Listen friends, I get it. The way the media uncontrollably drops content somewhere within the vast disposition of online existence is like colorful trees dropping leaves all over your lawn. If you’re looking for any little thing in particular within that collective cluster of fallen foliage, you’ve got a long afternoon ahead of you. But fear not friends, my tediously routined lifestyle demands that my free time be devoted to raking that mass of figurative content for all those diamonds in the rough. No, you aren’t going to find actual diamonds when raking leaves on your lawn, but you can’t expect too much out of me when it comes to detailed analogies.

Boy, Francis and the Lights is blowing up, huh? After nearly ten years scraping the surface of the recognized alternative scene, Francis Farewell Starlite (yes that’s his real name) has finally hit his big break. His new single “Friends” has already hit 9 million plays on Spotify during its short 3 month existence, while he’s also earned a spot on universally praised Chance the Rapper’s North American tour through the rest of 2016. Francis’s collaboration with Justin Vernon certainly didn’t hurt his chances at a spike in popularity, as Bon Iver’s songwriting golden boy served as a springboard to fame through the counter-promotion of his own long-awaited album “22, A Million”. Despite that I left Bon Iver’s new album off the list due to the Francis and the Lights collab, it’s certainly worth the perusal as one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year.

Those who know me well will look at this list and scoff at my inclusion of a Mac Miller song due to my open criticism of the young rapper. I don’t want to say I hate Mac Miller, but god knows he’s far removed from my good side. From album to album he continuously fluctuates between feeling misunderstood to promoting outright narcissism, then proceeds to rip off more alternative songs without giving credit to the creative proprietor than I can count. Qualms aside, “Dang!” is an absolute jam of epic proportions. Funk as a genre has always been a distant relative of hip hop, considerably in an instrumental sense, and when the two genres combine in a seamless meld, a seriously magical outcome is often the result. Mac Miller’s featuring artist Anderson .Paak is the likely source for that instrumental influence, as the majority of .Paak’s repertoire exudes a similarly fun and funky mantra.

Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam’s latest album “I Had a Dream That You Were Mine” has me smiling from ear to ear with the pure joy of a mentally beatnik young adult too excited for his own good. After releasing the vibrant and emotionally stirring electronic single “Gravity Don’t Pull Me”, former Vampire Weekend producer Rostam boldly reversed directions to produce a raw acoustic-centric album with The Walkmen’s esteemed lead vocalist Hamilton Leithauser. The result is breathtaking, as the fierce and complex finger picking found within “In A Black Out” balances fluently with Leithauser’s ominously aloof vocal style leaving listeners in a fixated state similar to watching a dramatic Broadway performance. Those climactic characteristics earned “In A Black Out” a spot on Apple’s “Midnight” Commercial in which the iPhone’s low-light camera is featured in a entertainingly cinematic fashion.

God damn, this quarter was too exciting! Per usual I could talk about each and every song for hours, but none of us have the time or patience for that. There was a whole mess of awesome songs that were kept of the list this quarter, but I’d love to hear what songs were at the top of your list! Listen, enjoy, like, comment, and follow my blog for weekly email updates on the latest  and great music trends and releases. Like I said, I have no life when it comes to this stuff, but that ironically translates into a whole lot of sweet consumable content for you!

Disclaimer: Song releases dates are based on public single, EP, LP,  or album release date. Some songs may have been released/leaked online through band websites or third party streaming entities prior to their recognized publication. Quarterly playlists contain only one song per band/artist no matter how kick ass their album was.