Here's a link to the playlist. The play buttons embedded here will play 30-second clips if you're not logged into Spotify in your browser, which is probably the best way to listen to the tracks while reading this article.
And, just like that, we're halfway through the year! I hope you enjoy these new tunes.
Bachelor, Jay Som, and Palehound — Stay in the Car
Off Doomin' Sun, released May 28, 2021
Doomin' Sun is a spectacular feat of a record, but truly the standout track for me is "Stay in the Car," a poppy but rocking hit.
I love everything about this track, from the gravely vocal harmonies playing through the verse and chorus to the spectacular guitar tones which kick into higher and higher gear as the track progresses.
In the beginning of the song, there's this really fun crackling noise like a guitar's being plugged in, and I'm glad they put in that little detail; I also really think the ways that the track switches between energies, even breaking down to a more acoustic verse, works to make the song as dynamic as possible.
I really do think "Stay in the Car" will end up being one of my favorite tracks from this year, but even if it wasn't on this record, "Anything at All" would also be a massive triumph — definitely check that one out next. Then listen to "Spin Out." Just listen to the record!
Triángulo de Amor Bizarro — Vigilantes del Espejo
Off Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, released March 20, 2020
This isn't exactly the newest song, but it's new to me, and I couldn't leave it off the list.
This is a passionate, straight-forward rock/pop track, something cinematic and danceworthy. I absolutely adore that "una noche más" refrain, delivered with such a convincing, passionate vocal performance. There's almost something The Cure-like with the way the guitars play off the synth, making a really fun, poppy package.
The Wytches — Fly Inside
Off Three Mile Ditch, released November 13, 2020
Sometimes constraints are what it takes to unlock the creative process, and this 6/6 to 5/6 shuffle that plays through the verse clearly sets The Wytches up to let their guitars take off.
Kristian Bell's vocals are an excellent piece of tone building, making something that's garage-ready, but slightly spooky. This track is really energetic for something that's a little more downtempo.
Melenas — 3 segundos
Off Dias Raros, released May 8, 2020
This Melenas album is a great collection of tunes, but my favorite is the more single-worthy "3 segundos," with its swirling filters on the guitars, to a very poppy and clever vocal refrain.
Allie Crow Buckley — Nothing Sacred
Off Moonlit and Devious, released March 12, 2021
"Nothing Sacred" almost points to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," a driven slow-jam with some very cool vocal lines that stick in your head. And I couldn't not mention Buckley's exceptional vocal styling, with rich and full tones that are almost the opposite of the piercing, distorted guitar tones which play against her.
Madeline Kenney — Summer Quarter
single, released January 22, 2021
"Summer Quarter" is a soft and sweet track from Madeline Kenney's EP of the same name. This is a very smart song, where every piece knows exactly what it's doing. I love the Phil Collins vibe, with spacey guitars and vocals wrapped around ethereal layering.
About halfway through, the track kicks up the gear, getting a bit more driven, with emotion pouring from every turn. The non-traditional song structure really comes together, a whole atmospheric package that you shouldn't miss.
缺省 — Can You Hear the Whistle Blow
single, released August 12, 2020
I love this catchy, soft, technical track from 缺省. The composition is seriously impressive, but not in a way that detracts from the performance; even as the track builds, you don't lose sight of the cool, contorting guitar composition, and powerful chords built with soft harmonies and violin-like synth pads.
Oeil — Perfect
single, released January 13, 2021
Oeil is back, and their most recent single, "Perfect," is, well, perfect!
I love this kind of spacey not-quite-shoegaze, a spectacular roundabout of swirling tones and energy.
The organ refrain is a fun foundation for this track, with the modulated vocals rising and falling against the shifting volumes and space.
This song really seems like the evolution of some sort of tradition, to be played in the triumphant or romantic moments of some film, with a perfect ending to complete the set.