Although 5 Seconds of Summer leader Luke Hemmings released “Starting Line” as his solo debut single, “Motion” caters to his strengths as a singer-songwriter more naturally: although the track gestures toward psych-rock with echoing effects and laser synths, Hemmings knows how to guide its pop melodies past the production details and to the song’s forefront.
London-based Egyptian/Ethiopian musician/producer Alewya approaches the dance floor from a singular perspective: on new single “Spirit_X,” the beats and synths aren’t showy, but she attacks them relentlessly, letting her voice stutter, glide and drop away unexpectedly. It’s a subtly virtuosic vocal take, and it will have “Spirit_X” on repeat as you search for new details of that performance.
Sam Fender, “Seventeen Going Under”
“I remember” are the first words out of Sam Fender’s mouth on “Seventeen Going Under,” which opens with a reflective guitar jangle and lets the singer-songwriter reflect on past experience before the drums arrives at the one-minute mark. Previewing his upcoming album of the same name, “Seventeen Going Under” contains the wistful-anthem DNA of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill,” with a little more rock bite from Fender.
Although the hook to “Loser” goes full pop-punk, Carly McClellan, who records as Carr, tones down her verses toward more confessional bedroom-pop, creating a soft-loud effect that holds the listener’s attention through the song’s run time. If Carr can navigate these styles this effortlessly, the New Jersey native is set up for a promising run.
Kilo Kish, “American Gurl”
Although Kilo Kish’s lilting vocal performance on new single “American Gurl” is impressive, her production on the song will take your breath away -- the way the synths throb, the snares pop and the different harmonies join together will have you flailing your arms around, as Kish does in the track’s music video. A underrated veteran artist, Kilo Kish has delivered her best single in years.
The Linda Lindas, “Oh!”
Since The Linda Lindas went viral last month for their performance of "Racist, Sexist Boy" in the L.A. Public Library, the punk band quickly signed to Epitaph, and now has released an equally rousing single, "Oh!,” that prioritizes a pulsing drum beat and racing guitar riffs to underscore each emphatic titular shout.
Remi Wolf, “Liquor Store”
Remi Wolf has become known for her quirky persona and funky psych-pop tunes, all of which are accompanied by vibrant visuals. The 25-year-old’s latest single, "Liquor Store," is no different, as Remi Wolf displays her sharpened (and more daring) lyricism that she said on Twitter felt like "shedding a skin."
Brittany Howard and Childish Gambino, “Stay High (Childish Gambino Version)”
Just in time for festival season -- and a performance at Lollapalooza next weekend -- Brittany Howard has released a remix album of her 2019 solo debut, called Jaime Reimagined. While the project features everyone from Bon Iver to Jungle, "Stay High" soars with its fresh arrangement, production and soulful touch, courtesy of Childish Gambino.
Canadian experimental soul artist Chiiild just released his debut album, Hope For Sale, a project that illustrates the rising singer's ability to craft twisty songs time and again. It's a skill perhaps most evident on "Weightless," which opens with a string section before introducing a tiptoeing beat that creeps along throughout.
Indigo De Souza, “Hold U”
The folk-leaning alternative artist Indigo De Souza is gearing up to release her album, Any Shape You Take, on Aug. 27, and her second single "Hold U" is further proof of its sky-high potential: bouncy riffs underscore her repeated promise to "hold you," sung each time with a slightly and intriguingly different vocal run.