#84 - Dream in Colour 🌞

Your Weekly Music Round-Up: Only God Was Above Us review, Coachella Weekend One, RIP Mister Cee & Rico Wade, Royal 2.0, Beyoncé makes history, Franc Moody.

Happy Sunlighter Sunday! Getting blocked by the moon this week was truly a traumatic event, but at least it brought back Bonnie Tyler. Since the eclipse, we saw J. Cole pull “7 Minute Drill” (lol he did delete later) and Taylor Swift’s music return to TikTok. We’ll be taking next week off to recover, but don’t worry. We’re back on the 28th, and we’ll be catching everyone up.

Rating Rationale: Earlier this week, Vampire Weekend celebrated their fifth studio album, Only God Was Above Us, with a show in Austin, TX during the total solar eclipse. The album’s namesake is a direct quote from a passenger onboard Aloha Airlines Flight 243 after the aircraft’s roof came off mid-flight, later made into a headline of a 1988 edition of the New York Daily News. All ten tracks are heavily inspired by 20th-century New York City, particularly through artist Steven Siegel’s photography and footage from that time period, one that frontman, Ezra Koenig, describes as “funky New York in the ‘80s with a touch of surrealism.” Koenig and company worked to create an album that lived up to that imagery. While we believe the band achieves that with Ariel Rechtshaid (Plain White T’s, HAIM) returning to the band as a co-producer, we miss the lyrical imagery that was served on Father of the Bride. Our favorite tracks on this record are “Connect,” “Prep School Gangsters,” and “Capricorn.”

Unpacking Coachella Weekend One, Rolling Loud expands to Europe

Every year at Coachella, festival-goers anticipate surprise guests and bespoke performances (good and bad). Here’s the scoop on Weekend One:

For Weekend Two attendees, it’s safe to say these artists won’t attend next week. If you’re going next week, make sure to check this Coachella parties events guide.

Finally, hip-hop festival, Rolling Loud, announced this week that the organizers will be expanding to Austria. Branded Rolling Loud Europe, the headliners include Nicki Minaj, Playboi Carti, and Travis Scott.

The hip-hop community loses two influential members

In sad news, both Brooklyn hip-hop DJ, Mister Cee, and Atlanta-based Organized Noise producer, Rico Wade, passed away this week. Mister Cee was best known for his mixes at HOT 97 and serving as the associate executive producer of Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album, Ready to Die (and playing an important role in helping Biggie get signed to Bad Boy Records). Rico Wade was not only known for his extensive production accolades, which include TLC’s “Waterfalls” and OutKast’s first two albums, but also for building a hip-hop community in Atlanta by way of his music collective, Dungeon Family, and being a mentor to his cousin, Nayvadius Cash (most know him as Future).

Electronic

Tomorrowland Brazil will return, Allure of the Seas to set sail in January 2025

After confirming a return to Brazil in 2024, the organizers of Tomorrowland have committed to a 10-year renewal, agreeing to improve the logistics of the electronic festival in São Paulo, including “water-proofing” the venue, a challenge that mired the previous year’s festival.

This week, Whet Travel unveiled the lineup for their 37th Groove Cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas next January. The headliners of the four-day nonstop festival include Eric Prydz, James Hype, MEDUZA, Nicole Moudaber, and Seven Lions.

Franc Moody

Primer: We can’t resist the ongoing disco renaissance, so we’re using it as an excuse to keep the electronic theme going this week. Ned Franc and Jon Moody hail from London, England, and together, they comprise “Franc Moody.” In 2016, after having bad experiences with their previous bands, the two friends were initially set to become a writing duo. Shortly after working together, they discovered their shared inspirational sound palette, one they describe as the “meat of digital, analog, and human error meets quantization.” The duo dropped their debut album, Dance Moves, in 2018, and a follow-up, Dream in Colour, in 2020, before releasing their third album, Into the Ether, in 2022. Over the last few years, they’ve added Lollapalooza and Life is Beautiful festival to their resume, along with supporting Louis the Child at Red Rocks, a bucket list venue for the duo. Through careful curation of their live band members, they’ve become well-known for their quality, eclectic live shows.

