Billie Eilish — “wish you were gay”
How do you argue with a title like that? Eilish’s chilled-out pop vibes and lyrical wit are out in full force on this new single, which is so fun you might forget that it isn’t summer yet. The young star’s career has been short, but it’s headed in an upward trajectory and “wish you were gay” feels like an important stop on the journey, a song we’ll look back to in a decade or so when Eilish has taken over the world.
Sigrid — “Sucker Punch”
Sigrid’s new album Sucker Punch dropped on March 8; while the whole album is incredible, the title track is simply astonishing. It somehow sounds like a throwback and the future of music all at once. There’s a distinct flavour of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” in their, but Sigrid brings new energy to those retro vibes and creates something entirely unique.
Joey Landreth — “Cryin’”
Winnipeg’s own guitar hero is at it again. While Landreth’s previous two singles, “Dangerous Heart” and “Forgiveness” have been fairly light and breezy, “Cryin’” is moody and brooding, giving even Hozier a run for his money. Between melt-in-your-mouth guitar sounds, astounding vocal harmonies and utterly astounding production, this is a stand-out track in a back catalogue full of stand-out tracks.
Sundara Karma — “A Song for My Future Self”
This one took me completely by surprise and I discovered it completely by accident. The bright colours and dancing skeletons of the album cover for Ulfilas’ Alphabet caught my eye, but the catchy, 90s indie vibes of the opening track “A Song for My Future Self” kept me hanging around. The whole album displays immense talent and a huge variety of sounds from the British pop-rock group. There’s something infectious about this opening track, though. It would not surprise me to find out that these guys are fans of David Bowie, but I can’t help but feel like Bowie himself would have found this album exciting.
The Japanese House — “somethingfartoogoodtofeel”
English act The Japanese House have been turning out stellar EPs for a few years now, but last week finally saw the release of Good at Falling, their first full-length LP. It features some great new songs and older tracks reworked with a more ambient production. A personal highlight of the album is “somethingfartoogoodtofeel,” one of the more energetic songs with an in-your-face rhythm and a dark, moody atmosphere that’s emblematic of the whole album.
James Bay & Julia Michaels — “Peer Pressure”
James Bay has shown off a huge range in his short career. Chaos and the Calm is filled with deep, soul sounds, whereas Electric Light indulges in 80s electronica, all of which somehow becomes a killer rock show when he performs them live. His newest single “Peer Pressure” (featuring the incredible voice of Julia Michaels) is something else again: a folksy, heartfelt love song led by acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies. For all of his experimentation, Bay has yet to find something he doesn’t excel at; this is a great track.
Julia Jacklin — “Head Alone”
This Australian singer-songwriter caught my attention last summer with her single “Eastwick,” still one of my favourite songs. “Head Alone,” from her recently released album Crushing is just as emotionally moving and captivating. This is the sort of song you’d put on at the end of a bad day and suddenly find all that weight lifted; before you know it you’ll be dancing along.