Happy Cowboy Carter day-- oops, I mean Friday -- to all who celebrate. Yes, it feels a bit sacrilegious to work on Opening Day, Beyonce's Release Day, and Good Friday, but I digress. Some of us have to stay strong and power through the workday while others are enjoying the singular sunny day we've had all week.

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New Releases

Premiere: Samantha LaPorta Releases “It’s Complicated”

"In the end what we really want is just to be loved."

It's Complicated - Samantha LaPorta #Love #Lust and everything in between

Pop singer Samantha LaPorta unveils her new single, "It's Complicated," with a lyric video.

LaPorta shares, "'It's Complicated' is about the dance we do when it comes to relationships. Relationships can be hard, complex and complicated, from the chase, infatuations, flirtations and playing games. In the end what we really want is just to be loved."

With its pulsing pop rhythm, "It's Complicated" is a sensual declaration that love is a push-and-pull process between self-preservation and letting yourself go.


Follow Samantha LaPorta Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify


Andy Grammer Talks New Album, Fresh Sound and Keeping Positive Vibes

"I wanted to make a collection of songs for people who believe in seeing the good, even in the bad," Grammer says in a Q&A.

It's been about a year and a half since American singer-songwriter Andy Grammer released his third album, The Good Parts. And now, he's back once more—this time exchanging shimmery, stadium-pop production for a more organic sound.

His change in swagger can be heard clearly on his latest single, the gospel-tinged anthem, "My Own Hero." Steeped in optimism and silver linings, Grammer's forthcoming album, Naive, is due out July 26th. He sat down with Popdust to talk more about his legacy, his relentless positivity, and his upcoming album.

Your music tends to be as catchy as it is heartfelt. When a song comes to you, does it seem to more frequently show up in the form of a melody or a lyric first? What is your writing process like? Has it changed or evolved at all over the years? How so?

I think it's really hard to do heartfelt, catchy, and uplifting without being cheesy. My process is that I chase these topics that are real to me a lot. I spend the majority of my writing hunting for them and then only keep the top 10%. There are a lot of songs that get left on the cutting room floor.

You've been creating music for quite some time now. In your opinion, what should a successful song accomplish? What does a great song do for the listener?

Fundamentally, I think songs are supposed to make you feel not alone. We are all alone in our heads with our experiences, but good songs remind us that we're all feeling a lot of the same things.

Who would you cite as having the largest influence on your music? Who do you have on regular rotation these days?

For this last album I was listening to, a lot of the great story tellers: Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder. I love artists who can be light and deep at the same time.

I understand that you have a new album coming out soon. What can fans expect from the new material? Do you see it as deviating much from your previous work? If so, in what ways?

My new album is titled Naive. I find that when your natural state is smiling and shiny, sometimes people misconstrue that as daft or stupid. I wanted to make a collection of songs for people who believe in seeing the good, even in the bad. It's probably my most organic sounding record to date.


Six New Songs You Should Hear This Week: Musical Mixology

This week's best tracks include new songs from Lizzo, Aisha Badru, Johnyswim, and more.

This week's best new releases combine disparate genres and unexpected sounds to create listening experiences that are alternatively climactic, relaxing, and transportive.

Whether you're seeking a soundtrack for your trip to the beach, a venture out on the town, your next car chase, or a night lounging around in your lingerie, there's something here for you.

1. Saxsyndrum: Up To You

The Canadian trio Saxsyndrum just released their sophomore album, Second Nature, and it's an expansive fusion of dream-pop and luxurious saxophone. Having cut their teeth in the Montreal underground scene, they're ascending to the mainstream with their unique blend of danceable beats, ethereal synthesis, and raw instrumental talent, which all come together to form something both accessible and complex. The album's first track, "Up To You," is a carefully crafted bath of catchy beats, flawless production, and folky vocal lines. All in all, it's a treat for the ears, a swirl of saxophone and rhythmic bass that balances out to create a track that's calming and energizing at the same time.

2. IYVES: Gold

Iyves returned this Friday with a new single, "Gold," a seductive, cinematic track that feels appropriate for a striptease, a James Bond-esque car-chase, or a montage of both. The singer's flawless vocals take center stage, flanked by elegant production and an extravagant chorus backed by a wall of thunderous, gritty basslines. Ultimately, it's a dramatic tribute to opulence and excess, packaged into a gleaming track that seems made for the climax of the next blockbuster.

