Boulevards (aka Jamil Rashad) brings the ’70s back in a big and catchy way with “Sanity,” a full-energy track that celebrates the best clichés of the era—like hand claps, glittery riffs, groovy bass lines and smoother-than-caramel vocals—while remaining distinctly contemporary. This is the second single to appear from Boulevards’ debut self-titled EP (set for release 25 September 2015)—expect it to dominate dance floors this season.
Naughty Boy feat. Beyoncé, Arrow Benjamin: Runnin’ (Lose It All)
British-Pakistani producer Naughty Boy’s newest single “Runnin’ (Lose It All)” features a duet between mysterious emerging singer Arrow Benjamin and a name everyone knows: Beyoncé. Her vocals shine with power and tenderness that we haven’t really heard since her “Halo”/”If I Were a Boy” days. Setting the bar for future dance music videos to come, French world champion free-diver Guillaume Nery and fellow diver Alice Modolo seem to defy gravity and physics in this underwater film. Exemplifying the song’s lyrics as they run towards each other—no air tanks, no CGI, just their incredible physical abilities—the two convey a love story in the most unlikely of settings.
The Big Moon: The Road
In the music video for “The Road,” newish London band The Big Moon makes the best of a small budget. Getting creative with MDF and paint, the four ladies appear and reappear in a seemingly infinite scroll of booths—and their goofiness is infectious, as is the unhurried indie rock song itself. The Big Moon will be making their US debut next month, 15 October 2015, for BBC Introducing’s first-ever showcase at CMJ Music Marathon. We’ll definitely be keeping tabs on them.
Autre Ne Veut: Panic Room
From his upcoming album Age of Transparency, Autre Ne Veut (aka Arthur Ashin) shares “Panic Room.” The most arresting part of the song is Ashin’s now-signature, almost-polished-but-not-quite vocals, revealing the vulnerable and emotional—rather than letting slick production cover it all up. These feelings are also conveyed in the unconventional music video for “Panic Room”: it’s simply Ashin himself gutsily singing a cappella in front of a panel of three judges, who ultimately reject his (literally) bare-it-all “audition.”
Photay Mix on Gilles Peterson Worldwide (GPWW964)
We’ve been fans of Photay, the young Woodstock, NY-raised producer Evan Shornstein, since hearing his track “No Sass”—an effortless collage of samples, relaxed grooves and soulful synths that takes you to a specially crafted other dimension. For Gilles Peterson’s show Worldwide, Photay has created a half-hour mix that demonstrates his diverse influences (note: he spent time in Guinea, West Africa to study djembe and balafon). Kick off the weekend with this buoyant journey—which includes an unreleased Photay track—through foreign languages, world and digital instruments alike, quick-paced percussion and obscure Hawaiian ’70s boogie.