Weeding through all the new music out there can be a harrowing, not to mention time-consuming, process. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a handy list of all the songs you don’t know you already love.


Blood Orange is the brainchild of Devonté Hynes, who is no stranger to the music scene, having been a part of Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion. In “Champagne Coast,” he relentlessly pleads “Come into my bedroom.” By the end of the song, you’re not only ready to indulge his request, but you’re also locking the door behind you and pulling the blinds. Light-headedness may occur.


Fiona Apple doesn’t do things quietly. How could we forget the time she proclaimed she’d been a bad, bad girl while slinking around in her underwear and dunking her come hither leer into a bath tub in her debut music video? Or that time she freaked out during an acceptance speech and even managed to drag Maya Angelou into it? Or that time her album was mysteriously shelved and then leaked and then re-recorded? Despite all of these adorable antics, what keeps everyone interested is her scruffy voice and her verbal acrobatics. And she’s up to her old tricks with “Every Single Night,” the first single from her forthcoming album, which has a poetic title that I’m too lazy to type here. From the hiccup-y chorus to Apple declaring “I just want to feel everything!,” it’s safe to say our girl is back and not a moment too soon. Fiona Apple plays the Fox in Oakland on July 28, 2012. Commence freaking out!


Jana Hunter of Lower Dens has one of those sonorous, authoritative voices that demand attention. Like fellow Baltimorian Victoria Legrand of Beach House, Hunter sounds like she’s singing to you from the shadowy end of a cavern, the echo of her heartbreak rattling your ribcage. It’s a wonder she hasn’t received more attention, but something tells me that’s all about to change with Nootropics. Lower Dens plays the Independent on July 1, 2012. Be there, if you know what’s good for you.


Being a fan of Purity Ring sometimes feels like dating a withholding lover. They give just enough to sustain your affection and nothing more. Each of the four perfect nightmare-pop singles they’ve released over the last year and a half share a common ability to transport the listener to a dance floor on some space station. Warped tinkling synths spin the bipolar battle between Megan James’ precious schoolgirl side and the deranged monster lurking beneath into a vortex that leaves you weightless and never wanting to know the limits of gravity again.


If Grace Jones and the lead singer of Q Lazarus had a torrid love affair and didn’t use protection, their love child would be Shannon Funchess, one half of Brooklyn electro-goth duo Light Asylum. Her voice has all the theatrics of Jones with all the gender ambiguity of Q Lazarus. Listening to “A Certain Person” is like being pursued through the woods after dark, relentless drums and the ominous neigh of a horse nipping at your heels. It should feel alarming and dangerous, but you’re too busy being electrified to notice.


Twin Shadow will charm your pants right off. There’s no resisting it so don’t bother. With lyrics about leaning ladders against your window and other borderline stalker behavior right out of Say Anything, you’ll turn into a teenage girl in no time. The ’80s new wave-y seduction he perfected on 2010’s Forget is still alive and well on his new single, “Five Seconds,” which bodes well for his forthcoming sophomore album. And it doesn’t hurt that he has some of the best hair in the business.


There are two primary reasons why I am proud to be from Baltimore: John Waters’ immaculate pencil-thin mustache (obviously) and Beach House. Since their debut in 2004, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been making me fall in love over and over again. I wasn’t sure how they would top 2010’s Teen Dream, yet here they are with their best record to date. Picking a favorite song off Bloom is impossible and, although I bear a striking resemblance to Meryl Streep (I don’t), I’m not interested in starring in a remake of Sophie’s Choice. So here’s randomly selected “Lazuli,” a song as beautiful as its stone namesake that’ll leave you panting just like Legrand does in the chorus.


Emmanuel Hapsis

Emmanuel Hapsis is the creator and editor of KQED Pop and also the host of The Cooler. He studied creative writing at University of Maryland and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. In his free time, he sings his heart out at karaoke.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor