It’s nearing 70 degrees in the last week of February, which means we’re practically in spring. Better yet, it means we can finally rip off the parkas and break out the cute jams.
“Nameless, Faceless,” Courtney Barnett: The only viable way to welcome a slight heat wave is to kick out the mellow Aussie jams of Courtney Barnett. Fresh off her collaboration with Kurt Vile on last year’s Lotta Sea Lice, Barnett has announced that she will release her next album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, this summer on Mom+Pop Music. Ahead of its release, Barnett released the single “Nameless, Faceless,” which features her quintessentially buoyant basslines and backing vocals from The Breeders’ Kim Deal. The song’s title and chorus loosely derives from a Margaret Atwood quote, resonating louder now more than ever: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them; women are afraid that men will kill them.”
“Easier Said,” Sunflower Bean: If you take away one thing while skimming this post, it’s that you can’t sleep on this band. I recently caught NYC-based indie trio Sunflower Bean open for Sleigh Bells at the 9:30 Club and immediately wanted to listen to everything they’ve ever recorded. Outside of the fact that its founding members hail from my neck of the woods (#StrongIsland), Sunflower Bean can certainly hold its own with an exhilarating brand of new wave psychedelia. Each song from the group’s set proved stronger than the last, weaving together dreamy fuzz notes that could easily slip into the rotation at Trash & Vaudeville. The band’s sophomore album, Twentytwo in Blue, will be released next month (also on Mom+Pop), so do yourself a favor and give it a listen when it drops. You truly won’t regret it.
“Moon River,” Frank Ocean: It’s safe to assume that Frank Ocean will more often than not appear on this list — mainly because he doesn’t know how not to produce a bump. Last week, the independent R&B artist shared an unexpected cover of the classic ballad “Moon River” on his YouTube channel. We’re all familiar with the version made famous by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but Ocean solidifies its timelessness with his signature sound of longing. He preserves the original’s simple melody as he imbues it with his own gentle crooning, all while backed by a lone electric guitar riff to amplify that ache. Holly Golightly better take notes.
Featured photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.