The Music Lab–the folks who are supposed to sort through hundreds of songs each week and present the five best to me on Monday seemed to have been sacked. No one’s seen them in the building for weeks, so we can only assume the worst. Either that or we’ve accidentally locked them away somewhere, in which case they’ve no doubt starved to death by now.
Regardless, in their absence, the task of picking Five Brilliant New Songs falls to me. Here’s what I propose.
1. Anyway Gang, Big Night
Anyway Gang (Royal Mountain Records)
Recommended If You Like: The idea of Canadian indie supergroups
How’s this for a lineup: Sam Roberts, Menno Verstegg of Hollerado, Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club and Sloan’s Chris Murphy. This seems to be Menno’s idea. I quote: Last summer I got together with a few of my tour buds who also happen to be some of my favourite songwriters. We mostly made dad jokes but we also jammed on a bunch of 3 chord songs we all had lying around. We recorded a bunch of stuff in a few days and over the year we’d add some ideas here and there and all of a sudden a year had past and we realized we had kinda an album so we said let’s name ourselves the first thing we thought of and release these.” Fair enough.
2. Rex Orange County, 10/10
Single (for now) (RCA)
RIYL: AJR, Foster the People, fun.
Rex Orange County is 21-year-old Alex O’Connor from Grayshott in Surrey. To date, he’s amassed over a billion streams across Spotify and Apple Music with four previous singles. And if that wasn’t enough, he contributed to multiple songs on Tyler, The Creator’s album, Flower Boy. This could be heading for a big blow-up—if you don’t mind vocals manipulated in this way. And if you listening closely, you can hear a little Stevie Wonder in what this guy does.
3. PVRIS, Hallucinations
Single (for now) (Warner)
RIYL: Electronic indie pop a la MSMR and Phantogram with a touch of darkwave.
Don’t let the quiet introduction fool you. Hallucinations kicks in with some sharp synth lines. The band—a trio with Lynn Gunn out front—first appeared five years ago with a debut record called White Noise. The bones of this song were written in collaboration with Marshmello.
4. Green Day, Father of All Motherf*****s
Father of All… (Warner)
RIYL: Well, it’s Green Day, innit?
Launched at the same time as singles from Weezer and Fall Out Boy—they’re all touring together next year as part of a production called the Hella Mega Tour—the logo includes a unicorn vomiting a rainbow—Green Day looks to be very serious about 2020. And yeah, it’s a presidential election year. I’m sure they’ll have plenty to say. The Toronto date is August 24 at the Rogers Centre.
5. Headstones, Leave It All Behind
Single (for now) (Independent)
RIYL: Headstones. Just Headstones.
This is one reunion that just won’t quit. The year started with a version of Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald (the video was shot in the band’s hometown of Kingston). This single offers more light on what the new album this fall will sound like.
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