Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for October 17, 2022: Nilüfer Yanya, Luna Li, Shabason & Krgovich

Photos (clockwise from top left): Zenesoul by Jeremy Rodney-Hall, Nilüfer Yanya by Molly Daniel, Shabason & Krgovich by Tess Roby, Luna Li by Felice Trinidad

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Oct 17, 2022

Park that car, drop that phone, dream about Streep. But actually, pick your phone back up, because we're here with yet another edition of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks — chock-full of anthems for whatever age you may be or gender identity you may take. This week, we have a folk supergroup, an icy rendition of a PJ Harvey classic, a terse comeback track, an Afro-soul offering from a rising star of the Toronto R&B scene and more.

As always, check out our album reviews section to dive even deeper into some of the latest and greatest new music.

Bonny Light Horseman 
Rolling Golden Holy 

Back in 2020, folk supergroup Bonny Light Horseman — a.k.a. Anaïs Mitchell, Fruit Bats' Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman — shared their self-titled debut album, a collection of contemporary reworkings of folk traditionals, earning themselves a few Grammy nods and an international fan base. After several months of shows, the trio have returned with an all-original helping of 11 new songs on sophomore effort Rolling Golden Holy, which reunites Johnson and Mitchell's sparkling harmonies with Kaufman's multi-instrumentalist sensibility. As they aimed to do with their 2020 debut, Rolling Golden Holy serves as a through-line for the then-and-now — most explicitly so on "Gone by Fall," in which Johnson hearkens back to BLH's "The Roving," vowing to be a "river in a roving eye."
Allie Gregory

Fever Ray 
"What They Call Us"
(Rabid Records)

Fever Ray's first new song in five years sounds familiar, but when your version of "familiar" is so thrillingly singular, why try to sound like anything else? Co-produced with their brother and former the Knife bandmate Olof Dreijer, "What They Call Us" is all tension, no release; humid synths bounce and splutter atop a muffled beat as Karin Dreijer's voice pops and flickers like embers. "First I'd like to say that I'm sorry," they sing with a restraint that belies an enormity of feeling."The person who came here was broken / Can you fix it, can you care?" As their music has become bolder and more disruptive, Fever Ray's warped heart has only turned softer — "What They Call Us" might be their most tender confrontation yet. 
Kaelen Bell

Luna Li
jams 2 

A year since her first jams EP — which has since racked up millions of streams — and hot on the heels of her debut LP Duality, Toronto master multi-instrumentalist Hannah Bussiere Kim is back with another short and sweet collection of (mostly) instrumental compositions, full of smoother-than-silk electric guitar, stately harp and violin, and groovy hip-hop beats. It's vibey enough to study to and intricate enough for dedicated listening.
Alex Hudson

Shabason & Krgovich
At Scaramouche 
(Idée Fixe)

For all the majesty found in their quieted observations of the mundane on Philadelphia, 2020's trio album with Chris Harris, Joseph Shabason and Nicholas Krgovich's songcraft remains as potent with At Scaramouche. In contrast to the insular nature of the former LP, this latest disc finds the bandleaders (with talented local collaborators old and new) entertaining enlivened sounds and more convivial settings, with bombastic brass and woodwinds, a thoughtful ode to long-gone Golden Arches, and a vibraphone jazz-soundtracked trip to the dog park among the highlights.
Calum Slingerland

Nilufer Yanya
"Rid of Me"

In revisiting music from my past earlier this year, I fell back in love with PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" and early Nilüfer Yanya EPs. This coincidentally coincided with the release of PAINLESS — one of my album of the year bids — so it's cosmically fitting that these worlds collided. Yanya retains the rawness of the original track, and puts her own flair on the iconic "Don't you wish you never / Never met her" refrain. As my colleague Kaelen so aptly put it, there's a chill to this rendition, which truly makes it Yanya's without taking away from the original's grit.
Sydney Brasil


When Angie Akhinagba is between shifts as a healthcare worker, you can find her writing songs in her car as part of Toronto's new R&B vanguard. With new EP Nene, Zenesoul elevates her neo soul sound with Afrobeat, fusing her upbringing in Brampton with her Nigerian roots. These five songs explore the complexities of love, including the slinky, funk-informed standout "Don't Mind," and showcase the quicksilver quality of her voice — a Hennessy-smooth centre holding down any soundscape and playfully swirling itself around.
Megan LaPierre

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