5 Songs To Discover In April: The 'What We'll Miss' Version
We’re listening to new music from Tennis, Yeek, Heartbones, Nmandi and Kilikili — all acts with canceled or postponed shows this month
As we enter April, musicians and live music venues are facing continued uncertainty, COVID-19's hold on the region seems to be settling in for the long haul and officials are not showing signs of lifting shelter-in-place orders any time soon. And with very few exceptions, live music shows are going to be postponed or canceled. The new albums these shows were designed to promote, however, are still out in the world, just waiting for you to listen.
A word about streaming music: I'm as big a fan of a tidy Spotify playlist as anyone, but you'll see I've linked to artists' Bandcamps when I can. Changes in the recording industry the last few years have meant that for many artists, performing and touring is their primary source of income; purchases and streams of recorded music bring in very little. And with performances on the chopping block this spring, consider buying tracks or albums rather than streaming.
Here's what I'm loving right now: five new songs from artists (previously) scheduled to roll through town, including one from a local. Crank up the volume at home and it's almost like you're going out! Almost.
'Need Your Love' by Tennis
It's hard to talk about Tennis without using words like "timeless" or "dreamy." Singer Alaina Moore's voice evokes a mix of the '50s and the '70s but the band's summery, lo-fi-synth aesthetic feels modern. There's a sad edge to "Need Your Love," a sneaky dark side packaged in a love song. Released in mid-February, their newest album "Swimmer" is fantastic, and I'd expect nothing less from Tennis. And in a strange bit of quarantine serendipity, it was recorded alone, in their home studio. They were supposed to play the Belly Up with Molly Burch on Friday, so give the album a commemorative listen.
'Too Fast' by Yeek
Yeek's 2019 album "IDK Where" is short — the whole thing is under 17 minutes. But the 6-track release doesn't mess around, and every second is packed with the Los Angeles-based artist's spellbinding blend of hip hop, indie pop and R&B. "Too Fast," with its refrain of "It won't last," is ironically the album's longest track, dosing out a low-key resolve about love. But I dare you to not listen to the whole album. Yeek was supposed to play Soda Bar on April 10th.
'This Time It's Different' by Heart Bones
Released in late February, Heart Bones' "Hot Dish" is their debut album, but with this supergroup duo, they're far from newbies. Featuring Har Mar Superstar's Sean Tillman and A Giant Dog's Sabrina Ellis, both known for their wild theatrics, Heart Bones infuses a lot of power and raw emotion into their work. The album is showy, tough, and fun, yes, but also more than a little bit sweet. "This Time It's Different," the album's opening track, is a perfect crash course on Heart Bones. Unfortunately they've postponed their April 13th stint at the Soda Bar, but it's perfect music to rock out at home to.
'Flowers To My Demons' by NNAMDÏ
Chicago's NNAMDÏ, otherwise known as Nnamdï Ogbonnaya, will release his debut album "Brat" on April 3. The opening track, "Flowers to my Demons," is eclectic, pulling from Ogbonnaya's wide range of influences and tastes — rap, hip hop, pop, his Nigerian immigrant parents' music, to name a few — but it feels unified and solid. The track's first minute is raw and no frills, just acoustic guitar and vocals, but then just keeps building as layers of vocals and percussion chime in until the track lands dramatically. Ogbonnaya is a drummer, and it shows. Watch for his rescheduled Soda Bar show sometime in the future.
Local Pick: 'Done Done It' by Kilikili
The alternative jazz project of San Diego's Lexi Pulido, Kilikili's most recent album, 2019's "Agency" is a goldmine of whimsical compositions with lyrics that read like storytelling and poetry. The opening track, "Done Done It," kicks the album off with its chill resolve, hypnotic jazz elements and Pulido's enchanting vocal range and theatrics. Kilikili was supposed to play the Whistle Stop April 8, so keep an eye out for their next show.
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