Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Niykee Heaton

Recently called “Your Next YouTube Crush” by BuzzFeed, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Niykee Heaton’s claim to fame came in her early teens when she began posting pop covers on YouTube. This was followed by acoustic versions of popular hip-hop tracks from artists like Chief Keef, ASAP Rocky, Lil Wayne and Pusha T. She was later handpicked by Snoop Dogg to accompany him onstage at the YouTube Brandcast in 2013. Heaton is set to release her debut album from Russell Simmons’ All Def Music / Capitol Records. This will include the buzz-worthy R&B ballad “Bad Intentions,” which has already had over a million views since its January release.

Marc E. Bassy

Fans of 2AM Club will be happy to hear Bay Area MC Marc E. Bassy has launched a solo career with his Only the Poets Mixtape (Vol. 1). Featuring guest appearances from artists like IamSu and Skizzy Mars, this vibed-out mix provides a fresh new take on the West Coast sound. Mixing spacey R&B with animated lyrics, Marc E. Bassy spins tales of barbecues, cigarettes, dreams and relapsing.

Matty Mullins

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 2.21.01 PMThe frontman of the motivational metalcore band Memphis May Fire, whose latest album Between The Lines debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart, Matty Mullins is set to release his self-titled debut album this fall. He branches off into a more melodic and pop sound, as heard on the lead single “My Dear,” taking cues from some of his influences like popular CCM bands the Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe and Petra.

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Inside The Collection: Searching For The Perfect Honky Tonk

If peanut shells surround your feet; someone is rag dolling on a mechanical bull and, most importantly, patrons are two-step dancing to country music, you’re in a honky tonk. You can find honky tonks all over the United States, but the term may have originated in 1889 in Fort Worth Texas where locals petitioned the re-opening of “The Honky Tonk Theater” on Main Street. Listening to the Honky Tonk station on Pandora takes me there.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 4.02.38 PMWhen early country music started to go electric, an amplified lap-steel guitar (often the same kind played in Hawaiian music and western swing) and a punctuated two-beat rhythm section was added to the already existing template built on acoustic guitar, fiddle and high-lonesome vocal harmonies. Add to this a dexterous electric guitar picker like the late, great Don Rich who could make a Fender Telecaster bend, squawk and snarl. Before they became legends, artists like Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn would originally play this style of music in seedy old roadhouses and dive bars called “honky tonks” (which were likely named after the first one in Fort Worth). Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Dawn (Metal)

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 2.24.34 PMAfter the Norwegians forged black metal in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, their Swedish neighbors in the death metal scene were quick to pick up on it. They kept the howling vocals and buzzing melodies, but favored more expansive arrangements and better production values over the lo-fi punk aesthetic of their Norwegian forbearers. Dawn is one of the best examples of this style, sometimes called melodic death metal. Their highly influential album Slaughtersun evokes the harsh landscape and grand sweep of the Scandinavian epics.

Kiki Ebsen

LA-based singer, songwriter and keyboard player who has recorded five albums and has performed and toured with artists like Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Al Jarreau, Christopher Cross and Tracy Chapman. Her latest release Scarecrow Sessions is a collection of jazz standards inspired by songs from the life and career of her late father, Buddy Ebsen. Tracks include the swinging “St. Louis Blues,” “Over The Rainbow” and “If I Only Had A Brain” – which is a touching nod to her father’s almost-famous role in The Wizard of Oz (he was replaced by Jack Haley as the Tin Man after he developed a severe allergy to the silver makeup). The album was released on Father’s Day this year in his honor. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

Ryn Weaver

Earlier this summer, unknown 21-year-old singer-songwriter Ryn Weaver uploaded a track called “OctaHate” to SoundCloud. The song became a literal overnight sensation, with over 30,000 plays on the first day and over a million in two weeks. It was produced by Michael Angelakos (Passion Pit) and co-written with British singer Charli XCX.

French Style Furs

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.23.31 AMFrench Style Furs is a brand new supergroup comprised of the LA-based soul rockers Cold War Kids‘ frontman Nathan Willet and bassist Matt Maust alongside We Barbarians drummer Nathan Warketin. Their debut album Is Exotic Bait was released on the Frenchkiss label with music inspired from 1980s proto-punk and lyrics inspired by the poetry of Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Trap & Twerk, Pandora keeps it Trill

If you’re addicted to sub bass, booty shakin’, doing the Miley Cyrus and bouncing to half-time hi-hats, Pandora offers three stations to customize your low-end experience. Trap, Trap Rap and TWERK each showcase a specific sound for our listeners. In a world where hip-hop and EDM fuse together to create a new sound, have you ever pondered the difference between trap and twerk? Want to know what you’ll hear on Pandora’s Trap Rap station? Our curators get to the bottom of the 808.

