Weeding through all the new music out there can be a harrowing, not to mention time-consuming, process. Luckily for you, I've compiled a handy list of all the songs you don't know you already love.
Grimes, the brainchild of 23-year-old Montreal based artist Claire Boucher, is hard to describe. Boucher calls her music "post internet," Pitchfork calls it "electro cotton candy," and the best I can come up with is "Judy Jetson meets The Knife." To say that I love her latest release, Visions, is putting it mildly. I listen to it on the daily and have even turned down offers to dinners and movies and dance nights to stay home and sip my whiskey and listen over and over. I think my priorities are just right and you will think so too once you give her a chance. Her music video for "Oblivion" is a good place to start. Mix Claire and strobe lights and the unlikeliest places (motocross events, football games, and mens' locker rooms), add water, and poof, there goes your brain. Also, I would be remiss not to share this bad ass Huck Funn-inspired Mississippi River boating expedition Claire and her then-boyfriend embarked on in 2008. Dear Claire, get out of my dreams and into my car.
Phantogram: "Don't Move"
The two members of Phantogram have been friends since junior high and they record all their music in a remote barn in upstate New York called Harmony Lodge. Awww. Talk about cute overload. "Don't Move" is such a bright, hypnotic track that, even on a recent flight that was delayed several hours, I couldn't help but smile the crying baby and the rude stewardess and the arm rest thief away.
Trust: "Candy Walls"
The inspiration for Trust's debut, which was mixed by Mikey Apples of Crystal Castles, was "nostalgia, lust, and erotomania." The word sexy doesn't really cut it in describing this slow-techno, cold-wave track or its respective music video. One YouTube user sums it quite nicely: "He is very attractive. I want to have sex with him." And, if you must know, I may or may not have written this to a friend who invited me to see them live: "I think my heart just tramped off with a bindle, never to return. That was just too much darling cuteness to handle. His over-sized shorts and kitten tee! Her tangled horse hair and shades! Life on the road Kerouac style! If I go to this concert with you, you're going to have to give me a lecture on why rape is not an acceptable form of expression. Can you do that for me?" Trust is bringing the lust to the Rickshaw Stop on April 12, 2012. Get yourself some tickets!
Labyrinth Ear: "Humble Bones"
Labyrinth Ear's "Humble Bones," the closing track off their self-released EP Apparitions, fits right into my deepest REM dreams, the unconscious adventures I take to unicorn sanctuaries and down the canals of ancient Venice. The boy/girl duo from London have crafted quite the synth-pop ear worm here, one that begs to be sung, as my neighbors and anyone I bike past can attest.
Perfume Genius: "Hood"
Perfume Genius, a.k.a. Mike Hadreas, began this musical project when he moved from the bustle of New York to the calm isolation of his mother's home in Everett, WA. The piano-driven music that has resulted is equal parts tender, heartbreaking, and poetic. Beyond the recognition he's recently gotten for his beautiful sophomore effort Put Your Back N 2 It, Perfume Genius also received some attention after YouTube banned one of his videos for not being "family safe" because it featured two men embracing. It's going to take a lot more than latent homophobia to hold this guy down. He's here! He's queer! Get used to it!
Niki and the Dove: "DJ, Ease My Mind"
Sweden just won't quit sending over musicians to invade and conquer my ear drums. Since my first CD (Ace of Base's The Sign -- don't hate) to The Cardigans to Robyn to Jens Lekman to Lykki Li to Fever Ray…(you get the picture), I've fallen for one Swede after another. And it continues with Niki and the Dove's "DJ, Ease My Mind," which is about the wave of bliss that crashes over you every time the DJ plays your song. Here's hoping I hear this one on some dance floor out there tout de suite.
Sleigh Bells: "Comeback Kid"
Back when Sleigh Bells' debut album was released, I wrote: "Sometimes your ears need a good pummeling, something raw and shredded to blaze through your ear canal. And Sleigh Bells will give it to you (and have the courtesy to leave some scar tissue to remember it by)." A few years later and they're still my go-to band for all things brash. "Comeback Kid" doesn't exactly misbehave on the level of their earlier work, but it has won me over regardless. And the music video is just as good: Alexis Krauss jumping on a bed clutching a rifle with an innocent smile smeared on her face and Derek Miller giving a nod to The Breakfast Club. These two sure know the way to my heart.
BONUS: Beach House: "Myth"
Everything I said about my fellow Baltimorians back in 2010 still stands. Feast on their brand new single. Don't fret, those heart palpitations are normal.