Mondays are always a drag. Lighten things up with some fresh tunes culled from more than 500 tracks that hit my inbox this past week.
1. Grandson, Dirty
Death of an Optimist (Fueled by Ramen/EMG)
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We’ve been talking about Toronto’s Grandson for a couple of years already, but he’s yet to release a full album, concentrating instead on EPs (five), singles (this is the 20th), and collaborations (K.Flay, Dreamers, and a few others). Things have been going extremely well for him, so don’t be surprised if he becomes a major international alt-rock act in 2021.
2. Sir Sly, Material Boy
RIYL: Hints of MGMT and other bits of psych-pop
The trio from LA—Orange County, actually—has had a couple of alt-rock radio hits over the last three years (High and &Run). Their still-untitled third album will be out in 2021. Until then, though, this single with its theme of spirituality vs. materialism is beginning to gain traction.
3. Kiwi Jr., Undecided Voters
Single (Kiki Club/Sub Pop)
RIYL: Early Strokes?
Despite the New Zealand connotations, Kiwi Jr is in fact from Toronto and features a member of ALVVAYS. Sub Pop will release their next album (still untitled, apparently) worldwide in early 2021. It’s a fun comment on the state and machinations of democracy. Fun fact: The video was directed by Toronto Star music writer Ben Rayner.
4. T. Thomason, Bliss Part II (feat. Sarah McLachlan)
Part II Project (Independent)
RIYL: Bliss. Obviously.
T—that’s what most people call him—comes from Nova Scotia. This track, written after a solo trip to the UK, deals with the anxieties and Big Questions we all have in our early 20s. He met Sarah a couple of years back when he appeared on CTV’s The Launch. They got to talking and eventually Sarah agreed to appear on this reworked version of T’s song.
5. Billie Eilish, No Time to Die
RIYL: Bond, James Bond
A nice score for Ms. Eilish. At 18, she is the youngest performer to ever be selected to perform a Bond theme. We would have had the movie and this video back in the spring had COVID-19 not screwed up the release date of No Time to Die. And wouldn’t you know it but mere hours after this video was released, the studio announced that the movie is going to be held back until next spring. Fun fact: Johnny Marr plays guitar on the song.
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