Love is not a long, quiet river, unlike the watercourse on which Katie Crutchfield gently navigates in the video clip for Right Back to It, a bewitching ode to the detours that lasting relationships take, in the tradition of Saint Cloud, the album which allowed Waxahatchee to enter quite a few end-of-year charts in 2020. The presence on voice and guitar of the prodigy MJ Lenderman only cements an impression that has tickled us for a long time: they are the Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young of their generation.

We first feel like Radiohead at the turn of the millennium at the start of Friend of a Friend. Then, the piece, dominated by Thom Yorke’s hammering piano and soaring violins, goes back in time and ends up evoking a delicately psychedelic version of the Beatles. Opulent, melodramatic and atmospheric, this song foreshadows that The Smile’s second album, Wall of Eyes, due out January 26, will be deeply melancholy. Which is hardly surprising, knowing the tone of the Radiohead singer. This feeling is confirmed by the title track of the upcoming record and Bending Hectic, a flowing piece with a stormy blue finale, also revealed in recent months.

“Next station: Rosemont.” If you hear these three words, you are in the Montreal metro or the beat of the song you are listening to is the work of Danny Ill. At the end of 2023, Frenchman Benjamin Epps set his rhymes to a very sinister rhythm from the Montreal producer. A highly respected MC from France, who has a few songs accumulating millions of plays, Epps made Belle rage one of the extracts from the EP Ready for War, released on December 1st. Danny Ill is also behind the soundtrack of Chien Mangé Chien, launched last year by Montreal rapper Fléau Dicaprio. Raw and colorful, the album is not for sensitive ears, but stands out for its mastery and singularity.

Big winner of the Francouvertes in 2020, Valence will release its second album, La nuit s’ende, at the beginning of February. Vincent Dufour, who is part of the new wave of brilliant singer-songwriters from Quebec, launched the third extract on Thursday, Emmanuelle, a swaying song that suits his relaxed approach well. Between the pedal steel guitar and the strings, this impressionist song distills a kind of soft and slow dream pop. We can’t wait to hear the full album, which will be produced by Alexandre Martel (Lou-Adriane Cassidy, Alex Burger).

The Black Keys persist and sign: they will release their 12th album on April 5, a 3rd in 3 years after Delta Kream and Dropout Boogie. The first song from the record was revealed this Friday, Beautiful People (Stay High) being a very festive extract from an album which saw the prolific duo work with Beck, Noel Gallagher and even the indestructible Alice Cooper. The Keys have also collaborated with Greg Kurstin, who has produced albums by Adele, Sia and Liam Gallagher; This is the first time the Akron, Ohio duo has worked with a keyboardist. Also, several pieces were recorded with the help of hip-hop producer Dan The Automator. In an interview with the British magazine Mojo, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney said that it was their “best album”, a record tailor-made for “partying on Saturday nights”. We can’t wait for spring.

Ariana Grande begins her comeback with the release of the song yes, and?, a little over three years after the release of her most recent album, the fantastic Positions. The Florida singer-songwriter encourages anyone who will listen to be the most authentic version of themselves, without apologizing. The song, emancipatory, also allows him to settle scores by advising his detractors to mind their own business. “I stop worrying about what you think, I’m not going to hide anymore,” she sings for example on the song, accompanied by a video clip which even better illustrates this middle finger to those who allow themselves to comment on his life. A certain aura similar to that of the song I’m Every Woman, covered by Whitney Houston, or to Madonna’s Vogue, is shared by this new song by Grande, which announces a possible change of direction in terms of sounds. If Beyoncé and a few others have recently brought the flavors of dance music to the forefront, it seems that Ariana Grande is taking over.