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5 songs you must hear this week: 16 March 2020

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It’s been a weird month with coronavirus news coming at us minute-by-minute. What hasn’t changed, though, is the volume of new material flowing through my computer. Here are five tracks that should help make self-isolation a little easier for a few minutes.

1. Biffy Clyro, Instant History
A Celebration of Endings (Warner)
Recommended If You Like: Bands from the UK that inexplicably not broken through in North America

Billy Clyro is right at the top of the list of huge UK bands who have yet to catch on in North America. They’ve won all kinds of awards, achieved all kinds of chart peaks and sales milestones, had multiple honours bestowed upon them, and sell out huge gigs throughout Europe. With their ninth album be the one that does it on this side of the Atlantic?

2. Guardin, Alive
Single (Photo Finish/Caroline)
RIYL: Subtle emo

If we’re going to do this right, we have to list the title as Alive (prod Caspr). Deconstructing that, we have Guardin (yes, that’s the correct spelling), an alternative singer-songwriter from Hornell, New York, who first thought it would be a good idea to post threads of his songs on 4Chan. That worked, gaining him his first 1500 followers. Caspr (again, that’s the correct spelling) is a Texas-based creator of beats who sells his stuff on a site called Traktrain. This is the same kind of online collaboration that made Lil Nas X a star with Old Town Road.

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3. Yelawolf, Opie Taylor
Ghetto Cowboy (Slumerican)
RYIL: Alternative hip-hop

As a native of northern Alabama, rapper and avid biker Yelawolf (Michael Wayne Atha) may have more in common with the hip-hop scene of nearby Atlanta than he does with any centre of alt-rock. Signed early in his career by Eminen’s Shady Records, he’s now recording independently. The title of this record is an homage to a 1998 single by Mo Thugs while the title of this song comes from the role Ron Howard played on The Andy Griffith Show back in the 60s. You’ll get it when you see the video. Dude’s got a lot of tats, too.

4. Overcoats, The Fool
Self-Made (Arts & Crafts/Loma Vista/Concord)
RIYL: Sweet alt-pop harmonies

WARNING: This is dangerously infecti–sorry, earworm-y. The Overcoasts are Hana Elion and JJ Mitchel, a couple of electropop-loving women from NYC who have obviously spent a lot of time studying the intricacies (and virality) of Swedish pop music. And if you’re into the supernatural, note that this song is based on the tarot card known as The Fool.

5. Ruby Waters, Supernatural
Almost Naked EP (Independent)
RIYL: Billie Eilish, Lorde, Lykke Li

Dancey alternative with an attitude. Ruby is a DIY artist from Toronto who has already opened for City and Colour and has a headlining gig at the Mod Club on June 25. Definitely someone to watch this summer.

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