10 Essential New Summer Tracks: PENPALS, The Little Miss, and more

Up to the Sky (prod. by Quelle Chris)

In June, New York rap trio PENPALS released their full-length album To Whom It May Concern. On “Up To The Sky,” the group’s MCs, Cynic The Apache and Rapswell, hop through time easily on a stream-of-consciousness excursion with references as historically diverse as Rasputin, Betamax, and ancient Egypt. Meanwhile, Quelle Chris’s production is on theme with an old-school sensibility

Cuesta Loeb – “Out Of”

The fuzzy guitar work of NYC native Christina Cuesta Loeb evokes the darker side of classic shoegaze bands like Dum Dum Girls and Slowdive. This song would be an apt soundtrack to any urban environment; whether you’re people-watching in Central Park or just drinking iced tea on the roof of your muggy Brooklyn apartment building, add “Out Of” to your summer playlists.

Madus – “Baby”

Fans of mid-2000s indie punk bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Killers will especially love LA rockers Madus. “Baby” is a crisp and efficient track with satisfying percussion and a vintage allure.

Erin Rae – “Putting On Airs”

Erin Rae is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter whose second album, Putting On Airs, came out in June. If you’re looking for Saturday night plans in NYC, catch her live performance at The Loft at City Winery on July 14.

Madge – “Alice”

Have you ever danced to a track with a cat meow, a pan flute, and a funk guitar? Now is your chance. Madge’s “Alice” expertly demonstrates that “catchy” and “experimental” can and should coexist without compromise.

Amo Amo – “When We’re Gone”

“When We’re Gone” builds slowly through echo effects and a brushed Reggaeton rhythm and rewards later with twangy guitar and strong vocal harmony. Pristine production from My Morning Jacket’s Jim James brings out the best in each instrument and voice on Amo Amo’s exceptional first single.

Jaialai – “Broken Satellite”

Music fans drawn to the melancholy ambiance of late-90s Brit-pop will be pleased to meet Jaialai, a rock quartet from Miami. On days when you want to believe “it’s always better on your own,” put on “Broken Satellite” and let the bassline do the rest.

VISUALS – “The State of Things”

Get your daily dose of soulful “oohs” and synthy goodness with this track from Andrew Fox’s project, VISUALS, out of NYC. Come for the insomnia feels–stay for the saxophone feature. If you dig it, you can also read our 2016 interview with Andrew.

The Little Miss – “American Dream”

The Little Miss’s aesthetic quality is well epitomized by the visual on the front page of her website: adorned in Gingham, she stops to look back at the camera before adding a maraschino cherry to spell “MISS” and a jar of whiskey accompanies her in the foreground. Her new track “American Dream” is packaged as a self-aware and often humorously well-written tribute to the golden era of folk music, but in it, Hayley Johnson also cleverly invites us to consider how the American Dream has evolved since then.

Judith Hill – “The Pepper Club”

Judith Hill takes us to the exquisitely funky Pepper Club in her new single and accompanying single-take music video. In this place, everyone is as friendly as they are fashionable–and that’s saying a lot. After one of Miss Josephina’s homemade cocktails, you will be ready to dance a well-choreographed routine with socialites and cleaning staff alike. This track is ideally suited for summer or any time you want to feel cool.

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