Rita Ora & Imanbek feat. KHEA, “Mood”
The highlight of Rita Ora’s new collaborative EP with Kazakh producer Imanbek (best known for his smash remix of Saint Jhn’s “Roses”), “Mood” fully realizes the project’s sweaty club aspirations, with Ora pushing herself toward a more clipped delivery and rising Latin trap artist Khea bolstering the song’s back half.
Revenge Wife, “Earthquake”
Revenge Wife is the new project from Liz Nistico, one-half of the underrated electro-pop Holychild, and while this debut single is not as rambunctious as that group’s most memorable songs, “Earthquake” demonstrates the strength of Nistico’s songwriting and attention to detail as a producer, juxtaposing human emotion with bleep-bloop synths.
Faangs’ new single squeezes hooks into places where hooks do not belong in a pop song: the chorus, for instance, begins with the singer-songwriter urgently yelping, then pulling back and explaining herself, until both of the dueling melodies get stuck in your head. “Relapse” is brimming with self-conviction, and earns its confidence.
Hauskey, “Go Wrong”
Australian singer-producer Hauskey says that his new single captures “me and my brain being unable to celebrate a win, however small, because it’s so quickly on the lookout for the next stumbling block.” Self-doubt has never sounded so inviting: “Go Wrong” quickly makes an impression with background horns and vocal take defined by a sly, cozy warmth.
Middle Kids, “Cellophane (Brain)”
Speaking of self-examining, immediately likable Australian pop, Middle Kids’ “Cellophane (Brain)” previews the trio’s upcoming album Today We’re The Greatest in grand fashion: an emotionally affecting distorted guitar is used to showcase inner struggle, just as the song twists and turns to an ultimate crescendo.
Peach Tree Rascals, “Ooz”
The latest from San Jose, Calif. collective Peach Tree Rascals features a splendid combo of breezy guitar and laidback vocals. As one YouTube commenter put it, “When I listened to this I was just a fan, but now I’m a whole air conditioner.” Summer, come quick!
Nigerian-Scottish artist Tayo Oyekan, who performs as Tayo Sound, has unveiled his Runaway EP, the title track of which addresses a doomed relationship. With a silky voice and exceedingly mature songwriting skills, the 18-year-old seems poised for stardom.
Between Friends, “Shiny”
Brandon and Savannah Hudson, who form brother-sister duo Between Friends, have released their best track since 2018’s incredible “Iloveyou,” oozing effortless cool as they promise, “I like when we ride/ Money spend it, take me high/ Ooh, you shine so bright/ Walk with me we'll crystallize.”
Gordi, Alex Lahey, “Dino’s”
Please make room for two more Australians on your playlist today, as “Dino’s” is an unexpected (and welcome) team-up between singer-songwriters Alex Lahey and Sophie Payten, aka Gordi. Here, Lahey -- who leaned into more punk tendencies on 2020's "Sucker for Punishment" -- returns to thrumming indie-rock, and it is so choice.
The most moving song from singer-songwriter Birdy’s forthcoming fourth album is “Loneliness,” a swirling symphony about losing one’s mind in “sweet dreams of loneliness.” Here’s hoping for more beautiful tragedy on Young Heart, due in April.
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