More music is released today than ever before, and it has never been easier to access. Yet finding new music can be a daunting challenge, especially for those who may not be as plugged in as they’d prefer. To help sort through the tonnage and identify compelling new music, we’re launching “Be Here Now,” a playlist that will feature artists who are making innovative music. While some of these artists are inspired by music of previous eras, all have created original work that reflects the time in which they live. “Be Here Now” will be updated regularly with new tracks.
The Black Pumas and Remi Wolf make funky music that combats the funk of 2020. The Strokes’ new album is their best in years, and Fontaines D.C. and Rolling Coastal Blackout Fever demonstrate the vitality of new rock bands. There is a lot of bouncy endorphin-spreading dance music out there and new songs from Sault and Roosevelt are irresistible even under the strictest social distancing rules. Kathleen Edwards, Sharon Van Etten and Laura Marling write and record unvarnished, haunting, contemporary songs that linger. Tame Impala combines psych rock, dance music dynamics and ’80s gloss, while Mildlife concocts a futuristic fusion built from prog, electronic and hints of jazz.
The playlist features one song per artist, but they are all worth exploring further as they have released rewarding albums that include many other great songs. There aren’t many one-hit wonders here. Hopefully in 2021, we’ll see some of these artists do their thing in concert.