New Music: Matt Thompson, Starbird And The Phoenix, Pale Waves, Joshua Sade James

Starbird and the Phoenix
Starbird and the Phoenix

In this week’s music round-up, we’ve got something for everyone: alt-pop/folk, dance, guitar rock, and smooth danceable R&B.

First up, Starbird and the Phoenix – fronted by queer multi-hyphenate artists Courtney Bassett and Andrew Swackhamer – released their debut alt-pop/folk album STARFIRE this week.

Bassett and Swackhamer describe the new album as a “catchy-as-hell, sometimes symphonic Wonderland that takes the listener on a joy ride from lust, queer love and heartbreak to mental health awareness and self empowerment.”

“We wrote this album to spread our joy, our pride, our heartaches, and our need to dance it out!,” add the artists. “STARFIRE is a technicolor fireball sent from the stratosphere to light up the dark left by 2020. We hope it moves people to sing/screlt along, to have a dance party, and to feel like you have friends in us, who want you to revel in all that you are!”

Check out the first single from the collection, “I’m Fallin,” which has a totally chill pop/folk vibe.

Out music artist Matt Thompson
Matt Thompson (photo: Leans Vision)

Out artist Matt Thompson drops his first single of 2021, “Accelerate,” an upbeat dance pop song about when we “first start talking to someone and things are new and delicate” but impatience can derail the romance.

“I fall in love too fast and have to deal with all of the repercussions of going from zero to hundred,” says Thompson. “I’m always telling myself to be patient and take things slow, and then I end up not.”

With a slightly dark quality and a stormy soundscape, the synth-pop track successfully mirrors the lyrics’ push/pull tale of attraction.

“Accelerate” is out now on all streaming/download sites.

Pale Waves drops their new album 'Who Am I?'
Pale Waves

Pale Waves drops their highly-anticipated sophomore album, Who Am I?, alongside the music video for latest single “Fall To Pieces.”

The new collection puts a spotlight on frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie’s songwriting which messages a safe space for people to be themselves.

Over the last few years, Baron-Gracie has held her life up to the light, reflecting on her own mental health and growing pains but also her experience of falling in love and becoming more open about her sexuality, emerging with a newfound clarity and optimism.

The pop/rock track has a rich, grungy Avril Lavigne tilt with a catchy hook and exuberant guitar lines. Baron-Gracie’s vocals are sure and strong gliding across the top shelf production.

You can find the new album on all major streaming/download sites here.

Joshua Sade James
Joshua Sade James (photo: One2One Photography Media)

Canadian artist Joshua Sade James says his new single “Closer” is meant to bring to musical life the mood swings that can occur in a relationship.

“I want people to start jamming out, then catch themselves saying, ‘oh, WAIT. I thought this was a happy song,'” explains James.

Due to travel restrictions in place thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, James shares he and his boo “haven’t seen each other in over nine months, so ‘(pushing) people out of my way to get a little bit closer’ doesn’t sound too far off.”

With the music video, James and his collaborators wanted to explore underscoring juxtapositions between ‘light’ vs ‘dark,’ bright colors vs black and white, and love vs rage.

“In particular, I wanted to show our emotions that take over our thoughts when faced with conflict,” James explains. “Especially during this lockdown and being long-distance.”

“Closer” is available now on all digital streaming/download sites.