30-Second Reviews: October 2021

Lil Nas X, Arkells, Crown Lands, Said The Whale, Exmiranda, Chrvches, L’Orange, Andy Shauf, Charlotte Cornfield, Mile High Club, Alessia Cara and many more.

Joy Crookes Skin album cover art

Joy Crookes


Genre: Soul/Jazz
Sound: Honeyed croons groove to the beat of bright, soulful brass arrangements.
If you like: Amy Winehouse, Adele, Celeste
Why you should listen: At times aching, at times jubilant, this strong debut album (recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios) from Londoner Crookes promises her a spot among the league of legendary British soul songstresses.
Best track: When You Were Mine

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Said The Whale's album cover art for Dandelion.

Said The Whale


Genre: Indie pop rock
Sound: Upbeat West Coast crunch rock laced with supple strings.
If you like: Tokyo Police Club, Yukon Blonde, Hey Rosetta!
Why you should listen: The fiercely indie Vancouver band comes in swinging with their seventh album, brimming with stacked productions of fuzzed guitar, driving drums and guest spots by stunning cellos and keys.
Best track: Show Me Everything

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Shan Vincent De Paul's album cover art for Made In Jaffna

Shan Vincent De Paul

Made In Jaffna

Genre: Hip hop
Sound: Lyrical hip hop deep in storytelling, with raw and subtle beats.
If you like: Yanchan, A.R. Rahman, Sid Sriram
Why you should listen: Tamil-Canadian rapper Shan Vincent De Paul’s fifth studio album, Made In Jaffna, is his most personal record yet — exploring trauma, heartbreak and identity with a great use of instrumentation to match the emotion of each rhyme.
Best track: Neeye Oli (Ft. Navz-47 & Santhosh Narayanan)

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Helado Negro 's album cover art for Far In.

Helado Negro

Far In

Genre: Avant folk-pop
Sound: Lush, blissed-out bilingual folk soundscapes.
If you like: Kevin Morby, Y La Bamba, Sufjan Stevens
Why you should listen: Unbothered by genre conventions, experimental folk maestro Helado Negro makes calming, cosmic sounds that are tinkered to perfection — all you have to do is drop the needle, sit back and exhale.
Best track: Gemini and Leo

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Lil Huddy's album cover for teenage heartbreak.

Lil Huddy

teenage heartbreak

Genre: Pop-punk
Sound: Angsty 2000s poppunk for the TikTok generation.
If you like: Nessa Barrett, Blink-182, lil aaron
Why you should listen: Lil Huddy might be best known for his e-boy thirst traps alongside viral stars like Charli D’Amelio, but his debut record shows promise: he’s developed a sound clearly inspired by the emo pop-punk of the Y2K era, and while it’s a bit cliche at times, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun.
Best track: 21st Century Vampire

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CHVRCHES' album cover for Screen Violence


Screen Violence

Genre: Synthpop
Sound: Gleaming synths and mesmerizing vocals you can vibe to.
If you like: Wolf Alice, Foxes
Why you should listen: This horror-inspired album takes notes on horror movie tropes, though the actual lyrical content is more hopeful than expected. There’s social commentary about modern society and dealing with depression, all wrapped up in sparkly melodies.
Best track: How Not to Drown (ft. Robert Smith)

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Genre: Hip hop
Sound: Lo-fi hip hop mixing jazz and hip-hop samples with subtle techno interludes.
If you like: Marlowe, Stimulator Jones, L’Indecis
Why you should listen: North Carolina-based producer L’Orange’s 16th album lets you get lost in edgy lo-fi samples, beats and an otherworldly production.
Best track: Durbin Was A Trap House

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Princess Century album cover art for s u r r e n d e r

Princess Century

s u r r e n d e r

Genre: Electronica
Sound: Methodical drums and minimalist synths build an ethereal, zero-gravity feel.
If you like: Aphex Twin, Beach House, German techno
Why you should listen: Deceptively simple instrumentation gives way to a sophisticated centre with a wellspring of emotion at its base. Dreamy, hazy, sweaty — could just as easily be blasted at a Berlin nightclub as played while drifting off to sleep. Minimalism at its finest.
Best track: Stupid Things ft. Fragrance

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Ouri's album cover for Frame Of A Fauna


Frame Of A Fauna

Genre: Ambient pop
Sound: Dreamy, experimental ambience punctuated with industrial samples and electronic fervor.
If you like: Ramona Flowers, Princess Century, Beach House
Why you should listen: The flurry of sounds cascading through here are lush, intangible, sensual, sometimes vaguely mystical. Some tracks are hypnotizing in their minimalism; some are so full to brim with sonic power they seem to overflow. It’s sort of like what you’d imagine an alien would listen to.
Best track: Odd or God (ft. Mind Bath)

