New Music Roundup: Janelle Monáe, Azekel and Michl

  /  08.10.2016

Janelle Monáe, “Hum Along and Dance (Gotta Get Down)”

I know this new Janelle Monáe track samples the Jackson 5 song of the same name, but her cadence and rhythm actually reminds me more of another Jackson song, Michael’s “Dirty Diana.” Moving on though, with this and Miguel’s “Cadillac,” The Get Down soundtrack is really shaping up to be a banger. With its deep bassline and thumping drum (that’s accented by a whiplash) on the verses and some fizzy feedback and keys on the chorus, Monae’s “Hum Along & Dance” ends up making you do exactly what the title demands. (Song starts at the 4:42 mark.)—Danielle Cheesman

Azekel, “Linger”

British singer-songwriter Azekel is from the school of introspective, Sade-inspired male artists who live inside their feels. He returns with “Linger,” from his newly-released EP Raw, Vol. 2, where in a breathy falsetto, over sparse sonics and heavily accented snare drum, he sings about a touch that still lingers. Stick around through the three-minute mark when an electric guitar rips open the track and Azekel loosens up.—Driadonna Roland

Michl, “Broken Roots”

I actually first heard of Michl in our very own New Music Roundup. On “Broken Roots,” the track begins with ambient vocals pitch-shifted to the point of sounding like a bird’s squawk—but way more pleasant. There’s really not much to this beat, save for a few sparse piano chords, percussive taps and synths that manage to not suffocate the entire thing (which, these days, seems so unusual in this world of pop-EDM), so it’s really Michl’s vocals—with which he combines drawls and double-time delivery—that carry the track: “Blank faces/ here we are staring at these/ blank pages/ how did the plans we drew/ disappear/ in thin air/ now all that’s left are/ two blank faces.” And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be startled (again, in a good way) at the 1:04 mark.—Danielle Cheesman


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