The sophomore release from AMTRAC‘s sophomore LP has hit the airwaves and brought with it an unexpected collaboration.
The Kentucky-born producer has tapped Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs for his forthcoming album’s second release, “Radical,” and it’s a true treat for the eardrums. These producers’ styles mesh so cohesively, making “Radical” a dreamy, seamless period of relaxation. With a mellow beat, drifting melodies, and calming vocals from TEED, this single is sure to further excite listeners who eagerly await AMTRAC’s upcoming Oddyssey.
It’s been nearly a decade since the producer’s debut LP, Came Along, which arrived in 2011. In mid-December, the producer announced that he’d signed with RCA Records and that his second album was on its way with the release of “Between the Lines.” Oddyssey is coming in early 2020, though a set date has yet to be announced.
As 2019 comes to a close, many producers look to the new year for new beginnings and—if fans are lucky—a whole slew of new tunes. This looks to be true for AMTRAC, who’s revealed the debut single from his forthcoming sophomore album, landing in early 2020.
“Between The Lines” is a heavenly preview of what’s been nearly nine years in the making. AMTRAC recorded his own vocals for this one and opens the track with a dramatic piano melody, thrumming bassline, and infectious lyrics. A sparkling synth theme leads the listener into the more dance music-oriented segment of the song, demonstrating the artist’s production range.
“It’s been a lot of trial and error, things coming together and falling apart, not really feeling comfortable with it,” the producer told Billboard about the forthcoming album. “I finally got to a place where it feels like it needs to get out there, because I can’t just keep working on it forever.”
Kygo teams up with Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan for the official music video of their recent single together “Higher Love.” The track features vocals by Whitney Houston, who died in 2012. “Higher Love” served as a momentous release, considering it was the first record to feature Houston posthumously. The Houston estate reached out to the Norwegian producer, believing he was the right artisan to finish and release the track, a rework of Steve Winwood’s 1986 classic. The music video for the eminent rendition pays Houston homage by transporting viewers back to a vision of her golden era.
The visual follows a man as he breaks off from a group of friends as he instead eyes a group of dancers in ’80s hair, makeup, and clothing. Enamored, he walks into their practice studio only to find that he is now donning an epoch-appropriate outfit and ready to dance. He and Morgan tangle themselves in a surrounding group of dancers, who provide elaborate accents as the duo steals the show. Posters of ’80s-era Houston line the walls, as the camera traces them in a pan sequence. “Higher Love” is out now on RCA Records.
Linus Eklöw and Christian Karlsson of Galantis have teamed up with previous Kygo collaborator, Valerie Broussard for a new high-energy dance pop release “Roots,” Galantis’ fourth release of the year.
Broussard’s commanding vocals carry the song from the outset with plucky guitar synth dancing between her lyrics. The song welcomes Galantis back to their pop-directed dance roots with a light melody and a drop that enlists piano and blaring trumpets. “Roots” is a change of pace for the duo, who are most well known for their ability to create uniquely synthesized vocals.
“I’ve always considered myself a bit of a wanderer, and so it surprised me greatly when I started missing Los Angeles while I was away on tour. This song is my love letter to LA, a place I had once considered nothing more than a temporary home, but it’s also about any person or place that makes a life-long traveler want to put down roots,” Broussard says of her songwriting inspiration for the song.
Galantis have released a very distinct collection of releases this year, spanning a OneRepublic collaboration “Bones,” which has gone on to be featured on mainstream radio stations around the world, all of the way to a Yellow Claw collaboration, “We Can Get High.” “Roots” is out now on RCA Records.
Kygo has paved the way for the tropical house genre, bringing it to the masses thanks to the genre’s wide commercial crossover appeal. The producer has taken another big step in his career after getting his hands on the vocals of none other than musical icon Whitney Houston for his latest, “Higher Love.” Houston died in 2012, and “Higher Love” is the first release featuring her vocals in over a decade. The Houston estate reached out to the Norwegian hit maker, believing he was the right producer to finish and release the track. “Higher Love” is a cover of the 1986 Steve Winwood classic, which celebrated its 33rd anniversary on June 20.
“I was honored when the Whitney Houston estate reached out and presented me with the opportunity to work with one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. I reworked the song from scratch and am really happy with how it turned out,” remarked Kygo on the new release.
Houston’s powerful vocals overtake the listener’s conscious from the onset, rightfully standing as the focal point of the release. In quintessential Kygo fashion, the producer finds a way to let the track maintain a strong production identity without compromising the spotlight on Houston’s coveted vocal work. “Higher Love” will give younger generations a chance to enjoy Houston’s vocals through Kygo’s impressive skills behind the console. “Higher Love” is out now on RCA Records, stream below.
It’s hard to believe that LA-based duo, Midnight Kids have only released three original tracks of their own given the amount of support they have garnered from top-tier artists like The Chainsmokers, Alesso, Don Diablo, and more. Midnight Kids is comprised of Kyle Girard and Dylan Lee, whose latest original, titled “Those Were The Days,” is a worthy addition to their already infectious catalog.
