Hear Hear: 10 new artists to know
+ Hans Zimmer and The War On Drugs, Taylor and Lorde, Peak Fall playlists
Two very different artists — both with an affinity for synthesizers — have played two major roles in my autumn soundtrack this year: Hans Zimmer and The War on Drugs. Zimmer is the legendary composer behind the futuristic, surreal score for Dune, which has been echoing in my head since the credits rolled. The War On Drugs are an indie rock band on their fifth album, full of road trip anthems with major influences from Springsteen and Dylan alike, and a guest appearance from the harmonies of Lucius. So I was thrilled to hear the last two episodes of Hrishikesh Hirway’s delightful podcast Song Exploder, featuring…Hans Zimmer and The War On Drugs!
Both provide a fascinating glimpse into the songwriting and recording process for two veterans at their peak. For a music lover with zero musical talent like me, it’s a much-needed reminder of the care, time, and effort that goes into making these magical sounds.
10 picks from Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands
Stereogum’s annual list is always a treat for music discovery, with 40 exciting new artists to dive into. You’ll recognize a few from past issues of Hear Hear — including Indigo De Souza and Pillow Queens — but there are many others I haven’t had the chance to share yet. So here are 10 picks I think you’ll love. (I’ve added songs from all 10 to the Hear Hear playlist.)
Another Michael. This band’s sugary-sweet pop-rock first hooked me in 2018, with the swelling single “About.” They’ve built on that sound with a full-length called New Music and Big Pop — also the names of the album’s two best songs. The former is a “shaggy folk ramble,” while the latter is “rousing and anthemic” according to Stereogum’s James Rettig.
Ducks Ltd. As Rachel Brodsky writes, this band has an “unapologetic love of ’80s jangle-pop.” The cheery “How Lonely Are You” has been a favorite of mine, along with the hazy guitars of “18 Cigarettes” and “Old Times.”
Katy Kirby. Kirby’s Cool Dry Place is a stunner of a debut, with vibrant songs that ebb and flow to their own rhythm. “Juniper,” “Peppermint,” and “Traffic” all have memorable melodies, with playful surprises at every turn much like the breeziest Dirty Projectors tunes.
Lightning Bug. Drifting, dreamy songs for your autumn, especially on highlight “The Right Thing Is Hard To Do.”
Mustafa. A beautiful, powerfully soft voice — “Stay Alive” is a particularly captivating tune about losing loved ones to gun violence.
PinkPantheress. This buzzy phenom is blowing up right now, with a distinct version of lo-fi, house-inspired bedroom pop. “Just For Me” is a great gateway into her sound.
Pom Pom Squad. An electrifying artist with a fresh take on punk and grunge. “Head Cheerleader” and “Drunk Voicemail” have endlessly replayable choruses, while “Crying” and “Cherry Blossom” lean into a heavier sound.
skirts. “Placidly calm, sun-speckled and operating in the grand folk tradition of being inspired by nature,” Rettig writes. The twangy “True” has been a standout for me.
Tems. “The Lagos-based pop and R&B singer is…capable of both Sade-like simmer and Rihanna-esque flair,” writes Chris DeVille. “Crazy Tings” and “These Days” are a couple of vibey tunes that let her voice shine.
Wet Leg. NPR’s All Songs Considered introduced me to this Isle of Wight duo. Their two debut singles — “Chaise Lounge” and “Wet Dream” — are playful, relentless, hypnotic, and wonderfully weird.
2 playlists inspired by Lorde & T-Swift
Hear Hear reader Julia Widmann put together two top-notch playlists inspired by two of this year’s biggest albums: Lorde’s Solar Power and Taylor Swift’s re-released Red.
early 2000s (seem so far away) // ft. Mandy Moore, Spice Girls, Sheryl Crow, Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, and more. Captures the distinct sound of early-millennium bliss that Lorde honors throughout Solar Power.
“the holy grail of femme perspective breakup songs” // ft. Lucy Dacus, Kelly Clarkson, Dua Lipa, Solange, Beyoncé, and more. Kicks off with Taylor’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” and the classics keep coming.
10 rising female pop artists
A perfect companion to Stereogum’s list, Uproxx critic Caitlin White provides a great intro to these exciting new stars, including the aforementioned Tems and PinkPantheress.
6 Peak Fall Playlists 🍁🍂🍁
The days are getting shorter, the air is getting chillier, the pumpkin spice is getting spicier…here are a few mixes from seasonal playlist experts for your late-autumn vibes.
Meeting Autumn Halfway, Vol. 1 from writer Hanif Abdurraqib // ft. Kelela, Kevin Abstract, Mac Miller, Cleo Sol, The Cure, The Velvet Underground
another basic fall playlist from freelance writer Ellen Johnson // ft. Hozier, Death Cab for Cutie, Big Thief, The Avett Brothers, John Mayer, Bon Iver
fall feelings and you can too !! from music supervisor Rob Lowry // ft. Indigo De Souza, Wet, Bedouine, Andy Shauf, Clairo
Autumn Rotation from curator Patrick Mahan // ft. Brandi Carlile, Wolf Alice, Oceanator, Wild Pink, Vagabon, HAIM, Arlo Parks
I Got Up, Autumn Edition from graphic designer Laura Filas (check out her new online record shop, Time Out) // ft. Real Estate, The Monkees, Orange Juice, TOPS, The Beach Boys, Holy Hive
brisk fall mornings from curator Adam Sharp // ft. Hiss Golden Messenger, Kississippi, Sun June, Michael Kiwanuka, Middle Kids, Sharon Van Etten
1 week until Get Back
I’m never one to rush through these precious fall weeks in NYC, but after seeing the below clip from Get Back…can we fast-forward to November 25 already?
In the meantime, I’ve added a couple of gems from the new super-deluxe Let It Be to the Hear Hear playlist: the raw original mix of “For You Blue” and the first rooftop performance of “Don’t Let Me Down.” For the record, I’m siding with Kendall Roy on The Beatles: Great band.