As temperatures rise to new heights in Boston, so does our need to chill out. It's easygoing music for miles in this month's edition of Mass Mix. Every month we are asking local music luminaries to tell about the songs they have on repeat.
Our July lineup includes a little King Princess and a lot of talented and emerging local artists. Check it out.
Chi Tashi, “Nice Things”
Lowell rapper Chi Tashi has long been one of the city’s biggest hip hop stars and fiercest advocates, gaining popularity while working hard to help others do the same. His latest track “Nice Things” reflects that work. It’s amassed 41,000+ plays on Soundcloud since its May release and has built excitement for Tashi’s frequent live performances. Sonically, "Nice Things" is crisply produced, especially pairing effects with vocal samples to enhance the beat. Lyrically, Tashi opens with an anthemic hook but then ventures into strings of contemplative rhyme schemes that explore his favorite themes of growing up as an immigrant's son in a working-class city. With a style akin to superstars like Childish Gambino or Kendrick Lamar, and a strong sense of community involvement, Tashi is the rapper the Lowell scene and any other music fans deserve. -Dakota Antelman, writer for The Lowell Spin
I was fortunate enough to start my broadcasting journey on college radio in Boston in the mid-90s. The indie rock scene at the time was amazing, with bands like Karate, Pie, and New Radiant Storm King setting the tone. The Boston scene of the last half-decade, in many ways, hearkens back to that mid-90s era: Speedy Ortiz, Pile, the late Krill, and Allston's Beeef have become the standard-bearers. Beeef do a masterful job of capturing that 90s-era guitar-rock energy and harnessing it into something new, yet warmly familiar. "Slide" is the most recent example of their talent; it's buzzy and breezy and perfect for your summertime playlist. -Adam Xii, Midday Host, ROCK 92.9
King Princess, “Prophet”
King Princess gave us a taste of what to expect on her upcoming debut album with the release of her new single “Prophet.” Taking a look at the obsessive side of new romantic feelings, “Prophet” plays up the power of her vocals which—paired with a stirring guitar solo—seem to surround the listener at every angle on lyrics like “it’s the price of the prodigy you wanna be,” and “I can only think about you.” Haunting and wistful, “Prophet” is the perfect song to introduce you to the world of King Princess before Cheap Queen drops in the fall. -Julia Corbett, Digital Intern, WGBH
ROY JUNO, "Fools (Bitter Kids)"
ROY JUNO fills that pop-rock summer jam void that The 1975 left with their experimental, synth-shocked A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Perhaps it's the similarity in sound to their aforementioned British counterpart, or maybe it's something in the production, but either way, there's a sense of nostalgia that comes with "Fools (Bitter Kids)" — even if it's your first time hearing it. This local act pairs an irresistibly catchy chorus ("we're all fools in love") with bouncy bass and guitar and arena-ready drumming. We don't have to be at their upcoming Osheaga performance to test the anthemic quality of this single; it's already evident this foursome have nailed it. -Knar Bedian, Editor in Chief for Sound of Boston, @Knarbedian
Lilah's new single “Fragrance” is yet another fantastic song from this promising 18-year-old female Boston rapper. The song, produced by Isaiah Valmont and R Louie, is a practiced extension from her earlier catalog that succinctly packs her vibe into a breathtaking two-minute listen. Her artistic voice is dynamic and stark yet mystifying. Her message is immediate yet clear and casually poetic. Lilah's bio states, "Lilah has been developing and perfecting her craft as a performer since the tender age of 3 ... [her] musical influences are ... Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole." Lilah's ability to hone her craft throughout her youth is outstanding and leaves nothing but promise from this young Boston performer. Music talent runs in the family — as Sound of Boston reports, Lilah comes to us from a prominent musical family in Boston as the brother of Latrell James. -Chris Hues, Music Section Editor, bostonhassle.com
The Highwomen, “Redesigning Women”
We seem to be in an era of pop culture in which male-dominated franchises are being remade by women — sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. I consider The Highwomen a welcome addition. Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Natalie Hembly and Amanda Shires modeled the effort off of the supergroup The Highwaymen, formed in 1985 by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings. Their new single “Redefining Women" is pushing boundaries about a woman’s place in country music, and society as a whole. “Anyone can be a Highwoman," Carlile said about the band’s formation. "It's about banding together, abandoning as much ego as humanly possible, holding one another up and amplifying other women every chance we get." -Meghan Smith, Digital Producer, WGBH
Troll 2, "Only Just a Dream"
You have to see Troll 2 to understand the madness and joy of Troll 2. The rarest thing in Boston music is staying power. Bands break up when they leave school, get famous and move to Brooklyn or settle down and fade out all the time. Troll 2 seems to do none of these things. They dig in. Brian, Chris and Zoe are true working musicians (always on tour, very much slogging day jobs too) whose songs are fiercely political, and outrageously fun. Watch to the end of this WERS performance for "Only Just a Dream." Chris O'Grady (they all take turns singing lead) lays in with "I dreamed last night I got my sh** together." Yeah! I hope his dream comes true, but that Troll 2 never settle. They're a key component of our city's musical imagination. Look for their next full length very soon, and go see them as soon as you can. -Phil Jones, Afternoon Host, 88.9 WERS
Tyler, The Creator, “RUNNING OUT OF TIME”
The summer heat in Boston carries a very specific vibe for me — that feeling that things are moving slower in the thick air permeates everything, including music. Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR dropped in May, but it’s the soundtrack for my summer right now. The album's fifth track, "RUNNING OUT OF TIME," is the standout for me. A thick R&B bassline lays the foundation for summer-romance-rich lyrics, electronic accents, and tension-filled pauses. It’s a beautiful song that enlivens the sweaty sunsets. Whether you’re stuck on 93 commuting or laying in front of a fan on your apartment floor with a drink, let Tyler keep you company through the heatwave. -Andrea Wolanin, Digital Producer, WGBH
Beeef, "Morning Light"
Beeef has an unforgettable name, but they also write some of the catchiest songs to back it up. The foursome just released their sophomore album, Bull in the Shade, with two sold-out shows at The Lilypad. The whole album is filled with summery tunes perfect for biking down the Esplanade or having a picnic with your friends. It's hard to choose just one stand out track, but "Morning Light" perfectly encapsulates what Beeef is all about with deep bass grooves, shimmery sharp guitars, and sing along bits meant to be chanted back to the band. Put the record on, and go outside to enjoy the Boston summer! -Christine Varriale, Editor-in-Chief at Allston Pudding