Our Favorite Songs from April 2019
How is this year going by so fast already?! Whatever, at least we’re getting good music out of it. This month we saw Lil Nas X collab with Billy Ray Cyrus, tons of under-the-radar acts deliver dynamic anthems, and we even got our ears on previously released music we missed the first time around. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the 25 songs we learned about, listened to, and loved in April this year.
1. “Shape of my Hands” by illuminati hotties: A feat of genius songwriting, this track off LA alt-rockers illuminati hotties’ debut full-length has it all: lines you’re compelled to swoon over, raging rock rhythms, lax vocal delivery, and moments of fuzzy distortion to get lost in.
2. “Pearl” by Holy Now: Last year, Swedish indie band Holy Now released their debut album featuring this stunner. Built on a pretty alt-rock base of shimmering percussion and searing guitar, it’s a cathartic and emotional piece that gets under the skin.
3. “Ugly” by Huxlee: LA project Huxlee is no longer active (check out her new work as Lou Roy!), but this track off her 2017 EP Appetite is completely addictive. Strong vocals take flight, soaring over a clacking, clamoring composition of percussion and keys.
4. “East Chicago, IN” by Michigander: The debut EP, Midland, from Michigander is remarkable. Every single song cuts deep but it’s gentle with the violence — this track from the release does exactly that, thrumming along calmly among steady percussion, rolling guitar riffs, and blooms of synth as Jason Singer delivers line after line of poignancy with his cool croon.
5. “Aphids” by Sophie Strauss: An underrated genius, Sophie Strauss has a gift for songwriting. This track off her latest album, Hard Study, is a mesmerizing feat of jarring experimental indie. It pumps and pulses like it’s got a heartbeat, cut by traveling synth waves and breathy vocals that deliver profound poetry.
6. “Thinkin Bout You” by Ciara: An absolute bop. Ciara’s newest single off her upcoming album Beauty Marks is an addictive dance anthem begging you to jump right up and choreograph a super embarrassing performance to her 80s-tinged neon beats and sultry vocals.
7. “Honeybee” by The Head and the Heart: On their new single, Seattle folk band The Head and the Heart veer from their usual jangly indie tunes for a more outrightly pop-rock effort. It’s equal parts tender and explosive, a sweetened singalong anthem.
8. “Old Town Road - Remix” by Lil Nas X + Billy Ray Cyrus: Billboard fucked up hard when they took “Old Town Road” off their country charts. Lil Nas X deserved that success on his own, but at least his collab with Billy Ray Cyrus is a total outlaw banger, too. Wish we could be more eloquent here, but it’s as simple as this: the song just rules.
9. “Good To Me” by Se-Noj: Louisiana vocalist Se-Noj is criminally underrated — there’s barely any information on him anywhere and he’s only got a few tracks out but this one is a dynamic barrage of underwater electronica, soulful vocals, and in-your-face percussion. Killer.
10. “MONICA” by Tay Iwar: Off Nigerian R&B artist Tay Iwar’s new album, this track is a sexy, moody tune somewhere between an anthem and a slow-burn as the clamor of fresh hip-hop beats duel beneath Tay’s smooth voice and warbling melodies.
11. “Lay Back” by CLAVVS: This track from Brooklyn alt-pop duo CLAVVS explodes at first bite. There’s no quiet moment or even any real dips or pauses — through and through, it’s a raging smash of dark electronic beats, brooding vocals, and explosive indie-pop goodness.
12. “I Can Dream” by Manatee Commune ft. Effee: Portland producer Manatee Commune makes anything sound good. His collab with sweet vocalist Effee epitomizes springtime: it’s effervescent, endlessly sparkling, a total breath of fresh air.
13. “Footsteps” by Kehlani ft. Musiq Soulchild: Off R&B artist Kehlani’s newest album, this track feels like a dip in the lake at night. It’s just so refreshing, so sexy and cool, throbbing with chiming eruptions and made all the better by Musiq Soulchild’s smooth delivery.
14. “Free Spirit” by Khalid: Please, Khalid, please sing the phone book. Everything that comes out of Khalid’s mouth is spun by gold, especially the title track of his new album. It’s a gorgeous, emotional track built on quick strums and growing clouds of dreamy rhythms.
15. “Lit The Fire” by Ralph: Toronto singer Ralph’s debut EP from 2017 is full of killer tracks but this one is a perfect synth-pop gem, buzzing ever so slightly with punchy neon beats led by Ralph’s pretty vocals delivering almost unbearably relatable songwriting.
16. “Valley” by BBGuns: The latest single from Pittsburgh indie duo BBGuns is a ridiculous burst of anthemic sunshine that combines punchy hip-hop elements with alt-indie components for a quick-witted, foot-stomping banger.
17. “Lessons In Love” by Fabich ft. Liska: This collab between London-based producer Fabich and Irish singer-songwriter Liska is an addictive electro-pop excursion that pumps from the get-go with percussive slaps and looming synth.
18. “Haircut Song” by Shannen Moser: Philly singer-songwriter Shannen Moser is a poet and a magician. The songwriting accomplished on this tender folk ditty is nothing short of remarkable — the song itself is a goosebump-giver, thrumming along on twangy guitar strums and raw delivery that offers a fleeting slice of folk magic.
19. “Flying Visit” by Ferris & Sylvester: On their new single, UK folk duo Ferris & Sylvester craft a stirring ballad that utterly destroys. It’s soft and sweet enough but there’s something so tender and crushing about it, breathy harmonies and new sonic details that fill out the arrangement one-by-one. It’s a heartbreaker whether it means to be or not.
20. “My Mother & I” by Lucy Dacus: Every song from Lucy is a gut-punch, but her newest single finds the singer-songwriter at her most brutally, beautifully honest yet. Over a rollicking bed of guitar strums, Lucy’s magic voice explores the insecurities and intricacies our mothers pass on to us.
21. “Hard To Get” by KUN: C-Pop star KUN is making waves over in the U.S. lately after his recent sold-out tour. His brand new single is a sexy, brooding trip-hop track that finds glitching electronica and punchy drum pad beats pulsing underneath his desperate delivery.
22. “Hurts” by Tilsen: The new single from Toronto pop artist Tilsen can’t possibly be her debut — it’s too perfect, too masterful — but it is, which is insane. Smacks of percussion, bursts of synth, and versatile vocal delivery are combined here to pack a serious punch, plus you’ll be belting the hook for weeks.
23. “Take” by WENS: On LA electro artist WENS’ debut EP, a series of brutally honest beauties are offered, especially this one. Lost in the crush of drum throbs and synth sparkles and acoustic strums, WENS’ pretty falsetto sings a heartbreaker.
24. “Church” by Aly & AJ: We already know that Aly & AJ are absolute legends, but their new single is touched by the divine. It’s a stunning example of their growth as people and as artists — every element is treated so thoughtfully, from volcanic synth-pop moments to aching vocals and all that dances in between.
25. “Rebound” by Tayla Parx ft. Joey Bada$$: The debut album from R&B artist Tayla Parx is perfection — it’s just so good. This track especially finds Tayla delivering her clever wordplay and vibrant vocal versatility over a dizzying soundscape of throbbing, glitching hip-pop rhythms.