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Who Needs Algorithms? Here Are This Week’s New Music Playlists.

5 great new local songs, 5 great new songs from everywhere else, and one song that really sucks.

Press photo; YouTube|

Colin Bracewell; Shakira & Cardi B

So, we're coming up on the close of the first quarter of 2024. And so, if you haven't been following this column closely, it's a good time to go back and listen to the playlists and hear what you've missed. Just a suggestion.

Local Picks

Jake Baldwin, Zacc Harris, Pete Hennig, “You Got the Best of Me”

Not sure if you know this about me, but I’m a sucker for trumpet over ambient jazz. A real In a Silent Way guy. So this trio’s upcoming album Boundaries is right in my zone. Here Baldwin’s horn repeats and modifies a simple motif as Harris’s electronically treated guitar adds an unsettling thrum while drummer Hennig percusses around the edges. And apparently Baldwin won a Grammy for his work on the soundtrack to Assassin’s Creed: Ragnarok—who knew?

Colin Bracewell, “Cozy”

The title track of this suave young singer-songwriter’s new EP for a reason. Music and lyrics both are smooth but never slick, and he cuddles up to you with just enough eagerness not to scare you off.  

The Controversial New Skinny Pill, “Deeper Than Feel”

Playful psych doused in almost dubwise echo, with a beat you can dance or trance out to and cute little electronic touches or rhythmic fillips scattered generously along the way. Groovy.

Superheater, “Cosmic Suggestion” 

A simple guitar figure I cannot get out of my head powers the lead single from these garageniks’ new Beyond What? Beyond Fresh! Fuzzy, nasty, grungy, good. And you can catch them at Cloudland on Thursday night

Traiveon, “Relax”

How does this laid-back lover boy know you’re into him? “I can tell by your vibrations,” he coos over an Insinuating Afrobeatsy burble. And the object of his attention? She eventually lets him hit because “You make it sound so mystical.”

Non-Local Picks 

Blondshell feat. Bully, “Docket”

Cheating on tour—girls do it too! Or at least they think about it. And they feel guilty for thinking about it. And then they write about it. “I look around at the options/I put men on the docket,” Sabrina Teitelbaum and Bully's Alicia Bognanno commiserate here, while feeling sorry for the fellas they left back at home.  

Megan Moroney, “28th of June”

I prefer Moroney wise-cracking to lovelorn, but hey, this is country music, and if your voice had that little catch in it you’d whip up some excuses to sing about your broken heart too. Here she’s celebrating what would have been an anniversary on what’s now “just another Tuesday.”

Olivia Rodrigo, “So American”

Most of the demo-ish bonus tracks tacked onto the deluxe Guts (Spilled) are neither essential nor trash—they’re the kind of solid efforts a songwriter at the top of her game sets aside for later while going for the gold. I love this one for the way Rodrigo rhymes the title with “fair of him” and “I’m gonna marry him,” and all I want to know is if this is the guy who flew her to France when he’d say something wrong?

Shakira & Cardi B, “Puntería”

Shakira’s collabs over the past year have been career-reviving without feeling purely clout-chasing: This rootless trans-Latin hybrid cross-pollinated so fruitfully with Fuerza Regida on “El Jefe” and Bizarrap on “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” ‘cause she thrives in any climate. For the big finish she teams up with Cardi, who’s having a killer 2024 so far herself, and is more than game to remind the non-Anglo public that she’s Dominicana, all while Offset munches on her empanada.

Two Shell feat. FKA Twigs, “Talk to Me”

The gimmicky anonymous London production duo Two Shell, who annoy me on principle, slice and dice Twigs’s attenuated soprano into a delightful sound effect in the service of their hyperbeats. Just goes to show you, once again, how little principle matters in pop.

Worst Song of the Week

Justin Timberlake, “Conditions”

Maybe if Timberlake's new single, “Selfish,” is ever as inescapable as “Mirrors” was I’ll grow to fully hate it. For now it’s just an unwelcome reminder that the guy (who anyone paying attention always knew was a skeevy little conniver) is still pretty decent at what he does, even with mid material. The real selfish moment on Everything I Thought I Was, an album that ever-so-vaguely acknowledges JT’s rap sheet and seeks forgiveness without repentance, is this smug little closing track, which dishes out some real take-me-as-I-am nonsense (“I’m just a man, I'm gonna mess up again” and “do some shit I know won't be forgiven,“ etc.) then demands “Say you'll love me under all of my conditions.” Hey, whatever arrangement you and Jessica have, that’s your business. Me, I’m gonna give the new Usher album another listen instead.

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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