Way Down We Go – Kaleo
My friend recently introduced me to Icelandic rock band Kaleo and I was an instant fan. About 20 seconds into my first listen of Way Down We Go I was in love with their sound – a fresh combination of rock, folk and blues.
This song, the first release from Kaleo’s excellent new album A/B which came out June 10th, has picked up a lot of play in the US and is just getting its first rounds on Radio Hauraki here in NZ. It featured in a range of TV series which helped get it off the ground, this include Suits, Orange Is the New Black and Blindspot.
But really it doesn’t need any explanation, it just needs you to take the time to listen. This band is something special and Way Down We Go is the perfect song to start your new love affair with the group.
Still Trying – Nathaniel Rateliff
Take Bon Iver and Mumford and Sons, add them together, plus a dollop of genius lyrics and a tonne of soul, and you get the sound of Nathaniel Rateliff. Intrigued? You should be.
This American singer-songwriter from Missouri has been around for a while, but I’ve just discovered him. He is just what you want in the alt-folk genre we’ve all grown to love today. He’s got the grungy and powerful voice and knows how to build a song up from a soft guitar riff and whisper to a full foot-stomping, make-you-wanna-shout style folk track.
Still Trying is a magic song from his 2013 album Falling Faster Than You Think You Can Run that does just this. It’s calming yet stirring at the same time. I know that’s an awful contradiction but somehow Nathaniel Rateliff reaches that in this song.
If you want more upbeat and shouty folk music listen to his 2015 album Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, if you want more gentle tracks like Still Trying then stick to his earlier albums. I like both styles for different reasons and all his work makes for compelling listening.
Life Gives You Lemons – Citizen Kay
I’ve discovered this awesome Australian hip hop artist Citizen Kay and listening to his music has made me immensely happy over the last few weeks. Life Gives You Lemons is from his debut album With The People which dropped in October.
This energetic jam has everything you want in a rap song. It reminds me a bit of Jurassic 5 and Arrested Development – it’s upbeat and catchy as hell.
For a start, the saxophone hook that plays throughout it one of the funkiest sounds I’ve heard as of late. Immediately the song is off on a bouncy and energetic track, add into that the fast-moving smart wordplay of Citizen Kay and it immediately makes you want to groove and singalong.
The Ghana-born and Canberra based MC has a good ear, Life Gives You Lemons is cleverly layered with an array of beats and various instrument melodies. I read that it’s about “being a minority but still growing up with the Aussie culture of seemingly never being phased about anything.” I like that philosophy.
Pretty neat track right here, check it out.