In this week’s edition of What’s Going On, we’ve got the hottest new releases from Banx & Ranx, Jamie Fine, Shamir, and Greta Van Fleet. Plus, a collaboration fit for a queen that sees The Weeknd working with rapper Playboi Carti and the ‘Queen of Pop,’ Madonna. As always, if you dig what you’re hearing, be sure to stream and follow these artists.
Banx & Ranx – Montreal production duo Banx & Ranx are on a roll. The JUNO award-winning team of Zacharie “Soké” Raymond and Yannick “KNY Factory” Rastogi teamed up with fellow Montreal artist Zach Zoya on “The Birds.” A breezy good-time summer song, the track goes down easy in Banx & Ranx’s signature ECM (Electronic Caribbean Music) style. How did “The Birds” come to be? Banx & Ranx recall: “We wrote this song in London a few years ago with Iain James, Linnea Sodahl and Jake Manson and always loved it. We decided to go back and revisit it, ECM Style, flipping it into a funky reggae vibe with ‘4 on the floor’ drums, a Rub-a-Dub bassline and a Jamaican guitar skank to drive the off-beats. After unlocking the production, we thought of Zach Zoya for the vocals and he absolutely nailed it. We’ve been supporting him for years and it makes sense to share the journey with another Montreal-based artist.”
Listen to Banx & Ranx’s new single “The Birds” featuring Zach Zoya below.
Jamie Fine – No stranger to being covered on Biff Bam Pop!, Ottawa-born singer-songwriter Jamie Fine is back with her new single “Mistaken.” Always an open book, Jamie’s music is raw, honest, and full of personality and “Mistaken” definitely keeps that going. Like a diary entry to come to life, Jamie has a knack for distilling her emotions into highly relatable pop gems. What’s “Mistaken” all about? According to Jamie Fine: “‘Mistaken’ is about confronting how I’ve felt my whole life. It’s about taking something that was always a negative and turning into the reason I push myself in healthy ways to achieve what I set out to. I love being able to release music across the spectrum; some of it being uplifting and positive, others being darker and more emotional. We can’t have all perfect days – far from it – and my hope is to be able to make music that can get people through every type of day.”
Listen to Jamie Fine’s new single “Mistaken” below.
Shamir – Genre-defying musician Shamir will be dropping Homo Anxietatem, his first album for the Kill Rock Stars label on August 18. The first taste of what listeners can expect from the Las Vegas native’s 9th album is the lead single “Oversized Sweater.” Having dabbled in everything from dance to industrial-tinged hard rock, Shamir is no stranger to experimenting with sounds. “Oversized Sweater” sees the non-binary superstar channeling their energy into 90s-inflected alt-pop. Explaining the story behind the single, Shamir says: “The first quarter of 2020 before lockdown I felt a lot of anxiety. I was fresh out the psych ward and had quit smoking weed and cigarettes cold turkey. I spent the first couple months of 2020 knitting this huge baby blue sweater. It’s basically a wearable security blanket that I used to channel all my anxiety into. I wear it all the time, but most notably in the video for my song ‘Diet.’”
Listen to Shamir’s new single “Oversized Sweater” below.
The Weeknd – Canadian pop superstar The Weeknd’s new HBO show The Idol recently launched and was promptly met with a divided response. The crooner born Abel Tesfaye’s ardent supporters ate it up in the face of a healthy backlash from critics of director Sam Levinson. One thing that isn’t up for debate is “Popular,” The Weeknd’s collaboration for the show that sees him team up with Playboi Carti and Madonna. The irresistible pop smash tells a cautionary tale of a young starlet willing to go to any lengths to become popular, mirroring the central plot of the HBO drama. The Idol, Vol. 1 (Music from the HBO Original Series) is set to be released on June 30 via XO/Republic Records and will feature appearances from Future, BLACKPINK‘s Jennie, and more.
Listen to The Weeknd’s “Popular” with Playboi Carti and Madonna from The Idol, Vol. 1 (Music from the HBO Original Series) below.
Greta Van Fleet – Grammy-winning rockers Greta Van Fleet are saying “Farewell For Now.” No, haters, stop cheering. The boys from Frankenmuth aren’t going away. It’s the name of their newest track. The latest song to be released from the band’s forthcoming album Starcatcher, due out July 21 on Lava/Republic Records/Universal Music Canada, sees the band reflecting on the rush of being on stage and the longing for that rush. Discussing the meaning behind the song, bassist Sam Kiszka states: “On ‘Farewell For Now’ we express the sentiment of our longing to stay on stage and savor the magic created by the audience-music phenomena. But we must pack up and go to the next place to do it all over again; as always, we’ll be back soon.”
Listen to Greta Van Fleet’s new single “Farewell For Now” below.