Featured titles: Bartees Strange, Alice Glass, Kurt Vile, etc.

Star Tracks compiles the most exciting new music from a wide range of established and emerging artists.

This week’s playlist includes new music from Bartees Strange, Kurt Vile, Joey Bada$$, Alice Glass, Luna Li, Curren$y and Katy Kirby.

Click here to listen to the Spotify playlist, which includes some extra tunes we loved this week.

Bartees Strange: Heavy Heart

“We should go to Toronto more often,” Bartees Strange sings softly in the first verse of his latest single, “Heavy Heart.”

Most people listening wouldn’t even think about it for more than a second, but for a Torontonian, it’s probably the first thing that jumps out at you. It’s rare that our city gets so much recognition in art or music from outsiders, but when it does, we tend to overreact. Why Toronto? Why would anyone want to come here, let alone more often?

It’s in addition to the point, but it’s otherwise a lovely shoutout in a moving track by indie singer-songwriter Strange, who burst onto the scene in 2020 with the acclaimed “Live Forever.” critical. The English-born musician, raised in Oklahoma and now based in DC, recently signed with the prolific 4AD label, and released the single and accompanying music video, directed by Missy Dabice of Mannequin Pussy and featuring featured a cameo from legendary indie producer Will Yip on drums, to mark the occasion.

And it will indeed come to Toronto, later this month actually, with Car Seat Headrest. Let’s just hope he keeps coming more often. — Justin Smilies

Kurt Vile: Hey like a kid

Nothing soothes my soul like a laid back Kurt Vile jam. Nearly 20 years into his career, the Philadelphia singer-songwriter and guitar god seems content to continue sculpting his signature sound: a layer cake of guitar riffs, hopping drums and this magnificent impassive accent.

The blissful “Hey Like A Child” is the second single from Vile’s upcoming album, “(watch my move),” which will be released on April 15. – Richie Assaly

Alice Glass: The Hunted

Released over four and a half years between 2008 and 2012, Toronto duo Crystal Castles’ trilogy of self-titled albums brought together rock kids and electro kids perhaps more than any band since Daft Punk. A decade later, you can hear the influence of Ethan Kath’s glitchy productions and Alice Glass’ distorted vocals on all of contemporary music. Sadly, in 2017, after leaving the group, Glass released a heartbreaking statement alleging abuse by Kath.

At the end of February, Glass released “Prey // IV”, her first solo album which she conceived as a follow-up to the Crystal Castles trilogy and a recovery of her art. “My album is for people who have experienced pain they don’t understand. This is for those of you who know suffering, ” Glass wrote on Twitter.

Produced by Jupiter Keyes – a former member of noise rock band HEALTH – “Prey // IV” manages to capture the chaotic spirit of Crystal Castles, even as its sound is modernized to incorporate elements of dance music and hip hop. .

“Watch the hunter be the hunter,” Glass yells on the twisted revenge fantasy “The Hunted,” his voice pounding among a wave of trancy synths and a sub-bass line that would ring home on a Brooklyn drill song. . “Now when you are in pain, I smile.” — AR

Luna Li: what are you thinking

Multi-instrumentalist Luna Li has finally released her debut album “Duality” and “What You’re Thinking” is the album incarnate. Li’s initial interrogation of wandering synths meets a cascade of instruments that propel its sweet but lamentable hook. As drums and electric guitar crash over the chorus, the heartbreak-filled lyrics lean towards resentment until a celestial violin and dreamy harp cut the tension. With how hair-raising the hook, “What You’re Thinking” almost feels like a big hall track where everything is done in anticipation of that sour guitar. Thanks to Li’s proficiency with harp, guitar, violin and keyboards, the progression, though a kaleidoscope of sound, weaves together seamlessly to create a heartbreaking yet hopeful cut. — Demar Grant

Curren$y and The Alchemist (feat. Babyface Ray): Louis Baggage

Another week, another stellar record from The Alchemist, the tireless producer whose discography is beginning to look like an encyclopedia of underground hip hop. The latest entry is a collaboration with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, their third album together since 2011.

“Glad to achieve underground king status,” Curren$y raps on “Louis Baggage,” his poised yet piercing bars delivered over a lavish guitar loop and jazzy drums. And while The Alchemist’s superlative crate-digging skills tend to lend themselves particularly well to maturing rappers (Curren$y is 40), he also makes room here for a lively verse from Babyface Ray, a Detroit rapper on the verge of breaking into the mainstream. . — AR

Joey Bada$$: Heads Up

It’s getting harder and harder to hold your head up high, but Joey Bada$$ always finds ways to do it. Where does Joey Bada$$ come from, “Stories never end without happiness. Just broken families forced to start new chapters. And yet, between boom-bap drums and hopeful choirs, he keeps his head held high.

This track is interesting because Bada$$ keeps recalling the darkest things in his life to say that he is defeated by force of will. This is an example of how many people have to deal with grief; often there’s no closure, you’re just left to simmer in your emotions and then put them aside ‘Cause you never know when your last might be, time breathes, now you’re bleeding from the gun explosion.” — CEO

Katy Kirby: The Bad Man

Singer-songwriter Katy Kirby caused a stir last year with her debut album ‘Cool Dry Place,’ a concise and impressive collection of raw and hugely crafted folk-rock songs that landed on multiple ending lists. year. Born in small town Texas, Kirby’s evangelical upbringing was devoid of pop music, giving her “a sound all her own.”

In February, Kirby released an extended version of “Cool Dry Place,” which includes a cover of “Bad Man” by beloved indie artist Alex G. Although his voice sticks closely to the original melody by Alex G , Kirby ends up turning the song into a rootsy jam session complete with touches of honky tonk and electric guitar solos. — AR


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