3. Crimson Apple: Somebody

Hawaii-born, LA-based up-and-comers Crimson Apple just dropped a new single and video, "Somebody." It's a crystalline alt-pop earworm that takes notes from singers like Broods and MARINA, combining alternative edginess with the refined, polished pop sensibilities of LA's top producers. It's a tribute to all-encompassing love that combines the anthemic ecstasy of a hit song with the darkness of edgier influences, which come together to form something as inviting as a path of tall grasses leading towards the ocean.

CRIMSON APPLE - Somebodywww.youtube.com

4. Aisha Badru: Enough

Aisha Badru has steadily been crafting some of the best dream folk out there, and her acoustic rendition of "Enough" continues this tradition. Like most of her songs, it manages to be a complex bundle of emotions that doesn't shy away from the truth, but maintains a sense of hope and faith in something greater than the self. "We're made to rise above," she sings. "Don't be afraid to love." In another artist's hands these lyrics could sound trite, but Badru's mix of lamentation and quiet optimism manages to be believable and uplifting without veering into the territory of disingenuity. "Maybe loneliness brings us closer to ourselves," she muses. Starting from quiet introspectiveness, the song builds up to a luminous chorus; and combined with her soft, lush vocals, it's an easy-listening piece of sonic magic.

Aisha Badru - Enough (Acoustic)youtu.be

5. Johnnyswim: Souvenir

On "Souvenir," the husband-and-wife duo mix genres into a balanced confection of alternative rock, pop, and folk, forming a buoyant medley of voices and sounds that's beachy and melancholic at the same time. This song, off their LP Moonlight, has the makings of a sleeper hit; quietly optimistic, light and unassuming but with enough drive to dance along to, it's a collage of instruments and textures that fits together like a puzzle. It helps that Amanda Sudano's voice sounds uncannily similar to Kimbra's, and combined with its bouncy synth motif, the duet evokes memories of "Somebody That I Used to Know," but with more ambient, atmospheric leanings.

Moonlight - Souvenir (Official Stream)www.youtube.com

6. Lizzo: Lingerie

No list of the best new songs out this week would be complete without the gift of Lizzo's new album, Cuz I Love You. Mostly a collection of uncontainably joyful, electric hip hop, the final track, "Lingerie," has more of a laid-back, classic R&B feel, with Lizzo's incredible vocals soaring above a punchy guitar line. Beginning quietly, it quickly becomes a hybrid of soul, alternative, and pop; and when it all comes together, the whole thing kind of feels like lying down to paint your nails cherry red after you've cleaned your whole place, completed your self-care routine, and lit incense. The bittersweet chorus, with its growling guitars and dreamy violins, evokes the vague romance of a 50's standard, but the verses showcase Lizzo's mastery of hyper-modern rhythms. She's a master at conjuring sensation and evoking emotions through her tunes, and this one is no exception.

Lizzo - Lingerie (Official Audio)www.youtube.com

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow me on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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6 New Songs You Should Hear this Week: Music in the Eye of the Storm

Featuring Tash Sultana, Anderson .Paak and Smokey Robinson, Khalid, Lostboycrow, MADELIN and more

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This was an incredible week for music, with releases from the likes of Khalid, Sara Bareilles, Aurora, Marina and the Diamonds, Weyes Blood, Mac DeMarco, Vampire Weekend, and Anderson .Paak promising to brighten your day no matter what kind of music you're into.

Here are some of the week's best new tracks—some by lesser-known artists, some instant classics, but all finding some kind of peace within chaos, whether through forgiveness, self-love, wistful nostalgia, or comfort in one's makeshift family.

1. Anderson .Paak and Smokey Robinson: Make It Better

Anderson .Paak - Make It Better (ft. Smokey Robinson) (Official Video)www.youtube.com

This is the sonic equivalent of a long, deep drink of water at 3 AM; somehow refreshing on a soul-deep level, it's enhanced by cinematic strings and Smokey Robinson's '50s soul-style harmonies, which rise and fall over a punchy beat. It all comes together to form a song that's joyful and full of life, equal parts experimental and true to its influences. "Make It Better" is about deciding to work on a relationship instead of letting it fade away, and it's the perfect soundtrack for anybody trying to do the same. It also sounds tailor-made for a walk in a park on a spring day after a long, dark winter, or for a reconciliatory dance in the kitchen as the sun rises; in short, it sounds like a quiet redemption.

