Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for February 27, 2023: Lana Del Rey, Yves Tumor, Skrillex

Photos (clockwise from top left): Lana Del Rey by Neil Krug, Yves Tumor by Jordan Hemingway, Skrillex by Marilyn Hue, Tinge by Adam Kelly

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Feb 27, 2023

February is nearly over, and this famously short (yet uniquely cruel) month certainly a packed a full punch of new music — so we're back with one last edition of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks before March comes in like a lion. Whether you plan on spending it slacking off while eating a burger or arming yourself to the teeth to go on a quest for fire, we have your soundtrack covered.

Check out our reviews section for more of the latest and greatest new releases.

(Good People Record Co. )

On just his second-ever single, Benja strikes gold with this anthem for 20-somethings in career purgatory. Its chorus sees the Toronto indie pop artist lament his inactivity amidst life's hustle and bustle over dreamy guitar licks. Then, he flips into an airy head voice to show off his range atop a cushion of creaky percussion, feeling symbolic of leaning back in a recliner to achieve premium slacking position.
Ben Okazawa

Jadu Heart

As Billie Eilish once put it, the world's a little blurry. On their gyroscopic third album, the English duo of Diva-Sachy Jeffrey and Alex Headford attempt to hold their centre: they respond to that detached sense of unreality by likewise smearing the lines between the conventions of shoegaze and psychedelic rock into obscurity with their quicksilver melody-lined clouded soundscapes. "Cocoon" turns hopelessness into a gleaming odyssey and "Blame" recalls a suspended-in-midair version of Grimes's "Oblivion," but it's the titular reverie of "I Shimmer" that perhaps best sums up Derealised's bleary-eyed shine.
Megan LaPierre

Lana Del Rey

LDR has had some truly remarkable ups and downs over the course of her career: the huge initial buzz, the disappointment of her debut album, the pinnacle of 2019's Norman Fucking Rockwell! and the slight souring of the past few years. But she's back on the upswing with "A&W," a Grandpa Burger-sized feast of three all-beef patties topped with tortured piano balladry, sinister electro beats and pseudo rapping. It's a very promising mouthful from next month's Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd
Alex Hudson

Quest for Fire / Don't Get Too Close
(OWSLA / Atlantic)

​​Just shy of a decade on from his full-length debut, Skrillex's two-album return demonstrates a more tactful approach to electronic exploration. Quest for Fire — which you will surely hear a lot of this summer — is a scorching freewheel through subgenre, burning brighter thanks to the recognizable signatures of friends like Four Tet, Flowdan, Missy Elliott and Aluna. Less demanding companion Don't Get Too Close, meanwhile, charts a more pop-oriented course against its titular advice thanks to alluring melodists, including Pinkpantheress, Beam, Kid Cudi and Bladee.
Calum Slingerland


The first single from Sluice's sophomore album Radial Gate, "Centurion" finds Durham, NC's Justin Morris channeling the muted but electrifying power of Smog — his itchy, delicate guitar circles itself before being flattened by gusts of distortion and a fleeting chorus of stacked vocals, evoking the cosmic unrest of a meteor shower. The song rides a halting, tightly-wound momentum that never allows for true release; it's about gathering the feeling rather than letting it go. 
Kaelen Bell

"Armed to the Teeth"
(House of Wonders)

For fans of American Weekend-era Waxahatchee, the Cranberries or defunct Philly DIYers Free Cake for Every Creature, Winnipeg's Tinge (led by Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Veronica Blackhawk of Lake of the Woods, ON) are mastering the art of yearn-core with their debut single for House of Wonders. Rounded out by Jordan Tait and Lincoln Brown, the trio are simultaneously cautious and vulnerable on the track, which sees Blackhawk as its defeated narrator, untethered and on the run. The band release their Big Deep Sigh EP this Friday, March 3, with a hometown release show on March 4 at the Handsome Daughter to follow, so stay tuned for that — and in the meantime, take a moment to inhale their introductory song.
Allie Gregory

Yves Tumor

Just as its title promises, Yves Tumor's repeated syllables chug "Echolalia" forward. As they breathily sing about their lover, who also happens to be their God, Tumor's own perception of her also shifts ahead. Soundtracked by an equally persistent bassline and atmospheric synths, the song's ultimately relatable narrative begs the question: When you encounter someone so striking, why can't you remember how to act? All of this makes "Echolalia" a hopeful first taste of Tumor's upcoming record, Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), due March 17.
Sydney Brasil

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