Flying Lotus (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – “Never Catch Me”
FlyLo is only the producer for this song, meaning he’s in charge of the instrumental. As far as vocals go, Kendrick’s going to be the only guy you hear. For hip hop fans, this is a match made in heaven. Both of these artists are currently in the midst of releasing their best works (Kendrick and GKMC, FlyLo and Cosmogramma) and have expanded the definition of what is typical for artists in their genre. FlyLo has a heavy jazz influence in most of his music, which shows up here in the baseline. But he also does a great job not borrowing from any one genre too much, sampling soul singers, blues piano, and rock influenced guitar samples.
At this point in his career, Kendrick Lamar is doing what his fans expect of him. His verse has a flow that is on point with the song’s up tempo snares, but also does it’s best to convey a message. In a the typical sixteen bars, Kendrick tackles many different topics, ranging from his inner workings, to the nature of death and an afterlife. I can’t recommend this song more as both Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar live up to the very high expectations already set for them.
Bear’s Den – “Above the Clouds of Pompeii”
Bear’s Den is a UK based folk band made up of Andrew Davie on guitar, Kev Jones on guitar and vocals and Joey Haynes as the resident banjo player. The song starts with a great guitar riff, that manages to sound low energy while maintaining a happy sound. Kev Jones reinforces this sound with soothing speak-singing that does a great job of putting the emphasis on the actual words spoken; He makes the listener digest the lyrics. With the lyrics, the songs atmosphere begins to make sense. This is supposed to be a happy nostalgic song, about a man looking back on his childhood and his time with his now deceased mother. This is a great, thoughtful song. It is most likely not a commercial juggernaut, but sometimes the best music is buried deeper than the commercial surface.
Donovan Woods – “Put on, Cologne”
Honestly, this song isn’t anything super special. It sounds like a lot of different folk songs. The chorus is fun to sing, the beat is easy to pick up, and the lyrics are identifiable for the average listener. It may not be a masterpiece, but its simple elements make for an enjoyable listen.