With the pandemic going endemic, a lot of bottled-up material is finally starting to see the light of day.
1. Jack White feat. Q-Tip, Hi-Di-Ho
Fear of the Dawn (Third Man)
RIYL: Cab Calloway samples? Absolutely.
Jack White has two albums set for release this year, one of which features this collaboration with Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. The first minute or so is a bit self-indulgent with some weird guitar sounds, but once it gets going (complete with a sample of Cab Calloway’s 1934 big band hit, Hi-De-Ho), things become clearer. Not exactly a radio single, but it’s certainly an interesting exercise. Note all the namechecks, too.
2. Allan Rayman, Bye Bye Blondie
Roadhouse 02 (Communion Records)
RIYL: Hypnotic weirdness
Like many of us, Rayman, a Toronto-based, JUNO-nominated artist, had a hard time with COVID. This song is part of a project that basically goes through the ups and downs of his career over the last few years. I’m not sure where this song fits into that narrative—you’ll see why—but I need to know more about Mr. Roadhouse. It’s also inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, which seems a little…random. The album will be here on March 18.
3. The Pixies, Human Crimes
RIYL: Well, it’s The Pixies, innit?
The Pixies COVID lockdown is about to end with their first tour in two years which starts this week. To get things rolling, they have a new single featuring a video designed to show “the altered state of becoming and being a Pixie.” Seems trippy.
4. Mitski, The Only Heartbreaker
Single (Dead Oceans)
RIYL: Synthy 80s dance beats
TikTok aficionado Mitski has been around long enough to give us five albums and a sixth is on the way. Most of her previous material has been of the downtempo indie-rock variety, but with this song, she transports the listener back to about 1985 (think A-ha’s Take On Me) with a dancey, synth-driven song co-written by Dan Wilson of Semisonic (and, more importantly, writer of a number of MAJOR hits for Adele.)
5. Florence + The Machine, Heaven is Here
My Love (Universal)
Recommended If You Like: Songs that are short and sweet
Wondering what happened to Florence Welch? She was off the radar during COVID, wasn’t she? She’s now back with a harmony-rich song of chants and drums that says everything it has to in two minutes and eight seconds. The album, which was recorded entirely in pandemic lockdown conditions, will be out on May 13.
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