Bronze Avery’s debut album is named SOFTMETAL, but it could as well be called SMOOTHPOP. It’s one of the most solid releases to come out at the end of 2022, and continues to populate our playlists. With bops like “Figure it Out,” “Bible Name,” and “Crash Desire,” Avery’s soft and sensual voice creates a sound that sounds instantly classic and new. With songs about heartbreak, healing, infatuation, and dissatisfaction, SOFTMETAL takes listeners on a ride you want to go on again and again. “My favorite thing about my music at this exact moment is how reflective it is of my character,” Avery says. “I can hear the musical fragments that I’ve collected and been inspired by through the years. It’s honest, but in a way that’s still fun and triumphant.”
BRONZE AVERY — Boys! (Official Video)www.youtube.com
The Braided Janes
Consisting of lead singer Jessica Rodriguez, her drummer wife Juny Alvarez, and her bass-playing brother-in-law Andrew Doyle, The Braided Janes are one of the best Latin alternative bands in Chicago. Their song “Mi Canto” was written during one of the band’s many improv sessions and mixes eclectic global sounds with Rodriguez’s powerful vocals and a sexy electronica beat. It’s a bold and genre-bending statement. “I love how far we’ve ventured in exploring the reaching of our sound without losing sight of who we are and what we stand for as a band,” Rodriguez says. “We wanted to write a feel good album to uplift and inspire our listeners.”They’ve got more coming, with their second full-length album, Renacer, featuring “Mi Canto,” coming out early this year.
No Puedo Más (Official Lyric Video)youtu.be
British alt-pop artist Quarry, aka Ash Carveli, only realized that he was pansexual a few years ago, and then shortly after, realized he is also polyamorous. His new single, “Everybody Wants Somebody,” explores these identities and what it takes to realize that what’s right for you might not be what’s normal. With his androgynously sexy voice and an earworm hook, Quarry sings about growth, moving on, and doing your best. “I make music for people that feel different — who are searching for a little bit of magic in the world or anticipate something better just around the corner,” he says. “It’s for the people that feel like they have something to say, but sometimes they can’t; for the people who need something more than what’s just in front of them.”
Quarry - Whatever Whatever (Official Video)youtu.be
If you missed Zolita’s “trilogy” of singles and videos from last year, you missed some of the best pop put out all year, and one of the best lesbian rom-coms ever made. Now, she’s busy releasing her new music, including the song “Ruin My Life,” a ditty about being willing to risk it all for the love of your life. With her catchy hooks, earnest lyrics, and mixture of bubblegum, pop punk, and acoustic sounds, Zolita is definitely one of our favorite singers right now. This year she’s releasing a new EP and going out on her first headlining tour. “The idea that I’m going to get to go be in rooms with a bunch of people who have engaged with my work for a long time, and people who have been fans for a long time, and get to genuinely have face-to-face time with them is so, so, so exciting to me,” she says. “It feels like it's going to be just a big, queer dance party.”
Zolita - Ruin My Life (Official Music Video)youtu.be
Being Mexico’s first out queer rapper isn’t easy, but Niña Dioz sure makes it look good. Her song “Siéntelo,” which is all about pushing boundaries and sharing passion and energy, was recently used in a Taco Bell commercial, giving her a bigger platform than ever to proudly represent the queer Latinx community. The song has a great reggaeton beat and stays close to Dioz’s Mexican roots, and Dioz certainly knows how to rock a mic. “I make music hoping to inspire everyone who can relate, especially those who don't fit the box they've been put in,” she says. “I hope my music can be the soundtrack in their journey to living their most authentic self.”
Niña Dioz feat. Hispana - Mezcal 🐛🥃🇲🇽 (Video Oficial)youtu.be
When I saw that Tancred, one of my favorite bands from the 2010s era of sad girl rock, was putting out new music for the first time in four years, I couldn’t hold back my excitement. Fans of Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, and boy genius will love Tancred (Jess Abbott) and her thoughtful and contemplative acoustic rock. While she’s back with new songs, including the glimmering “Mirepoix” and the forlornly beautiful acoustic track “Jars,” Tancred isn’t worrying about the commercial aspect to her music. “I just want to be able to create when I feel like creating, and then put it out there in case anyone feels like listening,” she says. “I think centuries ago the ethos around playing music was vastly different — it had nothing to do with individualism, it was just about entertaining people and giving them an environment or opportunity to feel something specific. I’m always using that as a guide now.”
Jars - Tancred [OFFICIAL AUDIO]youtu.be
Carpetgarden’s late 2022 release, WTF is even going on, is a great introduction to the artist for fans of Daniel Johnston, Mike Kroll, Ariel Pink, and Cavetown. With just seven songs at 21 minutes total, carpetgarden uses wistful and whimsical music and lo-fi beats to narrate their life in these times that can be confusing, hard, and cruel. Songs like “WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY!,” “da da song,” and “IDC” perfectly capture the optimistic nihilism and existential confusion of an artist living in a world that’s both beautiful and terrible. This nonbinary singer just might be your new bedroom pop obsession.
carpetgarden - IDC (Official Video)youtu.be