5 Songs to Hear This Week: Nia Archives, Sparks, Shamon Cassette

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Wild times with Nia Archives, Sparks, and Shamon Cassette. Photos by Melissa Gardner, Sparks, and Raz Azraai

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

Sparks – “The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte” 

Our favorite local vaudevillian pop-rock icons Sparks are back with a new single sure to catch your attention. The clanging, synth-heavy track spins a familiar enough story to anyone who’s ever spent idle people-watching hours at Intelligentsia, Alfred, or even Starbucks, and features Cate Blanchett as a big yellow beacon of free expression. Part theater, part contemporary art, and all Sparks signature quirk, this track and its one-shot video are a must-see before Oscars weekend re-glamorizes Blanchett, who may take Best Actress for her role as an unraveling conductor in Tár.

The Virginia Valley – “Lo que Nunca Se Nos Perdió”  

Down for a little drama this weekend? Drop the needle on this icy-cool single from Colombian electro-clash duo The Virginia Valley. Featuring sharp synths in minor chords, a menacing dance beat, and sparkling with ‘80s-inspired embellishments, this darkwave track is rich with both style and substance. Drag Queen and artist Isis Camelia, also known as Señorita Pleasure, tops it all off as the video’s sensual center. Travel deeper into the Valley: See them live at SXSW (kicking off this weekend), and pick up their debut album No Futuro, out now.

Nia Archives – “Conveniency”

Music, like people, contains multitudes — and this latest track from UK producer, DJ, and songwriter Nia Archives is pudding proof. The standout single from Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall, the EP out now, features the seemingly incongruous pairing of loungey lyricism about healthy boundaries with a high-octane drum n’ bass dance beat. You might even call the pairing Nia Archives’ signature sound. And it’s hitting: The 24-year-old is being hailed as a leader in the dance-music revival led by Black women artists that’s taking the UK, and the world, by storm. 

Shamon Cassette – “¥es With A Yen Sign”

Reapproach your cosplay costume bin with a new attitude set to this excellent laidback hip-hop cut from LA-based artist and audio/visual designer Shamon Cassette. Utilizing tried-and-true production elements topped by practiced and confident bars — and a feature from Japanese rapper PhLawRen — this one’s a familiar but fresh take on bops to live your life to. Enjoy the DIY video stylings capturing an all-to-real squad shoot featuring artists Sky Sky and Ek0, and embrace the invitation to live out your fantasies.

Fieh – “Texas Baby”

Get in the van, we’re driving to Texas, baby! A creative product of real life, this blue-sky track from Norwegian neo-soul band Fieh was written to pass the time as the band drove (presumably, not from Norway) to Austin to perform at the SXSW last year. And that story fits: Rife with go get ‘em energy wrangled by the innate coolness of expertly handled funk-stramentals, this sunshiney track is the ideal hype-up soundtrack for your next “I got this” moment.