As the end of the year approaches, there’s been a flood of last-second fourth quarter pitches and releases. In just the last second days, more than 700 arrived and needed to be culled. Here are the five survivors.
1. Travis Barker, Elise Trouw, Paul Raci, Enter Sandman
Single (Amazon Music)
Recommended If You Like: Minimalist. And American Sign Language.
One of the better music-based films of the year is Sound of Metal, which tells the story of Ruben, an alt-rock drummer who suddenly suffers from devastating hearing loss. He’s forced to completely re-evaluate everything in his life. While this cover doesn’t appear in the movie, it was released in conjunction with it. Paul Raci, the dude doing the signing in this video, appears in the film as Ruben’s mentor. Recommended.
2. Quakers, Approach with Caution (feat. Sampa the Great)
II: The Next Wave (Stones Throw Records)
RIYL: Reggae-tinged hip-hop
Quakers, the British hip-hop collective, coaxed rapper Sampa the Great to participate in this single from their second album. Geoff Barrow, he of Portishead, worked as the executive producer on the song, “silently overseeing the Quakers operation from afar.” Sounds like a COVID project. Infectious stuff, this. No pun intended.
3. 347Aidan, Dancing in My Room
RIYL: TikTok breakouts
They say write about you know. This Canadian 17-year-old has spent a lot of time in COVID-19 lockdown dancing in his room and writing about it. This single has over a million TikTok creations and is closing in on 20 million worldwide streams. The single has also made serious inroads into American alt-rock radio. Did I mention the kid is 17?
4. Twenty One Pilots, Christmas Saves the Year
Single (Fueled by Ramen/Warner)
I saw a poll the other day that showed a significant number of people were dreading Christmas this year thanks to the whole COVID situation. Twenty One Pilots would beg to differ with their first-ever holiday song. Pay close attention to the lyrics.
Greta Van Fleet, Age of Machine
The Battle at Garden’s Gate (Lava/Republic)
After touring the planet until they couldn’t tour no more, Greta Van Fleet was given time to write and record The Difficult Second Album™. Actually, most of this record was written on the road. While it won’t be out until April 16, we’ll probably get early tastes with a series of singles before then, including this one—a seven-minute epic, no less.