PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".

PopMatters Picks is the new Spotify playlist curated by me, the editor-in-chief of PopMatters. Every day I seek out the best new songs to share with PopMatters readers, and in this little mini-column, I'll provide a bit of background on the artists and songs featured. My aim is as wide as my genre tastes, with forward-looking music my primary focus, but that shall nestle cozily alongside tracks rooted in older styles and music performed with the utmost virtuosity also key to the mix. So, get that finger ready to hit play as we feature the PopMatters Picks of the day.

Stellie - "Colours" (premiere)

Photo: Jackson Thornbury / Courtesy of artist

Australia's Stellie is a rising alternative pop singer-songwriter that received more than 700,000 streams of her 2019 single, "Love Me First". That's down to her smart, emotionally engaging songwriting and a lustrous voice capable of conveying layers of meaning. Stellie released her self-titled EP back in August, and now she's sharing the video for "Colours", a track that has "hit" written all over it as the warm vibes lure you into her world. Stellie doesn't want to waste a minute of precious life energy as she bathes those sentiments in nighttime colors.

Stellie tells PopMatters, "When I initially started writing 'Colours', I just had one lyric in mind: 'I'm too old to die young, so I don't want to die at all.' That line is really what kickstarted the whole mood of the song. It's almost that feeling of being too scared to waste any time, because life is too short and you want to make the most of every second. I wanted to emphasise the darkness that this song emulates when it came to creating the visuals. This is why the whole clip was filmed at night time, with my face really only being lit by different coloured neons. I really want the audience to feel the lyrics as much as they can hear them."

The Brooks - "Gameplay"

We already premiered a song by the Budos Band today, but you can never get enough funk in your life. Canada's the Brooks have been bringing the hot electrofunk for the past eight years, and they have a deeply groovy new tune, "Gameplay", on tap. The eight-piece P-funk group add psychedelic synths, slinky guitars, deep plunks of bass guitar to the song that displays their love for artists like Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins. The second half of the song brings in a NOLA brass band vibe. I can only imagine how incredible this song would song live on a huge stage at Montreux Jazz, where the Brooks have previously played.

Maude Latour - "Block Your Number"

Twenty-year-old New Yorker Maude Latour has been raved about in Billboard, The Fader, and others for highly melodic and smart indie-pop. Last year, Latour released Starsick EP and aimed to reveal all her secrets in an attempt at catharsis. Her music is deeply personal and emotionally revealing, but it also has killer hooks, energy, and passion. On "Block Your Number", the singer-songwriter examines heartbreak and pain in a set of clever, stream-of-consciousness lyrics that just click and work perfectly. Latour may be quite young, but she's already fully arrived with her unique spin.

Berne - "Heat"

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

London electropop duo Berne are as deeply committed to environmental issues as they are their music. Last Friday, they released their debut EP, Stay, which contains this beautiful and haunting new song, "Heat". Stay is focused on climate issues and Berne built a 100% solar power-fuelled website to accompany the record. "Heat" is an intoxicating dose of folktronica with delicate synths, warm harmonies topped with gossamer vocals, and deep, serious messages about how we are destroying our planet. The heat comes from the fire that won't stop burning until there is nothing left to burn. So, you're going to get a message with your music, but then this is mind music of the highest order, so it's only fitting.

Berne say that their "debut EP is a reflection of what keeps us up at night. It comes at a time when humans need to work together towards common goals more than ever. We really believe that small changes will collectively make a big impact and that is the common thread in all the songs."

Jaguar Jonze - "Deadalive"

Photo: Courtesy of Nettwerk Records

Indie pop's Jaguar Jonze (aka Deena Lynch) recorded the vocals for her latest EP while recovering from COVID-19 in a hospital ward, not a fully-laden studio. That did nothing to diminish the power of her vocals; indeed, it probably helped lend an urgency to the proceedings. She ended up spending 40 days in hospital but showed the grit and passion for carrying on with her artistic work. Anti-Hero will release soon via Nettwerk Records, and the Australian is sharing her latest single, the propulsive and thrilling "Deadalive". She and her band wrote the song while holed up in a one-bedroom in Gramercy Park, and have labeled the tune "the melodic manifestation of a reeling mind".

Jonze says, "Those weeks just blur together. I had a fever for five weeks straight and excruciating chest pains. The music industry was completely decimated. I was so worried. For many weeks, I had no voice. I couldn't sing. It was just me on my own. There were breakdowns. But I've been through a lot in life and have always trained myself to see a silver lining and be positive."


Meresha - "Look How Far"

Producer Meresha describes her sound as "alien pop", but her soulful voice adds a delicious contrast to the electronic music she creates. The Berklee-trained musician has a knack for both catchy melodies and the kind of beats that fill dance floors, as evidenced on her latest, "Look How Far". The song celebrates the joy of new love as Meresha thrills over how far she's come and how her heart beats out now. It's pure, relatable, universal emotion which powers some of the best dance tracks, and "Look How Far" is very much of that ilk. The buzz on this young producer is immense, and "Look How Far" shows why that is so.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.