[We deserve better playlists. I won’t pretend to be a music connoisseur, so long as you won’t pretend to be a music snob. Okay, I’m pretending to be a music connoisseur. The concept here is simply to share five songs, old or new, that have landed pleasantly in my ears recently. It’s like I’m sending you a mixtape, digitally.]

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I. “Lifted” Palmistry — [Listen on Spotify]

Much like the album on which it appears, this track is somehow stimulating/stirred while simultaneously soothing/tranquil. This song arrives at a minimal sort of dance music that is equal parts Caribbean influence and pop-synth simplicity. South London musician Benjy Keating’s versatile sound can adequately underscore a brooding road-trip or a lazy Sunday at home. (Pairs well with one-man dance parties and a glass of wine.)

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II. “Running With The Wolves” AURORA — [Listen on Spotify]

Moody and metaphored, this track baits and hooks with the stamina of Sia-esque vocals and the loud progression of perfect pop arrangement. It is hard to believe a song this cogitative is the product of a 19-year-old. Alas, it is. This track, much like the all of Aurora’s debut album, is haunting — or rather it has the haunting feel of something unknown masked as something familiar. (Pairs well with bon fires and the impending apocalypse.)

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III. “Auld Wives” Bear’s Den — [Listen on Spotify]

I had collapsed onto a friend’s living room floor on a very hot afternoon in Los Angeles, when I was first greeted with the sound of Red Earth & Pouring Rain by Bear’s Den. I thought for sure I was listening to an album from the late eighties. Ornate with inspired keys, strings, and builds, Auld Wives is just one piece of an entire album that conjures atmospheres lush with emotional depth and sonic resonance. (Pairs well with moonlight and whiskey.)

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IV. “Painting Greys” Emmit Fenn — [Listen on Spotify]

Synths and high-tops and vocals, oh my. This track is composed so well that it almost feels as if it sneaks up on you — or seeps into you. Even presented as a simple, crisp arrangement 20-year-old Emmit Fenn can’t hide his classical training. Painting Greys is so perfectly restrained and tempered that it almost takes multiple listens to fully appreciate its emotional grandeur. (Pairs well with sunsets and unrequited love.)

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V. “Flesh for Bones” Terra Naomi — [Listen on Spotify]

Terra Naomi is the package deal that we wish every acoustic-guitar-wielding open-mic attendee could be — talented, real, and earnest. She is a gifted singer/songwriter whose combined vocal range and lyrical abilities seem other-worldly. This track carries such a raw, honest bite and yet it is only a sample of the emotional spectrum explored in her music. This is the type of song that resonates and stays with you. (Pairs well with an ocean view and a pint of Chunky Monkey.)

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[#5S4S]