Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for March 13, 2023: Feist, Model/Actriz, Roísín Murphy

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Mar 13, 2023

Between the Academy Awards last night (March 12) and the JUNOs tonight, it's safe to say that awards season is in full swing. And while we don't have any presumably weighty little trophy guys to hand out, we would still like to recognize some recent artistic accomplishments with Exclaim!'s Staff Picks. For your consideration: Best Triple Single, Song of Spring 2023, Model/Actriz and Model/R&B Singer of the Year.

Visit our reviews section to deep-dive into some more acclaim-worthy new releases.

"In Lightning" /  "Love Who We Are Meant To" /  "Hiding Out in the Open"

Feist's Multitudes is my favourite show I've ever seen — partly because it was my first concert after nearly two years of pandemic lockdowns — so I'm thrilled that she's finally shared some of the beautiful music I heard that night. The thunderous "In Lightning" couldn't be more different from the performance version, while the more tender "Love Who We Are Meant To" and "Hiding Out in the Open" are more faithful to the live show with their hushed acoustic guitars and tangled web of layered voices and textures.
Alex Hudson

Durand Jones
"Lord Have Mercy"
(Dead Oceans)

A taste of his first solo foray without his Indications, "Lord Have Mercy" sees Durand Jones teasing his usual sensual groove while toying more with Southern rock. The Louisiana songwriter retains his soulfulness while offering vignettes of his hometown of Hillarysville, LA, with more of these reflections set to sprawl across Wait Til I Get Over on May 5. Until then, the record's lead single offers a glimmer of optimism as spring slowly breaks its way through — perfect for Sunday mornings peering out your window, wondering if that sun means it's warm yet.
Sydney Brasil

Release Spirit
(Ghostly International)

On or off dance floors, Dylan Khotin-Foote's productions have long carried a dreamlike quality, one that feels more tangible than ever on Release Spirit. At a pace and sequence that encourages attentive listening, the way in which the Edmonton producer complements his dulcet instrumentals with field recordings, vocals from Tess Roby and language tutorial tapes, and sound design intricacies makes for soul-stirring electronics.
Calum Slingerland

The Nighttime Is All in the Timing

As anyone who attended Exclaim!'s Class of 2023 concert series could tell you, Loviet plays a bar like it's an arena. This larger-than-life quality is at its most apparent in her recorded catalogue on the East Coast-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter's latest EP, The Nighttime Is All in the Timing — her gutsy '90s guitar-worship buzzing neon in the sheen of rain-slicked pavement with production from Now, Now's Cacie Dalager and Bradley Hale. "Overly sensitive / But the first one to show my teeth," Loviet self-diagnoses on "Star Treatment," and really digs them in on penultimate track "Some Kind of Drug": a plea for purification that builds from a simmer to unleash some soaring, sobering new force in her.
Megan LaPierre

(True Panther)

The Deftones-ification of Gen Z is most certainly a sign of the fully fledged monoculture dissolution to come, with the DIY "alternative" aesthetic regaining its stature online — especially on TikTok, as 20-somethings teeter between pro- and anti-gatekeeping culture. That's all to say that Kiki is winning over Bouba in the dark corners of the internet these days, and with their debut album Dogsbody, Model/Actriz are leading the pack. For the elders among us, think the sharpest elements of Squid, HEALTH and Molchat Doma combined, with bandleader Cole Haden's overwrought vocals harkening to the band's indie sleaze forebears. Angsty, sexy, cool; jump in while the water's hot.
Allie Gregory

Roísín Murphy
(Ninja Tune)

No one is cooler than Roísín Murphy — I welcome you to try and dispute that fact, but know that you'd be wrong —  so it seems only fitting that Murphy finally has a song title that embodies her effortless, off-kilter panache. "CooCool" is not, however, a song about how cool Murphy is; instead, it's a dizzying candy-floss fantasy of new romance that finds Murphy exalting "A new age of love / An incandescent joy." With shimmering, light-as-a-feather production from DJ Koze, "CooCool" is springtime incarnate: a wash of wiggling pastels and plush soul samples that carry Murphy into the clouds. Rarely does love sound so boundless and joyful as when she intones, "Let it / Be silly season, darling / All year round."
Kaelen Bell

Ebony Riley

Detroit R&B crooner and model Ebony Riley burst onto the scene with her debut EP ebony. She sets the tone for the project with "Open," showing off her vocal range and riffs over a striving drum beat. Standout track "Deuce Deuce" is a middle finger to love from a heart broken one too many times — that is, until Riley finds her swagger again, strutting over punchy 808s on the James Fauntleroy collaboration "Why." The seven-track collection is her brazen introduction to the music world and I, for one, took notice. 
Ben Okazawa

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