Steve Lacy – “Bad Habit”
Some songs just have that earworm quality that makes you want to keep hearing it over and over, and the infectious new song “Bad Habit” from Steve Lacy is most definitely one of them. Lacy’s DIY approach, which he calls “the bare maximum,” is on full display here. With its repetitive chorus, “I wish I knew you wanted me,” the song speaks to all those missed opportunities that arise when regrettable shyness forces one into a tongue-tied situation. Bouncy, cheeky and super clever, “Bad Habit” is a summer jam for all those modern lovers out there.
Plato III – “Sorry If I Dissed You”
Hailing from the town of Abilene, Texas, rapper Plato III exercises some of his demons on the floaty, somber and hopeful “I’m Sorry If I Dissed You.” The track contains the main sample from Modest Mouse’s “Trailer Trash” and features soaring synth pads, clunking guitar and ghost-like vocals that help portray in poignant detail three stories of important people in Plato III’s life that he regrets losing connection with. The track serves as a strong reminder of the importance of appreciating those close to you while they’re here.
Santigold – “High Priestess”
Santigold is almost impossible to define. The versatile artist consistently pushes the boundaries of what genre is with each release. Years in the making, including time spent holed up in a cabin in rural Canada during the pandemic, “High Priestess” marks a triumphant return for the rapper/singer/producer/performer as she celebrates the greatness of self. All that time in the woods made Santi yearn for her creative community and the collaborations that she cherishes. With the help of Germany’s Boys Noize and Minnesota’s Psymun, Santi successfully created a “rap punk song” that sounds fresh, energetic and angsty.
Say She She – “Trouble”
Named as an homage to Nile Rodgers (“C’est chi-chi!: It’s Chic!”), Say She She is an all-female “discodelic” soul band from Brooklyn, New York. Their unique sound is inspired by late ’70s girl groups and consists of Piya Malik (featured in El Michels Affair, and backing singer for Chicano Batman), Nya Gazelle Brown and Sabrina Cunningham. Their latest single, “Trouble,” is all about reaching the final days of a relationship that’s run its course and getting that uneasy feeling that you’re getting sucked back into the drama you’re trying to escape from. With its endearing vocal harmonies, funky bass line and pulsing rhythmic guitar, “Trouble” is a track that’ll leave you content with “going nowhere.”
Purple Disco Machine & Bosq – “Wake Up feat. Kaleta”
Silky bass lines, Afro-Latin percussion, trumpets and exuberant vocals come together on this surefire dance-worthy cut “Wake Up!” from producers Purple Disco Machine and Bosq featuring African guitarist/vocalist Kaleta. The track is actually a remake of Bosq’s solo version from 2020 that showcases the combination of styles from Colombia, West Africa and those coming from the U.S. like disco, funk and jazz. Featured vocalist Kaleta and his Super Yamba Band recently came through Jackson at the Center for the Arts and there wasn’t a seat in the theatre being used as everyone danced the night away.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World”
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back! “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” is a classic YYY power ballad, where singer Karen O’s adorable snarl combats the fear of a seemingly inevitable climate disaster. The single is from their forthcoming fifth album, “Cool It Down,” and it features TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek behind the boards. With its epic synthesizers, simplistic drums, swirling guitar and a guest appearance from indie darling Perfume Genius, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” is a defiant and rocking commentary on the modern-day paranoia surrounding us all.
FKJ – “Let’s Live”
Known as an innovator in the New French House genre, French Kiwi Juice aka FKJ’s new album, “V I N C E N T,” features intimate and mesmerizing vocals over top of deeply layered and textured production. The album is all about reconnecting with the lost innocence of childhood and offered the artist a therapeutic escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. On the standout track, “Let’s Live,” that theme is most apparent as he urges himself to let go of his tendency to overthink things and just have fun with the whole creative process.
Phoenix – “Alpha Zulu”
Leave it to Phoenix to come out of nowhere with an indie rock pop song you can’t get out of your head. The French group’s first release in two years, “Alpha Zulu,” comes from a phrase frontman Thomas Mars heard a pilot repeat during a turbulent flight in a storm making him momentarily think the flight was going down. That tale spun the band into a period of self-reflection where they came together and worked tirelessly on the track until finally one day it looked like there might be light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the pandemic. All of a sudden the track clicked and began to exuberate the joy the band was feeling to get to release music and tour again. As Thomas sings out, “Woo Hah! Hallelujah!,” you can’t help but share in their excitement.