Genre: Electronic, soul, funk, disco

Influences: Daft Punk, James Brown, Jamiroquai, Fast Dominos, Chuck Berry, Parliament

Current Label: Juicebox Recordings

Audience: ~1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify

What’s Next: So far, Franc Moody seems to be committed to releasing a new album every two years, which means we may get a new album as early as this summer. Over the last year, while on their Into the Ether Tour, they’ve been teasing their experimental creative process by sharing TikToks of the unique ways they use their “medieval boom microphone” to capture various sounds. See take 1 and take 2 here. If you dig their sound, subscribe to their monthly newsletter, House of FM, for more regular updates.

💳 Getting Even: EVEN, an app that allows superfans to purchase music directly from artists based on set “tiers,” just went live.

🧑🏻‍💼 Co-Manager: That’s the name of an AI-powered assistant created by Venice Music to help support and guide the music career of any artist.

🎧 Playlists & Remixes: Spotify is continuing to ride the wave of AI by launching a functionality that allows user prompts to generate a customized playlist. Additionally, on Thursday, WSJ reported that Spotify is planning to release remixing tools for fans.

✈️ In-Flight Music: Tuned Global, a B2B music streaming platform, and Spafax, an airline content media network, are partnering to bring in-flight music to various major airlines, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Iberia, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.

🌐 Web3 Updates: Royal released plans for their version 2.0, a major reshuffling of the decks: support for more decentralization, sunsetting of the Royal marketplace, and possibly generative AI. Audius released support for Solana NFTs, which means users can now stream audio content within Audius by simply holding a Solana NFT distributed by the artist as a collectible gated track. Supercollector added a feature that adds transparency to upfront fees (and why you should collect via blockchain vs. credit card)!

🇨🇳 C-Pop Rising: Universal Music Greater China has partnered with Beijing-based TF Entertainment on a distribution deal to support the global expansion of C-Pop.

🖊️ New Signings: Dua Lipa’s recently formed Radical22 media company signed a bespoke “admin” deal with Warner Chappell Music. Legendary classical singer, Andrea Bocelli, signed a global publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group’s Classics & Screen department. Lisa of BLACKPINK signed a solo deal with RCA Records.

📶 Strategic Expansion: Warner Music Group is doubling down on expansion efforts in South Asia after a deal with Giraffe in late January, launching Warner Music South Asia to support recorded music operations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Live Nation is expanding their live concert operations into “Tier 3” city, Des Moines, Iowa via a joint venture with local concert promoter, First Fleet Concerts.

💰 Securing the Bag: Udio, an AI-powered music-making app developed by former Google DeepMind researchers, raised a $10 million seed round from a16z, UnitedMasters, will.i.am, Common, Tay Keith, and others.

Beyoncé becomes first black female artist to top Billboard Country Albums chart

📈 This week, Beyoncé made history on the Billboard charts by achieving her eighth #1 album while also becoming the first black female artist to reach #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Additionally, due to Rumi Carter’s guest appearance on her mom’s song, “PROTECTOR,” Rumi now overtakes Blue Ivy as the youngest person to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT is out this week

📅 For upcoming albums, tours, and festivals access our comprehensive music calendar here.

📣 Album Announcements: Billie Eilish announces her highly anticipated third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, which is set to drop on May 17. Shortly after a supporting spot on tour with Alanis Morissette and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Morgan Wade will release OBSESSED. Ahead of their residency at The Sphere, Phish announced their first album in four years, Evolve will be everywhere on July 12. You love jazz standards? So do we - Andrew Bird has recorded a trio album, Sunday Morning Put-On, set for a May 24 release.

⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week: 

  1. Taylor Swift, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT

  2. Ringo Starr, Crooked Boy

  3. Brian Eno, Eno

  4. Gabrielle Aplin, Writer’s Block Pt. 1

  5. Pearl Jam, Dark Matter

  6. YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Untitled

  7. Local Natives, But I’ll Wait For You

  8. Tei Shi, Valerie

The Merch Table

  • 🎧 Alo, it’s Tyla: Tyla is collaborating with Beats and Alo to release special edition headphones, which you can purchase at limited Apple and Alo stores in the US.

  • 🩱Just Keep Swimming: Lizzo ventures into fashion with the launch of Yitty Swim, her inclusive swimwear line aiming to celebrate body positivity.

  • 👕 Everybody Wants to be a Cat: Thundercat announces a flagship collection in collaboration with Dover Street Market London, further expanding his creative pursuits into the fashion realm.

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See ya next Sunday 😎

Donya and Chris

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