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Crown Lands' album cover for White Buffalo

Crown Lands

White Buffalo

Genre: Rock
Sound: Wailing guitars fly through complex riffs to build classic prog sound.
If you like: Rush, King Crimson
Why you should listen: Canadian rockers Crown Lands have more than mastered art of the old-school homage: their prodigious vocals, mind-bogglingly elaborate guitar and experimental instrumentation would make Rush proud. Their music is made even more complex by its commentary on Indigenous rights.
Best track: White Buffalo

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K, Le Maestro album cover for Whip Music

K, Le Maestro

Whip Music

Genre: Hip Hop
Sound: Electro-hip hop with soothing R&B interludes and vocals.
If you like: Phoniks, Illa J, Blue Lab Beats
Why you should listen: London’s K, Le Maestro’s Whip Music takes you on a car ride and lets your get lost in the late ’90s and early 2000s electro-hip hop that lives in your head rent free.
Best track: Ride With Me (ft. Liv Averie & Mike Nasa)

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The Joy Formidable album cover for Into the Blue

The Joy Formidable

Into the Blue

Genre: Alt-rock
Sound: Melodious, yet gritty, guitar tones with a driving heartbeat.
If you like: Silversun Pickups, Blood Red Shoes, We Are Scientists
Why you should listen: Wailing guitars and propulsive drums accompany Ritzy Bryan’s whispered vocals to grow tension and mystery. At times, the album is eerie and focused; other times, it’s heavy and pulsing.
Best track: Gotta Feed My Dog

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Mild High Club's album cover art for Going Going Gone

Mild High Club

Going Going Gone

Genre: Alternative
Sound: Hypnotic, psychedelic jazz-funk with a hint of bossa nova.
If you like: Father John Misty, Tame Impala, Cage The Elephant
Why you should listen: With funky, lounge music mixing jazz, psychedelic pop and soothing vocals, Los Angeles-based Mild High Club’s third studio album is the record to relax and dance to.
Best track: A New High (ft. Winter)

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Kississippi's album cover art for Mood Ring


Mood Ring

Genre: Indie Pop
Sound: Soft and sweet indie pop for the hopelessly romantic soul.
If you like: Sidney Gish, Charly Bliss, Remember Sports
Why you should listen: Playful and sunny pop tunes, matched with confessional lyrics circling first crushes and heartbreaks, Mood Ring is nostalgic, uncomplicated, and relatable.
Best track: Moonover

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Homeshake's album cover art for Under the Weather


Under the Weather

Genre: Indie
Sound: Soft musings floating on smooth and sparkling and smooth lo-fi arrangements.
If you like: Toro y Moi, Blood Orange, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Why you should listen: Reflecting on a long period of depression, Toronto-based Peter Sagar’s expertly crafted low-key compositions evoke a calmness that feels like a weighted blanket.
Best track: Vacuum

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Andy Shauf's album cover art for Wilds

Andy Shauf


Genre: Folk rock
Sound: Wandering, bittersweet end-of-summer acoustics.
If you like: Adrianne Lenker, Chad VanGaalen, Christian Lee Hutchson
Why you should listen: Narrative songwriting, beachy guitar and Shauf’s gentle, warbling voice make this stunning album an evocative follow-up to 2016’s critical hit, The Party. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the bus ride home from a party.
Best track: Television Blue

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Charlotte Cornfield's album cover art for Highs in the Minuses

Charlotte Cornfield

Highs in the Minuses

Genre: Singer-songwriter/Folk
Sounds: Easygoing folk-rock harmonics topped with a tasteful sprinkling of tambourine.
If you like: Andy Shauf, The Moldy Peaches, Lucy Dacus
Why you should listen: Toronto-based Cornfield’s evocative and deeply personal songwriting paints colourful pictures and her casual, quirky delivery make this record an easy, highly enjoyable listen. Cornfield was shortlisted of 2019 Polaris Prize.
Best track: 21

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Exmiranda's album cover art for FuNk BrEak


FuNk BrEak

Genre: Funk/Hip hop
Sound: Savvy rhymes groove to catchy West Coast and disco-flavoured beats.
If you like: Kari Faux, Lil Kim, Kaytranada
Why should you listen: Hard-hitting bars and diamond-tipped delivery landed Ghana-born, Toronto rapper Exmiranda’s music on the Gossip Girl reboot soundtrack — and the funky beats on her debut album beg the question: where’s the party at? Watch out for this rising star from Rexdale.
Best track: Fresh Fro

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