New Music Playlist: March 2020

March 2020 NM Playlist
Top row left to right: Vial, Natalie Fideler, Talker, Francis of Delirium, Snarls; bottom row: Hermes, Moss Kwa, Bacchae, Laura Stevenson, Allergen

It’s safe to say March has been a volatile month, not just for the music industry, but for everyone’s daily life. Within just weeks, shows and tours have been cancelled and nearly all group activities have ground to a halt. But musicians have still found ways to breach physical distance and build community online.

Personally, I’ve been inspired by seeing compilation tapes, livestreamed concerts, and emergency artist relief funds. In some ways, it feels inconsequential to continue writing about music during a global pandemic. But in other ways, it also feels more important now more than ever. Writing for Pass The Mic and publishing pieces by my wonderful contributors this month has given me meaning and purpose in a difficult time. So to everyone reading or listening to the podcast: Thank you! 

Global pandemic aside, March has been a busy month for Pass The Mic. We’ve published a guide to supporting musicians during COVID-19 and personal reflections on the power of music to heal trauma. We’ve covered new releases from the Seshen, Snarls, Vial and more. So here is a round-up of some of the releases that have been getting us through this past month.

I’ve been a fan of Natalie Fideler’s snarky songwriting since her first solo album Steak & Eggs. Now, she’s back with a new punchy song that narrates Fideler propping herself back up after an uncivil, out of the blue friend breakup. “Did you really have to go and block me on LinkedIn?” Fideler pleads on the song’s bridge.

One of my favorite surprise releases from March was Shamir’s album Cataclysm. The singer-songwriter sneakily dropped the album on Bandcamp on March 18. Aggressive distorted guitar blends with Shamir’s soft reverb-soaked voice to create raw songs that evoke the pain of reinventing oneself and adapting to change. “I’ve always wanted to soundtrack the end because I’ve seen it so many times,” Shamir wrote about the album on Bandcamp.

In March we got the first full-band single from Minneapolis’ Allergen. “Open Letter” is a wine-soaked outpouring of emotional vulnerability recounted through singer-songwriter Shannon Maroney’s vocal finesse. Today (technically in April, but I just had to sneak this one in) Allergen released another new single, “Last Year” from their forthcoming debut EP Honesty Hour, which will be out May 1.

The Washington, D.C./Brooklyn record label Oof Records dropped their first release, Oof Records Compilation #1 on March 27. Oof, which stands for Orbit of Friends, was created by best friends Ava Mirzadegan and David V. Britton after the two organized a collaborative concert in Brooklyn last year. The compilation is available digitally and as a limited edition cassette tape and includes songs from Den-Mate, Adult Mom, Gabby’s World, and more.

We’ve got two new videos to share this month. The first is from Australia-born, LA-based artist Lili Kendall, for her song “i am my own.” The video, created by feminist filmmaker and director Caroline Iaffaldano, uses campy extraterrestrial visuals to amplify the song’s focus on self-love. Kendall searches the universe for emotional connection, before ultimately finding true acceptance and love in her own body.

Minneapolis’ Druzy Rose released a live music video for their song “Lawn Games, Teeth Parade.” The seven-piece band gets cozy, tossing paper planes to one another while golden light bathes their instruments. Druzy Rose created the video as an entry for NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest, and it’s the perfect jolt of sunshine to infuse your day with some springtime optimism.

Check out the songs above, and listen to the rest of the playlist using the player below. Stay healthy, wash your hands, and support your local artists! ❤️

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