Pulling your hair out over what to play at an upcoming social function? Desperate to impress a Tinder date with your cool and comprehensive taste? Relax, we’ve got you covered. The first edition of our monthly playlists rounds up the all the latest heat from deft Chicago hip-hop to slinky British dance music. Read up on five of the highlights below.
Westerman, whose NutraSweet sound falls somewhere between Perfume Genius and Rusted Root, is a 26-year-old English singer who piles on the falsetto in the few tracks he’s released so far under U.K. label Blue Flowers. Will Westerman has been making music for two years, and after a sonic pivot away from the folksy Neil Young-inspired approach he took on earlier tunes like “Mother Song,” his newer releases are much more future-facing. “Don’t you wonder why confirmation’s easier/When you don’t think so much about it?” he sings on his reverb-filled new single. With a few more releases trickling out this year and a debut album next, it’s high time to get on board with Westerman. — Trey Taylor
“Dreamy Dragon,” Alison Wonderland and Chief Keef
Last week Australian trap-pop mainstay Alison Wonderland (get it?) dropped her sophomore record Awake, the culmination of several years spent tearing up every EDM festival on Earth. High-caliber dance stars often accessorize their full-length efforts with guest verses from rap and R&B vocalists; here, Wonderland nabs a stunner from Chicago legend Chief Keef. His voice stretches vowels to their breaking point, lending superhuman pathos to lyrics about love and loyalty. “If the tires pop, would you still ride for me?,” he sings, and everything in the world depends on the answer. On the first warm day of the year, Wonderland and Keef’s track summons blessed visions of all the peaking-at-the-main-stage-with-your-friends moments to come over the next few months. —Ezra Marcus
“Together,” Murlo & Conducta
Soak up this bouncy UK Garage workout from two modern masters. For the debut single on the former’s brand new Coil imprint, Murlo and Conducta hang tart synths on a muscular chassis, complete with a sweet-boy vocal chop and war-ready bass sculpted to exacting specifications. The song strikes a rare equilibrium between emotional and physical weight. It’s a nasty club weapon with a heart of gold. — Ezra Marcus
“Pick Up,” DJ Koze
Though the formula certainly isn’t new—a disco sample, a steady kick, a few lines of 70s soul—there’s something uniquely infectious about the latest track from German producer DJ Koze. Layering mellow strings over an irresistable one-two beat interspersed with the bright pluck of electric guitar and the lovelorn musings of soul legend Gladys Knight (borrowed from 1972’s “Neither One of Us”), this blissful groove is joyous and hypnotic. In a few weeks time, the artist is set to release Knock, Knock, his first full length LP since 2013’s similarly sublime Amygdala; if “Pick Up” is any indication, you’ll be bumping this all summer long. — Annie Murnighan
“BUSY / SIRENS” – Saba, theMIND
On his stunning new album CARE FOR ME, Chicago rapper Saba further establishes his skill as a storyteller with an effortless flow. On the record’s first track, “BUSY / SIRENS,” the 23-year-old MC drifts from moments of deeply personal remembrance to broader reflections on depression, grief, and loneliness. Despite the complex array of raw emotion that haunts the track, Saba cuts to the heart of his experience with striking poignancy as he sings,“I don’t need nobody new to miss” over a backdrop of warm, woozy synths and melancholic jazz guitar. — Annie Murnighan
Stream the playlist in full below.