NOBODY SPEAK (FT. RUN THE JEWELS) – DJ SHADOW

Friday is always a good day, but even more so when it involves DJ Shadow or Run the Jewels. But what about when it involves both DJ Shadow AND Run the Jewels? TGIF. Ever since I clicked on the Pitchfork headline that included the words “teams with” and “new track,” I’ve been listening to “Never Speaks” on repeat. It’s like a hip hop James Bond anthem with a badass bass line—it even brings the quintessential 007 brass! What’s more, you have Killer Mike rapping “live to shoot another day” as though he had his trigger-finger casually resting on his trusty Walther PPK. (Think El-P can pull off a pair of trunks like Daniel Craig?) The song’s release, a precursor to DJ Shadow’s upcoming album The Mountain Will Fall, marks a new era for the renowned producer. From Entroducing to “Never Speaks,” Shadow has moved from sourcing samples to creating more original content in Ableton Live. If this track is any indication, we’re all in for a treat come June 24.

COMPANY – JUSTIN BIEBER

As a Canadian female living in the 12-25 youth bracket—admittedly the cusp—, I feel a certain patriotic duty to champion Justin Bieber as the reigning King of Pop. Though I’ve never been a huge Belieber, I do believe in showing loyalty to my fellow Canadians on the world stage. Undoubtedly, he’s made it a little hard to come out as an outright fan over the past few years given the slew of scandals that saw him labelled as L.A.’s resident bad boy (including, but not limited to, the infamous Calabasas egg-throwing vandalism count of 2014). But then he emerged—clad in gorgeous Calvin Klein undies—with the release of Purpose, effectively throwing off the yoke of his youth and delivering a real redemptive, coming-of-age album. The new music is a clear departure from his old material and I can’t help but love it more because of Skrillex’s involvement (see my recent post about Sonny Moore to know why). I first heard “Company,” the fourth single off Purpose, a few days ago and instantly fell in love with its lush R&B sounds and subtle electronic tones. Pop at its best you might even say. But more than that, “Company” was a track that I could finally, and unabashedly, flaunt to the world as my new favourite Bieber track. Ladies and gentlemen, the return of the King has arrived.

TAKE IT THERE (FEAT. TRICKY AND 3D) – MASSIVE ATTACK

CHILLS. That’s the only way I can describe listening to the haunting return of Tricky to the ever-rippling fold of Massive Attack. It feels so familiarso right. The interweaving vocals of Tricky and 3D take me right back to the days of “Inertia Creeps” and “Karmacoma.” Oddly enough, I’ve often found these tracks to be my very own kind of bedtime lullaby. Kinda creepy and ominous, but perfect for the dark. Massive Attack is in full force on “Take It There,” off the band’s latest EP Ritual Spirits, and prove that their hallmark meditative moodiness is strong enough to span the some 20 years since Tricky’s departure. (Rumors are that the band is set to release another EP later this year with Daddy G returning to lend a hand. Everyone cross your fingers now!) If you’re like me, then you’ve no doubt already turned out the lights and turned up the volume on this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

PRETTY BYE BYE – SKRILLEX & TEAM EZY

Skrillex (Sonny Moore) is best-known for his bangaranging bass tracks, but the native Californian is really a musical chameleon (Bieber and a newly minted Grammy for “Where Are U Now” springs to mind). He’s an incredible producer with a mind programmed—not unlike to his beloved computers—for music. Here he teams up with Team Ezy to deliver “Pretty Bye Bye” featuring NJOMZA: a dreamy downtempo track I can’t get out of my head. I’ve always admired Sonny’s unapologetic attitude towards the automaton nature of his craft. Critics run themselves ragged citing the “mechanical failure” of music made by Macs, but Skrillex remains unphased. I know the debate between analog vs. digital is a touchy one, but I can’t help but side with Skrillex. But many musicians, including the incomparable Dave Grohl, perceive modern digital production to be a radical erosion of sound quality. I just don’t think it has to be a case of one over the other. Passion is passion. Watch the second video I posted from The New York Times and tell me that’s not the same passion, intellect and creativity you’d find from a garage band! (It’s also a fascinating insight into the minds of two of electronic dance music’s masterminds. Beiber, alas, is not so eloquent.) All that’s left is to Ctrl + Alt + Delete the haters and just enjoy the music.