30-Second Album Reviews: May 2022

Vince Staples, Lydia Persaud, Belle and Sebastian, Tanika Charles, The Regrettes, Syd, Patrick Watson, Awolnation, Grae, Sam Drysdale, Jahmal Padmore, Deanna Petcoff and many more.

RPBMH Album Cover

Vince Staples

Ramona Park Broke My Heart

Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Sound: Melodic vocals drenched in 808 Bass
If you like: Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, MellowHigh, Curren$y & Lil Baby
Why you should listen: In a genre diluted with the same type of generic, recycled sounds, Vince Staples continues to show why he’s a stand out when it comes to creativity
Best Track: East Point Prayer (ft. Lil Baby)

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Whiplash album cover

Grae

Whiplash

Genre: Indie pop
Sound: Breathy vocals, woozy guitars and a healthy dose of nostalgia
If you like: Conan Gray, AVIV, Babygirl
Why you should listen: This rising Toronto indie pop star grabs your attention with her pink hair and keeps it with her dreamy tunes. A triumphant debut release, Whiplash is an infectious journey of youthful musings.
Best track: Room in the Desert

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Album cover for Syd Broken Hearts Club

Syd

Broken Hearts Club

Genre: R&B
Sound: An anthem of broken relationships and heartbreaks
If you like: Snoh Aalegra, Frank Ocean, Tyler, The Creator
Why you should listen: The internet vocalist Syd’s vulnerable second album explores her own experience in a relationship that ended sour. It features sultry R&B production and vocals with sobering yet reminiscent lyrics of a therapeutic journey of a broken heart and healing.
Best track: Fast Car

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The Regrettes - Further Joy album cover

The Regrettes

Further Joy

Genre: Garage pop
Sound: Fun, sophisticated pop with clever lyricism and an indie vibe
If you like: Wallows, St. Vincent, Olivia Rodrigo
Why you should listen: With surf-punk riffs and riot-grrrl spunk, The Regrettes have been teen-punk phenoms for years — which is why the pop direction on their latest surprises. The bubblegum vocals and fizzy production might be new, but this isn’t selling out: their summery brand of pop is fun, and they’ve kept the defiant spirit.
Best track: Monday

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Lydia Persaud - Moody31 album cover

Lydia Persaud

Moody31

Genre: Soul
Sound: Impossibly smooth vocals flow like honey and feel like a warm hug
If you like: Roberta Flack, The Temptations, Erykah Badu
Why you should listen: Longtime Toronto music scene fixture for a reason — a member of Dwayne Gretzky and sought-after collaborator by musicians across Canada, Persaud’s an inimitable jazz, R&B and soul solo artist whose music sounds like sinking into a hot bath after a long day. Moody31, is the soulful soundtrack to your own personal ’90s romcom.
Best track: Good for Us

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Jahmal Padmore Esparonto album cover

Jahmal Padmore

Esparonto

Genre: R&B
Sound: Smooth electronic beats and wavy vocals
If you like: Early The Weeknd, Shamir, Serpentwithfeet
Why you should listen: A strong debut from Toronto writer and producer Jahmal Padmore, this album dances between R&B, hip hop and funk. After working with MSTRKRFT, The Carps and Brendan Philip among others, Padmore finally puts himself front and center as he explores ego and self-love.
Best track: Ride

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Patrick Watson - Better in The Shade album cover

Patrick Watson

Better in the Shade

Genre: Chamber pop
Sound: Delicate falsetto vocals over dreamy pianos and gentle percussion
If you like: Agnes Obel, Sigur Rós, Basia Bulat
Why you should listen: This French-Canadian artist is hard to define because he blends genres so beautifully. On his seventh full-length album, the Polaris Prize winner combines haunting piano compositions with subtle electronic soundbites. A perfect addition to your Dark Academia playlist.
Best track: Height of the Feeling

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puppy luv album cover

Cloe Moriondo

puppy luv

Genre: Indie pop
Sound: Cute and giggly pop music for the dog lovers
If you like: Beach Bunny, Cavetown, mxmtoon
Why you should listen: Chloe Moriondo’s bubbly five-track EP is an ode to canine adoration, with several dog-related lyrics, it’s complete with a flowing cover of Dog Days Are Over by Florence + the Machine.
Best track: nice pup

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DEANNA PETCOFF To Hell with You, I Love You album cover

Deanna Petcoff

To Hell with You, I Love You

Genre: Indie rock
Sound: Grandiose, sweeping vocals imbued with longing
If you like: Michelle Branch, Ellevator, Loviet
Why you should listen: Toronto singer-songwriter Deanna Petcoff’s debut album is full of ambition and honesty. You could picture her performing at an open mic night, a dusky jazz club or even the main stage of a music festival.
Best track: Failing Upwards

