Jessia, Bebe Rexha, "I'm Not Pretty"
Canadian singer Jessia's short-and-sweet "I'm Not Pretty" gets a lift from pop powerhouse Bebe Rexha. “I'm not pretty, maybe I'm just fun/ 'Cause I got a belly and I got a bum/ But I can't be jelly of all the other ones/ So I'm falling in love with my rump-ump-ump-um,” they harmonize over a dynamic drumline.
Pom Pom Squad, "Head Cheerleader"
Pom Pom Squad's latest is a phenomenal lesson in modern grunge. Bold lyrics bookend the track -- “You said open up your mouth and tell me what you mean/ I said, 'I’m gonna marry the scariest girl on the cheerleading team’” -- while a colorful, appropriately themed music video (yes, there is a football field) and backing vocals from Tegan and Sara’s Tegan Quin seal the deal. Expect the Brooklyn-based indie rockers, fronted by Mia Berrin, to go the distance when their new album Death Of a Cheerleader arrives in June. Go Team!
Remi Wolf, Kimbra, “Down The Line”
The opening track of Remi Wolf’s 2020 I’m Allergic To Dogs! EP is transformed with help from New Zealand pop adventurer Kimbra -- and in true Remi fashion, there’s a chaotic visual that ties it all together. The zesty rework of “Down The Line” will appear on the California singer-songwriter’s May 5 We Love Dogs! remix EP, which will also feature Sylvan Esso, Beck, Free Nationals and Hot Chip.
Cash Cash, Phoebe Ryan, “Ride or Die”
Electronic trio Cash Cash have recruited singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan (of The Chainsmokers’ "All We Know" fame) for a twinkling dance track about wanting someone to survive "this crazy life" with. Cash Cash’s new album Say it Like You Feel it will arrive on May 14, just in time for much-longed-for summer barbecues.
Iris, "To Be Mine (Is To Lose Your Mind)"
Lucky for us, rising Norwegian singer Iris -- who has toured with Aurora, and cites Banks and FKA Twigs as inspiration -- is prepping her debut album Love and Other Disasters. Latest album cut “To Be Mine (Is To Lose Your Mind)” is a delectable, synth-driven wonder that rises to the top in a busy Europop pool.
Zoe Wees, “Ghost”
“Ghost” is explosive, with the sort of dramatic chorus that’s ideal for slow-motion shots in an action movie trailer, but German singer-songwriter Zoe Wees navigates the strings-laden bombast admirably. Every line here is drenched in vulnerability, as if Wees is revealing her innermost thoughts in the form of an anthem.
Remember Sports, “Easy”
If your Monday morning coffee is weaker than needed, turn up “Easy,” the highlight of Philly indie rockers Remember Sports’ great new album Like a Stone, and receive the jolt of energy you crave. Over three-and-a-half minutes, “Easy” bursts into flames and then settles into a groove, with singer Carmen Perry wrestling with her own restlessness: “Nothing came easy like you thought that it might / Just do something right, just do anything right.”
Jay Lewn, “Boyfriend Part 2”
Jay Lewn covers well-worn territory on “Boyfriend Part 2,” a sequel to a song on last year’s Form 01, but his soulful tone makes his lovesick words sound undeniable. The Londoner doesn’t need a lot of production flourishes around his confession of unrequited feelings -- just an echo effect on his voice, to give his words a lingering effect on the listener.
Mia Nicolai, “People Pleaser”
“Everybody expects me to know what I’m feeling” is a killer opening line to a 2021 pop song, and throughout the rest of “People Pleaser,” Mia Nicolai continues to prod at the uncertainty and search for self-acceptance that defines modern life. The production on Nicolai’s vocals is raw and unfiltered, allowing the listener to pick up every sigh, yelp and gritty detail of her journey.
VHS Collection, “The Dark”
During a year in which the live music industry remains dormant, it makes sense that a band named VHS Collection would have us harkening back to simpler times, when enormous hooks and meaty keyboard riffs would spread across festival fields. “The Dark” cruises into your fantasies of concert euphoria, with a synth-rock swagger that sounds like a cross between Empire of the Sun and The Killers.