New songs to be thankful for
Tierra Whack, Bleachers ft. Springsteen, Stereogum's Best New Bands + more
Hey! Emerging from my post-election fog and pre-winter anxiety to check in and share some more good music. I’m thankful for all of you reading this — this is issue #21 and there’s nothing I love more than sharing new songs, playlists, and artists every few weeks. Music has kept me going this year, and I hope it’s done the same for you too.
Friendly reminder: Follow the Hear Hear playlist for the best possible newsletter experience. It’s updated with every issue so you can listen along to the new stuff I’m sharing.
Tierra Whack is back. In 2018, the inventive hip-hop artist Tierra Whack released one of the year’s best albums: Whack World, a genre-bending collection of 15 songs with a clever gimmick — each track was just one minute long. The album was built to leave you wanting more, except we did get more: a 15-minute companion music video full of wild visuals. In 2019, Whack released a few strong standalone tracks, but she’s been mostly quiet in 2020… until October, returning with a great new single (this one, a lengthy 2:28) paired with a must-watch video, featuring Muppets, M&Ms, and Toy Story 3’s Lotso.
Three cool collabs
Jack Antonoff finally made a song with Bruce Springsteen. Reaching dangerous levels of New Jersey pride, I was thrilled to see fellow Jersey boy Antonoff driving around the Garden State Parkway with The Boss in their video for new Bleachers single, “Chinatown.”
Producer Ryan Hemsworth is teaming up with indie-rock heroes. Hemsworth is typically more of an electronic artist, but for a new project (called Quarter-Life Crisis) he’s working with an exciting set of collaborators on a unique blend of polished indie-pop. The standout track, “Postcard from Spain,” features the stellar vocals of Hop Along vocalist Frances Quinlan, and two more solid singles feature Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy and Hovvdy’s Charlie Martin.
Jay Som + Chastity Belt have a new side project. The dream-pop duo is called Routine, and lead single “Cady Road” is a really nice tune.
Stereogum’s list of exciting new artists
Always one of my most anticipated lists, this year’s edition of Stereogum’s “Best New Bands” is full of great artists to check out. I dropped a few standouts in the Hear Hear playlist, including many artists I’ve featured in past issues (Anjimile, Bartees Strange, Oceanator, Samia, SAULT) and a few I haven’t (bedroom pop from beabadoobee, grungy rock from Cartalk, peppy punk from 2nd Grade, and some heavier stuff from Barely Civil and Dogleg).
More good bands with new songs
Wild Pink have two beautiful singles with their trademark blend of shimmering, lush synth-rock and Americana.
Sun June, a self-coined “regret pop” band, released a lovely pair of soft, sweet folk songs from their upcoming LP.
Middle Kids, the electric Aussie band, are back with a propulsive burst of catchy pop-rock called “R U 4 Me?”
Three playlists to follow
Cozy doo-wop gems: Folk/Americana artist Cut Worms put together an excellent “Doo-Wop Dungeon” playlist, loaded with gems I’ve never heard before. (Note: He originally made the playlist for The Wild Honey Pie’s “guest list” series but they replace it with new curators every week, so I copied the playlist into my own account.)
Bad Moves New Fall Jams: Fall playlists are my favorite playlists, but I kinda missed the boat on sharing them this year since it’s already turkey day. Still, this one from pop-punk band Bad Moves is too good not to share, full of melancholy, seasonal cuts from emerging artists. “No Reason” from The Goodbye Party has been a standout.
A perfect mix for reflective Sundays: This mix of soft, warm Sunday vibes features old stuff from George Harrison, Grateful Dead, and The Velvet Underground alongside newer stuff from Kacey Musgraves, Solange, Bon Iver, and The War on Drugs. It was expertly created by artist Charlie Kaplan, whose debut album Sunday has the same great feeling.