Xavier Omar

The ultimate duo are back and better than ever in Misch’s newest release ‘Water Baby’ which sets an extremely exciting tone for the highly anticipated debut album ‘Geography.

‘Water Baby’ is an ingeniously soulful piece with an old school touch that is riddled with nostalgia, no matter your age. I can only hope that this is not the last time Misch and Carner collaborate.

 

feb songs

ARTISTS

LIV DAWSON

For fans of: RAYE, Mabel, Grace Carter

Since recently finishing a UK tour with Khalid, this young British singer/songwriter is causing quite the stir among pop and R’n’B fans.

Dawson provides an extremely relevant sound (an utter go-to for any Mabel fans) but despite appealing to a large crowd, care and attention has clearly been made to make her music distinguishable among what is quite a saturated genre. Newest single ‘Talk’ is quite typical of pop, however, previous single ‘Hush’ incorporates a muted Chainsmokers-esque electronic chorus, while ‘Still’ incorporates atmospheric layers, both of which are kept minimal so as to not take attention away from her incredible vocal abilities.

Image result for liv dawson

RECOMMENDED:

‘Hush’

‘Still’

 

ZAK ABEL

For fans of: Dan Caplen, Jess Glynne, Jessie Ware

A certain musical icon of the coming years, Zak Abel’s debut album ‘Only When We’re Naked’ is bursting with addictive pop swagger and explosive choruses, perfect for the summertime (which is just around the corner… I certainly hope so).

With a number of credible collaborations already under his belt, including Tom Misch, Wretch 32 and Gorgon City, Abel is coming for you whether you like it or not, no matter what genre you like… and he is killing it.

Image result for zak abel

RECOMMENDED:

‘Rock Bottom’ Feat. Wretch 32

‘The River’

 

FRANK OCEAN

For fans of: Chance The Rapper, BROCKHAMPTON, Childish Gambino

Frank Ocean is one of those MUST-listen artists that appear every once in a while, and are a true musical gem. While, like in society there are trendsetters and followers, the same goes in music and Ocean is truly in a league of his own, simply because he is not afraid to be himself or break boundaries that otherwise should not even be there.

‘Lost’ from Channel Orange is a particular favourite of mine, especially due to the moody and suppressed vocals which contrasts incredibly to the upbeat nature of the melody and chorus.

Image result for frank ocean

RECOMMENDED:

‘Lost’

‘Super Rich Kids’

 

Click here to view the complete February Favourites playlist!

 

Similar posts:

JANUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

 

Instagram: @natalyaalala 

Be sure to click the ‘follow’ button for regular blog updates via email!

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite tracks of February!

JANUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

Here’s just a slight glimpse of what I have been enjoying this month…

 

DISCOVERIES

VOWS – KNUCKS

For fans of: Kojo Funds, Dave, Mostack

As an avid music fan, it is a personal goal of mine to discover new music and artists as often as I possibly can, daily preferably. Despite the amount of music you listen to or the genres you delve into, each listener will find sparks in different artists dependent on various factors like relatability, lyrics, beats, etc. However, this ‘spark’, so to speak, is exactly what makes finding new music so exciting and the biggest spark I have come across recently was when discovering London rapper Knucks.

Knucks resides in a league of his very own, serving us modern rap with a clever retro twist. ‘Vows’ portrays the rapper’s audacious boyish charm, similar to likes of AJ Tracey,  fused with an authentic jazz inspired sound that acts as a nostalgic time machine, taking anyone that listens to a past musical era. With UK rap and R’n’B being as well received as it is currently, artists like Knucks will have no problem standing out from the crowd.

Future releases from Knucks will be very highly anticipated, no doubt.

TROPICAL – SL

For fans of: AJ Tracey, K-Trap, Harlem Spartans

Similar to Knucks, Croydon rapper SL is proving to be a contender in the UK music scene with his latest single ‘Tropical’ which was released on December 25th, 2017; quite the Christmas present. Again, my favourite part about SL’s sound is that he has taken such a relevant sound and added an innovative twist which sets him apart from the rest of the rather saturated crowd.

Grime is often perceived as an intimidating or even aggressive genre, which is why the unlikely contrast of the minimal and mellow music works so well behind SL’s daring lyrics. The future seems very bright for the young rapper, I can only hope that we see more of this.

THE WEEKEND – SZA x CALVIN HARRIS

For fans of: Daniel Caesar, Miguel, Kehlani

It’s important to remix mostly because sometimes you have to be sure that there is no better version of you to be attained… and then sometimes you realise that there are definitely better versions to be attained, and you have to get in and attack those moments. Commit yourself to being something better.(SZA)

Whether this recent reflection from SZA is talking about music or something much much deeper, the meaning rings true. Experimentation can go wrong, but it can also go so right and the latter can definitely be said for the recent remix of SZA’s hit ‘The Weekend’ by Calvin Harris. This version exposed SZA’s well-known R’n’B sound to an infectious funk flare that has recently come to the mainstream eye through the likes of Bruno Mars and Tuxedo. While her original hit is an incredible song by itself, this remix proves that a better (or different) version of you really can be attained through a different outlook.

LIFESTYLE – BELLY SQUAD

For fans of: Lotto Boyzz, Big Tobz, Nafe Smallz

Donning the sound that is currently booming from the streets of London, Belly Squad have fused the best of Afrobeat with UK rap elements, a sound which is sure to catapult the trio into the forefront of the musical limelight in the coming year.

Recent release ‘Lifestyle’ is the epitome of an infectious club classic that is sure to grow in popularity throughout the coming year. With one listen of this track, you will certainly be humming along to the chorus and reaching for a beer (trust me, I was).

