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The year has already given us some exciting new releases: new albums from Pearl Charles, Arlo Parks, The Weather Station, and Julien Baker, to name a few. But at Street we're always looking forward, ready to blast whatever new music comes our way. Here are the five releases we can't wait to listen to in March.
I can see you out of the corner of my eye. The car window is down, and your head is sticking out, leaning into the open air. Your lips are slightly open, as if to drink the shimmering, orange–hued rays of light. I reach over with my right hand to coax some music out of my Jeep’s old stereo system, and Sharon Van Etten’s “Tarifa” starts playing. You retreat from the Texas sun’s intoxicating warmth, turn your head to look at me, and smile with all the radiance of the light you just inhaled.
As the holiday season wraps up and 2021 barrels on, a new slate of albums are set to be released. While several of our favorite artists—like Lorde, Adele, and St. Vincent—have yet to announce specific release plans, there's still plenty of great music to be excited for over the next month. Currently, Street's got our eyes on Arlo Parks' highly anticipated debut record, the follow–up to slowthai's Mercury Prize-nominated Nothing Great About Britain (2019), and Julien Baker's first solo project since 2017.
Hopefully, by now, you've checked out Street's Favorite Albums of 2020. This list is a little different: It's a collection of my favorite albums of the year that either went unnoticed or were underappreciated in some way. This list skews pretty heavily toward dream pop–type bands, but there's some post–rock, some synthpop, and some country mixed in as well. Each entry is also accompanied by some similar bands that you've probably heard of (or listened to) before, so hopefully one of these entries aligns with an artist you know and love.
What’s it like to graduate from Penn and pursue a music career? What’s it like to tell other Penn grads that you didn’t gun for a finance or consulting job and explain why you decided to settle for a smaller salary? Hadji Gaviota, a former 34th Street writer and Queens–based singer, songwriter, and producer, might have the answers.
"I'm cold," Jónsi sings to open the title track of his latest record, Shiver. The verse represents a stark left turn for an artist who—both in his solo career and as the frontman for legendary post–rock band Sigur Rós—has radiated warmth, comfort, and joy.
On Sept. 17, 1990, the Cocteau Twins released their sixth studio album, Heaven or Las Vegas. 30 years later, this collection of intricately–woven dreamscapes remains as innovative as ever. From Elizabeth Fraser's stunning–yet–unintelligible vocals to Robin Guthrie's transportive guitar work and Simon Raymonde's buttery bass, Heaven or Las Vegas' beauty has been a constant reference for many bands since its release. The trio's psychedelic, dreamy, all–encompassing style have influenced woozy bands like Beach House to heavier bands like Slowdive and Ride. Similarly, Heaven or Las Vegas remains as significant now as it was when it was released three decades ago.
Close your eyes. Imagine, if you can, what the '90s were like. Not the literal day–to–day hustle and bustle, but the general mood. It's the middle of the night, and you're walking down a street. Sewer fumes obscure your vision, but it doesn't matter, because you haven't decided where you're walking to yet. Your baggy jeans and Nirvana tee are fashionably grimy, covered in tiny circular burns and beer stains. You take a long, last drag of your dying cigarette before stamping out the embers, extinguishing the final light of the dark alley you just turned down. Your headphones drown out the incessant rumblings of city life: ever so slowly, the hiss and crackle of vinyl pops fade in, washing out your ears like auditory smoke. "Give me a reason to love you," the lead singer croons over a wailing guitar solo.
Mike Polizze’s Long Lost Solace Find is utterly without pretension. There are no heady concepts and few complex metaphors: Polizze simply quietly reflects on things that have happened to him and things that he wants to do. It’s confessional in that way; Polizze says exactly what he feels without obscuring it behind unwieldy rhetoric.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Naeem Juwan (previously known as Spank Rock, now going by the mononym Naeem) claimed his latest album, Startisha, took almost five years to make. The amount of time, dedication, and care poured into this album is immediately evident: every song, verse, and bar is expertly crafted.
