A man once said, “there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” As I racked my brain to find the right words to describe the overall mood in music last month, this quote – which I am almost sure I’ve read in the context of the 90s – turned out to be exactly what I needed. So in the spirit of debriefing, here are projects released last march you should be listening to.
Recommended Tracks: “Bye Bye Basil” and “Everyone Forgot But You”
Kai Slater, guitarist and vocalist from Lifeguard, released his debut project Turtle Rock under the moniker Sharp Pins. A collection of fuzzy, alt-rock tracks, Turtle Rock is one of those everyday records deserving of your daily rotation. While most of the track-list is overcast by fuzzy and muffled guitars, the couple of tracks which do explore brighter sonic landscapes feel like the breath of fresh air you needed to move forward into the album. An example of this breezy shift is my personal favorite, “Bye Bye Basil,” a track I once described as “Big Star adjacent.” Overall, Turtle Rock is a great introduction for people who aren’t yet familiar with Kai’s work and a deeper look into his musical psyche for others.
Recommended tracks: “All Mine” and “Moral Conscience”
Kali Uchis’ come a long way since her break out record, Isolation. Having traveled around the world on unimaginably successful tours and released numerous projects, she’s been on fire since 2018 and her ambers are only glowing brighter. Considering her household level status, it comes as no surprise that her latest record Red Moon In Venus was highly anticipated by her fans.
Grounded in a conceptual space that she's nourished, Red Moon in Venus is a record that blooms and grows in ardor after every listen. Garnished by her honey-like vocals and her impeccable sensual inflections, Kali explores the nitty gritty of romance. From wishing another well, even if they no longer are part of your life, to karmic retribution and the marvel that is human love, every track is just as telling as the next. Thoughtfully written with the care and expertise of a gardener, Red Moon in Venus feels like an elevated homecoming to her Isolation-era.
Recommended tracks: “Madwoman” and “Annabelle”
The last time I covered Annika Bennett’s music she had just released her EP Room (DEMOS). Back then I was immediately drawn to her songwriting and cathartic bridges, and today those obsessions still ring true. Since Room, Annika’s skills have only grown sharper and madwoman is evidence of this growth.
Filled with her sharp lyrical instincts and wildly enticing choruses Annika manages to balance light and darkness rather evenly. The titular track “Madwoman,” a subtly twangy take on an unapologetic disdain towards a former lover, sets an example for those “wildly enticing” choruses I spoke about earlier. This intro is followed by an array of impactful tracks, the highlight being one of her most vulnerable tracks to date, “Lose a Friend.” Listening to Annika Bennett feels as though you have front row seat tickets to something great, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else
Recommended tracks: “HEAVEN TO ME” and “WHAT A DAY”
Estate sales are the perfect opportunity to find forgotten gems, and Tyler, The Creator’s was no exception. A deluxe album featuring eight tracks, including an intro of its own, The Estate Sale features songs that never made it onto the initial album. However, just as clever and maybe more timeless than its predecessor, they could very well strive as a separate project. Featuring guest appearances from A$AP Rocky, YG and Vince Staples, as well as some pretty creative takes on Tyler’s signature sound, The Estate Sale sees the celebrated rapper in his best light. And it's a sight for sore eyes.
Recommended track: “Are You Diagnosed” and “I Stole Your Jumper”
Ending on an underrated gem we have Eaves Wilder’s debut EP Hookey. Born and raised in London, Eaves early influences include alt-pop legend Lily Allen and 60s Motown. While these influences are explicitly laced in her music it is impossible not to notice the 90s reminiscent subtle ferocity she sprinkles into all of her tracks. Small but mighty, Hookey serves as the perfect introduction to a very promising alt-pop artist.