2. Tash Sultana: Can't Buy Happiness

Tash Sultana - Can't Buy Happiness (Official Video Clip) 4Kwww.youtube.com

Tash Sultana has returned with a luxuriously dreamy new single, her first release since 2018's excellent Flow State. "Can't Buy Happiness" is a slow burn, beginning with a still, quiet reflectiveness that bursts into full-on ecstasy about halfway through. Sultana has never been one to hold back, and here she unleashes the full scope of her voice, guitar, and creative vision, creating a psychedelic firework display that ebbs and flows with all the violence of a tropical storm. You might have to take a breath afterward because this is a rollercoaster in the best way, a wild ride through rich sonic textures, crashing waves, and flawless, emotive guitar riffs.

3. Noname: Song 32

Noname - Song 32www.youtube.com

Noname is one of the best in the game right now, and she's returned to solidify this representation with a subdued new track called "Song 32." Her crystalline bars fit neatly over a sparse beat and erupt on the chorus, before settling back down into the rhythm and then rising back up again. It's a calm, gentle, and yet softly assertive composition; and ultimately, it sounds like a woman at peace with herself, keyed into her own strength. "I'm the best of America," she repeats, letting the music take over for a moment before launching back into her effortless, intricate verses.

4. Lostboycrow: Cody in the Valley

The rising singer from East L.A. has been touring relentlessly and steadily releasing bits of his first LP Santa Fe. This week, he dropped a new addition featuring the title track as well as "Cody in the Valley." The latter is misty, mournful pop at its purest; it's a sultry and unaffected tune that begins with pristine piano and builds up to a guitar-streaked chorus, fleshed out by rich harmonies. It's a song for sunsets and smoky nights and carries with it some of the nostalgic, saturated gloom of early Lorde; and it's a promising addition to Lostboycrow's growing body of impressive work.

5. MADELIN: Monarch


Experimental pop artist MADELIN just released a new single, and it's an eclectic and euphoric dance track that carries with it all the energy of a summer night in New York City. She told Popdust, "Monarch is inspired by the colorful intensity of the New York City and Brooklyn queer nightlife scene. I wrote it at a time in my life when going out and seeing all the unique, beautiful, artistic drag queens and club kids was the only thing making me feel truly alive. It's about being inspired by other people's creativity and getting closer to your own, feeling the collective energy of misfit humans together in one space, getting lost in the adrenaline, love, and beauty of a fleeting moment."

"Monarch" does justice to this mission. It's a gleaming collage of synths and beats, a danceable and energy-filled celebration of all the joy, strangeness, and communion that Brooklyn nightlife and queerness have to offer. Check out Popdust's 2018 interview with her here.

5. Khalid: Paradise

Khalid - Paradise (Audio)www.youtube.com

Though he's no longer a young dumb broke high school kid, Khalid is still just as good at creating effortlessly catchy tunes as he was back then. His songwriting talents have grown over the years, though, and Free Spirit showcases his knack for turning ordinary experiences into cinematic events. "Paradise" in particular is a casual, ultra-relaxed tribute to escapism, a song that seems made for smoke-filled rooms and late nights. His falsetto rises above a fluorescent beat, and a buoyant guitar outro adds to the song's carefree, dreamlike atmosphere. It's one of the highlights of his all-around fantastic sophomore album.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Find her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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Music Features

7 New Songs You Should Hear This Week: Music for New Beginnings

New songs from Lizzo, Weyes Blood, Jai Wolf and more. Made for falling in love, dancing the night away, and welcoming spring at last.

Spring is finally here, and this week's selection of new music is all about fresh starts. Whether they're celebrating newfound freedom after the end of a confining relationship or relishing early sparks of new love, these songs are made for dancing and free-falling into the bright blankness of the future.

"Gardener in Rain" compares music-making to gardening, while Lizzo wants you to celebrate no matter your size; but all of these songs radiate the kind of light and energy that's sure to propel you through the home stretch of winter, straight into whatever's coming next.

