The Dose, issue 9: Rival music

The Chili Bowl | Spence Tait | March 21, 2016

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This week in issue 9, we’re bringing you more sounds of 2016 in all its celestial youth. After celebrating the first day of spring, we’ve got some songs that are guaranteed to make you feel like it’s true. Turn them up and put on your sun-worshipping shoes, because the famous winter in DC “damp” is about to make way for better vibes.

The Knocks

“I Wish” is the perfect song to rope in some good vibes, as it’s a killer modern-pop banger that worships “summertime in Los Angeles” and big dreams of a big life. With Matthew Koma on vocals, this is one of our favorite and hardly guilty indulgences for those times we need an infallible pick-me-up. And, it comes with this weirdly fresh video:


Born in Germany but hailing from Hampton, VA, D.R.A.M. is one of the most immediately recognizable voices in the rap game today. His eccentricity takes a flavor that tastes of Busta Rhymes meets Tyler the Creator, and while you might know him for “Cha Cha” or the album cover of him sucker-punching Godzilla, we want you to hear “Excessive.” It’s a dirty, hedonistic beat that meets a conscious message for an ironic take on the materialistic over-consumption that saturates the rap game, and we love it.

Miike Snow

No, that’s not a typo. Miike Snow has been around for years but remains underestimated. While we’ve had a soft spot for the Swedish trio ever since “Black & Blue” in 2009, their sound remains indie-strong with “Genghis Khan” today. Their disco undertones truly shine through, creating something so subtly sexual and so overwhelmingly catchy. Also complete with weird video:

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu’s return caught our attention on Stereogum’s Heavy Rotation segment, also gaining some legitimate hat-tips from Pigeons & Planes with 2015 mixtape But You Cain’t Use My Phone.  “Phone Down” is a song that shifts down several gears, giving us something much more chill and sensual. To compare making someone give up their phone to a triumph of seduction is incredibly suggestive of our time and, frankly, spot-on, illuminating the poetic lyricism that’s made her a consistent favorite in R’n’B.

Felix Cartal

“Something to Live For” is an ecstatic EDM rager that reminds us of the pre-trap, late-high school era of partying. With a heavy-handed Euro feel, Felix Cartal’s banger is one killer, confetti-strewn blast of serious sonic sugar, making him one of the biggest EDM names-to-watch in our entire series. Get lost in his upbeat synths and Nikki Yanofsky’s gorgeous vocals and—pro tip—listen to Vanrip’s remix for something much more down-tuned, aggressive and minimalistic.

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The Dose is The Rival’s curated weekly music injection designed by a student abroad to deliver 100 notable contemporary artists in 5 months. Sticking mainly to the unsung heavy-hitters of 2015, The Dose also includes choice names from this year’s festival lineups and those primed to have impact on 2016. Some selections are simply stumbled-upon treasures. Electronica, hip hop, indie, blues revival, garage rock, and sounds harder to define all collide in a project that aims to capture and emulate the turbulence that is the college experience. For suggestions or feedback, email