When I happen upon a really cool new song or artist, I will stop what I’m doing (even if I’m standing in front of a barista – mid-order) and spread the word. A couple of my closest girlfriends and I are always eager to discover exciting new music and over time have developed our own private “sharing circle”. Lately it seems as if an increased swapping of song titles belonging to exceptionally cool female artists has been the 2015 summer trend. Foxes, Marina and the Diamonds and Elle King, are among the emerging female talents who have “caught our ears”. Of course we love the boys too – and there is no shortage of male artists and groups in our respective music collections – but 2015 has proven to be a great year for girls (and I’m talking about some of the lesser-known artists – because, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know Taylor Swift’s latest album has generated multiple hits). The songs on this list, and the ladies who sing them, are highly recommended – from my circle to yours:
- Foxes – Body Talk
Foxes, from England, has been making music since 2011 – her brand of electro-pop is dark and sultry but her style is fun and upbeat – think Lily Allen. Body Talk, the new single from her 2015 album All I Need, almost seems infused with the spirit of an eighties pop hit – maybe Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes? Interested in hearing some of her older tracks? Look for Youth from her 2014 release Glorious.
- Marina & The Diamonds – Forget
Something about Marina is reminiscent of Bjork, maybe it is her boundless creativity and her effortlessly cool attitude towards embracing what may be considered too weird for other musicians (she can play the glockenspiel), or maybe it is her unique vocal stylings. Regardless, Marina’s blend of electro/indie pop – sometimes referred to as new wave – has become a playlist staple for me. Marina is currently touring and will be stopping by Toronto for a performance at Sound Academy on November 2nd to promote her latest album Froot. Forget is one of the new singles from Froot, with echoes of one of my favourite MATD songs (Teen Idle from her 2012 album Electra Heart). If you are searching for an older song to explore more of Marina’s diverse sound, check out Mowgli’s Road from 2010’s The Family Jewels or any song from Electra Heart.
- Elle King – Catch Us If You Can
Elle King is an American girl with a smoky voice that is not easily forgotten, and an infectious bluesy/rockabilly alt rock style. With the release of her single Ex’s & Oh’s in 2014, she began to gain a lot of notoriety for all of the right reasons. The catchy wordplay tune has dominated radio stations this summer. Catch Us If You Can was released in 2015 on the soundtrack of the Sophia Vergara/Reese Witherspoon comedy Hot Pursuit – while the movie may have been mediocre at best, the song is excellent.
- Meg Myers – Lemon Eyes
Nashville’s Meg Myers has stated in interviews that her roots are in punk-rock and grunge, that she has been influenced by classic rock as well, but that she would prefer to write “catchy pop songs”. Meg’s pop songs are influenced just enough by her roots to offer something more than the average pop song. Lemon Eyes is the second single from her new album Sorry and can place a solid check mark in the “catchy” box as easily as it can tick off the box marked “heavily influenced by punk, grunge and rock”. Monster, from her 2013 debut Daughter In The Choir, is a good download if looking for exposure to her older singles.
- Gin Wigmore – Written In The Water
One common denominator that would make it appropriate to place all of these ladies on the same playlist is that they all dabble in a darker, edgier, brand of pop music. New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore is no exception. Gin’s alt rock sound demonstrates a variety of influences from pop, soul, jazz, folk and blues rock. Written In The Water is one of the new singles from her 2015 album Blood To Bone – and the song has two videos starring Gin and her husband (a couple so attractive it isn’t fair), “Written In The Water – Live However” and “Written In The Water – Die Regardless”, with latter being the much darker of the two. For a throwback single I recommend Black Sheep, from the 2011 album Gravel & Wine.