We were practically raised on the soft and serene melodies of ex-Vampire Weekender Rostam Batmanglij, each album punctuating some important part of our teen years (if not yours then certainly mine anyway), so it gives us great pleasure to slap such a musical genius at the top of the Wonderlist this week. Of course, we were gutted when he left the group, but as “These Kids We Knew” clearly shows, it’s not as if he lost that that uncanny ability to make us feel so vividly through sound. As Christina Aguilera once said (and sang on her Greatest Hits album) Rostam just “Keeps Getting Better“.
80’s synthpop, dreamy indie and a hard-hitting rap masterpiece fight it out for the top spot in this week’s Wonderlist.
Rostam – “These Kids We Knew”
Allie X – “GLAM!”
How to even begin explaining our obsession with Allie X… maybe it’s her super sharp vocals, so heavenly as they explode over chorus lines like fist-bumping cheers of triumph, or perhaps it’s her knack for writing the most perfect of pop hooks, each song an entirely different earworm in itself. On “GLAM!”, these skills are working in tandem, transporting us to late 80s Los Angeles as we strut down Rodeo Drive with the arresting confidence of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – feeling like a million bucks… and a little in love. This pop with a total zest for life.
Cardi B – “Up”
Bartier Cardi has released her first tune of 2021, and as you can imagine, she’s came in swinging! “Up”. You already know her visual game is going to be major-motion-picture level, fused with her signature lot of debaucherous lyrics that become instantly memorable upon first listen, if we had to choose – “if I had a dick, you’d probably lick it like a lollipop / hoes speakin’ cap-enese, hit ‘em with karate chop” – may take the cake this time. In any case, the track is an explosion of vibrant horniness that is sure to be studied as a work of art in decades to come.
Hayden Everett – “Kennecott”
Get into the alt-folk stylings of Hayden Everett. On “Kennecott”, the San Diego-based singer-songwriter brings an elusive sense of tranquility back to the world after the tumult that was 2020, taking on the POV of the Alaskan mining town abandoned in the 1930’s from which the track was named in the process. The lyrics act as a protective plea that stresses the beauty of nature, reminding us there’s so much more to life than exploitation and wealth. You lot who are messing up the rainforest better beware, Everrett’s next tune might not be as spellbinding and may instead be a diss track about your mum!
Yas VW – “Be the One”
Another musical classic dragging us back to the eighties with its atmospheric pop stylings. On “Be the One”, Yas VW captures the soft-spoken elegance and stripped back R&B flourishes popularised by Janet Jackson, and combines it with Carly Rae Jepsen’s modern adoration of decades-old synthpop. The result, of course, is magnificent – a song dripping with fleeting romance and hip-swaying magic.
Solå – “Last Lines”
Scandi-pop provocateur Solå has shows she knows her way around a banger in “Last Lines”. The synth-laden prom song has that unique ballad-like quality where, instead of making us want to cry for hours on end, her head-rush inducing choruses and shimmery synths instill a total yearn for the dancefloor, or any setting where you can feel in the pulsating flash of a strobe light without having to open your eyes. In other words, it’ll rock your euphoric socks off.
Priya Ragu – “Chicken Lemon Rice”
Having dazzled the world with spunky R&B offering “Good Love 2.0” late last year, Priya Ragu is back to shake up the game with another irreverent classic, “Chicken Lemon Rice”. Interweaving Krishna mantras and the Tamil language into layers of Sri Lankan percussion and pounding electro-pop, Ragu’s latest track is a joyous celebration of the singer’s South Asian heritage. “The world is not black and white, it’s colourful,” says Ragu of the song’s message. “We can come together and still be ourselves whilst celebrating different heritages and learning from each other.”
newfamiliar – “How Can I?”
This week’s dreamy-indie portion of Wonderlist might just be the most special as we introduce newfamiliar into the mix. Led by Ryan Johnston (vocals), Will Booth and Danny Hepworth (both on guitar), “How Can I?” is the trio’s first song as a collective, having worked with each other in various capacities over the years but never altogether. As far as debut’s go, never before have we heard such a wistful tenderness, an air of vulnerability spilling out of every word and guitar strum. This song has “main character on a spring walk” written all over it, and we’re eating up every morsel.
PRICIE – “Too Dang Good”
I know what you’re thinking, but no, glamour model and reality TV icon Jordan is not back in the musical saddle. This PRICIE is a Nigerian-born and Australian-based musical triple threat who can sing, write and rap circles around her agemates. On her debut single – “Too Dang Good” – a last minute moment of studio magic, PRICIE’s vocal are beyond powerful. Mixing confident and compelling delivery with a series of tongue-in-cheek lyrics and playful hooks, the star almost immediately positions herself as one to watch with eagle eyes in the coming months – we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out…