The vocals initially lure the listener in, and then guide them through melodic ebbs and flows of soothing electronic synths juxtaposed by smooth, ambient background hums. Jared Lee serves as the lead vocalist on the track, and despite moments of energetic upticks, the listener is left in a state of calm upon the track’s close.
The duo issued a release about the nostalgia-driven song, stating, “‘Those Were The Days’ was a record that came together quicker than anything we’ve done before… It was something that felt extremely reminiscent of the youth we’ve both experienced. From the late night drives, to first kisses, and the moments we’ve shared with loved ones, this record hits home for us and we knew we had to make it come to life.”
Oliver Heldens has gone in a new direction with a folk-leaning release “Summer Lover,” and as the title of the track alludes to, the new collaborative cut could be the summer anthem everyone is looking for. The track features vocals by Devin and Chic’s Nile Rodgers, with Heldens dropping his characteristic house chords, a kicking guitar backdrop, and flaring synths. The catchy melody adds a new element to a Helden’s production with its upbeat energy centered around the enthralling vocals, making the song a likely pop radio hit. The track is out now via RCA Records.
“Summer Lover” comes just as Heldens is wrapping the first North American leg of his Heldeep 5 World Tour. Stream “Summer Lover” below.
Having busted open their initial collaborative album Piñata in 2014 — fertilizing grey, decrepit lawns the world over with the inky basslines, sample-dense beats, and hard-luck street knowledge that plants crave — hip-hop’s most unlikely, legendary underground duo, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, are now back in cooperative action with the new track “Bandana,” a precursor to their upcoming LP of the same name.
“Bandana” follows off from the beat-switching mind-rattler “Flat Tummy Tea,” which MadGibbs dropped off mere weeks ago. It features dancehall artist Assassin and 2019’s Official Beat Most-Likely-to-Make-Me-Drive-a-Tesla-Off-an-Overpass. Listen to it below.
As for Bandana (the one in italics, not the one between quotation marks), there’s literally NO EARTHLY WAY OF KNOWING when it might officially arrive from Keep Cool/RCA Records & Madlib Invazion/ESGN; but “Bandana” (the other one) is apparently exclusively available on the digital-only bonus edition of the album (as well as on the B-side of the “Flat Tummy Tea” 12-inch available here). Until then, stay tuned for more accessory- and herbal goods-themed jams, I guess!
As a myriad of artists including Chance the Rapper, Lady Gaga, and Celine Dion, pull their productions with R. Kelly from streaming platforms in response to sexual misconduct allegations made against the R&B crooner, Skrillex doesn’t think that JAY-Z needs to follow suit. “You know, I don’t think he needs to do so,” Skrillex told TMZ cameramen when asked if he felt that JAY-Z should remove his songs with R. Kelly from streaming services. JAY-Z and R. Kelly co-released “Best of Both Worlds” in 2002, and “Unfinished Business” in 2004. “It’s hard,” Skrillex added, “It’s like, look: there’s a word. It’s called ‘occhiolism.’ It’s the awareness of the smallness of your own perspective. If JAY-Z wants to keep [the] music because it’s music he made a long time ago, it’s part of the archives, it’s part of history, that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. That doesn’t mean he supports bad people.”
Skrillex, however, did vocalize his support of Sony‘s decision to nullify R. Kelly’s record dealer with the Sony owned imprint, RCA Records. “I think everyone in their own sort of private world should make their own choices, but I support that,” Skrillex said. Sony has yet to release an official statement regarding R. Kelly’s departure from RCA, which would provide insight on the nature of R. Kelly’s divorce from the label, specifically, whether Sony and R. Kelly mutually agreed to void the vocalist’s deal.
R. Kelly remains at the center of sexual misconduct speculation following the release of Lifetime’s six-part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. Surviving R. Kelly chronicles R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of several women who were reportedly underage at the time of their sexual encounters with the artist. R. Kelly has since denied all such allegations of sexual misconduct.
Montreal’s Kaytranada releases a two-track EP, Nothin Like U / Chances, featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Shay Lia. Side A is a glittery R&B number, with Ty’s verses flowing down rivers of thumping 808s, lush keys, and glittering high notes for a blissful, buttery treat to the ears. “Chances” features sultry soul vocals from Shay Lia and brings a late-night disco atmosphere to the table. It’s hard not to feel transported back in time while listening. Finally, the lovesick instrumental cut “It Was Meant 2 B,” skips its way to the finish line, becoming infused with a slight sense of calming optimism toward the end. With precise percussion arrangements put forward by the esteemed producer, the EP also released instrumentals from the featured songs for fan’s laid-back listening pleasure.
The artist known for his live event performances and re-imagining artist styles through flips and remixes again shows Kaytranada’s careful caress of sounds and groves that make his mixes so precise. Nothin Like U / Chances succeeds the producer’s The ArtScience Remixes EP with Robert Glasper.