30-Second Album Reviews

BTS album cover for Be

BTS

Be

Genre: K-pop
Sound: In-your-feels harmonies, notes of retro hip hop and bubbly club beats.
If You Like: Years & Years, Monsta X, Troye Sivan
Why you should listen: An obvious product of the pandemic, the boys get blue in pared-back ballads but find groovy optimism in disco-pop numbers customized for living room dance parties.
Best Track: Dis-ease

 

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Billie Joe Armstrong

No Fun Mondays

Genre: Pop punk
Sound: Gritty garage rock complete with crunchy power chords and hoarse hollering.
If You Like: Green Day, Sum 41, Neck Deep
Why you should listen: Not just a fun Green Day-ification of decades of rock, this unrelenting covers record is a valuable sampler platter of classics and deep cuts from legends like John Lennon and The Bangles.
Best Track: That Thing You Do!

 

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album-_Benee

Benee

Hey u x

Genre: Chill-pop
Sound: Whimsical melodies, diary-like lyrics and mellow e-girl lullabies.
If You Like: Mallrat, Billie Eilish
Why you should listen: With a trappy Lily Allen feature and a 90s house-inspired Grimes track, this genre-hopping debut marks BENEE’s transition from TikTok bop-star to thoughtful lyricist.
Best Track: Night Garden (feat. Kenny Beats & Bakar)

 

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Badge Époque Ensemble

Self Help

Genre: Jazz/funk
Sound: Slinky solos and hyperactive bongos over a groovy big-band base.
If You Like: BADBADNOTGOOD, Thundercat
Why you should listen: Although they sound like nostalgic pop anthems, listen closer to the lyrics and you’ll discover poignant lyrics about struggling with race and culture in Britain.
Best Track: Sing a Silent Gospel

 

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Yungblud

Weird!

Genre: Pop punk/alt-rock
Sound: Classic U.K. punk updated with 2000s pop-rock and SoundCloud-style beats.
If You Like: My Chemical Romance, Lil Peep, Lil Aaron
Why you should listen: The English iconoclast is determined to push the boundaries of genre, gender and sexuality with this record’s rebellious vocals, politically charged lyrics and amorphous sound.
Best Track: Parents

 

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Zach Zoya

Spectrum

Genre: Rap/R&B
Sound:
Blistering bars and sad-boy singing over trappy beats and woozy samples.
If You Like: Lil Baby, Post Malone, The Weeknd
Why you should listen: At just 22, the Montreal emcee sings and raps with equal expertise on his debut EP, a promising mix of high-energy hip hop and bedroom R&B.
Best Track: Le Cap

 

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album-_Partner

Partner

Never Give Up

Genre: Rock
Sound: Groovy basslines, face-melting guitar riffs and grungy 90s punk vibes.
If You Like: Car Seat Headrest, Bully, Pat Benatar
Why you should listen: These head-banging rock anthems deliver hilarious takes on life. Hit play to find out what happens when teenage dirtbags grow up.
Best Track: Big Gay Hands

 

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Rico Nasty

Nightmare Vacation

Genre: Punk-rap
Sound: Screaming vocals over punky power guitar with an expertly produced trap backbone.
If You Like: Tierra Whack, MF DOOM, JPEGMAFIA
Why you should listen: With immaculate flow and raging pop-punk instrumentation, this record showcases Rico Nasty’s signature sound while still diving into fresh ideas.
Best Track: IPHONE

 

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Jordana

Something to Say

Genre: Indie rock
Sound: Filmy vocals, garage-rock guitar and hypnotic textural loops.
If You Like: Broken Bells, Soccer Mommy, The Black Keys
Why you should listen: Marrying supersonic sounds with head-in-the-clouds vocals, this rising indie queen puts rawly honest words to the feelings many experience but are afraid to acknowledge.
Best Track: Big

 

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WizTheMc

What About Now

Genre: Rap/hip hop
Sound: Sunny party pop with buoyant bass lines and a carefree sing-spoken flow.
If You Like: Still Woozy, Dominic Fike, MAJAN
Why you should listen: This plucky emcee went from couch surfing to international idol in an instant, and these upbeat, uplifting bangers are the reason why.
Best Track: All My Friends Are Stoned

 

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Album cover for November, Bedroom Eyes

November

Bedroom Eyes

Genre: Pop
Sound: Booming vocals paired with gloomy electronic beats and stirring pop melodies.
If You Like: Depeche Mode, Purity Ring, Charlotte Day Wilson
Why you should listen: Gregory-Yves Fénélon’s moody EP is tender enough to soundtrack a weepy solo dance party but has potential to be pumped through a club’s speakers someday soon.
Best Track: Jerome

 

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album-_Nils-Frahm

Nils Frahm

Tripping with Nils Frahm

Genre: Ambient/electronic
Sound: Undulating symphonic soundscapes punctuated by subtle beats and digital bleeps and bloops.
If You Like: Aphex Twin, Tim Hecker, Brian Eno
Why you should listen: None of YouTube’s lo-fi chill-hop playlists match the cinematic beauty or experimental originality of the German composer’s otherworldly blend of electro and classical.
Best Track: Sunson

 

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Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams

Plastic Bouquet

Genre: Folk
Sound: Twangy guitar riffs and sublime vocal interplay atop timeless folk and country storytelling.
If You Like: Bill Callahan, Courtney Marie Andrews, Bert Jansch
Why you should listen: This unexpected long-distance collaboration between a Saskatchewan duo and Kiwi singer-songwriter is a melodious match made in heaven.
Best Track: Arahura

 

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The Darcy's

Fear and Loneliness

Genre: Alt-pop
Sound: Synthy, beat-heavy electronic tracks with reliably feel-good choruses and emotive vocals.
If You Like: The Killers, Yukon Blonde, The 1975
Why you should listen: It sounds like a callback to the best of 2000s alt-pop, but a funky undercurrent and modern production make this Toronto duo’s fifth LP entirely fresh.
Best Track: Too Late

 

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Ana Roxanne

Because of a Flower

Genre: Ambient/new age
Sound: Lapping water, airy vocals and plush synth-scapes.
If You Like: Grouper, Brian Eno, Sarah Davachi
Why you should listen: Ana Roxanne’s languid ambient tracks foster introspection and gentle affirmations—and who doesn’t need more of that in their life right now?
Best Track: A Study in Vastness

 

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Once a Tree

Fool’s Paradise

Genre: Electropop
Sound: Pulsating club kicks, wispily sung melodies and EDM-worthy drops.
If You Like: Majid Jordan, Alessia Cara, Skrillex
Why you should listen: The ascendant dance duo—a TIFF-calibre actor and an OVO insider—finds a formula for body-moving hits that will shake clubs post-corona.
Best Track: Rush

 

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The Avalanches

We Will Always Love You

Genre: Electronic
Sound: A hard-to-pin-down melange of 80s electronica, ambient chill-hop and modern rap.
If You Like: LCD Soundsystem, Blood Orange, Childish Gambino
Why you should listen: No two tracks are alike, thanks in equal parts to a diverse lineup of all-star features and an unflagging determination to push creative limits.
Best Track: Running Red Lights

 

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MONEYPHONE

Faith*

Genre: Slip hop
Sound: Duelling raps, Auto-Tuned melodies and ecstatic beats.
If You Like: Juice WRLD, Blueface, Bon Iver
Why you should listen: Friends since high school—not so long ago—Toronto’s David May and Enoch Ncube have graduated to groove-rich rambles that just might take over the world.
Best Track: Indecision

 

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