As the warm weather mixes with the anxious air of finals, busy students turn to music for everything from walks in the sun to hours-long study sessions. Luckily, April welcomed an eclectic array of radiant releases, from The Regrettes’ Further Joy to Orville Peck’s Bronco. However, some equally brilliant releases may have slipped beneath your radar, though they are well worth a listen. Never fear — music beats Lauren Harvey and Ian Fredrickson are here to guide you through the April music releases you won’t want to skip.
“90s American Superstar,” Wallice
Indie rock up-and-comer Wallice Hana Watanabe, known by the mononym Wallice, is back with her sharp lyricism and airtight melodies on her latest single “90s American Superstar,” released April 5. While she clings to the candor and subtle sarcasm of her previous tracks, this time she approaches the Los Angeles celebrity scene with a critical retro edge.
Wallice brilliantly weaves allusions to emblematic ’90s movies throughout the first verse, reflecting on a breakup with a palpable popular culture awareness. “Lazy and lonely, dazed and confused/ Way more than ten things I hate about you,” she sings as a fuzzy guitar riffs in the background. Amid a pulsing synth, Wallice turns from inner reflection to outward criticism, the chorus eventually culminating in a playful, warped series of “La La Las.” With her constant and unpredictable shifts, Wallice buckles listeners in for a wild, dynamic ride.
After releasing her debut EP Off the Rails and joining Still Woozy on his “If This Isn’t Nice Tour,” Wallice has already left a notable mark on the indie rock scene. But, if “90s American Superstar” is any indication, there is much more still to come.
— Lauren Harvey
“Doritos & Fritos,” 100 Gecs
Promising the release of their sophomore record 10,000 Gecs in “early 2022,” 100 Gecs have kept fans hanging on the edge of their seats over the past few months. Although not quite as exciting as an album release, a new single from the hyperpop duo was, regardless, welcomed with open arms.
“Doritos & Fritos” is completely distinct from the group’s past work. Trading their usually electronic-forward production for distorted guitars, an in-your-face bassline and non-autotuned verses, the single explores a much less electronically manicured realm while still holding true to the uncanny, archetypal Geccian musical outlook.
With lyrics such as “It’s hot as deez, it’s 100 degrees,” and, “Cheetos, Doritos, and Fritos, mosquitos/ I’m eating burritos with Danny Devito,” the song is equal parts absurd as it is earworm-inducing. Both Laura Les’ and Dylan Brady’s vocals shine throughout the listen, granting their fanbase an incredibly intriguing peek into the band’s future musical endeavors.
Dancy, weird and undeniably catchy, the single has only intensified the already gargantuan anticipation for 100 Gecs’ upcoming LP.
— Ian Fredrickson
“Psychofreak,” Camila Cabello and WILLOW
Camila Cabello and Willow may seem an unlikely duo, but on “psychofreak,” released April 8th as part of Cabello’s record Familia, they come together with beautiful synchronicity.
The track opens with Willow’s slow, intonating vocals, Cabello’s spliced voice suddenly emerging in a trippy collision. In a steady, cyclical cadence, Cabello addresses everything from her breakup with Shawn Mendes to her fallout with Fifth Harmony, exploring themes of vital disconnection. “Sometimes, I don’t trust the way I feel/ On my Instagram talkin’ ‘bout ‘I’m healed,’ ” she admits with surprising self-criticism. Though experimental and electronically infused, the track feels undeniably candid, handsomely textured by Willow’s ascendant contributions.
Throughout Familia, Cabello bravely wanders into new territories, producing sounds that beautifully marry vulnerability with artistry. In all its cyber and cerebral complexity, “psychofreak” brilliantly welcomes in this new era in a mind-bending testament to Cabello and Willow’s musical prowess.
— Lauren Harvey
With her dark, authentic approach to electronic production, Arca has become synonymous with some of the most interesting music the experimental scene has ever had to offer. Marrying the organic world with electronic manipulation, the Venezuelan musician released her new single “Cayó” on April 7, alongside a vinyl boxset of her iconic KICK records.
A beautiful, reverb-drowned, delayed vocal track draws listeners into the song’s cinematic soundscape. Repeatedly singing “sin volver a ver hacia atrás” (“with no looking back”), Arca explores themes of abandonment and heartache, backed by abrasive rubbery sound effects and piercing synths.
Paired with the single is an enchanting music video directed by Albert Moya. Featuring scenes of Arca in a terrifying dentist-like chair, followed by shots of her dancing in a white curtained room wearing what can only be described as robot shoes, then laying by a pool engulfed in flames, and the list goes on, the video is disorienting in the best way possible.
Arca has set the bar for her releases undeniably high. However, she continues to live up to, or surpass, these expectations — “Cayó” is no exception.
— Ian Fredrickson
Other notable releases: “Sidelines,” Phoebe Bridgers; Growing Up, The Linda Lindas; Spiral, Frost Children