April 2020: new music round up (lockdown edition)

Written by Reilly Hodson

As with every other part of life, it’s been a weird month for the music industry.

Major releases, from the likes of Lady Gaga, Haim and Sam Smith, have been pushed back. There’s no live music, obviously, and that means, more or less, no money for artists. Some artists have pushed through, however, either addressing the current crisis head on, or releasing music that’s been in the can for a while. Here are some of the tunes that we’ve been playing since lockdown began.

Charli XCX — ‘Forever’ and ‘Claws’

Charli XCX has been busy in lockdown. Preparing for the release of her new album, How I’m Feeling Now, recorded entirely in lockdown, and due 15 May, Charli has released two singles so far. Both are odes to love and intimacy in a time of intense loneliness, with her signature rough-edged production quality. We can’t wait for more to come.

Watch ‘Forever’ here: YouTube

A$AP Nast ft. D33J — ‘Designer Boi’

This laid-back, acoustic-guitar-plucking tune from A$AP Nast and D33J is pure escapism. Nast and D33J muse on shopping designer clothes, rolling around town in a nice car, meeting someone new, all the things you wish you could be doing instead of sitting in the same spot every day on Zoom calls. While the lyrical content feels distant from the current reality, the chill vibe is bang on for late nights hanging with the people in your bubble.

Listen here: SoundCloud

Avantdale Bowling Club — LIVE

Avondale legend Tom Scott has released the live recording of his August 2019 concert at The Powerstation. Listening to live music now feels like a relic of a completely different time, but Scott’s core themes about pride in place and love of people have never felt more relevant for a life constrained, more or less, to the block we live on and the people we live with. It’s music that will make you think on your roots at a deeper level than six60, and turns your living room table into a crowded venue.

Listen here: bandcamp

Chelsea Jade — ‘Superfan’

Chelsea Jade might be the one of the best pop music songwriters working today, and yet too few have heard of her. I first heard her latest track, ‘Superfan’, live at Galatos a year or so back, as an unplanned encore. It was great then, and it’s great now. The video is typically bizarre for Jade’s work, and will give you a much-needed smile.

Watch it here: YouTube

Frank Ocean — ‘Dear April’ and ‘Cayendo’

Frank Ocean doesn’t release music often, but when he does, it hits. His latest efforts are no different. Both of the official releases for these songs are the ‘Side A — Acoustic’ versions, but if you poke around on SoundCloud you can find the official remixes that came with the physical vinyl editions. You never knew you needed a club-ready drop in the middle of ‘Dear April’, but trust me, you did.

Listen here: YouTube and here: YouTube

Dua Lipa — Future Nostalgia

Dua Lipa’s disco-infused sophomore album came out right as everyone was realising just how significant the effects of this crisis would be, which put it in a weird situation for any music release. It’s fun music, music that forces you to move, to dance, to pretend that you can sing that high. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you want. We can’t wait to hear this at the first post-lockdown parties (whenever that comes).

Watch it here: YouTube

The 1975 — Notes on a Conditional Form

The release of The 1975’s fourth album has been pushed back, but there are now six singles, so you can hear a good amount of it already. The latest, which dropped today, ‘If You’re too Shy (Let Me Know)’ is a call-back to their black and white Tumblr days, and if you too were a fan in high school, it’ll take you right back to the first time you heard ‘Chocolate’.

Watch it here: YouTube

Phoebe Bridgers — ‘Kyoto’

Emo queen Phoebe Bridgers is also lining up a new album, Punisher and, if the second single, ‘Kyoto’, is anything to go on, it’s going to be great. This track sounds like it was ripped straight out of an a24 movie, and it’s all the better for it. Bridgers originally wanted to film the video in Japan, but when Covid got in the way, she recorded this uncanny ‘green screen’ version instead.

Watch it here: YouTube

charli xcx
Charli XCX
chelsea jade
Chelsea Jade
Dua Lipa
the 1975
The 1975
phoebe bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers

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