30-Second Album Reviews

Charlotte Day Wilson, Polo G, Doja Cat, Tom Odell, Backxwash and more.

Alpha album cover

Charlotte Day Wilson

Alpha

Genre: Alt R&B
Sounds: Psychedelic riffs weave into seductive rhythm & blues arrangements and sultry, soothing vocals
If You Like: LOONY, Daniel Caesar, The Internet
Why You Should listen: Masterfully mixing moody, soulful style with experimental samples, deep feelings get a little groovy with this long-awaited debut album from the queer, Toronto R&B Alpha herself.
Best Track: I Can Only Whisper (feat. BADBADNOTGOOD)

 

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Hall of Fame album cover

Polo G

Hall of Fame

Genre: Hip hop
Sound: Smoothed-out drill
If you like: Juice WRLD, Pop Smoke, Lil Durk
Why you should listen: Twentytwo- year-old Chicago rapper Polo G delivers a powerful follow up to his drill-driven early hits, Finer Things and Pop Out, with this mellower soundtrack to raw street life in his hometown—all from his new L.A. HQ.
Best track: Rapstar

 

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Planet Her album cover

Doja Cat

Planet Her

Genre: Rap/hip hop
Sound: Sparkling hi-hats and taunting vocals ride bouncing basslines
If you like: Megan Thee Stallion, Ariana Grande, Kehlani
Why you should listen: In a seductive push and pull, Doja Cat twirls around with soft, sugary vocals but bites with bars when those she seduces get too close. Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, SZA and JID feature in the horniest bangers of summer 2021.
Best track: Woman

 

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monsters album cover

Tom Odell

monsters

Genre: Electro-pop
Sound: Odell’s voice still hits notes that cut to the core, but he’s traded his signature romantic ballads for electro-laced dark pop beats
If you like: Billie Eilish, Declan McKenna, Girl in Red
Why you should listen: The old Tom Odell has been burned by love, and is opening up about dealing with the monster of anxiety. Addressing all that is fucked in the world, this listen is heavy and darkly comical, yet catchy and insightful.
Best track: numb

 

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I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses album cover

Backxwash

I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses

Genre: Hip hop meets metal
Sound: A blend of hip hop, horrorcore and industrial metal that’s angry as hell
If you like: Ada Rook, clipping., Death Grips
Why you should listen: 2020 Polaris Prize-winner Backxwash returns with an unapologetically powerful record that has a lot to say. Lyrically, it covers mental health, religion and colonization, and expertly pairs South African chants with reverberating beats.
Best track: 666 In Luxaxa

 

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The Scarborough Beat Tape album cover

Yanchan

The Scarborough Beat Tape

Genre: Instrumental/Hip hop
Sound: Mashup of Tamil songs sampled with beats
If you like: Saib, Handbook, Tangerine Dream
Why you should listen: Yanchan is a Tamil-Canadian mrithangam (South Indian hand drum) player, singer and producer, whose new project is a love letter to his Scarborough neighbourhood in Toronto. Each song transports you, almost wordlessly, to iconic landmarks in Scarborough from parks to restaurants.
Best track: Bluffs

 

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Encore EP album cover

Butcher Brown

Encore EP

Genre: Hip hop/jazz
Sound: Groove driven jazz and hip hop blend that transports you to the 90s
If you like: BADBADNOTGOOD, Slum Village, Nujabes
Why you should listen: Virginia-based band Butcher Brown’s Encore EP is the perfect play for long drives or at casual gatherings where the mood is just right—it eases the worries from everyday life.
Best track: For My Love

 

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Lovesick album cover

Raheem DeVaughn & Apollo Brown

Lovesick

Genre: R&B/soul/hip hop
Sound: A nostalgic R&B journey with soothing soul and voice
If you like: Leon Bridges, Common, Boyz II Men
Why you should listen: Raheem DeVaughn is a talented Washington-based singer who brings back the iconic 90s R&B sound while soulfully exploring the trials and, yes, tribulations of love.
Best track: One Time (feat. Becky Cane)

 

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shawnee kish album cover

Shawnee Kish

shawnee kish

Genre: Blues rock
Sound: Slightly menacing bluesy rock fueled by blistering vocals
If you like: Jessie Reyez, Alannah Myles, Adele
Why you should listen: Alberta-based, two-spirit Indigenous singer Shawnee Kish keeps winning awards (CBC Searchlight, Allan Slaight Masterclass) as well as winning new fans with a big, soulful voice and a bad-ass attitude.
Best track: Burnin Love

 

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Back of My Mind album cover

H.E.R.

