Anyone else stop looking at their screen time count lately? With most people transitioning into being almost full time indoor kids, the amount of time we are on our phones, checking the ‘gram, reading the news and just generally trying to pass the time has been pretty outstanding. One of the few silver linings of this quarantine has been that most bands and artists are still releasing new music. No one will be touring to promote these releases for quite some time but it’s been nice having some new music to help get us through our days. Obviously new music makes up the measure of what we do here at Northern Transmissions so we decided to put together a playlist of some of the latest and greatest pieces we have covered recently just in case you missed it. While the last couple months have been hard, we are hoping that this can help distract from the monotony of our collective “Groundhog Day” type scenario.
Huge stars like The Strokes, Grimes and Car Seat Headrest have released some of their best work in a long while and we still have releases from HAIM, Run The Jewels and Perfume Genius, among many others, to look forward to. We would be remiss not to include some of the amazing artists we have unfortunately lost recently due to the corona virus such as the great John Prine and the wonderfully talented Adam Schlesinger. Just a couple of the artists who have held and helped us through previous dark times in our lives. Their beautiful songs will continue to inspire, delight and comfort as we hope that this selection of music does for you right now.
The Strokes – Bad Decisions
New York City’s elder statesmen of indie cool The Strokes released their long awaited sixth album The New Abnormal and were able to actually play a few arena (!!!) shows before quarantine kicked in. The single “Bad Decisions” is one of the highlights off of The New Abnormal. With all the touchstones of their signature sound, straight forward drumming, perfectly duelling guitar parts and singer Julian Casablancas’s monotone snarl, the band was set to make 2020 their year. Unfortunately we will have to wait and see if The Strokes can take the album back on tour next year but while we wait at least we can sink into one of the bands stronger releases in years.
HAIM – I Know Alone
The sisters HAIM decided to push back their new album Women In Music Part III because of the current pandemic but they have been consistently releasing quality singles since fall of last year. The latest one “I Know Alone” is a somber pop gem and the track, accompanied by a very timely video remotely directed by Jake Schreier, features the band in a basketball court, doing a choreographed dance routine and just being as charming as all get out. The record produced by Rostam, Danielle Haim and Ariel Rechtshaid will be out later this summer and promises to be one of this years highlights.
Car Seat Headrest – Can’t Cool Me Down
Will Toledo aka Car Seat Headrest decided to change things up with his latest release Making A Door Less Open. Inspired by artists like David Bowie, who are known for changing up their personas and looks from album to album, the record finds Toledo deciding to take his art into a more theatrical and “fun” experience with costumes and specifically with the singer/songwriter wearing a mask for the album’s promotion and subsequent live performances. While those performances are aways off and the corona outbreak taking Toledo’s idea of wearing a mask from “an exotic alternative to reality” to actual reality, the album is an interesting swerve from what the band has previously done. More beat driven and electronic compared to their known brand of indie rock, A Door Less Open is a a dynamic addition to Toledo’s repertoire.
Grimes – Delete Forever
Grimes was able to release her long awaited album Miss Anthropocene before quarantine set in and while it had all the trademarks we expect from a Grimes release the record did show the producer showing off a few new tricks. The song “Delete Forever” is a jaunty number backboned by a strummed out guitar and a plucky banjo line. As odd as that may sound from an artist of Grimes history, the track came out as one of the more refreshing things she’s done in a long while. We all have heard, by this point, that her and her partner Elon Musk have celebrated the birth of their child with a name too much ink has already been spilled about so let’s just say a hearty congrats to the couple and hope they come up with an easier to pronounce nickname for their little one.
Run The Jewels – Ooh La La
Killer Mike and EL P have been consistently secretive on when and where we are going to hear any of their releases and while we wait for RTJ 4 to drop, the duo have released a pair of singles to tide us over. The latest “Ooh La La” features turns from Greg Nice and DJ Premier and is a moderately reigned in version of what they have become famous for. Buoyed by a lilting piano and a hard hitting but relatively minimal beat, the song shows a new side to RTJ and one that should keep us intrigued about what we are going to hear on the rest of the new album which has just been announced this morning for a June 5th release!