1. Slow Dakota — "Gardener in Rain"

Slow Dakota - "Canticle 69"www.youtube.com

Indiana native P.J. Saurteig has been releasing some of the best baroque-pop around for years now. His newest music—starting with "Canticle 69," the earworm about pornography ruining sex and/or how we're all living in the simulationhas been leaning more towards pop, but it never sacrifices Slow Dakota's characteristic lyrical integrity and existential rigor. "Gardener in Rain" shimmers with plucked keys and playful rhythms, which rise up with all the color and life of a garden in the heart of an April shower. It's a beautiful and triumphant composition about how making music or art of any kind may seem like shots in the dark, but just like a gardener knows he can't kill every weed, still, the daily process of crafting and creating soothes some of life's tribulations.

2. Lizzo feat. Missy Elliot— "Tempo"

Lizzo - Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) [Official Audio]www.youtube.com

Lizzo deserves every bit of press and praise she's ever gotten, so here's another mention—this time about her newest single, "Tempo," an exuberant and uncontainable ode to limitless self-love. If you haven't heard it yet, turn the volume up, put the disco ball on, forget every bit of insecurity you've ever felt, and embrace your extraordinary ability to move. Lizzo and Elliot speak and belt their truths over an intoxicating beat, intricate synthesizers, and electric sirens, making this a track that's both intense and effervescent, perfect for dancing yourself into a sweat, leaving you uplifted and ready to plunge fearlessly into the future.

3. Weyes Blood — "Something to Believe"

Weyes Blood | “Something to Believe" | Midwinter 2019www.youtube.com

NPR just premiered Weyes Blood's new album, Titanic Rising,and it's an impressive follow-up to 2016's Front Row Seat to Earth. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter takes inspiration from everything from climate change to Jim Carrey, winding it all together to craft a musically innovative tribute to toughing it out in a world that seems to make less and less sense. On "Something to Believe," she continues her tradition of delivering songs that walk the line between humor and elegance, eloquence and sarcasm, abstract poetry and cultural commentary. A driving beat and euphoric, almost 1980s-power-ballad-esque guitar motif guide the song to its ecstatic chorus, making this the perfect track to blast on a long car ride or to listen to on your best headphones, drinking in the cacophony of sounds and lyrics that blend together to form an anthem for our modern era.

4. August Eve — "You Already Know"

August Eve - You Already Know (Official Visuals)www.youtube.com

An LA native like Weyes Blood, August Eve's rich, velvety vocals set her apart from the bevy of other artists creating similar dream-pop dirges. This song is a dizzying ode to words unsaid, to the secret little signs of love that weave their way between people like smoke through an underground club. "It's better in my mind / somewhere in my dreams / felt you look at me," she sings—lines that encapsulate a longing all-too-relatable to anyone who's ever temporarily fallen for a stranger, or who's experienced the brief, electric friction of new, unspoken affection. Near the end, the song rises out of its hazy gloom as lightly plucked violins escalate along with Eve's voice, evoking images of sunrises, open roads, and the possibilities of a new day.

5. Mathew V — "Catching Feelings"

Catching Feelingswww.youtube.com

London-grown and Vancouver-based artist, Mathew V, just released his shamelessly danceable single "Catching Feelings," and it's the perfect song to get you tapping your feet at any time of day or night. This saccharine track glitters with life and vibrancy. The beat is just the right speed to match the rhythm of strutting down New York City streets, feeling the soft rays of early spring light, heading towards new possibilities. It's a bit formulaic, but in the best way; it feels simultaneously familiar and fresh, and marks the emergence of a formidable new talent in the dance-pop realm. Where the artist's previous releases have stayed more in the folk-pop sphere, this is an earnest, refreshing celebration of love, that most tumultuous, wonderful, and chaotic of emotions.

6. Jai Wolf — "Better Apart" (feat. Dresage)

Jai Wolf - "Better Apart" [feat. Dresage] (Official Audio)www.youtube.com

Jai Wolf's newest release may be one of the most exuberant songs about a breakup ever written. It's expansive enough to fill stadiums, catchy and easy enough on the ears to make it suitable for everything from lying around on a summer afternoon to smiling wryly in the last frame of a movie as your jet plane sails away from everyone and everything that's been holding you back. Jai Wolf's honeyed voice soars above the uncontainable beat and windswept synths, winding together to form a pop song that feels like the best kind of liberation—a promise that every ending is just a beginning.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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