Atlanta rapper ZAIA first got tongues wagging with his groove-inflected sound back in 2019 with the breakout single “BLUE”. With “Innerstate” he steps up again and further exemplifies his impressive knack for effortlessly merging the smoothest elements of hip-hop, soul and 70’s funk with his candid delivery.
ZAIA’s latest offering – taken from the upcoming EP entitled Very Alone – is an immediate standout, blasting straight in with a big bass riff that could easily be mistaken for the workings of Kevin Parker circa-Currents. Breezy synths reverberate against the unmistakable bass-line whilst ZAIA says “Trying to get away / I’m looking forwards / Ignoring all the lanes” as he hurtles forward with one eye kept keenly on his future and his goals.
Reflecting on what the track means to him, ZAIA says “‘Innerstate’ is about moving forward and paying attention to your inner mind and how you feel and how it’s affecting you. I made it as a reminder to myself to assess myself once in a while.”
It’s a track that works as an instant mood-booster, made for summertime car journeys with the roof down, yet simultaneously acts as a reminder to look after yourself as good things are still yet to come.
A few weeks ago, 2020 looked like a big year for Kathy Lee, the Korean-American artist better known as Yaeji. She was about to put out her first full-length, a mixtape called What We Drew for XL Recordings, joining a roster of independent music royalty like Arca, Adele, Thom Yorke and King Krule. She was ready to play the part. Since breaking out in 2017 on hit singles like “raingirl” and “drink i’m sippin on,” Lee has sold out shows, graced magazine covers and developed a lovable sense of pop presentation, one that proudly wears her Asian-American heritage and makes use of her background in visual art. This month, Lee was also meant to debut a new live show featuring choreographed dancers, a big step up from her DIY beginnings in Brooklyn. The tour would have made 26 stops across North America and Europe. But of course, most of that has been postponed.
Though the global pandemic will slow down some things for Lee, it will not stop her fans from rinsing this mixtape. More than other home listening music circulating these days, What We Drew sounds particularly sweet during a crisis. It’s not just because of Lee’s soothing whispers in Korean and English, which are as cute as they are comforting. Nor is it because of the chilled-out beats, which show a step up in production skills and a blossoming sense of musicality. What We Drew ultimately feels meaningful during self-isolation because it celebrates the simple pleasures we took for granted before—things like family, friendship and (something I’ve started to cherish while stuck alone in my apartment) the peacefulness of routine and housework.
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Montreal-based artist JORDANN has released his excellent EP Connecting Visitors to Fun, a luxurious, yet dynamic showcase of dream-like ‘80’s synth and hazy vocals, sung in both English and French. Along with the smoky lead single “Cafe Speed” and the meticulous, addictive upbeat synth of “Marketa,” the equally stunning “Poll Line” works to show off JORDANN’s ultimate seamlessness and skill in regards to his manipulation of synth, somehow making something synthetic sound as if it is unbelievably soft to the touch. Though the track is, at its core, a break-up song, the persona within the walls of “Poll Line” is wistful, yet calm, as if leaving his mind open to forgiveness, a chance at renewal with this person – at the chorus, the gauzy synth catches up to his mind soaring off into the ether, gathering like feathers to provide ample cushion when he returns to Earth and tells his ex: “Au revoir/ Appelle-moi encore/ Au revoir/ De jour ou plus tard” – “Goodbye/ Call me again/ Goodbye/ Day or night” (JORDANN, please tell me if I have butchered this, as my French is rudimentary at best). The bass beats and pounds though to the end like a nervous, but stable heartbeat, somehow in its strong intent hinting that this relationship has been through too much, over too much time, to end so abruptly.
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French artist Oklou debuts her new single, “SGSY.” The track’s name stems from the main hook “she’s gonna slaughter you” and there’s an overwhelming feeling she means it. Signaling toward an ultimate breakup song or supporting a friend through a tough relationship, the track’s message is climactic and haunting with its soft-spoken delivery.
“SGSY” is the producer/songwriter’s third release of the year. It follows “Entertnmnt,” which features co-production by Mura Masa, and “Toyota” featuring Flavien Berger. Oklou, born Marylou Mayniel, released the track yesterday in celebration of her birthday alongside a lyric video by her flatmate Saradibiza.
Mayniel’s new tracks are leading to her upcoming full-length project and follow her 2018 debut EP, The Rite of May. A self-taught producer, the French artist is also a classically trained pianist and cellist who developed a strong love for the underground scene in Paris. This eventually led to her co-founding the DJ collective TGAF and spinning on radio stations like Rinse France, PIIAF, NTS, and more.
Read the rest of this article at Soundazed