With under the radar hits ranging from soulful croons to otherworldly hip hop tracks, Apple Music is leading the pack of streaming services and is packed with favorites that make taking down a whole album on a sunny (or rainy) afternoon not just the greatest thing ever, but an essential one too. Sample these tunes that will leave you humming, air guitaring and belting out along and consider it an education for your soul.
1. Sound & Color – The Alabama Shakes
What can be said about the homegrown Shakes that hasn’t already been said? The folk Southern rock and roll band is impressive, deep and definitive with its crossover sound that harkens to lovers of soul, country and classic rock and roll. While they’re no newbies to the scene—grabbing Grammy’s for Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Band—taking a listen to their new sound makes it seem not only that they’ve broken out of the sophomore curse (Sound & Color is their best yet) but that they’ve given American music a whole new genre to categorize with.
2. Coming Home – Leon Bridges
Leon hints at the glory days of R&B—of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and The Temptations—with a set of pipes that belt out buttery smooth vocals and an accompanying sweet jazz band for back-up. For lovers of the Motown sound, this album will make you want to cruise along Main Street, but it’s the modern twist of the young soul master and a whiney electric guitar that will keep Bridges from being just a flash in the pan. Move over Bublé, Leon’s stolen our vintage love right out from under your feet.
3. Truckdriver Gladiator Mule – Neko Case
Neko Case’s solo career is one of old-time legends—she’s simply the sound of a newer, complicated South, a true country yodeller that could be named the new Emmylou Harris or Patsy Cline, if only you took into account that her modern lyrics and winning vocals firmly cement her tracks always one step ahead of what happens next. This is hardly Neko’s first hit album, nor is it likely to be her last, but it is surely one that continues her storyboard of sweet backcountry blues, whining guitars and an underground feminism that can make an American woman proud.
4. Singles – Future Islands
Eight years of creating great music, touring the world and generally being stellar artists has made Future Islands the kind of act that you always want to see come back for more. While it may have taken an appearance on Letterman for this trio to make it to the national bandstand, it doesn’t hurt that their synth-laced, pop sound has never been purer or more appetizing than on Singles. So don’t miss on this chance to finally get on board with these song veterans. It’s high time you met their new wave, post-punk, totally awesome sound.
5. The Incredible True Story – Logic
Logic’s sophomore release is far removed from his cathartic debut album harkening back to his hometown, so far away that it’s set in space, a hundred years into the future. But it’s not just about robots and new age sound, Logic dabbles with the past and the present as well as the future, in seamless audio experience that cements the rapper’s extreme talent. City of Stars is my favorite track, but the evolution of the artist into his most heartfelt track, and then the imminent down arch, complete the artist’s manifest storyline and leaves a listener totally enthralled with Logic’s mastery.
Not just for reviving older artists, but also for cementing the new ones, both radio and the likes of Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify can help you dig out the new classics to usher you into one of those rare things: a true music connoisseur. So step away from the pop hits and the Hot 100 Billboard list, radio let’s listeners delve into diversity, obscurity, and come out the better for it. For the music lovers, it’s a no-brainer to get access unless you want to be stuck resorting to whatever comes up on your local channels, just don’t forget to make your library available wherever you are with no strings attached. Using a Virtual Private Network can ensure your personal information remains private when streaming via public WiFi—so no interruptions, just great music all the way.