Dear Rouge, “Boys & Blondes”
Recommended If You Like: Phantogram, July Talk, Dragonette
In five years, Dear Rouge went from being an unknown indie band from Vancouver to a Juno Award-winning breakthrough band on the strength of two EPs and one full album, Black to Gold. More than two years after the release of that record comes this single, heralding the imminent arrival of The Difficult Second Record™. No title yet, but we’ll grill them about that at the CASBY Awards on Wednesday.
U.S. Girls, “Mad as Hell”
RIYL: Grimes, Dirty Beaches, if Gwen Stefani was in a girl group
First, it’s girl singular. Genuine US-born girl Meghan Remy formed a noise-pop group in 2007 with a rotating cast of collaborators in Illinois before marrying Canadian guitarist Slim Twig and moving to Toronto. (She’s now officially a Canadian citizen, so this song qualifies as Cancon.) Her catalogue goes back at least seven releases, including the beloved Half Free from 2015.
AJR feat. Rivers Cuomo, “Sober Up”
The Click (Ultra Records)
RIYL: Walk the Moon, Walk Off the Earth, fun., Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, etc., etc.
Starting with a cello (Or is that a viola? I can never tell), “Sober Up” is an uplifting major key pop song, designed for people who love to singalong too loudly while they wear their Beats in public. AJR is Adam, Jack and Ryan Met, three brothers who produce just about everything in their Chelsea apartment in New York. Rivers dropped in to co-write this one.
Franz Ferdinand, “Always Ascending”
Always Ascending (Domino)
RIYL: About what you’d expect from FF.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Five years will have past since the last album by the time Always Ascending arrives February 8. The title track ticks all the boxes of successful singles of yore, namely a smooth melodic over a spikey arrangement completed by a sudden shift in tempo. A show at Rebel in April has already been announced.
MGMT, “Little Dark Age”
Little Dark Age (Sony)
RIYL: Bands that eschew vowels
Here’s another band that’s been AWOL for close to five years. The last we heard from these guys, the idea of President Donald Trump was still the punchline to a joke. From the looks of the video that came with this single, it appears that they’re serious about a comeback. No date for the album yet, but you know MGMT: they always take their time.