The essential titles of March

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Hello everyone. Happy end of March. I’ve spent much of this month thinking about the Grammys. There are a lot of extremely deserved criticisms regarding the validity and racial biases that mar these award shows. But whether I like it or not, I love these kinds of industry events.

More often than not, my favorite type of Grammys coverage comes from the pop music journalists at the New York Times. Usually they do a podcast episode about their predictions, but this year for some reason they didn’t release one. Instead, I enjoyed the review written via this clever subpage.

Looking for more music-focused content? Try our Music section.

I encourage the culturally inclined among you (or those who wish to be) to read some articles; they are some of the best music commentators in the world, and reading their articulations really gave me food for thought. Some of my favorites this year were Debating the biggest and weirdest Grammys category‘ by Joe Coscarelli and ‘Kanye West’s stormy relationship with the Grammys erupts again‘ by Ben Sisario. Enjoy.

PS This month I started a new job. OMG. For the sake of reflection, I sincerely like to think that my new full-time music gig has a few things to do with the tangible things I’ve learned while writing this column. So if you read it, thanks for the support.

Mossy – N2KY

My best friend – who has a penchant for listening to Australian alternative musicians – introduced me to Mossy at a stage I can’t remember exactly. I say this because it’s so pervasive that I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t part of my ether.

AKA Jamie Timony, Mossy’s solo DIY project comes on the heels of a busy few years. When he’s not starring alongside Adrian Grenier in a Netflix thriller, he presents These New Southern Whales; a music, comedy and podcasting collective that NME has dubbed “the punk Flight of the Conchords”.

N2KY (short for Nice To Know Ya) gives a lot of electropop. It’s a small, flowing selection that seamlessly transitions to the next track; the way you might not even notice it has changed until you find yourself missing it.

Bene – Litchi

Fun fact, I ran one of Benee’s first interviews for this same publication. It was so early that the article has since been cited as a seminal piece for his subsequent career. I mention this for no other reason than to flex, so I hope you enjoy it. She was an angel.

This project, titled Litchi, comes after twelve months of musical creation for the New Zealand queen. And doesn’t she deserve it – I think ninety percent of the population’s first COVID lockdown was recorded by her debut EP. After hearing the following album for the first time, Hi UXI was disappointed.

I had gotten so used to his fantastic breed of hyperpop that the self-tuned, tech-heavy rebranding left me hectic. Litchi, however, is an ecstatic return to form. “Beach Boy” and “Marry Myself” have my headphones dancing like old times, alongside other short, punchy tracks that affirm my excitement for (IMHO) the next big thing.

Smino– Blkswn

In March, one of my favorite albums turned five. Happy birthday to this delicious collection of no-skips, rapped by the proud Smino of St Louis and produced by the supernatural Monte Booker.

Although the duo met in 2013 (“It was instantaneous,” says Smino), this album marked a turning point for their collaborative style and now they are almost synonymous with the sound they created as a duo. I could cry every time I hear every song on this project, but some non-negotiables include “Glass Flows”, “Innamission”, and “Amphetamine”.

Orange Rex CountyWe do not care?

Recorded in Amsterdam in just 12 days, We do not care? is the latest album from Instagram’s favorite ambiguous-accented boyfriend. What started as a series of surprisingly productive sessions has turned into a “playful” album that is a real comeback for the musician.

Presenting a nostalgic collaboration at the Tyler the Creator, We do not care? is a predictable step forward, but still maintains the same consistency that its fans will know and love. Make up your mind and listen to it before it makes the soundtrack to every TikTok in your stream. Also, while you’re at it, check out his Interview with Chicken Shop Date. Amelia rocks.

Rosalie – Motomami

Rosalía describes Motomami as “an energy” – an idea that seems to be a prerequisite for female musicians releasing memorable music in recent years. Cardi B with WAP, Meg Thee Stallion with Savage, Doja Cat with any of her songs: creating a culturally relevant “moment” around releases is a surefire way to generate lots of interest and subsequent engagement.

Thinking of music releases as a campaign strategy satisfies my capitalist bent. Sue me. The “energy” of Motomami is Rosalía’s signature. Lots of reggaeton-lite sounds, paired with staccato beats and flamenco influences, all manage to cement its place as America’s favorite Latin export.

Kae StormThe line is a curve

For many, music is a constant lifeline in their most confusing moments. This is the case of Kae Tempest, English spoken word performer, poet, recording artist, novelist and playwright. In an August 2020 Instagram post, Tempest came across as non-binary. They announce that their name is now Kae (pronounced like the letter K) and affirm their preference for them/them pronouns.

Their latest release The line is a curve, out April 8. And while I didn’t hear the release in its entirety, what I heard serves as a mirror to that turbulent personal time. Lyrically, the subjects oscillate between the total letting go of all control and the anxieties that arise when one allows oneself to do so. I invite you to check it out.

Honorable Mentions:

‘Smoke’ – The Wattles

‘Feel’ – Clews

‘Planet’ – Franko Gonzo

‘Gifted’ – Koffee

‘Oysters in My Pocket’ – Royel Otis

‘Song of Porto’ – Nick Griffith

‘Sweetest Pie’ – Meg Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa

“Iced Tea” – Joyce Wrice and Kaytranada

‘Romance in Britain’ – Mustbejohn

‘Alien’ – Nick Ward

Not new but good for your playlists:

‘Pep Talk’ – Bahamas

‘Underground Sound’ – Joey Valence and Brae

‘Sir. Sun’ – Greentea Peng

‘Ice Cream’ – Teenage Joans

“Without You” – Royel Otis

‘Wit’ Da Team’ – Genesis Owusu

‘Speak Truth’ – Allysha Joy and Close Counters

‘Water Me Down’ – Lizzo

‘Tele’ – Amindi

‘Adwoa’– Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

You can follow Eliza here.

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