The Playlist: March 2021
Welcome back to the third edition of our monthly playlist.
Lockdown is soon to lift and we’ve been basking in these abnormally hot March days! This month’s soundtrack is filled with quite the plethora of new releases, from sombre piano ballads and jangling indie-rock, to euphoric punk-esque anthems. Maybe a ‘something for everyone’ approach isn’t always the best direction but really, we don’t care. Press play and have a read.
In this feature we’re collating our favourite songs of the past month, every month.
Sabiyha, Maple Glider, L E A, Evann McIntosh, Janette King, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Sŵnami, Merpire, Moshi Moshi, Bad Waitress, Remember Sports, Charlotte Spiral
Words: Amy Albinson & Molly Davies
Cover Art: @alexandraisart
Undone | Sabiyha
The latest track from rising British-Guyanese artist Sabiyha carries a strikingly empowering message, and we’re here for it! Honing in on the patriarchal values behind casual sex, she explores how too often the narratives we’re fed centre on men being emotionally detached and womxn pining for their attention post-sex, when the reality can be so far removed. A man can casually throw away lovers without so much as flinching? Well that’s awfully arrogant on the part of the un-fairer sex. On the new release she explains: “People constantly assume that womxn can’t just have casual sex without attaching emotions to it. I hate that - it’s such a tired stereotype. Some womxn just want sex; no we don’t want to marry you; please get over yourself.” Honestly, the audacity that people assume more.
Good Thing | Maple Glider
Sink into the resigned melancholy that is Good Thing by Maple Glider. The line between choosing what is right for you and making a decision out of fear can be blurry. Self destruction can feel like a second skin if it feels like the safer option. In Good Thing, Glider (a.k.a. Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Tori Zietsch) comes to terms with letting go of an important relationship in their life, with the knowledge it’s the better choice to make, even if the scarier one.
Glider’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful, and in times reminiscent of Lana Del Rey in her more acoustic moments. The percussive elements that stretch across the track support the main beat whilst adding an element of chaotic noise to more sombre lyrics such as ‘I'd rather kill a good thing/Than wait for it to die’. It does not end with a bang but a whisper, as if the inevitable finale of the relationship has no definite ending, but rather peters out until it is barely audible, just ash in the wind.
Anyone | L E A
LA-based L E A’s new track Anyone absolutely slaps! Relinquishing themselves to past fantasies, the track focuses on revelling in a high school crush. Combining deep vocals with modern pop-rock instrumentation, they create a satisfying amalgamation of heavy riffs and rock kits blended with drum machines. Seeped in classic pop effects, such as the sound of breaking glass which has been iconic since Babooshka, L E A’s new track is a strikingly excellent listen.
JENN!FER AN!STON | Evann McIntosh
It is unbelievable that Evann McIntosh is only 17?! In JENN!FER AN!STON their soulful vocals layer into beautiful harmonies and intermingle with a gloriously smooth bassline. Written as a Hail Mary for unrequited feelings, the track examines if it’s possible to view someone in a non-romantic light once the spark is already there, with repeated phrases and melodies reflecting this notion of being caught in an emotional loop to a hypnotic extent.
Airplane | Janette King
Loss is a hard thing to comprehend and process in whatever form. In Montréal-based producer and artist Janette King’s new single Airplane, pulsating house beats intermingle with R’n’B vocals to create an upbeat dance track that explores both the parallels of heartbreak and freedom resulting from a breakup. King’s vocals sit flush in the track, fading to the background behind panned drums before exploding forward, highlighting the notion that reminding a lover they ‘have something to hold on to’ is not her responsibility. It’s these little production touches that really make the track shine.
Cherry In Tacoma | Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Described as a song about “codependency and long distance adventures”, Cherry In Tacoma is a softly spun acoustic track that feels like the song equivalent of sinking into a warm bath whilst reminiscing about that girl you almost kissed on a hazy Tuesday afternoon in late Autumn. The lyrics are both wistful and heartfelt, with lines such as ‘loosening the chips on both our shoulders’ really standing out. The understated production showcases Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s vocals and allows the listener to become lost in the images his lyrics conjure.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that you do not have to cling to addiction in order to remain creative. Leftwich’s upcoming album, of which Cherry in Tacoma is the first single, is his first album written sober. If you believe sobriety is the downfall of creativity, this track is tantamount to proof that, without vices, your craft won’t suffer but in fact infinitely improve.
Theatr | Sŵnami
Welsh quintet Sŵnami’s Theatr is a sun-filled anthem overflowing with dreamy, indie-pop hooks. Exploring toxic relationships from the perspective of escapism, the glowing new track sees the band re-emerge from a four year hiatus with the aim of giving universal meaning to the Welsh language. Melodious and warm, the tune is a perfect soundtrack to brightening evenings and the days growing longer.
Dinosaur | Merpire
The latest single from Melbourne-based singer Merpire is a catchy indie-pop daydream, all coated in social anxiety. Inspired by the Jurassic Park line “if you stay still, they can’t see you”, the track harks back to the jangling guitars of the 00s, exploring self-esteem - or a lack thereof, and a relatable need to move unseen. Refreshing and lively, Merpire is proving her knack for writing a thought-provoking sad song all wrapped up in an upbeat, saccharine melody.
Igotlostinsidemyhead | Moshi Moshi
I’m an absolute sucker for emo and Helsinki-based quartet Moshi Moshi’s new single Igotlostinsidemyhead has been filling my heart with their chaotic tonic of math-inspired, punk-leaning, twinkly-guitar drenched melodies. Forming over lockdown, the group take inspiration from the likes of Algernon Cadwallader and Cap'n Jazz, matching screaming vocals with intricate guitar riffs, culminating in an undeniably enthralling debut.
Too Many Bad Habits | Bad Waitress
This new single from Toronto quartet Bad Waitress is an eccentric journey of guilt and frustration, dished out via winding guitars and intensely crunchy vocals. While lacking in the ferocity relished by many a punk band, their driven energy is unrelenting and swimming in satirical quips. If you’re looking for a track with an upbeat, potent swagger to soundtrack our ever-nearing return to live shows - this one’s for you.
Materialistic | Remember Sports
Remember Sports have mastered the art of crafting nostalgia into something palpable. Bubbling with emotional lyricism, there's a comforting warmth to their latest single as it shifts between modest plucky guitars and vocalist Carmen Perry’s rising, airy vocals. Floating in the realm of introspective, Materialistic reminisces on past doubts while yearning to leave it all behind, and is testament to the strength of the quartet.
Out Of Here | Charlotte Spiral
The latest release from dark-alt-pop duo Charlotte Spiral encapsulates a charming simplicity. Minimalist piano keys move down a haunting path, paired with vocals as emotive as they are understated. Weaving a sombre tale of monotonous circling, there’s a brightness to the melody, devoid of stagnancy and gleaming with hope.