Back of My Mind

Genre: R&B
Sound: Buttery vocals croon over smooth, sultry beats
If you like: Jorja Smith, Summer Walker, SZA
Why you should listen: H.E.R. has one of the best voices in the industry, and her silky-smooth vocal stylings are put to work here. Her first studio album ever comes at the heels of her Oscar win for Best Original Song—and you can’t get a much higher endorsement than that.
Best track: Damage

 

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Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night album cover

Bleachers

Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night

Genre: Rock
Sound: Vintage, classic rock sounds rife with dueling saxophones and 80s electricity
If you like: Bruce Springsteen, Matt and Kim, Lorde
Why you should listen: Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff isn’t just the most in-demand pop producer on Earth right now—he’s a rock star in his own right, fighting to fill Springsteen’s shoes as the musical king of New Jersey.
Best track: How Dare You Want More

 

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Gem In I album cover

Getchnah

Gem In I

Sound: Bouncy electronic sounds with beats that range from reggae to trap
If you like: Drake, Cardi B, Saweetie
Why should listen: Scarborough-based Tamil-Canadian rapper Getchnah impresses with her powerful debut. Getchnah also has spectacular live shows; her most notorious show saw her throw money at the crowd after a stellar set.
Best track: Come For

 

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Dangerous Levels of Introspection album cover

JP Saxe

Dangerous Levels of Introspection

Genre: Singer-songwriter
Sound: Ballad-y, brooding, longing love songs
If you like: Shawn Mendes, Dermot Kennedy, Julia Michaels
Why you should listen: A sincere Canadian singer-songwriter artfully wears his lovelorn heart on his sleeve with piano-powered passion. This debut album delivers on the promise of his global hit, If the World Was Ending.
Best track: Like That

 

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Culture III album cover

Migos

Culture III

Genre: Trap/hip hop
Sound: Snappy trap beats and bouncy tempos, with echoes of mumble rap
If you like: Lil Yachty, Young Thug, 21 Savage
Why should listen: With nothing but solo releases from the trio since their 2018 smash album Culture II, the trailblazing trap stars are back with their classic, sparse, rough and raw Atlanta sound.
Best Track: Having Our Way (feat. Drake)

 

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Hotel Surrender album cover

Chet Faker

Hotel Surrender

Genre: Electro-funk
Sound: Crooning vocals full of desire, stanky bass slaps and crisp drum claps
If you like: Dope Lemon, Jungle, James Vincent McMorrow
Why you should listen: Seven years after his hit debut album Built On Glass, Nick Murphy has released another masterpiece as Chet Faker. Mixing filmy electronic tracks with hits of dopamine funk, it’s that extra push to wake you from your lockdown slumber.
Best track: Feel Good

 

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Nothing Is Stopping Everything album cover

Everythingoshuan

Nothing Is Stopping Everything

Genre: Low-fi hip hop
Sound: Soft, airy sounds of piano keys and bass guitar, with striking drum tempos
If you like: PartyNextDoor, Derin Falana, Mac Irv
Why you should listen: His raw beats got played at a Raptors’ game, and his tracks made it on hometown Toronto radio stations. With his third album, the Jamaican-Nigerian rapper is building on this momentum.
Best Track: Wylin’ (feat. Kayo)

 

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Some Days album cover

Dennis Lloyd

Some Days

Genre: Alt pop
Sound: Electronic beats meet yearning vocals and rock guitars fond of reggae riffs
If you like: Maroon 5, Elderbrook, Allan Rayman
Why you should listen: This anticipated debut album is full of deep feelings and swaggering tracks from the Israeli artist, who rose to fame back in 2017 for his masterful fusing of pop, rock, reggae and R&B influences.
Best track: Meditation

 

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Weddings & Funerals album cover

Def3 & Late Night Radio

Weddings & Funerals

Genre: Hip hop
Sound: Classic old-school hip hop with jazz, soul and R&B interludes, and deep lyrics
If you like: Classified, Brother Ali, Dame D.O.L.L.A.
Why you should listen: Regina’s Def3 uses his new album to preach of his young life spent travelling the world on a hospital ship. Def3 uses beats and bass to propel a subtle message of motivation to those who are on the verge of quitting.
Best track: Drowning (feat. Recess)

 

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