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A Local Leap Year Anthem and a Soaring Narcan PSA in This Week’s Best New Music Playlists

Plus the worst new song of the week.

Photos provided|

Thank You, I’m Sorry; Noah Kahan

Well, that’ll teach me to take a week off from this column—I had to make some difficult cuts to keep this down to 10 tracks. Fortunately, there’s always next week.

Local Picks

Ahem, “Leap Year”

Well, the trio had to release this on Leap Day, of course. The guitars jangle optimistically, then the voices chime in with an ecstatic chirp that rises to a chorus of “We jumped right in and we’re falling down.” A fine antidote to a gloomy day, and the first single from a new album, Avoider, due later this year. 

Run Westy Run, “27 o’hare”

Well, that was fast. Barely months after Beyond Reason, their first album in nearly three decades, the onetime alt-rock hopefuls returned with Within Reason last Friday. The song itself is not particularly fast, loping around at the pace you’d expect of someone stuck for more than a day in an airport. 

Sunken Planes, “The Ghost of Jennifer Bradley”

No idea who Ms. Bradley is but the lead cut from Sunken Planes’ new EP, Intersections, is as spooky and apprehensive a slice of modern rock as its title suggests. The band’ll be at Cloudland this Thursday.

Thank You, I’m Sorry, “When I Come East”

Colleen Dow is down bad. “You’ve got me t-t-t-tearing at the seams/And you kn-o-o-ow all the right ways to lie to me,” the TYIS singer tells some manipulative other on the first track from the band’s upcoming EP Repeating Threes, out this Friday. And it sounds like Abe Anderson’s been listening to his old Sugar records. Thank You, I’m Sorry will be playing a release show on March 19 at the Entry

Trash Date, “Monopoly”

You gotta love when a band names a song after itself. But much as I enjoy the instrumental “Trash Date,” I prefer this hardcore lashing out at somebody or other about something or other. I can’t quite make out the target above the well-articulated din (there’s something about a wrist band), but what matters is that they know who and what they’re pissed at.

Non-Local Picks

Cardi B, “Like What (Freestyle)”

It’s been a minute since we heard Cardi go off like this, and if this isn’t really a freestyle at least it busts out the energy of one. She’s energized by taking on the haters, rather than exhausted, and she brings along deluxe boasts like “I’m rich I ain’t gettin’ in a pool that’s not heated.” 

Cloud Nothings, “Running Through the Campus”

Yeah, Dylan Baldi just has my number. His latest fuzzy, catchy blare is about college memories, I suppose, but more than any specific lyric it’s that mild yearning in his voice, its timbre paired perfectly with his guitar, that puts this across.

Flyanna Boss, “yeaaa”

Any doubt that this TikTok-native duo was here for the long haul (by which I mean at least till next month) evaporated after a wizbang set opening for Janelle Monae last year. They rhyme “Anita Baker” with “I need a baker,” their hooks are sexed-up playground chants, they wrap everything up in two minutes and three seconds. One of these days the kids will discover Fannypack and it'll blow their zoomin' little minds.

Hinds, “Coffee”

I’ve been smitten with this Madrid indie band for two albums now, and I’m relieved to report that the departure of their rhythm section hasn’t undercut the femme camaraderie of their easygoing rock. An example of a sensibility they call “sincericide”: “I like black coffee and cigarettes/And flowers from boys that I'm not sleeping with/I like trees when they let go of their leaves/They're so wise, they get rid of their shit.”

Hurray for the Riff Raff, “Snake Plant (The Past Is Still Alive)”

In the run-up to their new album, The Past Is Still Alive, released last month, Alynda Segarra released a string of great singles, and I’ve dithered over trying to choose the best. (Late last year I already added “Alibi” to my 2023 playlist.) So how about this rush of music and memories—of sex and shoplifting and getting high and living on the margins—that contains the timely fentanyl observation “There's a war on the people, what don't you understand?”

Worst Song of the Week

Noah Kahan, “Forever”

Kahan’s breakthrough album, Stick Season, is now on its third edition and up to 30 fucking songs. Eight of the nine new additions are duets, with partners you’d hope would know better (Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile) tossed in with well-of-course’s like Hozier and Gracie Abrams. But the hit single is all Noah on his lonesome—"the Voice of an Emotionally Evolved Generation," as Boston Magazine dubbed him, and if so I’m a neurotic Neanderthal and proud. Not only is his Bon Iver falsetto even more grating than the Ed Sheeran keen of “Stick Season,” but lyrics like “We kissed in the car in the school parking lot where I went with my friends to get drunk” flaunt the sort of fake songwriting specificity that can trick anyone susceptible to generalized nostalgia into thinking he’s singing about their lives. I blame Justin Vernon. I blame the Lumineers. I blame Kahan’s therapist. I blame us all.

Wanna get a local song considered for the playlist? To make things easy on both of us, email keith@viraluae.com with MONDAY PLAYLIST in the subject header. (Don’t, as in do NOT, DM or text: If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just ask you to send an email; if I’m in a bad mood I’ll just ignore it.)

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