Frank Ocean: Thinking About You

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This song is a great example of Frank Ocean’s range as a vocalist…and let me just say that the dude has some serious pipes. I’m digging his falsetto and songwriting on this track, with the slow-building, minimalist production, wavy synths and sparse 808 hits. Ocean has been a busy man recently, working on Beyonce’s album 4 and contributing to two tracks on Kanye and Jay-Z’s highly anticipated Watch the Throne. All in all, he is quickly becoming one of our favorite artists to break out in 2011.  UPDATE: Evidently, this is a reference track for Roc Nation artist Bridget Kelly whose version can be heard here, but I like the original best.

MP3: Frank Ocean: Thinking About You

Owen Pallett: Hard To Explain

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In case you needed some help getting to the weekend, Stereogum has swooped in to save the day. Proving that it’s never too early to glorify a band and album, the music blog organized a tribute album for The Strokes’ Is This It. We once called Owen Pallett, “Master of all things orchestral,” and true to his Sloane title Owen strings up “Hard To Explain”. The end product is incredible and was my favorite of the bunch. A close second goes to The Morning Benders who took on “Last Night”. Check out the whole album (and download for free) here.

MP3: Owen Pallett: Hard To Explain

The Shakes

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Watch out Sharon Jones, you’ve got some company. Breathing new life into the soul revival scene, Athens, Alabama’s The Shakes sound like they’ve been around for years. The group draws from the same 1960 and 70’s funk and soul as Jones & The Dap Kings, but separate themselves with a raucous, dirty blues sound that can only come from growing up in the deep south. Plus lead singer Brittany Howard can just flat-out sing, like early Aretha/Tina sing. No joke, The Shakes are destined for big things. Stream and get down with a few of the groups’s tracks below and look for the The Shakes’ debut album (according to their Facebook page) sometime in the next month. Props to Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard for the find.

M83: Midnight City

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As some may have noticed, summer has hit full swing. If you know anyone in Europe chances are they are in the midst of enjoying a month long vacation. I would also guess that you spend more time dreaming of the beach then worrying about your TPS reports. Thankfully, Anthony Gonzalez also known as M83, arrived to wake us from our slumber with the first glimpse of his new album, “Midnight City.” It was 2008 when we were last graced by Gonzalez’s beats with the great Saturday = Youth. Based on this song and the double disk album planned, fans won’t be left wanting. Gonzalez said this album was going to be epic…so far so good.

Enter you email address here to get a free MP3 version of “Midnight City.”