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Belle and Seb - A Bit of Precious album cover

Belle and Sebastian

A Bit of Previous

Genre: Indie
Sound: Wry, melancholic lyrics meander across lilting violin, wailing harmonica, and jaunty guitar riffs
If you like: T. Rex, The Shins, Yo La Tengo
Why you should listen: In their first full-length album in seven years, Belle and Sebastian do something new. The clever, cheeky lyricism is still there— evocative writing that’ll make you laugh and cry — but it’s joined by exciting new chaos-pop sounds and an ideology based around rebirth and empathy.
Best track: Young and Stupid

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Koffee-Gifted album cover

Koffee

Gifted

Genre: Reggae
Sound: Traditional Reggae with splashes of pop
If you like: Skip Marley, Chronixx, Tarrus Riley
Why should you listen: Gifted as Koffee’s debut album, this energetic reggae album will magnetically spring you into positivity. The project is filled with encouraging words of resilience and optimism. Driven in vibrative beats, 22-year old artist proudly celebrates Jamaica with her sound.
Best Track: x10

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Testarossa (Fully Loaded) album cover

Sam Drysdale

Testarossa (Fully Loaded)

Genre: Pop
Sound: A mix of pop and R&B beats with earworm choruses
If you like: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Bazzi, Miles Hardt
Why you should listen: Toronto-based singer-songwriter revisits his January EP with catchy new tracks and acoustic renditions. It’s impossible not to sway along to Drysdale’s honest and sensual lyricism.
Best track: Tessarossa ft. Notifi

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Anxious Avoidant album cover

Sophia Bel

Anxious Avoidant

Genre: Alt-pop
Sound: A mix of ballands and anthems, all anchored by Bel’s acoustic guitar
If you like: Nessa Barrett, Claudia Bouvette, Royal & the Serpent
Why you should listen: There’s an early 2000s revival and Sophia Bel is in the centre of it, with her colourful hair and angsty lyrics. This Montreal singer makes her debut with sounds reminiscent of the pop and post-punk that influenced her teen years.
Best track: All Fucking Weekend

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My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me album cover

AWOLNATION

My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me

Genre: Electronic rock
Sound: Guitar solos, synthesizers and a long list of collaborators
If you like: Joywave, Grouplove, Sir Sly
Why you should listen: There’s magic in a good cover song, and Awolnation’s covers-only album captures it perfectly. Ambitious and impressive, it reimagines classic tracks like Madonna’s Material Girl. Guest features include Beck and Portugal the Man.
Best track: Eye in the Sky

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Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly album cover

Tanika Charles

Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly

Genre: R&B/Soul
Sound: Any ’70s or ’80s soul record
If you like: Al Green, Commodores, Tower of Power
Why should you listen: Inspired by a creature that is only noticed when light shines on it, Tanika’s third album captures joy. Swaying us back to ’70s Soul, the Toronto-based R&B artist infuses jazzy tempos and funky vibes into the project.
Best Track: Frustrated

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Album cover of WET TENNIS

Sofi Tukker

Wet Tennis

Sound: Electric, hypnotic dance tracks that burst with colour
If you like: Icona Pop, the Knocks, the Chainsmokers
Why you should listen: Energy- infused duo Sofi Tukker were practically born to play a sold-out festival set — it’s impossible to listen to their jazzy, playful spin on EDM without being taken over by movement. This album, inspired by bright spots of connection during the darkness of the pandemic, is brightly hued, infectiously optimistic, and perfect for the summer months ahead.
Best track: Kakee

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Stars album cover

Stars

From Capelton Hill

Sound: Vocal harmonies, orchestral instruments and a balance of acoustic and electric tracks to suit every mood
If you like: Broken Social Scene, Rilo Kiley, Death Cab for Cutie
Why you should listen: The Indie pop-rock legends return with a deeply personal yet relatable album that dances between romanticism and melancholy. Stars are simply a group of friends using music-making as an excuse to hang out, and it works!
Best track: Pretenders

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Album cover for The Words You Spoke Still Move Me

Ellevator

The Words You Spoke Still Move Me

Sound: Brain power pop
If you like: Kate Bush, Metric, Haim
Why you should listen: Ellevator is elevated pop music: pop music with a brain, with lyrics drawn from real-world experience and literary threads. It’s not pretentious, but personal. And for those who don’t pay attention to lyrics, it’s just fun bright pop — only it ain’t, so pay attention.
Best track: The City

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