Tracks of the week: NEEDTOBREATHE, Michael Kiwanuka, and Bad Books


My favorite part about this particular song is the progression from simple folk, to more intricate poppy folk mixture. The lead singer starts off with only a simple guitar riff backing him, and a muffled, rhythmic stomp. But as the song continues, piano joins in, followed by a synthesizer, xylophone and multiple polished backup singers. The song resembles Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes track “Home” very much in this regard.

Michael Kiwanuka – “Home Again”

I was lucky enough to attend a concert, where Kiwanuka headlined late last year, and I have been hooked on him since. He has an incredibly full, and melodic voice, allowing him to be able to succeed without instrumentally ornate tracks. Home Again is an example of this ability. Throughout the song, he is accompanied by an extremely simple three note guitar piece and a very soft snare and bass drum beat to establish rhythm. The most complex the song gets is when the drums get a little louder, and maracas are added. This song really puts Kiwanuka’s voice on the forefront, something that isn’t normally my cup of tea. But Kiwanuka and his voice more than deserves the focus.

Bad Books – “Forest Whitaker”

From the start of this song, it’s hard to figure out what kind of sound Bad Books is trying to cultivate. The booms and baps of the drum sample are indicative of something hip hop, or pop. While the singer has a folk style, and the guitar riff has it’s roots in rock. The final product is labeled as indie rock. But I think this song has many different influences in a number of genres, making it a fun and interesting listen.

Some more tracks to check out this week:

Shawn James – “The Wanderer”
Rainbow Kitten Surprise – “Seven”
BJ the Chicago Kid (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – “His Pain”

Remember to check out PNOnline’s SoundCloud account to hear everything we’ve written about so far!


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