30-Second Album Reviews

Beach Bunny, Mogwai, slowthai, Celeste, The Weather Station, Kiwi Jr. and The Hold Steady.

Beach Bunny album cover

Beach Bunny

Blame Game

Genre: Indie rock
Sound: Girly power-pop with a defiant, punky backbone.
If you like: Ricky Montgomery, reputation-era Taylor Swift, Peach Pit
Why you should listen: Beach Bunny frontwoman Lili Trifilio’s sweet-as-sugar voice contrasts perfectly against angry girl-power lyrics, fuzzed-out guitar and surf-punk licks.
Best track: Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)

 

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Ali DiFranco album cover

Ani DiFranco

Revolutionary Love

Genre: Folk-rock
Sound: Playful vocals spreading revolutionary messaging over folksy, fun and funky tunes
If you like: Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant
Why you should listen: Ani DiFranco’s career is the stuff of legend, and her new music doesn’t disappoint: she’s still putting out the enduringly
unique jams that made her famous. The political messaging behind her lyrics is more relevant than ever.
Best track: Simultaneously

 

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album cover

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

New Fragility

Genre: Indie
Sound: CYHSY’s voice wails anxious, heartfelt lyrics over instrumentation that varies from understated to explosive
If you like: Father John Misty, Sam’s Town by The Killers
Why you should listen: These tracks would have been right at home among the best music early-2000s indie had to offer, and listening to them for the first time feels like nostalgia for something you can’t quite remember.
Best track: Spiral

 

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Pretty Reckless cover

The Pretty Reckless

Death by Rock and Roll

Genre: Hard rock
Sound: Screaming guitar, throbbing bass and full-throttle vocals combine to form The Pretty Reckless’ signature sound
If you like: PVRIS, Black Veil Brides
Why you should listen: As is standard for Taylor Momsen’s post-grunge project, listening to the combination of furious girl-power lyrics and power-punk instrumentation makes you feel invincible.
Best track: And So It Went

 

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The Open Door Policy album cover

The Hold Steady

Open Door Policay

Genre: Indie rock
Sound: Cinematic bursts of sound and impassioned, half-spoken lyrics create a record that is both ecstatic and tear-jerking.
If you like: The Mountain Goats, The Weakerthans
Why you should listen: This sonically diverse set featuring a triumphant chorus of horns, drums and old-style piano explores newly emotional territory for The Hold Steady.
Best track: Heavy Covenant

 

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Celeste album cover

Celeste

Not Your Muse

Genre: Soul/R&B
Sound: Smooth and powerful vocals lead swanky and soulful, jazz-tinged instrumentals
If You Like: Adele, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday
Why you should listen: Painting a richly hued picture with her bleeding heart, Celeste finds the power in powerlessness—the result is a record tailor-made for swaying in the living room with a glass of red in hand.
Best track: Ideal Woman

 

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Kiwi Jr. album cover

Kiwi Jr.

Cooler Returns

Genre: Rock
Sound: Shuffling power-pop melodies, whiney guitar riffs and deadpan vocals
If you like: Nap Eyes, Pavement, Alvvays
Why you should listen: Kiwi Jr.’s second album (and first on Sub Pop) is filled with entertaining escapades and energized hooks. Torontonians will like the references to Toronto landmarks.
Best track: Cooler Returns

 

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Jazmine Sullivan album cover

Jazmine Sullivan

Heaux Tales

Genre: R&B
Sound: Powerhouse vocals and smooth R&B grooves
If you like: H.E.R., Solange, Dvsn
Why you should listen: This multi-faceted exploration of sex and love is powerful and poignant and demonstrates how incredible Jazmine Sullivan’s artistry is.
Best track: Pick Up Your Feelings

 

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Mogwai album cover

Mogwai

As the Love Continues

Genre: Post-rock
Sound: Waves of murky, atmospheric rock complete with screechy guitars and an angry percussion section
If you like: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Colin Stetson
Why you should listen: Whether you’re a first-time listener or have been following the band across its 25-year career, Mogwai’s sprawling tracks full of guitar and synthesizer-made din can be either entrancing or jolting but are always rewarding.
Best track: Ritchie Sacramento

 

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Black Alliance album cover

Various Artists

Black Alliance Volume One (EP)

Genre: Hip Hop/Soul
Sound: Righteous re-working
If You Like: Queen Latifah, Sam Cooke, Bill Withers
Why You Should Listen: Leading Canadian BIPOC artists honour their roots—and Black History Month by reinterpreting artists who inspire them. Respectful, rewarding rethinks of some of the best.
Best track: Change Is Going To Come, performed by Myles Castello

 

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The Besnard Lakes album cover

The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings

Genre: Psychedelic rock
Sound: Fuzzy harmonies weave around a smoky haze of woozy electric guitars
If You Like: Tame Impala, Flaming Lips, Plants and Animals
Why You Should Listen: Nearly 20 years after the Montreal band’s inception, The Besnard Lakes prove they still reign supreme in the arena of otherworldly ambient textures. Perfect for joyriding in a UFO or just chilling out with a doobie.
Best Track: Our Heads, Our Hearts on Fire Again

 

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Album cover for brent II

Jeremy Zucker & Chelsea Cutler

brent II (EP)

Genre: Indie pop
Sounds: Acoustic strums, gentle kick drums, angelic harmonies carrying beautiful melodies
If You Like: Lennon Stella, FINNEAS, Olivia Rodrigo
Why You Should Listen: With undeniable chemistry on their debut EP, Zucker and Cutler headed to the woods to spin another collection of love songs so graceful they should come with a tissue box.
Best Track: this is how you fall in love

 

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Django Django album cover

Django Django

Glowing In the Dark

Genre: Electro-funk
Sound: Disco-inspired instrumentation and fuzzy vocals create a funky, retro-futuristic vibe straight out of the 80s.
If you like: Hot Chip, Superorganism, The Talking Heads
Why you should listen: Django Django’s new sound oozes neo-psychedelic soul under electronic tunes and robotic riffs to create a record that’s somehow both evocative and cutting-edge.

 

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Cover for OK Human from Weezer

Weezer

OK Human

Genre: Alternative
Sound: Piano-led pop accented by heavy string instrumentation and witty, clever lyricism
If you like: Cake, fun., Sugar Ray
Why you should listen: Weezer seems determined to break their own mold with every new album, and OK Human is no different. This record is not only completely unlike any Weezer album before it, it’s completely unlike anything else, either.
Best Track: All My Favourite Songs

 

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