This February was loaded with great music. Songs that showed up at your door looking handsome in that half-vulnerable, half-mischievous way, holding a single rose with a big red bow tied to it for some reason. “Hey,” these songs said to me. “Wanna get stinko and watch Nights in Rodanthe?” “Yes,” I immediately responded. “A million times yes!”
1. Waxahatchee – “Lilacs”
“And if my bones are made of delicate sugar / I won’t get anywhere good without you,” admits Katie Crutchfield on this instant country-folk classic. It resonates on a skeletal level.
2. Kamaiyah (ft. J. Espinosa) – “Get Ratchet”
Four years after dropping one of the rap albums of the decade, Kamaiyah is back. And so are ominously funky minor-key piano chords. And so are extended scratch solos.
3. TOPS – “Witching Hour”
I believe that Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album Mirage is underrated AF. And I have a sneaking suspicion that this Montreal soft-pop band agrees with me.
4. Moses Sumney – “Cut Me”
A breathtaking, falsetto-streaked, prismatic burst of R&B artistry that fills the D’Angelo-sized hole in my heart.
5. Otoboke Beaver – “Dirty Old Fart Is Waiting For My Reaction”
Remember when Liz Warren only needed a minute to rip Michael Bloomberg’s limbs off? This 60-second troll-slaying punk onslaught would work perfectly as the soundtrack.
6. Caribou – “Never Come Back”
Manitoban electronic artist Dan Snaith continues to create deeply emotional, insidiously absorbing dance music, which speaks to those of us who understand that Everything But the Girl’s “Missing” is a modern classic.
7. Boldy James & The Alchemist – “Carruth”
This rap song does not slap. It sighs with unknowable pain.
8. Thundercat – “Dragonball Durag”
Thundercat’s new album drops April 3. And this advance single – an adorably goofy R&B come-on that contains the line “Baby girl / how do I look in my durag?” – is like an early glimpse of an especially fruitful spring.
9. The Avalanches (ft. Blood Orange) – “We Will Always Love You”
Weaving samples from Smokey Robinson and The Roches into an ethereal electronic ballad, these Aussie techno-pastiche legends may have created their prettiest soundscape yet.
10. Yves Tumor – “Gospel for a New Century”
“I think I can solve it,” proclaims Yves Tumor on his latest single. When it comes to figuring out how to infuse splintered, brassy hip hop and fist-pumping hard rock into a pop song, he’s definitely on some Miss Marple shit.