I am frequently asked how I come across so much new music each year and I understand why they do because the vehicles that took my generation to new soundscapes have died in the case of MTV and radically changed as far as radio. And yet, the question also confuses me because most of the time I don't feel like I discover new music so much as it finds me.
So how does that happen? Allow me to share my favorite new music discoveries of 2019 - music that was new to me this past year, regardless of when the songs were recorded -- and the stories of how they found me.
How fitting is it that we begin with the inviting named Meeting Street in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina? There are not many people who go searching for a place to get a glass of wine at 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. I know because my friend Emily and I had the place to ourselves when we arrived at a stylish wine bar called Wine & Company. That quiet allowed for good conversation that also allowed me to hear the music playing softly in the background. Two of my favorite musical discoveries of 2019 were made over delicious flights of red wine and an exotically seasoned Chevre.
Charlotte Day Wilson
It took the fewest of notes for me to reach for my phone in my jacket breast pocket so I could discover who possessed this sultry, alluring voice. I sipped the wine and drank in the voice of this modern day chanteuse from Toronto. She has a pair of EPs that can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify. They are also available on CD if you're still into those like me. I listened to both EPs and her new single "Mountains" innumerable times and Emily and I both programmed our smart speakers to play her music whenever we returned to our respective homes.
Her discography is a bit lean right now but what is lacking in quantity is more than made up for in quality. The song I've spent the most time listening to is "Find You" from her 2015 CDW EP. I don't know if her words or vocal performance haunts me more. I would start there before checking out "Work," the song she performed when she made her US television debut on Late Night With James Corden this past year. "Falling Apart" and "Doubt" make for a beautiful nocturnal soundtrack (or, you know, pair well for a cloudy afternoon and rich, red wine).
She is working on her first LP. Fall in love with her voice now and wait impatiently along with me for that record.
Charlotte Day Wilson wasn't the only discovery that afternoon.
I love music that defies easy categorization and this Texas trio with the quirky name (it's the Thai word for airplane) absolute does that by borrowing and blending sounds and elements from so many genres.
The relaxed groove and ambient textures create a sound that is both accessible and exotic, built with digital and analog instrumentation and sequencing. This mostly instrumental music that can easily exist in the background as a passive atmospheric soundscape (say while drinking wine in downtown Charleston) while numerous sonic layers invite listeners to take a closer listen to the subtleties in the mix and arrangements.
The band has two LPs - The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo - as well as a dub reimagining of Con Todo called Hasta El Cielo (Spotify|Apple Music). They have also released the first single from an upcoming collaborative album with fellow Texan Leon Bridges that is due out next year. I can't wait to hear what they're going to come up with next!
Speaking of what's coming next... this is only the beginning, dear readers. Please join me for Part II of my New Musical Discoveries, 2019 edition.