5 Songs to Hear This Week: Ukrainian swagger, avant-jazz, and LA grunge-gaze

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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.

Swaggering hip-hop from the Ethiopian-Ukrainian sister trio FO SHO, dance club ready avant-jazz courtesy of Maria Chiara Argirò, and young bedroom pop artist mxmtoon confidently comparing herself to Shakespeare — our first 5 Songs to Hear this Week during Women’s History Month arrives with quite the splash. Plus, the latest from Bartees Strange and the return of LA grunge-gaze luminaries GOON. 

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FO SHO - “Squad Game”

Ready for a dose of badass? How about three of ‘em? This track from Ethiopian-Ukrainian sisters FO SHO is straight up — hip-hop bars, trap beats, and plenty of attitude topped by R&B vocal flourishes reminiscent of early Destiny’s Child. It’s easy swagger filtered through the distinct perspective that can only come from daughters of Ukraine. Dive into their catalog for more of what they’ve got on lock.

Bartees Strange - “Heavy Heart”

Bartees Strange is here to help carry your load. The DC-based artist serves up an open-hearted ode to showing yourself grace in this melancholic but hopeful single. Sharing-circle vulnerability is grounded in powerful indie rock percussion and stunning guitar work. Not so heavy after all. 

Maria Chiara Argirò - “Bonsai” 

Volume up. Full immersion is the only way to experience this kaleidoscopic single from Rome’s wholly original Maria Chiara Argirò. Featuring a seemingly effortless blend of electronic elements with dance beats and a chocolate fudge swirl of jazz trumpet, this builder commands center stage. Play it loud for a complete catharsis. 

mxmtoon - “mona lisa”  

In the opening bars of this total charmer from mxmtoon a.k.a. Maia (born in Oakland, raised on the internet), she boldly declares, “I’ve always played the part of Shakespeare.”It’s a well earned comparison — the breezy nature of this playful, expressive track belies the precision and expertise of its execution. Personal, relatable, and, dare we say, cheerful, this track’s worthy of a museum wall.

GOON - “Fruiting Body” 

And the shoegaze gods said… let there be GOON. Expertly blended without a hard edge in sight, this dreamy single from the LA-based “grunge-gaze” foursome — who’ve recently played with the likes of Spoon and Reggie Watts — will make you feel like you’re swimming in air. The layered, rhythmic vocals on this single from the recently released EP Paint by Numbers, Vol.1 are a worthy dance partner for classic indie production and artful lyrics. All together, it’s a glistening, gauzy dream come true.