Marie Dahlstrøm is a Danish singer/songwriter who has been studying music her whole life. Her past releases, beginning in 2011, include multiple EP's and a cover project. 'Like Sand,' released independently on May 22, is her debut studio album. The record is a gorgeous, warm exploration of her career thus far: every sound on this record drips with influences ranging from buttery R&B, to smooth jazz, to hard–hitting hip–hop beats. Featuring friends and longtime collaborators including Beau Diako, Jeremy Passion, James Vickery, Elijah Fox, Charles Jacques, and Aligo, 'Like Sand' can be summed up in one word: vibes. Street's Kyle Whiting sat down with Marie to discuss her new album, making music as an independent artist, and how the industry has changed as a result of COVID–19.
One of the reasons I love music so much is because it makes us feel. No other sensation comes close to when we find the album that speaks to us, or the artist who really understands what we're going through. Over the years, I've collected a lot of music by a lot of artists which perfectly capture so many emotions: I have a playlist for driving down my favorite Texas highway, multiple albums exclusively for vibing, and an artist for when I feel like my life is just too similar to an A24 movie. Good music has the incredible ability to find our weakest spots when we're already at our weakest, and to kick us when we're already down.
The cover art for Overcoats' latest record The Fight shows the duo, comprised of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, grasping each others' hands. Their unease is palpable: fists clenched, brows furrowed, frowns pronounced. Even the album's title evokes a sense of violence.
Allie X's vision of pop has always been difficult to pin down. Since her popularity exploded in 2015, her image has been guided by macabre, dark aesthetics. Yet, the actual music she makes is much brighter; her electropop sound shimmers with addictive hooks and sparkling synthesizers. "Catch," her breakout song and lead single off of her debut EP, CollXtion I, showcases this contrast spectacularly. Punchy drums and 80s–inspired synths create a dazzling backdrop for Allie X to deliver one of the best hooks of the 2010s: "Just wait until I catch my breath," she sings, pausing to gasp between the words "my" and "breath." That tiny break, that teeny little sixteenth–rest, feels monumental, cavernous, infinite. It makes you tense up and lean in just before the beat kicks back in to dissolve all the built–up tension.
We’re living in a post–pop world. Yes, that’s a contradictory statement. The idea of “popular music” simply refers to music that is, well, popular. Attaching the prefix of “post,” then, is a meaningless exercise: our notion of pop music changes as mainstream consumer preferences change. Through the 2010s, however, a variety of artists and labels have deconstructed pop music by shattering songs to reveal their barest elements, creating their own unique, semi–ironic masterpieces in the end. These songs are often harsh and difficult to listen to. They’re also absolute bangers. What better label is there for this than post–pop?
Most people have probably heard the name Björk before. For nearly the past three decades, she's been a monumental figure in pop culture. Even if you haven't listened to a single note of her music, it's hard to escape the iconic moments she's come to define. Take, for example, her controversial swan dress at the 2001 Academy Awards, or the 2015 MoMA retrospective which centered around her career thus far. She's also starred in Lars Von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark (2000), which won the Palm D'Or at Cannes and landed Björk with vast amounts of critical acclaim for her role. The role, she said, was so exhausting she vowed to never act again. Thankfully, she hasn't said the same about music.
It's easy to see the world in binary. Good or bad, love or hate, friend or lover, right or wrong. Things are, or they are not. Yes, it's easy to see the world in pairs, but in doing so, we limit ourselves from experiencing the full spectrum of life. In reality, binary views are overly simplistic—degrading, even—and rarely paint the full picture. In the first entry of Moses Sumney's double LP græ (labeled græ: Part 1; Part 2 will come out May 15), the vast space between black and white is stretched open, allowing the infinite shades of grey to be examined with crystal clear focus.
Grimes (aka Claire Boucher, aka c) has had it rough the past few years. Since 2015, label issues have delayed new music from coming out. She's been under constant media and public scrutiny thanks to her relationship with Elon Musk. Azealia Banks came for her throat. And she's a bit upset that we're killing the fucking planet.