(AWAL Recordings America Inc.)
Lauv is becoming one of my favorite newer voices in music today. He has written music for such popular singers as Demi Lovato, Celine Dion, and Charlie XCX. In the last few years, he has become known for his own voice through a variety of singles and a 2015 EP, Lost in the Light. In 2017, he toured with Ed Sheeran. His voice always sounds amazing, but I really love it when it gets low and breathy. I’m glad he’s finally releasing a full-length album. Called ~how i’m feeling~, it will come out March 6, with a whopping 21 songs. Some are already available through streaming services like Spotify. Lauv’s pop style reminds me a bit of Troye Sivan’s, which is fitting because their song together “i’m so tired…” will be on the album. They mesh perfectly on that track. “Modern Loneliness,” the newest single, and “Drugs & The Internet” are among my favorites of the few songs I’ve heard, along with “Sad Forever.” There is much more to come, and I can’t wait. Lauv will perform Aug. 16 at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo.
Sam Smith is often at his best when singing a sad song. It’s almost like the Adele curse, where we love her songs about heartbreak. It’s not that fans wish them to be lonely, but their best work is about going through the tumultuous times of love or the lack of love and the complications in between. That’s not surprising because Smith, who is non-binary, claims Adele as one of their greatest influences. “To Die For” is a great single. It features everything we love about Smith: a simple piano melody, lyrics about a relationship, and those perfect high notes. Near the end of the song, there’s a point where the vibrato is swoon-worthy. This is the title song for Smith’s upcoming album, To Die For, which is set to be released on May 1. It can’t come soon enough for me.
(Modular/Island Records Australia)
Very few albums speak to me like this new Tame Impala album has. Lyrically. Melodically. Everything in this album is wonderful and atmospheric, and it’s clear that an enormous amount of thought and work went into it. The album is honest to a dark point, but not one that is entirely uncomfortable. It has an experimental and sophisticated aspect to it that is not uncharacteristic of Tame Impala. This is the kind of album that makes a jaded ex-songwriter want to pick up an instrument again. Tame Impala is essentially one person, Kevin Parker, and that makes this album even more impressive. Parker has a touring band, but he writes and records everything himself. If fans of psychedelic pop music somehow haven’t given him a chance yet, now is the time. My favorite tracks are “Breathe Deeper,” “Lost in Yesterday,” and “Borderline.” Tame Impala is coming to the Sprint Center on July 20.
(Mom + Pop Music)
Sometimes I need a little bit of indie alternative pop-rock in my life. Beach Bunny is doing that for me at the moment. They are heavily indie with some pop punk influences. They remind me of Vedera, a past local Kansas City band, in both vocals and overall music style. Beach Bunny is from Chicago. After releasing several EPs, this is their first full-length album. They recently signed with Mom + Pop Music. Tom Morello, best known for being the guitarist in both Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, is signed to the same label. I’m glad Spotify suggested Beach Bunny, and I’m excited to see where the band’s career goes. My favorite songs are “Cloud 9,” “Dream Boy,” and “April.”