Pop critics weigh in on some of the recent important new music releases. Last week saw the release of Sakima’s sophomore Ricky EP, as well as highly anticipated drops from St. Vincent, Shamir and Fischerspooner. Watch and listen to everything, below.
“Daddy” by Sakima
London-based artist Sakima’s been focused on making sexually inclusive pop—first with his Facsimile EP and now with its follow-up, Ricky. Packed with electronic synths, Sakima’s new six-track effort is a sultry glimpse into his fantasies. On “Daddy,” which features YLXR, Sakima wanted to create a queer version of Fifth Harmony’s “Work,” as he begs a lover, “Will you be my da-a-addy, da-a-addy?” It’s hilariously addictive and secretly relatable.
“Pills” by St. Vincent
Three years after her eponymous fourth album, St. Vincent, the singer has returned with the supremely sarcastic, dark, and danceable Masseducation. While every track seems destined to be played on repeat for weeks, it’s “Pills” that we can’t get enough of. The certified bop features her ex, Cara Delevingne, under the pseudonym Kid Monkey and serves up the mantra “Pills, pills, pills every day of the week.” Count on Annie Clark to somehow take America’s terrifying pill epidemic and turn it into a song we can dance to.
“Straight Boy” by Shamir
Shamir’s first single off his new album, Revelations, opens with the question: “Can someone tell me why/ I always seem to let these straight boys ruin my life?” The queer singer’s raw guitar-driven confessional explores queer-baiting and whitewashing in mainstream media. “It’s about how frustrating it was for me to have my whole identity picked apart at a young age, just to see straight white men use it as an aesthetic choice,” Shamir told NPR, releasing a Ryan Carpenter-directed music video that outlines the same concept.
“Why Do You Feel So Down?” by Declan McKenna
It’s safe to assume a lot of us are feeling pretty down lately. There’s an orange-tinted madman running America, there’s whatever is happening with Spain, and then there’s the heartbreak of not knowing when Big Little Lies will come back. The world is a lot to handle! Luckily, this British singer/songwriter has the cure for the blues: some good old fashioned aerobics. In the video for this track off of his debut EP, What Do You Think About The Car?, the 18-year-old leads the cutest dance class of all time with enough spandex, tube socks, and short shorts to make you forget about the world for nearly four minutes.
“Love You Like That” by Dagny
After releasing her summery single, “Wearing Nothing,” and cover of disco classic “More More More,” Scandi-pop star Dagny returns today with “Love You Like That.” The singer/songwriter admits to being wary of using I love you’s in her music, but managed to create something that captures the sentiment without falling victim to clichés. The chorus is explosive and addictive, with lyrics about her difficulties expressing feelings through words. “I’m not always clever with the words I use,” she sings to a lover. “But right when I hold you, don’t you know the truth.”
“Czech One” by King Krule
Few artists would pick China Chalet, the downtown restaurant known more for their after-hours ragers than for their dim sum, to play a pop-up show to announce their new album, but then there’s Archie Marshall. The gaunt, red-headed Brit who has become an underground cult icon for achingly cool kids is back with the second album under his King Krule moniker. Over 19 tracks, Marshall blends a mix of lounge jazz, classic rock, and hip-hop with brooding lyrics about love, anxiety, and depression. With tracks as brilliant as “Czech One” and “Lonely Blue,” It’s no wonder Beyoncé and Kanye West count themselves among his fans.
“Togetherness” by Fischerspooner (Feat. Caroline Polachek)
Check out the new music video here!
Fischerspooner is gearing up to debut its new album, SIR, early next year—the first full-length release since 2009’s Entertainment. The electro-clash duo’s lead single, “Have Fun Tonight” set a tone for hyper-homosexual digital butch attitude, and their follow-up offers something a bit gentler. “Togetherness” features Chairlift’s Caroline Polacheck, who’s behind Beyoncé’s “No Angel” and several Superfruit tracks. “The deeper you go, the darker it gets,” sings frontman Casey Spooner, as Polacheck’s warped vocals cut in and out.
“I Wanna Go” by Quiet Luke
With an opening guitar riff that sounds fit for the hallways of a John Hughes film, the young New York musician launches into a brilliantly simple new track that shows why he’s one of the most exciting artists of the year. In the follow up to his last single “YHP,” Luke sings (yes, quietly) about wanting to go as he asks, “Baby, is it real now?” Real or fiction, wherever Quiet Luke goes, we’ll follow if his music keeps sounding this good.
“The Bus Song” by Jay Som
This week, Jay Som released a music video for “The Bus Song,” off her latest album, Everybody Works, and it features a joyful parade of San Francisco bands (Plush, Future Shapes, No Vacation). Directed by Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast, queer songwriter Melina Duterte sings about being patient with a lover. “Take time to figure it out/ I’ll be the one who sticks around/ And I just want you to lead me/ And I just want you to need me.”
“Down 4 Whatever (Kingdom’s VIP Chop)” by Kingdom (Feat. SZA)
Queer producer Kingdom rereleased his album, Tears in the Club, with additional remixes and previously unreleased instrumentals. Arguably his biggest track to date, Kingdom’s SZA collab “Down 4 Whatever” has been reworked three different ways—first by Kingdom himself, then Sami Baha and DJ J Heat. In an interview with the Fader, Kingdom said SZA’s alternative, organic vocal delivery brought a nice balance to his synthetic, club-influenced beats. “It ended up working really well,” he said. “These abstract, heady singers over these weirdo radio-sounding beats.”
Check out some other great playlists here. Or head over here for more new releases.