February Staff Picks
Updated: Jun 22, 2022
yeule - Glitch Princess
Singaporean experimental electronic rock entity yeule is one of the most fascinating convergences of music and technology as of late, where yeule reckons with their own identity within a cybernetic reality. Songs like “Too Dead Inside” and “Friendly Machine” convey the feeling of being at odds with your own autonomy (Who the fuck wired my mind? / I'm trying to find something divine” yeule sings in “Too Dead Inside.”) The album feels like a companion to Cronenberg’s Videodrome, recalling the face of Debbie Harry, glitching from a glowing screen, where she says: “To become the new flesh, you first have to kill the old flesh.”
New Dad - Banshee
Hailing from the western coast of Ireland, New Dad is quickly emerging as one of the most renowned rock bands of the British Isles. Their debut EP, Waves, was greeted to a warm reception from fans and critics, becoming an indie rock gem. Banshee elevates their production and songwriting to create an eternally dark and dreamy record, nevertheless maintaining an endlessly catchy pop sensibility. Songs like “Say It” and “Ladybird” deal with growing pains, becoming sweeping and illustrious yet grounded anthems to adolescence.
Alice Glass - PREY//IV
After her departure from the electronic duo Crystal Castles in 2017, Alice Glass set out to create her own musical path; her debut album PREY//IV does exactly that. The album deals with the theme of survival and rebirth, as Glass reckons with her own identity as a musician and human being. The album blends the euphoric rhythm of rave music with guttural emotionー songs like “Baby Teeth” and “Pinned Beneath Limbs” sinking into the abrasive, distorted, yet catchy tunes. PREY//IV is a testament to resilience, but also an acknowledgement of the irreparable pain that burrows within you. As she whimpers in “The Hunted,” a spoken word piece: “It was a shot in the dark / But you missed the heart / Watch the hunter be the hunted / Watch the hunter be the hunted.”
Black Country New, Road - Ants From Up There
British rock band Black Country, New Road released their sophomore album amidst a period of uncertainty, with lead singer and drummer Isaac Wood having announced his departure from the band in the days previous. Ants From Up There is an cerebral exploration of a 21st century psyche, taking the themes of shame and self-actualization from their previous album and adding a layer of tenderness. It’s an album that feels like a plane floating far from above, observing a fleeting, miniature world.
Check out our review for Ants From Up There
Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain
From their stripped-back indie roots, Big Thief's latest release emerges like a summer bloom. As Tonitruale writer Tom Ronnigen writes in his review: “Big Thief is changing. Like seasons, like songs, like all of us: expanding and contracting and becoming themselves.” The songs on Dragon New Warm Mountain retain the raw, whispered confessions of their earlier work, but refined to incorporate elements of country, bluegrass, pop, and New Wave. The result is a profoundly warm record that reflects the band’s maturity. As frontwoman Adrienne Lenker sings in “Change”: “Change, like the sky/ Like the leaves, like a butterfly / Death, like a door / To a place we've never been before.” We fully welcome the changing tide of Big Thief.
Nilüfer Yanya - Anotherplace
“anotherplace” is a single off English singer Nilüfer Yanya’s upcoming album PAINLESS. The production mixes playful guitar with chill R&B beats and ethereal vocals. The song talks about an identity crisis after a breakup, where Yanya sings: “In some kind of way, I am lost.” Be sure to check out Yanya’s upcoming album!
Sasami - Squeeze
Squeeze sees American musician Sasami at her noisiest, as she blends genres and influences. The album opens with the abrasive Nu-metal of “Skin A Rat,” while “Need to Work,” sounds more like a dissected grunge track, and not to mention her cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer,” which adds an energetic twist to the eclectic folk musician’s lyrics. The record’s sonic dissonance perfectly reflects the album’s theme of amorphismー churning, changing identity, where a “squeeze” becomes a constrictor.
RIP Swirl - Blurry
Berlin-based Luke Seifert A.K.A. RIP Swirl’s debut album melds RIP Swirl’s techno and dance music roots with his love for 90s alternative rockー a reflection of many artists regressing back to the music of our childhoods during the pandemic. Many of the songs feature guest appearances from up-and-coming artists like Clayjay, Ydegirl, Andreya Casablancas, and Catnapp, but his solo tracks are demonstrative of his keen eye for rich production and melody-making. Blurry is emblematic of the pandemic rave scene, capturing the introspection and calmness in a period of isolation.
Chelsea Jade - Good Taste
New Zealand based Chelsea Jade’s newest single is a sweet delight. The music video’s minimalistic aesthetic reflects the song’s theme of love/lust at first sight, “So just taste it / It’s basic / I won’t fake it.” It’s a great song for the bedroom, especially a one-night stand. Be sure to check out Chelsea Jade’s album Soft Spot, which comes out on April 24th.