by Chloe Catajan
New year, new tunes. With January 2019 in the books, there's already so many sweet releases to keep track of. Ariana Grande put "7 Rings" on it; Lauv and Troye Sivan teamed up for "i'm so tired"; and Weezer dropped the Teal Album in which they covered 10 iconic songs.
If you're looking to expand your library even more, here are some cuts to have on your radar--handpicked and fresh!
Girlpool - What Chaos is Imaginary
Girlpool is in sonic bloom. In the title track of upcoming release, What Chaos Is Imaginary, the Los Angeles duo finds freedom in instrumentals like never before. Synthesizers, orchestral strings and pronounced drumming dance around Harmony Tividad's and Cleo Tucker's vocals like a melodic aurora. It picks up where 2017's Powerplant left off—growing at a steady pace from the wide-eyed, stripped down breakthrough album Before The World Was Big. Yet the single's illustrative lyrics about feeling stuck in life preserve that vulnerability that's always made Girlpool so hauntingly heartfelt.
American Football feat. Hayley Williams - Uncomfortably Numb
People say adulthood gets easier, but maybe part of it is getting used to life's tosses and turns. American Football deliberates this sense of complacency on "Uncomfortably Numb," the latest single off its forthcoming LP. It features the emo luminaries' signature rhythmic glimmer, muted trumpet cries, as well as a duet with Paramore's Hayley Williams. Together, Williams and vocalist-guitarist Mike Kinsella reflect the wear and tear of an aged relationship, alluding to self-destructive tendencies. The last line taunts, "I'll make new friends in the ambulance," which the accompanying music video plays off.
Wild Nothing - Blue Wings
When in self-doubt, it's tempting to withdraw into reclusion. But on his latest single, Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing finds the bright side in reaching out to a trusted soul for help. "Blue wings to lift me up/ Under the wire comes my love," Tatum sings, able to reground himself after letting a loved one in. His hopeful lyrics paired with misty vocals and a contorted bass line channel The Cure, while reflecting the cognitive dissonance that often comes with anxiety. It's a gloomy pop-rock reminder that, although the way out of dark times isn't always straightforward, it's possible to rise above.
Durand Jones & the Indications - Morning in America
Over soulful piano licks and a swinging beat, Durand Jones & The Indications visualize the daily routines of many across America. These vignettes speak to everyone's similarities, everyone's collective efforts to survive, even in a divided political climate. "It's morning in America/ And I can't see the dawn," sings vocalists Jones, underscoring the darkness of these uncertain times. Trumpet blares and fuzzy guitars amp up the texture against Jones' smooth vocals, making the message loud and clear.
Yves Jarvis - That Don't Make It So
Under just two minutes, Yves Jarvis blossoms into life a beautiful cycle of sounds. Easy going bass notes and silky keys unravel into Jarvis' croons that warn against making assumptions based solely off appearances. "That Don't Make It So" then goes into full swing with brassy flares and celestial sound effects. Short and sweet, Jarvis gets right to the good stuff—message, beats and all.
Tiny Ruins - Holograms
Clouded by a dreamy soundscapes, Tiny Ruins delivers a somewhat bleak message about the future in its latest single. Dissonant chimes open up the track like an antique music box, followed by singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook's soft vocals. She sings of holograms "danc in the future" and giving the grim reaper "the slip." It alludes to technology's takeover on human connection, and its potential to defy mortality--like a Black Mirror episode condensed into a saccharine melody.
HÆLOS - Kyoto
Without missing a beat, HÆLOS immediately pulls you in with dismal, synthy pulses and Lotti Benardout's alluring vocals. It stays true to the London trip-hop band's taste for multi-faceted soundscapes, often described as a "dark euphora." Simultaneously, "Kyoto" projects a bigger picture of society's disillusionment with technology, and its consequences on the world as a whole. Celebrating Japan's famous cherry blossoms in the chorus, HÆLOS then points out how engrossed we are in the superficial, that we often take for granted "the air that we breathe." The single is off the band's forthcoming album, Any Random Kindness, which has more social commentary and sweet beats in store.