EXCELLENT DONUT – JAM BAXTER x ED SCISSOR

For fans of: Dabbla, Hopsin, Verb T

If you’re a fan of lyrical content, then this is the one for you. A perfect collaboration between UK rap heavyweights Jam Baxter and Ed Scissor, ‘Excellent Donut’ will leave you feeling reflective as the clever musical poetry poured into the music sinks into your mind.

With much of the music that I have recently discovered or is currently in the mainstream charts, it is clear to see that lyrical content often goes overlooked or is viewed as not as important as aspects such as melody and beats. Jam Baxter and Ed Scissor, however, are a much needed reminder that lyrical poetry is still very much present in modern music as a beautiful art form of its own.

jan 1

SONGS

DON BROCO – COME OUT TO LA

For fans of: Mallory Knox, Young Guns, Lower Than Atlantis

The fifth teaser unveiled for the much anticipated third studio album ‘Technology’ from Bedford based four piece Don Broco, ‘Come Out To LA’ is the perfect representation of why the rock scene needs bands like this. Rather than following the crowd with their sound or visuals for that matter, Don Broco are experimenting with electronic influences, pop choruses as well as hard rock heaviness to create something completely new and exciting.

With such a broad genre as Rock, it is extremely easy to get lost in the crowd, especially with how rapidly fan bases can be cultivated in modern times, however, Don Broco, as well as others such as Enter Shikari, are just a few acts that threaten to be here for a long time. Here’s to February 2nd!

ITS A VIBE – 2 CHAINZ, TY DOLLA $IGN, TREY SONGZ, JHENE AIKO

For fans of: Pusha T, A$AP Ferg, Juicy J

In these unfavourable winter months when the days are short and the weather is far, far too cold, sometimes relaxing just needs to be on the agenda which is why this song has landed into my favourites this month.

‘It’s a Vibe’ is a track that should be a favourite of any R’n’B lover because it really is a ‘fits all’ sort of song. Whether you’re relaxing by yourself after a hard day or getting some drinks in before a heavy night, this song will set the tone perfectly and makes you want to sing along in a world of your own.

KNOW MY TING – GHETTS x SHAKKA

For fans of: Kano, Giggs, Wretch 32

With the uprise of grime in the UK mainstream, it is unbelievable that an artist like Ghetts has been so undeservedly overlooked, however, ‘Know My Ting’ featuring hot topic Shakka stands to shake up the game.

In comparison to a large number of grime records released within the last year, Ghetts serves us something that truly stands out as unique and even catchy with it’s repetitive hooks.

LET IT RING – MOSTACK

For fans of: J Hus, MIST, Kojo Funds

Mostack is just one of the many British artists catapulting ‘Afrobeat’ and UK R’n’B into the musical forefront which has caught the attention of many.

‘Let It Ring’ features such a relevant sound in current UK music and proves to be much of a modern club classic which comes as no surprise when listening to its catchy and repetitive chorus. Even one listen will leave you humming along.

IN MIND – PARTING GIFT

For fans of: Holding Absence, Noija, Glass Tides

The black horse of my five favourite songs for January, Parting Gift are post-hardcore newcomers based in Manchester that threaten to take over the UK rock scene. ‘In Mind’ instantly evokes emotion due to the contrast of its soft reflective verses and chaotic, pleading choruses.

As cliche as it is to say, ‘In Mind’ takes the listener on a journey through which different thoughts and feelings are provoked. Rather than being consistent, the song progresses and retracts, which is reflective of the troubled lyrics. There is a certain power when a song is so convincing to its listeners and this is a power which Parting Gift have in the bag.

jan 2

ARTISTS

SHAKKA

For fans of: Not3s, Avelino, WSTRN

Within the last few months, Shakka has been making his presence recognised in the UK R’n’B/Afrobeat scene through many collaborations with artists such as Not3s, Wretch 32, Ghetts, Young Thug and many, many more. Shakka has fallen into my January favourites as he is one to watch in 2018, an artist that I am finding very interesting watching grow musically. He is living proof that innovation is alive in modern music as he brings a distinctive sound to the table with an energy that is certainly infectious.

Image result for shakka

RECOMMENDED:

‘No Drama’ Not3s Feat. Shakka

‘I Heart The Weekend’

 

LOYLE CARNER

For fans of: Tom Misch, Casisdead, Rejjie Snow

Another exciting career that is developing right before our eyes is that of Loyle Carner, a UK ‘Hip-Hopper’ with an authentic neo-soul touch that differentiates the rapper from his competition. Having been nominated for a Mercury award in 2017, alongside various other awards, Carner has been the topic of conversation in the music world and you can bet this is just the tip of the iceberg for the artist.

Image result for Loyle Carner

RECOMMENDED:

‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’

‘Crazy Dream’ Tom Misch Feat. Loyle Carner

 

MABEL

For fans of: RAY BLK, Stefflon Don, Not3s

Without a doubt, Mabel has been one of the stand-out stars of 2017, with ‘Finders Keepers’ dominating every club, shop and radio station in the UK. Having been brought up by parents that have already had a fulfilled and successful career in the music industry, many would feel that there are massive shoes to be filled, however, Mabel takes it all within her stride and uses her parents as drive to become one of the biggest modern stars in the world, and she is very much so on her way there.

Image result for mabel mcvey

RECOMMENDED:

‘Finders Keepers’ Feat. Kojo Funds

‘Fine Line’ Feat. Not3s

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your January favourites!