Honourable Music Mentions from Early 2024

The Music Editors of The Concordian share their favourite releases of the year so far.

Tabéa’s Picks:

Little Simz – Drop 7

British MC Little Simz is back with a seven-track EP where she encapsulates catchy and invigorating beats and melodies. Drop 7’s electrifying sounds seamlessly blend from song to song to give all listeners a memorable experience. The artist even incorporates Portuguese in the second track “Fever” which propels its energy to a whole other level of passion and power. If you are seeking to discover a project full of a high level of energy and fun, definitely add Drop 7 to your music library!

Trial Track: “Fever”

Brittany Howard – What Now

Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Brittany Howard from the American band Alabama Shakes dropped her second solo album in early February. What Now is a collection of 12 tracks with a runtime of just under 40 minutes that mixes R&B, alternative and rock elements to create an alluring and warm project. Its second track titled “I Don’t” is such a lovely song that any music lover would immediately connect with it. Its timeless but also beautifully calculated melodies and production incorporate touches of neo-soul that create an aura of peace and mellowness.   

Trial Track: “I Don’t”


Back in January, French band Papooz released their fourth album RESONATE composed of 11 tracks. Based in Paris, members Ulysse Cottin and Armand Penicaut continue their classic indie-pop sound and catchy tunes with a cohesive album that evokes a sunny and bubbly day. The witty harmonies and songs feature groovy bass and synths along with bright guitar chords. I notably love the vocals on the third track “IT HURTS ME” which merges into the warm-sounding production, especially moments right before the chorus where they are beautifully layered and the melody smoothly transitions into the snappy chorus. 

Trial Track: “IT HURTS ME”

Stefano’s Picks:

Nicholas Craven & Boldy James – Penalty of Leadership

Nicholas Craven returns with Boldy James for Penalty of Leadership, their second joint mixtape. The Québécois producer provides Boldy James with a new assortment of soul sample-based instrumentals, this time with a heavier tone. The mixtape marks James’ first release following a near-fatal car crash, and its lyrical content revolves around life and experiences. It chronicles the cold realities of gang life in Detroit, all over an orchestral backdrop. James is a vivid yet blunt descriptor, which leaves his compelling lyricism style unparalleled.

Trial Track: “Formal Invite”

Yeat – 2093

Yeat’s latest record 2093 is a full-fledged dive into worldbuilding. He blends his unique brand of hip-hop with electronic influences to craft a dark, dystopian, industrial soundscape with a Cyberpunk feel. The production is layered, cinematic, and versatile. There are explosive, moshpit-ready ragers (“ILUV”), danceable electronic cuts (“Breathe,” “Team ceo”), and everything in between. 2093 is Yeat’s latest creative leap, pushing boundaries that have yet to be explored by most mainstream hip-hop. 

Trial Track: “Team ceo”

Bad Gyal – La Joia

Released at the end of January, Bad Gyal’s debut album La Joia is an upbeat project with loads of mainstream appeal and a variety of influences. The Catalan singer offers a handful of bright reggaeton bangers while incorporating different genres into the tracklist. Afrobeats, dancehall, house, and dance music are all present, with some of them being intertwined with reggaeton. Her distinctly bold voice is unique and, when combined with autotune, results in a unique tone that sets her apart from her contemporaries. At just 40 minutes in runtime, La Joia is a fun and easy listen that you should have in your rotation, especially when summertime rolls around.

Trial Track: “Perdió Este Culo”


Student and staff 2023 top music recap 

To close off 2023, students and staff share their music highlights from the past year. 

Every year, we are blessed with new music releases, visits from various artists hosting concerts and showcases in Montreal, and countless music-based events throughout the seasons. Last year was no exception. Concordia students and staff at The Concordian share the music they most interacted with in 2023 before we collectively jump towards the music 2024 has to offer. 

Aidan Matthews, a photography student in his last semester, got to spend two nights at the Bell Centre as part of the photo team for Drake’s It’s All A Blur Tour after getting the call the morning of the first show. “Watching Drake come down the steps to ‘Look What You’ve Done’ gave me goosebumps both times,” he says. 

Matthews had been listening to Drake since high school so it was a real full-circle moment and a key music memory of his year. Otherwise, 2023 was a year when he became bored with a lot of the music he was listening to. “I listened to less rap than in previous years,” Matthews adds. The Pinegrove Shuffle trend on TikTok pointed him to Pinegrove, who became one of his most listened-to bands in 2023. Matthews also listened to a lot more pop, folk and alternative with artists like Zach Bryan, Del Water Gap, Toro Y Moi, and Caroline Polachek.

Another photography student, Simaiya Shirley, primarily listened to indie and alternative-based artists. She wanted to release pent-up rage and leave room for love, which translated to the music she engaged with in 2023. Recent releases she gravitated toward include Billie Marten’s Drop Cherries, Feist’s Multitudes and This is Why by Paramore. These projects and others from past years have all become musical crutches for Shirley and are still artists that she consistently returns to for belonging and guidance.

Graduate student in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies Akira De Carlos comments on how “Loading” by James Blake was definitely their song of the past year. “James Blake is probably my favourite artist of all time and 2023 was very much a ‘damage in repair’ year for me, so ‘Loading’ felt very reflective of that,” they share. De Carlos rode their bike a lot to that song and it always hit, because it felt like a very transitional but powerful song and 2023 was just that kind of year for them. The graduate student has always loved James Blake for the emotion he evokes in them and this song was another good example of raw vulnerability which reflected De Carlos’ “in my healing” era of 2023. “I knew I was setting myself up for greatness but I wasn’t quite there yet and ‘Loading’ feels exactly that,” they add.

As for studio arts student Viva Egoyan-Rokeby, their most exciting new music moment of 2023 was seeing post-punk and noise rock band Model/Actriz live in Montreal last spring. That show was most definitely memorable for them and they are still looking forward to any future music project. Although Egoyan-Rokeby mostly listens to older music, 2023 was a year in which they branched out into listening to newer stuff from their favourite genres. “Some notable new-ish artists I discovered this year were Aurat, which is a Pakistani American darkwave/coldwave band, Second Still (more coldwave), and De Ambassade (even more coldwave, but Swedish this time),” they share. Last year was also a huge PJ Harvey year for them.

The Concordian’s video editor Jacqueline Lisbona’s favourite music moment of 2023 was the Morgan Wallen concert back in September. She’s a huge country music fan and it was one of the best concerts she’s ever been to. “I also loved ending off 2023 with Tate McRae’s Think Later album because it really helped me get through the last push of exam studying and I love her music so much,” Lisbona says. Her favourite tracks on the album include “stay done” and “grave.”

News editor Emma Megelas’ music highlight was the day Bad Bunny’s new album, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, came out as a complete surprise to everyone. “It was the best day of my life and I had no idea what to expect,” Megelas says. That album resonated with her 2023 so much she got to discover new parts of herself, grow in new ways and just be present without any expectations of what would happen next and that album is the perfect description of her 2023. Megelas definitely sees herself bringing Bad Bunny over to 2024.
As for myself, I always seem to surpass the amount of music I listen to each year and find new music gems. I’m also immensely grateful to have been able to attend performances overseas in 2023 from some of my top listened-to artists like Yves Tumor and Kendrick Lamar on stage during NxWorries at Primavera Sound Festival, and incredible live shows in Montreal such as Yaeji and James Blake. New artists on my radar in 2023 included Swiss rapper Makala, and French composer and singer Chassol. My rotation in terms of favourite 2023 album releases were Sampha’s Lahai, Kelela’s Raven and The Rat Road by SBTRKT. I thoroughly am looking forward to all upcoming 2024 music moments.

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