5 Songs to Hear This Week: Everything But The Girl, Non Plus Temps, Madelline

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Party like it’s y2k with Non Plus Temps, Everything But The Girl, and Madelline. Photos by Sam and Michael, Edward Bishop, and Grace Sims

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our current obsessions, including 5 Songs to Hear This Week, Bent By Nature: Deirdre O'Donoghue and The Lost SNAP Archives (The Music), and our weekly sampler of KCRW’s Top 30 most played records

Everything But The Girl – “Nothing Left To Lose”

We love a good musical evolution — and this one spans decades. UK duo Everything But The Girl have been delivering contemporary, emotionally resonant tracks since their formation in the early 1980s (see: this killer 1985 interview with KCRW’s Deirdre O’Donoghue). And now, this: a track so modern, it encapsulates both the current electronic trends and the 20-year cycle they refer to: y2k reverb house, a sharp, percussive dance beat sprinkled with synths and keyboard bleeps, all topped by clear-as-day vocals featuring plentiful vibrato and a message of lovelorn devotion. 

Non Plus Temps – “Continuous Hinge” 

There’s a distinct air of ESG in this backyard-gig-reckless single from Non Plus Temps. Featuring: casual, echoing vocals, steady-funky bass, unidentified non-instrumentals keeping time, and the strong sense that these bandmates actually hang out, like, all the time. Finishing with a round of raucous laughter, everything about this good hang of a track is just cool. No surprise — the duo and their contributors hail from Oakland (I spy a BART station in the vid) and have roots in the punk scene. Hit play and get continuous! 

Get up close and personal when the band comes through Zebulon in LA on Jan. 26. Free!

Madelline – “dead”

Finally, an anthem for the particular breed of anxiety/dread/everyday depression that’s so pervasive these days. This singalong pop single from Madelline — an artist who gives the distinct impression of being universally liked at school and landing Homecoming Queen, even though she didn’t even ask for it or go to the dance — says the quiet part out loud: Someday, we’re all gonna be dead, and whatever’s got ya down right now will be nothing more than the finest speck of primordial dust. Thanks babes, we feel better already!

Diamond Grinder – “Wonder”

Here’s a musical setup we love: indie folk stylings lead by an esoteric voice, unusual song and rhyme structure, distinct strums and fret-slides peeking through the final mix, and a handheld camcorder vid capturing everyday life. Diamond Grinder are a duo based in Queens and hailing from San Francisco, so this track and its charmer video are informed by hip urbanite youthfulness as much as by the indie folk inspirations that precede it: hints of Modest Mouse, Big Thief, and Tegan & Sara are detected.

WILSN – “Hurts So Bad (Feat. Josh Teskey)”

Some musical vibes you’ll always reach for in everyday feel-good moments: soul standards backed by big brass. If you’ve got that playlist among your collection, this track’s your latest add. Is it nostalgic, or is it timeless? Either way, it feels damn good going down: layered vocals, verses in dialogue, grand gestures, and rows and rows of horns.  WILSN is Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Shannon Busch, and her talents pair perfectly with collaborator and fellow Aussie Josh Teskey. Play this one next time you need to feel extra bluesy while stirring the bolognese.