Like most artists, Joywave has been off the road for the past year. Frontman Daniel Armbruster used the time at home to write; the groovy "After Coffee" is the band's first new release since March 2020's Possession. The track is "a celebration of the mundane," as Armbruster explains in a release: "Some listeners will undoubtedly hear their own 2020 experiences in the lyrics, but to me it’s just waking up, pouring the coffee, petting the cat, and enjoying the silence.”
Dreamers, Upsahl, Big Boi, "Palm Reader"
Pop-rock trio Dreamers, singer-songwriter Upsahl and Outkast legend Big Boi unite on the snappy "Palm Reader," which has a colorful, zany music video that's not to be missed. The visual truly leaves us with one question: w2c Big Boi’s furry earflap hat?
Adam Melchor, “No Way of Knowing”
Adam Melchor's nostalgic stylings are in full swing on Melchor Lullaby Hotline, Vol. 1, his first project via Warner Records. The Shins-esque “No Way of Knowing” might remind you of lazy summer evenings, which we look forward to returning to soon.
Australia's Aviva Anastasia Payne works her magic on "Houdini," a delightfully spooky and dangerous track about “the two sides of reality” one communicates when having a conversation: “I’m good, how are you?... I’m insane, I’m Houdini in chains!” The lyrics refer to “how often we’ll just gloss over how something really makes us feel, in the pursuit of simplicity -- to make it all seem okay, when really we’re suffering,” as Aviva explained in a YouTube comment.
Ellise, "Feeling Something Bad..."
Bay Area-born Ellise brings Billie Eilish vibes on "Feeling Something Bad," a dark-pop heater about crushing on someone unattainable. "Think I might be feeling something bad/ Do I want it bad enough to ask?/ Maybe my obsessions drive me mad/ Think I might be feeling somеthing bad,” she chants over sparkling production.
Nasty Cherry, “Her Body”
Co-written by Charli XCX, who helped cobble together Nasty Cherry, the quartet’s “Her Body” snarls with the sound of a pop group fully figuring out its identity. The stinging attitude that drips off every word helps turn lines like “your solo cup was full of lies” into fist-pumping refrains.
Sara Kays, “Picture Of You”
Following the beautiful single “Remember That Night?”, singer-songwriter Sara Kays has returned with a mid-tempo ballad that’s just as evocative. “Picture Of You” is a modern meditation on how we capture memories, but its storytelling and soothing tone will have you thinking back to artists like Vanessa Carlton and Anna Nalick.
Charlotte Adigéry, “Bear With Me (And I’ll Stand Bare Before You)”
Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry immediately enters the competition for best song title of 2021 (or at the very least, best titular parenthetical) with “Bear With Me (And I’ll Stand Bare Before You),” which requires just some rubbery synths and her measured commands to hypnotize the listener; isolation has rarely sounded so comforting.
Max Leo, “Breaking My Heart”
In a press release, U.K. newcomer Max Leo says that “Breaking My Heart” is “not an idealistic break up song, it’s a realistic one.” Indeed, the charming indie-pop track captures the emotional exhaustion that comes with a split -- Leo sounds drained on the verses, but thankfully, the song never gets sapped of its energy.
Lauran Hibberd, Lydia Night, “How Am I Still Alive?”
Fans of Charly Bliss and mid-period Weezer should lap up “How Am I Still Alive?”, on which Lauran Hibberd teams up with The Regrettes’ Lydia Night for a fuzzed-out pop gem that makes plenty of space for the artists’ dueling vocal approaches. Sometimes head-banging is the best way to start the work week.