Let’s take a look at where trap and twerk started, then listen to where it’s going. Both styles focus on samples from the classic Roland 808 drum machine, syncopated rhythms with heavy backbeat handclaps that are influenced by Miami Bass, Southern Rap and New Orleans Bounce.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 9.31.49 AMIf you like mind numbing bass, car alarms and festival decibels, Trap is for you. International producers are embracing the sounds of Atlanta to create something new. Artists like Yellow Claw, Flosstradamus, Diplo, UZ and Bro Safari have taken the original sound and connected the dots from hip-hop to EDM. Trap has fewer lyrics, mostly sampled and pitched down with a heavy electro house and dubstep influence. The beats per minute are around 70, but are produced with BPM set to 140 for that double-time feel. You’ll hear plenty of bass drops – and of course it’s best heard on a huge sound system. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

The Vamps

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.36.06 AMThe Vamps are a British pop band that formed in 2012 and immediately signed to Mercury Records. They have toured as support for artists like McFly, The Wanted, Little Mix and Demi Lovato. Their debut EP Somebody To You features the charting singles “Wild Heart” and “Somebody To You,” with guest vocals by Demi Lovato.

You Me and Apollo

This Fort Collins, Colorado-based band specialize in “…stompy blues and sing along folk rock with hints of psychedelic and soul music.” Their debut album Sweet Honey was produced and engineered by Jeff Powell (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Big Star, Sharon Jones) at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis. In addition to playing festivals like SXSW and Hangout, they have toured and supported for acts like Dr. Dog, Brandi Carlile, ZZ Ward, Third Eye Blind, DeVotchKa, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and Dashboard Confessional. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts

PARTYNEXTDOOR

Manifesting a sultry combination of R&B, electronic and hip hop music; PARTYNEXTDOOR showcases his smooth sounds with October’s Very Own camp. After touring with Drake, Future and Miguel, this Canadian vocalist has been groomed to be the next OVO star. His futuristic slow jams flicker through your speakers like candlelight.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.50.35 AMConnecting Stars

Connecting Stars is a South African folk-rock duo made up of Cheryl Engel, a studio session singer and Martin Engel, former bass player of rock band Tree63. Opening with the anthemic track “Pieces,” their self-titled debut release weaves acoustic guitar, piano with haunting melodies, harmonies and strains of glockenspiel, mandolin, ukulele and harmonica. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts 

Majid Jordan

Majid Jordan are a production and R&B duo out of Toronto that were featured on Drake’s hit single “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” off his critically acclaimed 2013 album Nothing Was The Same. Formerly known as GOOD People, Majid Jordan have been active since late 2011 and were most recently signed to Drake’s record label OVO Sound. Their debut single “A Place Like This” blends dark and soothing melodies with a distinguishing hip-hop sound.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 9.40.24 AMChristopher Tin

Christopher Tin is a two time Grammy award-winning composer whose work combines classical and world music influences. He has composed music for films, commercials and video games – being best known for his composition “Baba Yetu” featured in the 2005 game Civilization IV. He made history with this track by winning the first Grammy ever awarded to a piece written for a video game. His newest work The Drop That Contained The Sea debuted at Carnegie Hall in April, and comprises ten songs sung in a different language including “Water Prelude,” voiced in Proto-Indo-European as well as “Waloyo Yamoni – “We Overcome The Wind,” featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir and sung in the South African language, Xhosa. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Pandora’s Guide To Colombian Rhythms

If you’re looking to stretch it out and dance this weekend, we recommend tapping into the boundless rhythms of one of the most musically and culturally diverse nations in the Americas, Colombia. We’re highlighting the incredible musical output that Colombia has generated over the past 70-plus years by offering up a trio of genre stations: Cumbia Colombiana, Salsa Colombiana and Vallenato.

The rhythm that has become most synonymous with Colombian identity is that of Cumbia. Centuries in the making and born out of the confluence of African, Indigenous and European cultures; Cumbia is by far the most popular Latin American dance rhythm and continues to be endlessly appropriated and adopted up and down the hemisphere, spawning countless offshoots and innovations.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 6.09.00 PMFrom the infectious swing of the early big band interpretations, pioneered by bandleaders like Pacho Galán, Lucho Bermúdez and Pedro Laza, to the stripped down accordion sound of squeeze box masters such as Alfredo Gutiérrez, Lisandro Meza and Andrés Landero; Cumbia as interpreted by the architects of the sound define the genre. Also included are some of the groups that would become international superstars like La Sonora Dinamita and Los Corraleros de Majagual, responsible in large part for so effectively disseminating Cumbia across Latin America and the world. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts 

Puss N Boots

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.41.20 AMAfter playing live together since 2008, Norah Jones (remembered for her smash hit album Come Away With Me), Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper have at last taken their collaboration into the studio. Their debut album No Fools, No Fun features a collection of original songs and covers that were cultivated from their live sets, including “Bull Rider,” written by Rodney Crowell and made famous by Johnny Cash. Over the years, they have shared the stage with the Beastie Boys on the Get Out The Vote tour and joined Wilco at Madison Square Garden, providing background vocals on “Jesus, Etc.”, of which their own interpretation is also featured on their debut album.

Boogaloo Assassins

Based out of Los Angeles, the Boogaloo Assassins are reviving the classic Latin Soul sounds of 1960’s New York. Their natural ease and flair, coupled with the meticulous attention to detail and authenticity, makes diehard aficionados and record-collector nerds smile from ear to ear. They have played a large supporting role in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the famed New York Latin music label Fania, backing up living legends Roberto Roena and Joe Bataan in concerts from East Coast to West. They first came to our attention as an independent artist submission and their debut release has recently been picked up by non other than Fania Records. Read More →