All hail South African-born, London-based Baby Queen, who continues to demonstrate her promise with new single “Raw Thoughts.” While her latest opens with the detached cheekiness that defined her 2020 output, “Raw Thoughts” then floats higher and higher before landing upon a downright euphoric hook at the one-minute mark.
Audrey Mika, “Excuses”
Twenty-year-old Audrey Mika’s sound gets a little more polished with every new single release: “Excuses,” a light piece of rhythmic pop, recalls Ariana Grande’s early explorations in R&B, with Mika only deploying her full range when necessary and grooving along with the production in the meantime.
Zoe Wees, “Girls Like Us”
Hamburg-based Zoe Wees impressed last year with her debut single, “Control,” but new track “Girls Like Us” is even more well-rounded; it’s a call for female solidarity with a steady vocal take and tons of pop smarts. Under the right circumstances, “Girls Like Us” could make major waves on U.S. pop radio.
With his long curls and Kentucky roots, Mills will have you thinking about Jack Harlow — until you press play on his lovable new single and set aside thoughts of “Whats Poppin.” “Hollow” is sun-kissed singer-songwriter music, with a beautifully loping hook that gains texture as the harmonies fully arrive.
Stephanie Poetri, “How We Used To”
The first song that Indonesian artist Stephanie Poetri wrote after moving to the United States for her career, “How We Used To” allows the talented singer-songwriter to reflect on change and look back at the past that delivered her to the present. The interplay between the guitar and percussion here isn’t flashy, but the arrangement effectively helps Poetri tell her story.
Luna Shadows, “Nite Swim”
Catch us diving in to the latest from L.A.’s Luna Shadows, who has unveiled the most luminous cut yet from her upcoming album, Digital Pacific. On the hypnotizing track, Shadows employs some masterful wordplay: “Be the Romeo and the Juliet of our generation/ Except without the dying and the devastation / Infatuation/ Oh, without the miscommunication.”
Christian Leave, “Your Life Your Time”
In an alternate timeline, Texas-born Christian Leave is on tour, opening for Conan Gray or Wallows. Alas, we’re in this 2021, so we’ll have to settle for catchy gems like “Your Life Your Time,” penned alongside Ethan Gruska and appearing on the 20-year-old Leave’s forthcoming EP, Heavy Hitting Hurts My Head.
Julietta, “Not Today”
“Not Today” is an outstanding, optimistic new offering from indie-pop artist Julietta, whose smoky vocals play nicely alongside a ridiculously snappy piano melody. “I know what rock bottom feels like, to be in the dungeons of my mind,” the Angeleno says of the track in a statement. “I’m not scared of it, but I refuse to go back.” Hear, hear!
Dreamers, American Teeth, Wes Period, “Still Not Dead”
Tragedy inspired “Still Not Dead,” as Dreamers lead singer Nick Wold lost a childhood friend to suicide. But he wanted to write a track about one’s “gratitude for all the small things and the big things that we have — our thanks for getting to be alive.” Indeed, this energetic effort will make you want to celebrate all of life’s positives.
Chloe Moriondo, “Dreams”
Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” came about long before 18-year-old Chloe Moriondo was born, but her alluring take on the hit is so good it could have only been her true destiny to cover it.