PopMatters Picks Playlist

PM Picks the Best New Songs: Bashar Murad, LEEPA, Izo FitzRoy + More

The PM Picks playlist features the best new songs. Today, we feature Bashar Murad, LEEPA, Izo FitzRoy, murloe, and Icons 2 Ashes.

Hear all of this music on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.

Bashar Murad – “Maskhara

Bashar Murad 2021
Photo: Fadi Dahabreh Outfit – Hazar Jawabra / Courtesy of the artist

East Jerusalem Palestinian pop singer Bashar Murad first drew attention outside of his homeland for featuring in Icelandic band Hatari‘s viral video of “Klefi / Samed (صامد)”. Hatari raised the Palestinian flag during a performance of the song at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. Now Murad is stepping into the limelight with a new solo EP filled with banging beats, social conscience. “Maskhara” is the name of the EP and the best song of the bunch.

Sporting propulsive Arabic beats, the track is a dance number with brains. Murad laments his place in the world, singing, “My fate is out of my hands / No one understands my way of life / But in my hand is a glass of whiskey / And it still doesn’t quench me.” The frustrations cover many layers between being a gay man in a region dominated by religious orthodoxies and being a Palestinian in a land without the full rights that Israelis enjoy. He’s a man misunderstood by the majority all around him, and he injects those sentiments into a club banger of a dance tune. The best music moves our hearts, minds, and feet, and Murad proves to be a pop force that’s much needed in this world.


LEEPA – “I’m Sorry, Are You?”

LEEPA

Germany’s LEEPA creates a killer, catchy, and hook-filled indie-pop number with her latest single, “I’m Sorry Are You”. She’s previously found much success on TikTok with her little earworms, and her career is on the rise. The new tune hits immediately with its pop bonafides as LEEPA’s mellifluous voice rides a bouncy melody leading quickly to the chorus, where the song explodes into a state of pure poppiness. It’s a happy-sounding number with sad undertones, as LEEPA apologizes for problems in a friendship and questions if her friend is equally sorry. She values the relationship and can’t see why the other won’t even communicate with her.

LEEPA says, “Losing friends can be more painful than losing a partner, especially when the friendship has broken down due to circumstances that are no one’s fault. Even though time passes, distance prevails, and life moves on at a brisk pace, one always mourns a true friendship.”


Izo FitzRoy – “Everybody Knows This Ain’t Right”

izo fitzroy
Photo: James Hole / Courtesy of Jalapeno Records

Izo FitzRoy emerged out of the UK’s vibrant soul scene back in 2017 with her debut LP, Skyline, which highlighted her versatility with its blend of bluesy R&B and gospel. FitzRoy released her sophomore album, How the Mighty Fall, back in March 2020 when the COVID pandemic started to wreak havoc in Europe and the rest of the world. So, with tours canceled, she teamed up with producer Erik Janson to write a series of songs steeped in the soul sounds of the 1960s and 1970s. With “Everybody Knows This Ain’t Right”, FitzRoy aims to honor one of her musical heroes, Bill Withers. Her voice is smokey and deep as she creates a dreamy, heartfelt, funky slow-burn across the track’s lyrics. FitzRoy possesses real vocal power and presence while creating warm, emotionally laden music with deep grooves.


murloe – “Waste Away the Day With Me”

Rising pop/R&B singer-songwriter murloe adds jazzy flourishes to her music, making her a part of the current British soul/jazz revival alongside artists like Jordan Rakei and Tom Misch. On her latest single, the BBC-fetted murloe wants the closeness of enjoying someone’s company for an extended period while they just “waste away the day” and discover what their relationship could be. murloe finds the object of her affection to be so sweet that she wants to be with them all day, holding each other, grooving to the light and sensual music. Deft lyrics, dreaminess, and gentle beats combine with her delightfully flirty charm for a lovely atypical love song.

murloe says, “I don’t like to define what something is or put a label on it. I just do what feels right. I’d like to think all my people who feel the same will put this track on in their kitchen and vibe like nobody’s watching.”


Icons 2 Ashes – “Peace and Harmony”

Since 2019, Icons 2 Ashes’ Noah Becker and Matt Baggiani have created widescreen electropop, as we hear on their soaring new single “Peace and Harmony”. Their latest track sports a full-sized gospel choir and a lead singer with a deeply soulful voice. “Peace and Harmony” is what it says, a tribute to that better place someone who loves us can take us. It’s resolutely upbeat and positive, positively oozing warm, love vibes. In other words, a summertime boost to make you feel better. The duo have told Rolling Stone that they are working on their first album this summer.


Hear all of this music on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.

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