On her first single since last year’s Cape God album, Allie X turns up the volume on the synth-pop fantasia she’s been crafting for nearly a decade and smashes the listener over the head with an irresistible vocal melody. Allie remains a hook savant, and “Glam!” boasts some of the most immediate pleasures of her career -- you’ll fall in love in a matter of seconds.
Little Hurt, "Messed Up"
Every Second, the debut EP from alt-indie musician Little Hurt (Colin Dieden), was crafted entirely during quarantine. The highlight is “Messed Up,” an upbeat track whose euphoric piano melody contrasts with deeply personal lyrics about Dieden’s struggles to accept his parents’ divorce.
Mating Ritual, "Tell Me You Don't Love Me"
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Los Angeles sibling duo Mating Ritual (Ryan Marshall Lawhon and Taylor Lawhon) have returned with a heartfelt ballad. If you’ve ever loved and lost -- and even if you haven’t -- that sweeping chorus will get in you in the feels.
Columbus, Ohio group Clubhouse have debuted a happy couple-filled video for "Weekend," the singsong chorus of which evokes the dream pop stylings of Absofacto and Half Alive: “I know you always say that you're alright/ But then you want to talk on the low/ And if you wanna a break, baby we can/ Hit the rooftop all alone.”
LLusion, LoveLeo, "Stay In"
Orange, Calif. producer LLusion has recruited John C. Reilly's son Leo -- who performs as LoveLeo -- for the breezy "Stay In," where they invite one to “stay in, you and me/So let's stay in for a week." No such thing as too many quarantine anthems!
Eloise Viola, “Lost and Found”
English singer-songwriter Eloise Viola's vocal prowess is fully on display as she warns, “You lost my heart for someone to find/ it won’t be there when you look this time/ You lost me to someone else.” Viola is inspired by powerhouse voices like Adele and Nina Simone, and impressively recalls them here.
Elise Eriksen, “Smile”
Elise Eriksen is the daughter of Mikkel Eriksen, one-half of the best-selling production duo Stargate (Rihanna, Beyonce, Katy Perry). Unlike that pair’s best-known electro-pop hits, however, new single “Smile” is a stripped-down, confessional ballad, with a chorus that aims for the rafters and nicely showcases the newcomer’s developing range.
Boys World, “Wingman”
Have a soft spot for turn-of-the-century girl groups that effortlessly blended pop and R&B, like Destiny’s Child, Blaque and Dream? You’ll adore Boys World’s second single, “Wingman,” in which the L.A. quintet embraces the throwback vibes and brushes off any dude trying to jam themselves into their vision: “Not a brand new thing, that a queendom doesn't need a king.”
Yas VW, “Be The One”
In the video for the exquisite “Be The One,” London singer-songwriter Yas VW (born Yasmin Vaughan-Williams) experiences a meet-cute in a coffee shop, her coworkers teasing her behind the counter as she eyes a dreamy customer. It’s a familiar, low-stakes setup, but it works for a song that amiably bounces along, harkening back to ‘80s R&B while charming its way beyond any sense of gimmickry.
Genevieve Stokes, “Surface Tension”
A press release for Genevieve Stokes’ new single compares the 19-year-old Portland, Maine native to Maggie Rogers; it’s an apt resemblance, based on the way “Surface Tension” operates as an alt-pop track but is defined by the soulfulness of Stokes’ voice, as she approaches every drawn-out lyric with a notable tenderness.