Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for March 20, 2023: Whipped Cream, Blxst, Kylie V
Published Mar 20, 2023Happy first day of spring! Well, kind of. Apparently spring starting is a three-day process this year — information that could only be unintentionally gleaned from a group chat with your extended family chockfull of retirees who love to ask Google Home everything. A new edition of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks is already in bloom, though: this week, we have some New Faves alumnus and more Canadiana, a rocket set for blxst off and the players, man.
You can continue spring cleaning your current music rotation by visiting our reviews section.
Just for Clarity 2
(Red Bull Records)
Blxst became a recruiter to make Just for Clarity 2 — a who's who of California heavyweights, featuring guest spots from Roddy Ricch, Larry June and Terrace Martin, with Mustard production on romantic opener "Ghetto Cinderella." The LA native embraces the West Coast rap sound that made 2021 single "About You" a fan favourite, riding punchy drum beats and bouncy melodies across the entire four-track project.
Despite their name potentially suggesting raunchy bachelorette fare, Victoria, BC's Bridal Party have made perfect music to clean your house to on their second full-length album. "I settle like dust on the kitchen counter," Suzannah Raudaschl sings on opening track "Afterthought," but its lounge-y, shimmering retro synth pads sound as if the surface is freshly gleaming from a grime-fighting chemical concoction. "We wanted to write songs that you could dance to, as well as songs that could fit a more introspective mood at home," Raudaschl explained in a press release. Done and dusted.
The Runaway EP
A couple years on from excellent debut album Big Blue, Vancouver singer-songwriter Kylie V picks up where they left off with another intimate, tender collection of tunes that add flourishes of lush, atmospheric rock to raw-nerve folk ballads. The four-song The Runaway EP will be followed by even more new material, as Kylie V tweeted late last month that LP2 recording sessions were about to begin, with an expected 2024 release.
After working her way through Toronto's music scene for many years, it's exciting to finally have a full-length Mileena release — and her self-titled debut encapsulates the singer-songwriter's highest self, navigating vulnerable reflections on intimacy using her signature attitude. Mileena brings a pop sensibility to neo-soul while leaving the door open for experimentation, with inflections of bossa nova on "Tummy" juxtaposing the luscious R&B of tracks like "DND."
Transmissions from Total Refreshment Centre
Transmissions from Total Refreshment Centre is a testament to the power of creative community at a time where arts spaces like the London, UK-set TRC — whether built for practice or performance — are continuously under threat of closure. Its titular space formative to the creation of albums by Makaya McCraven, the Comet Is Coming, Vels Trio and more, this compilation captures a visionary extended family spread across modern genre epicentres like London and Chicago, made up of players well-schooled in fusing jazz with hip-hop, dub, soul and funk.
Someone You Can Count On
Exclaim! New Faves alumna/VR music experience trailblazer Whipped Cream — a.k.a. BC-based EDM producer Caroline Cecil — cut her teeth in the industry as a Dim Mak contributor and soundtrack artist, releasing her debut album WHO IS WHIPPED CREAM? in 2020. We've yet to hear a full-length follow-up from the multi-hyphenate, but her latest EP, Someone You Can Count On, is bridging the gap nicely. Teaming up with operatic singer/Dayton rapper Jasiah and Vancouver producer Crimson Child on lead single "The Dark," Cecil introduces a record brimming with genre experiments, but where things really ramp up is on subsequent tracks "Angels" and "Rewind.. (But I Love You)."