With all of our travel and social plans effectively sitting at well over six feet distance for the foreseeable future, we’ve been thinking about what we’ve got to look forward to. Turning to musics almost immediate dopamine inducing power, it’s time to add a few new albums to your rotation. These are dark days but there is hope for the future.

We were inspired by a recent LA Times article on the lost art of deep listening, having always been album people ourselves. Someone who appreciates an album for the full track listing from start to finish instead of consuming singles as we’ve been conditioned to by charts and mainstream radio. Most of those deep cuts won’t make it onto the radio anyway, not that it isn’t worthy of being up there with the Top 40.

We’ve come to prefer the deep dive of sitting in the living room, getting swept up in the journey of an album in full, really letting it unfold track by track. While we all fall prey to our favourite songs over time, if we can give it one full undivided listen then maybe we’ve done the art form justice?

These are weird times but we’ve gotta remember to take time to daydream, dance, and cry so here’s eight new albums just for that.

TOPS – I Feel Alive

Montreal’s own weirdo pop rockers are back and it feels like just what the doctor ordered in these strange times. I Feel Alive is pure fucking B-L-I-S-S with a capitol B. It’s been three years since their last album Sugar At The Gate which was written and recorded in a house the band shared in LA, and this time around they’re back in their hometown of Montreal, fresh on that breezy yet complex 70s AM gold vibe they’ve been refining so expertly over the last decade.

The albums opening track “Direct Sunshine” is the kind that makes you feel fuller by the minute “you play shadow games / I play with the light” with hopeful fluty swells and bouncy synths layered behind Jane Penny’s silky vocals. The second song “I Feel Alive” hits in all the right ways, like falling in love with something familiar all over again. It’s still early days but I Feel Alive is definitely one of our favourite albums of 2020.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Thundercat – It Is What It Is

If you’ve recently been micro-dosing mushrooms (or been thinking about it) this album is pure gold. If not, still pure gold. It’s Stephen Bruner fourth album after 2017’s highly loopable Drunk and it’s just what you need to get grooving but also slow the fuck down at the same time, ya know? Slam some eggs into a pan on a Saturday morning and let the day unfold as the album does, really lean into those interstellar vibes man. Trust us, it’s what you need.

Want more convincing? Skip to “I Love Louis Cole” or “Dragonball Durag” and tell me you don’t agree. It’s the perfect blend of twinkling cosmic afro-jazz mixed with somewhat impassive R&B, not to mention it features a respected list of guest collaborators and friends including Childish Gambino, Louis Cole, BADBADNOTGOOD, Steve Lacy, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil B, and many more.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify 
Porches – Ricky Music

Feeling dizzy from all the emotions? Yeah, us too. Wanna explore that for a sec? Throw on the new Porches album and step inside the weird, wonderful world of Aaron Maine. Recorded almost entirely in his apartment in New York’s Chinatown, his fourth album under the Porches alias eases us into falling in madly in love. Feeling sweet yet intense on the opening track, “Patience” introduces us to the layered synths and emotional swells to come.

Unjaded memories of our youth, battling our inner introvert and extrovert, packing meaning into small things, crying and sharing and grieving together – just some of the themes that hit close to home in social isolation. The rather Twin Peaks-esque bass line on “I Wanna Ride” feels especially relevant when the lyrics hit, “think I like it all alone in here / I wanna ride with you wherever you are / I wanna ride with you windows fuckin’ down.”

“rangerover,” one of the albums vibist tracks, technically a bonus track co-written by Blood Orange’s Devonte Hynes (who’s also featured on “Fuck_3”), is the kind of song that makes you wanna peel out on the highway with your best friend and let your damn hair down.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Georgia – Seeking Thrills

Let’s call this your Friday night dance party starter pack k? Who would know better how to make you dance than someone who literally grew out of the UK dance scene. Georgia Barnes went to raves as a child with her parents because they couldn’t afford childcare (her father is Leftfield’s Neil Barnes). As her second album title suggests, Seeking Thrills just sounds better loud. Written over five years on a deep personal journey of self-discovery and transformation, it’s a REAL 2020 album (no really – she got fit, became sober and went vegan while writing it).

The lyrics are the relatable type you get swept away in, “I don’t have much in terms of money now / I don’t have material gifts for you / You want me to stay a while / To be in a moment with you.” Try and not dance when “About Work the Dancefloor” comes on, we dare you.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Yumi Zouma – Truth or Consequence

If you have access to the outside world (without having to leave the house) and it just so happens to be sunny out, this is the perfect soundtrack to elevate the warmth on your skin. Bask in the rosy spring sunshine with Yumi Zouma’s supremely perfect pop album. Raining out? That works too. Pour yourself a cup of tea and turn those grey sensations into fuzzy ones.

Truth or Consequence is a tribute to sunny New Mexico; the kind of dream pop album that somehow makes everything feel alright, like warm cookies out of the oven. “Southwark” has us longing for forbidden gatherings “standing in the park by the rest of my friends,” while “Right Track / Wrong Man” jabs at us for the good cry we’ve been holding back for a couple days.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Caribou – Suddenly

Sometimes you just need a little dance party to make everything alright again and Dan Snaith delivers twelve neat and polished tracks. It feels like we’ve been waiting a lifetime for this album in the emotional wake of 2014’s Our Love, which left us immediately wanting more (it’s still one of our favourite albums to date). Suddenly is an electronic masterpiece to keep you moving through 43 minutes with intimate beats and precise details that build through balanced progressions alongside Snaith’s sweet boyish vocals.

This album was on heavy rotation just before Corona hit the fan in Canada, and it’ll continue to be on loop through good times and bad.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify
Empress Of – I’m Your Empress Of

Sometimes you need an album to put on when you’ve had a really long day of nothing and everything at once. I’m Your Empress Of will help you unwind. Pour yourself a glass of something, turn off all the lights and get ready to dance like nobody’s watching when the third track “Love Is Drug” hits. Go on, you know you want to. “These songs are painful and vulnerable and urgent” Lorely Rodriguez told Apple Music in a recent interview. Emotions like these seem familiar and relatable on days like these.

That said the album is anything but downbeat, so just dance and let Empress Of deliver that cathartic release you deserve right now.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Austra – HiRUDiN

It’s been a decade since this Toronto band first broke onto the indie scene and idk about you but we’re pretty pumped for their fourth studio album to drop next month. We had the delightful chance to stream it in advance and boy does Katie Stelmanis deliver on those familiar pointy harmonic swoops layered with addictive synths that make you want to twirl around in the kitchen with arms wide open.

HiRUDin hasn’t dropped in full yet, but go ahead and add the singles “Anywayz” and “Risk it” to your rotation now and look forward to the full stream coming in May.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify