1. Noname - Rainforest
Noname returns with her uniquely conscious, contemplative, and groovy rap styling on this boundary breaking new track. Though her music has always maintained a heady vibe, this is her first song that one could justifiably call revolutionary, a staunch but warm diatribe against the systemic injustices of capitalism. Her familiarly understated performance gives you everything you need; there’s a righteous anger here that can be felt, but she doesn’t succumb to the follies of rage. Vocally she maintains the even-temper of an educator, blending the political with the personal against the lusciously soulful instrumentation. She only really changes intonation once, during the last verse's final line, in which you can hear her smiling as she says “f**k a billionaire." Equal parts insightful and danceable, “Rainforest” is a perfect example of the all-to-rare joyful revolution song.
2. Kero Kero Bonito - The Princess and the Clock
On this teaser to their upcoming EP Civilisation II, London-based pop band Kero Kero Bonito revisit the iconic electropop sounds they first broke through with, expanding and pushing those sounds forward with the lush and grandiose production first hinted at on 2019’s Civilisation EP. Those familiar with iconic KKB tracks like “Trampoline” or “Flamingo” should find a lot to like here, as the band reunites with their hyperkinetic and plasticky, chip tune influenced indie pop sound.
3. Show me the Body - Survive
On “Survive," New York hardcore act Show Me the Body return with one of their nastiest singles yet. The band's first track since 2019’s “Dog Whistle," the track sheds much of the electro-industrial influence found on that record opting instead for mountains of fuzz, distortion, and politically fueled rage. Chugging guitars and blast beat drums drown out barely audible but palpably enraged vocals as frontman Julian Cashwan Pratt repeats the bluntly-stated mantra “I never cry watching pigs die” on this fiery track sure to make any headbanger proud.
4. Japanese Breakfast - Be Sweet
Michelle Zauner’s newest release under the Japanese Breakfast moniker is a far cry from the Shoegaze and Pacific Northwest inspired indie rock of her past records. J Brekkie instead takes a hard right turn into groovy, dance-able synth pop on this teaser to her newest record which she has said is simply “about joy." Though much of her past music grapples with the personal and knotty topics of grief and sorrow, “Be Sweet” lyrically sees Zauner goading a lover into being more affectionate in the standard inflection of a pining love song. Overall, the track is a breath of fresh air, a breezy joyful ode in the middle of one of the most trying years for people the world over.
5. Shelley FKA DRAM - Exposure
“Exposure” is a new, butter smooth R&B track from the artist formerly known as DRAM. The instrumentals here are impressive, creating a light, funky, and endlessly listenable backdrop for the tender and sensual track. Though quite a deal more serious sounding than much of Shelley’s previous work as DRAM, the vocal work here remains as instantly recognizable, quirky, and totally compelling as ever.