Drew Howard and Birthday Boy – Benny and Lil’ Zee

Critics say Ontario born rapper Drew Howard has birthed the Toronto sound and from the opening notes of ‘Benny and Lil’ Zee’ you know they’re not wrong. What started as a one off collaboration with producer Birthday Boy, luckily turned into a full-length project leading to an explosive EP. Howard’s ‘Benny and Lil’ Zee’ has you singing along after two plays and transports me back to my teenage days of driving around with nothing to do but play some tunes. The 23 year old rapper is the master of wordplay, his lulling repetition combined with synthetic beats and harmonious R & B melodies has even the most uncoordinated among us bopping along! If there’s one thing you do this autumn listen to Benny and Lil’ Zee but if you want to be really kind to yourself listen to the full length EP and watch the party start.

Cymbals Eat Guitars-Aerobed

Cymbals Eat Guitars burst onto the Indie Rock scene in New York in 2007, while it’s been 6 years since there last album the band hasn’t been dormant. The last few years have been spent steadily building their name by touring with the big names of Indie Rock, that said ‘Aerobed’ is the release we’ve all been waiting for! Sounds of Neutral Milk Hotel meet Courtney Love melt together in this beautiful, highly anticipated single. Joseph D’Agostino delivers feminine vocals in his underwhelming but emotion-ridden verses and the chorus bursts free, filled with teenage angst and genuine pain. It’s a sound Blink 182 would be proud to emulate on their slow tracks and one that is indulgently enjoyable. Get the tissues out and join Cymbals Eat Guitars on a journey of friendship, loss and recovery.


Jeremih – Oui

No stranger to the R&B scene Jeremih has previously collaborated with the likes of Ludacris, 50 Cent and Lil’ Wayne. He’s the kind of artist that makes teenage girls go crazy and that you secretly have a shameful soft spot for. ‘Oui’ is no exception is that rule, it tastes like teenage love and bubble-gum and has a soft, summery feel. The verses consist of Jeremih’s trademark love rap and the chorus breaks into nice overlaid melodic singing. Whatever the critics say Jeremih knows how to make and a hit and this one will certainly have you bopping on the dance floor.


Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

In a time when young artists can be discovered overnight and rocketed towards Lorde-esque success, Julien Baker is the latest teen songwriter to come onto the scene, with the title track from her new Sprained Ankle album.

And quite frankly, the song is gorgeous. Julien’s soft voice sings about the pain of, well, pain, and its part in her creative process. With muted bass and tinny guitar notes, the song seems to take the 90’s grunge angst and apply to it some 21st century subtlety.

While it’s tricky for young women to distinguish themselves from the scores of other talented, young female artists, Baker has distinguished her music by being vulnerable and honest. She’s just herself.


Dawit Eklund – Lies are Chic

Dawit Eklund already has some solid credentials to his name, co-founding the independent record company 1432 R, based out of Washington DC. But Lies are Chic is a piece from Eklund’s creative side rather than his business side. Lies are Chic is a beat-fuelled electronica number. There’s so much going on that you can’t help but get a little lost in the track. The track bounces, waves and slides, almost daring you to dance, but not making it easy for you. Computerised counterpoints come and go, making sure the track never gets too comfortable in its rhythm. While the track perhaps outstays its welcome by a minute or so, it never falls into the realm of boring. Chic, indeed.