The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Billie Marten, Willa & White Sea
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with a new feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. While most of the big acts shied away from releasing new music today out of fear of being lost in the Coachella vortex, a group of rising female artists weren’t so easy to scare. As such, I’m making this an all-woman edition in their honor.
Dark-pop seductress White Sea (better known to friends and family as Morgan Kibby) leads the charge with gloomy, 80’s-tinged electronic anthem “Bloodline,” the latest track from interactive art project, Postcards From Nowhere. If M83 crossed paths with Pat Benatar, it might sound a little something like this. Canadian electro-pop practitioner Willa also serves retro synths on “Hey.” Only the killer preview of debut LP Criminals + Dreamers explores a brighter, bubblier soundscape. If the stars align, this could be a big song for the “Swan” singer.
If you’re looking for something a little slinkier, look no further than Monogem’s “Take It Slow.” This picks up where the Los Angeles-based diva’s self-titled debut EP left off — with sultry, R&B-tinged beats, sexy vocals and sweaty lyrics. It’s your new bedroom anthem. Rising girl group Bahari, who will open for Selena Gomez on the Revival Tour, opt for a very different approach on “Dancing On The Sun.” The ladies mine a retro California vibe that falls somewhere between The Beach Boys and Haim. Their warm, organic sound is a breath of fresh air.
As usual, much of the week’s finest pop product hails from the UK. The buzz around 17-year-old Billie Marten reached fever pitch earlier this year when she was shortlisted for the BBC Sounds Of longlist alongside Jack Garratt, Frances and Alessia Cara. She more than lives up to the hype on fragile folk-pop outing “Milk & Honey,” which is a decidedly mature rumination on greed. Rising duo Meadowlark take a similarly restrained approach on “Satellite,” a dreamy ballad that finds Kate McGill’s angelic vocal soaring over a simple piano arrangement and elegant synths. Buy their excellent debut EP Paraffin while you’re at it.
While the Brits do airy, refined pop better than anyone, they have also delivered more than their fair share of mouthy divas. (All hail queen GIRLI!) Lola Coca definitely falls into this category and she comes out swinging on “GQ” — a rant about shallow dudes with six-packs and hair product on the brain. “You’re a budget Elvis Costello, baby you deserve a medal for being the #1 asshole,” she chirps over a bouncy beat. I’m sold. On the continent, Polish pop diva Margaret surprises with “Cool Me Down.” The newcomer pulls off an Eva Simons-like miracle — remember “Silly Boy” — by beating Rihanna at her own game. This could work stateside.
What about the ever-innovative Australians? Two duos step forward this week with breathtakingly good electro-pop anthems. Melbourne newcomers GL, smoothly voiced by Ella Thompson, serve a heady mix of Tom Tom Club disco and future bass on “Grip.” This heady concoction seeps into your brain after the first listen and refuses to leave. More please. Fellow Victorians Kllo take a more experimental approach on “Bolide,” with vocalist Chloe Kaul sounding like Kiiara’s slightly more relaxed cousin.
Last, but definitely not least, is queer rapper Uncle Meg. She deserves a special shout for holding her own against the week’s big rap releases with the typically dope “Big Daddy Margaret Rose.” While the rest of the game seethes with drama and beefs, the NY cult figure keeps on doing her thing. Very, very well. Check out the hilarious video, directed by Eric Rivas, below.