Posted on July 25, 2022
Whether this is true or not, the popular conception has long held that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So we’re officially (almost, anyway) there with this latest edition of Exclaim’s Staff Picks! We understand, in excruciating detail, how an incessant buzz of new content can make security coverage of a 2008 mix all the more enticing. Here are some of the final unknowns worth venturing into.
As always, check out our album reviews section for even more new music.
Named after the kingdom she conjured to escape feeling like an outsider at her predominantly white British school after emigrating from the Philippines, Beatrice Laus expands her sound on her second album by revisiting the exoneration of a refuge of childhood. There, she finds hooks tackier than Elmer’s in the nostalgic spirit of early 2000s pop rock; from the pocket of Nelly Furtado on “Sunny day” and the bossa nova syncopation of “the perfect pair”, to exactly that by pairing its syrupy coo with a pop-punk punch (“10:36”, “Talk”, “Don ‘ doesn’t get the deal”).
James Wyatt Crosby
“Is there a reason?”
The aerial effervescence of “Is There a Reason?” makes you wonder why its protagonist can’t just be patient. Hazy, nostalgic tones stream over the warm track, as James Wyatt Crosby explores the finality of urgency. “Is there a reason you want it so bad? / Now that you’ve said it, there’s no going back,” he sings softly, only for the bouncing guitar hook brings back its signature optimism.
twenty twenty twenty one
The Wolf Parade co-frontman and former Sunset Rubdown and Moonface frontman has long specialized in complex, anxious music across an ever-changing array of styles – but his recent solo work has found him settling into a calm and comfortable atmosphere. Smooth guitars, minimal percussion and sci-fi synths push his sound into new territories, while cryptic lyrics are quintessential Krug.
yesterday is heavy
(Nowhere Music Ltd.)
After more than a decade in a career that has seen him produce a host of UK bass tracks and songwriting credits with Adele, BANKS and Mark Ronson, yesterday is heavy brings together the creative worlds of Lil Silva for a debut of measured, beat-driven beauty. It is rendered by exceptional collaborations with Sampha and Little Dragon – not to mention a talented Canadian contingent consisting of BADBADNOTGOOD, Charlotte Day Wilson and Skiifall.
(Mothland / Stone Bands)
Yonatan Gat is my favorite living guitarist, and anyone who’s seen him play knows he pulls riffs from his brain like a magician’s endless string of scarves. Eastern Medicine Singers, the Rhode Island-based Algonquin drumming group, have matched their live energy for years, and this offshoot maintains the main line-up’s frenetic energy on a debut album that’s as unpredictable as it is exciting. Jazz, electronics, noise, blues, spoken word, vocals – it’s all there and it’s all pulsating.
For the birds
(Park the van)
Georgia-based four-piece Neighbor Lady digs deeper into their hazy, atmospheric sound with 2018’s sequel May be later. For the birds is a masterclass of alternative country-rock, with soulful guitar sounds, echoing pianos and distant background vocals. Closing track “Too Far Gone” tenderly demands the listener’s attention while resting them – raising the house lights into a theater so as not to startle, but to linger.
“Leave the Lights On”
Sorry’s “Let the Lights On” is pure adrenaline. A frenzied slice of rusty rock, it throbs with the inexhaustible fervor of pop, flailing its limbs in all directions and shouting, “I found you! Thank God I found you.” It’s the kind of love song that eschews all prettiness in favor of total abandon; a sparkling and disconcerting statement of life-changing obsession.