The past couple of months have been incredible for alternative music lovers; we’ve seen artists come out of hiding, prove that they are a force to be reckoned with, and make some pretty big announcements. In addition to all of this awesome stuff, I personally discovered some artists and tracks in the past few months that aren’t new but are worth highlighting. So, here is a short and sweet playlist to catch you up on all the buzz, and to recreate some buzz for older music.
1. Harmony Hall – Vampire Weekend (EP: “Harmony Hall / 2021”) Up until this week, we hadn’t heard from Vampire Weekend since 2013. “Harmony Hall / 2021” marks their great return, and it has already been widely loved and appreciated. Not many alternative bands can boast over 2 million streams in less than 4 days, but Vampire Weekend deserves all the buzz and then some. Now that we’ve gotten a little taste of their new music, we’re all anxiously awaiting album number 4.
2. Say It – Maggie Rogers (Album: “Heard It In A Past Life”) In the past couple of weeks it has been almost impossible to avoid any signs of Maggie Rogers’ debut album, “Heard It In A Past Life,” and nothing brings me more joy. Having adored Rogers since the release of her EP “Now That The Light Is Fading” in early 2017, I have been anticipating this album release for about two years. Even when I thought I knew what to expect, it somehow defied all of my expectations in the best way possible. “Heard It In A Past Life” deserves a listen from start to finish (at least once, and–if you’re like me–25 times after that), but “Say It” is a must-listen if you are pressed for time.
3. Longshot – Catfish and the Bottlemen (Single) Speaking of bands that have gone M.I.A., we have not heard much from Catfish and the Bottlemen in a hot second. Besides the release of a cover or two, the Australian alt-rock band has been relatively silent. Lucky for us, Catfish released a single to bait us for the release of their next album, “The Balance,” coming out in April of this year. “Longshot” captures the same Catfish and the Bottlemen style that we’ve all known and loved since 2014’s “The Balcony,” making the four-month wait filled with buzz and excitement.
4. Almost (Sweet Music) – Hozier (Single) 2018 marked the return of Hozier–during the last few months of 2018, he released five songs. More recently, he announced that his highly-anticipated sophomore album, “Wasteland, Baby!” is set to be released in early March of this year. Hozier has always demonstrated an ability to make dark, morbid music with the same degree of perfection as his ability to make fun, uplifting songs. The contradiction shows when comparing “Almost” to his other recent releases, which have been darker or more serious in tone. He has fun on the upbeat single “Almost,” which is an exciting juxtaposition between his most recent EP, “Nina Cried Power.”
5. I Want It All – COIN (Single) Ever since I discovered COIN, I’ve had a deep admiration for the band’s love and passion for the music they create. The alt-pop band has been releasing hit after hit since 2015, only taking brief breaks in between albums. Of their most recent batch of singles, “I Want It All” has gotten me most excited for the direction that COIN is taking. It makes me eager to see the band perform the song live, as the band is known for taking their music to another level through performance.
6. I Couldn’t Be More In Love – The 1975 (Album: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships) I truly enjoyed the new album from The 1975, even though I was skeptical in the months leading up to its release. It ended up being tremendously cohesive, and no song struck me quite as deeply as “I Couldn’t Be More In Love.” The song evoked emotion in me that reminded me of why I love music so much in the first place.
7. Luxembourg – Other Creatures (EP: “The First EP”) I discovered this song and band over winter break when I heard “Luxembourg” playing in a retail store. When I saw that it only had 60 shazams, I knew immediately that I had to showcase it. Featuring heavy guitar, drums, and some angst in the lead vocals, the song dances on the border of grungy garage band, but ultimately comes out as alternative rock.
8. Primitive – Real Estate (Album: “Atlas”) Most alternative lovers have heard of Real Estate, and I have always been a big fan of their music. However, I never listened to their “Atlas” album deeply enough to appreciate the song “Primitive.” The entire album is an alternative gem, but “Primitive” stands out just a little from the rest of the bunch.
9. This Is The Last Time – The National (Album: “Trouble Will Find Me”) I became super obsessed with The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me” album (released 2013) over break. It’s great music to listen to when you’re sad, or when you’re bummed out by the winter weather, or whatever. “This Is The Last Time” is a standout.
10. Can’t Have Them – Hockey Dad (Album: “Boronia”) I recently got into the fun surf rock that is Hockey Dad. Specifically, their debut album “Boronia” is 39 minutes of this. Track one, “Can’t Have Them,” kicks off the entire album with high energy and beachy guitar riffs.