Press Play vol. 2: “We’re Just Light from Stars That Shine on Planets”

(LA Times, Ben Sellen)

Caleb Robbins

Press Play is my weekly series of (mostly) indie tracks from the barely discovered depths of corporate DSPs. All my recommended tracks are compiled into the Spotify playlist linked below, which is updated weekly.

Helado Negro, “Gemini and Leo”

Unfortunately, I only recently became aware of this track despite it being released during the summer. As the lead single to the upcoming release of Helado Negro’s seventh album, “Far In,” this track features a mixture of synths, drums and electric bass. While better suited for listening to during the summer, this track still provides a feeling of blissful detachment from everyday life, which is aided by its cosmic references.

Porches, “I Miss That”

This track from the alias of singer/songwriter Aaron Maine is a mixture of alt-rock and synthesizers that features an earworm of a chorus. The beat progression and second verse of this track make for a perfect listen during car rides. If you wish to hear more of Porches’ music, he recently released his fifth studio album, “All Day Gentle Hold!”

Spencer, “Lonely As I Ever Was”

On a soulful beat with a punchy bassline, Spencer is yearning for the girl of his dreams, despite her being with another man. This track captures a nice vibe, especially once Spencer starts switching between singing and rapping. Between a mix of soulful hip-hop and hazy R&B, this makes for a rather appealing song.

PinkPantheress, “Reason”

PinkPantheress has had an odd ascent to fame during 2021. Despite being known as a TikTok singer, she somehow managed to shed the negative connotations that come with that label (mostly through good music), and experienced popularity past the parameters of the normal TikTok musician, with Instagram followers ranging from SZA to Bella Hadid. Now signed to Parlophone (parent-owned by Warner Music), she just released her debut mixtape, “to hell with it.”  On “Reason,” you would be forgiven to mistake it for a Grimes song. The beat mirrors Grimes’ work from her Art Angels-era, but PinkPantheress’ voice is distinct enough to notice the difference between the two. This track is good enough for me to hope for a future collaboration soon.

DOM KENNEDY, “On the Run”

From longtime independent West Coast rapper DOM KENNEDY, this is another one of his signature laid-back songs that expresses his love of the West Coast and chronicles his experiences of living in Los Angeles around gang activity. This song is featured on his recently released album, “From the Westside With Love Three.”

You can find all the tracks from this week and others here:

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