Exclaim Staff Pick! for August 29, 2022: Cheekface, the beaches, PinkPantheress


Posted on August 29, 2022

It’s almost September, which means back to school is officially upon us – and we’re about to bring you some great new releases that our employees have been keeping in high rotation. Everyone knows you don’t have to go back to school to enjoy the nervous anticipation of your clean slate, fill up your office supplies, and maybe rock yourself into a new shape fresh enough for this day one feeling. And what better way to celebrate than a playlist update?

Keep the class in session all year round with more thoughts on the latest music releases in our album reviews section.

The beaches

The Toronto band’s latest single is a mythological tale of young love that tones down their usual party rock in favor of a bubbly mid-tempo groove. The Beaches hasn’t announced an official sequel to last year’s one. future lovers – one of the top 25 EPs from Exclaim! from 2021 – (again?), but between this one and the recent single “Grow Up Tomorrow”, everything they have planned is looking very promising.
Alex Hudson

Blxck Cxsper
(Trans Trenderz)

The Montreal founder of the Trans Trenderz collective is a rapper on a mission, but they make one thing clear on their new self-titled album: “I don’t wanna be a hero / I’m a vigilante.” The nine-track LP is a large-scale exploration of the power there can be in overthrowing institutions and taking matters into your own hands. Amid AutoTuned choruses, fast and gritty rap verses and minimalist trap beats, their aims are clear – and there’s plenty of fun here too, like the French-language dancehall finale to the seven-minute centerpiece “ne don’t get involved with me, I don’t have time”, and the emo rap on guitar and drums of “like a light”.
Matt Bobkin

too much to ask
(New teacher)

The tongue-in-cheek lyricism of the latest Cheekface makes me wonder where I can find a Jamba Juice and Therapist combo too. Following their 2021 album Definitely not., too much to ask aptly straddles the banalities of everyday life and the neuroses that go with it, living in this space where everything seems a bit out of place. The record’s offhand vocals and powerful pop-inspired instrumentation are enough to fuel an agonizing ride to work, with intrusive thoughts and simple, poignant guitars going hand in hand – as they’re meant to.
Sydney Brazil

Elisa Niemi
Stay soft strokes
(Tin Angel)

The songs from Eliza Niemi’s first album, after the 2020s Glass EP, sound like the shimmering, desiccated exoskeletons of bigger, beefier songs, each crystalline missive stripped down to its most essential form. Niemi’s songwriting carefully oscillates between quiet tenderness and biting menace; its whispered phrases and diaphanous instrumentation – wandering clarinet, creaky cello, carefully plucked banjo – land like solid hits.
Kaelen Bell

Julie Title
after the sun

The songs of Toronto-based American singer-songwriter Julie Title sound traditional but well-preserved. film still photograph miraculously unaltered – except for a few fingerprints – but possessed by an unmistakable pain and eaten by moths greater than his own. Her dark, velvety voice envelopes an easy, artisanal poetic clarity: “Guess I’m learning or something / But time is always slow,” she immediately realizes on “Four Horsemen,” her tunes also capturing the suspension of time while making the doldrums feel significant.
Megan LaPierre

PinkPantheress & Sam Gellaitry
“Picture in My Head”

Twenty-two-year-old British producer-singer PinkPantheress has racked up collaborations since her release late last year – teaming up with WILLOW, Lil Uzi Vert, Mura Masa and more – and now she’s bringing Scottish producer Sam Gellaitry in the fold for one of his most dance-ready singles, “Picture in my mind”. Where PP’s hyperpop tendencies would paradoxically steer him towards subtlety, like on last year’s mixtape to hell with that (one of Exclaim!’s Top 50 Albums of 2021), Gellaitry commands an anthemic spin on this dancefloor-ready one-off.
Allie Gregoire

Young Naked
Monster EA

The Moment Young Nudy Says He Went “To Outer Space” In Opening Monster EA, it’s clear for the East Atlanta artist and his team of recurring producers to embark on a half hour of his now-iconic liquid language and supernatural production. His rocket fuel is found in continuous work with COUPE and Pi’erre Bourne, highlighted by the WOW filter and synth rockets of “KitKat” and the alien melody of “Fresh as Fuck”.
Calum Slingerland


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