#93 - The Borealis 🌞

The Secret of Us review, Katy Perry and Something Corporate return to music, The Pop Out unites LA, Scooter Braun retires, AURORA.

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Happy Sunlighter Sunday! It’s officially BRAT summer, and if Charli xcx and Lorde can teach us anything, it’s their powerful reconciliation over music. As for JT, he’s taught us that it’s still a bad idea to drink and drive. Also… are all-caps album releases the new cool trend? There are four coming up this week, and summer is in full swing.

Rating Rationale: Whisper-singing queen, Gracie Abrams, has been taking inspiration from Taylor Swift for her sophomore album, packaging 13 songs on her latest LP with track #5 even featuring her tourmate. The album itself is expectedly more “extroverted” as Gracie has channeled much of her energy while being on tour (with and without Taylor) into a more lighthearted album, at least compared to the vulnerability of her past broken relationship on Good Riddance. Produced by Aaron Dessner (The National), we applaud Gracie for her refinement and steady progression outside of her comfort zone, though it may not be the mainstream-approved album we thought it would be based on her first two singles, “Risk” and “Close to You.” Thus, it’s a slight disappointment, but we still believe Gracie is one of the most talented songwriters in the industry, with witty recalls to her previous work on “I Love You, I’m Sorry” and previous relationships on “Gave You I Gave You I.”

Pop

Katy Perry’s controversial return, Sabrina Carpenter builds on momentum, Paris Hilton is an Infinite Icon, BRAT summer

After selling her catalog for $225 million last year and most recently completing her Las Vegas residency, Katy Perry announced her upcoming single “Woman’s World” after publicly revealing her controversial reunion with producer Dr. Luke.

With Tyler, the Creator bowing out of Outside Lands, Sabrina Carpenter has fortuitously replaced him on the lineup while announcing her upcoming Short N’ Sweet tour with support from underrated British artists, Griff and Amaarae.

Paris Hilton has been hard at work renewing her music career, collaborating with Rina Sawayama on her recently released single, “I’m Free,” while partnering with ADA on a distribution deal for her upcoming sophomore album Infinite Icon.

Rock & Metal

Something Corporate officially returns from 2004 hiatus

SoCo fans rejoice 🥹! Twenty years after going on hiatus, and one year after the core band got together for a When We Were Young sideshow at the House of Blues, Andrew McMahon and his core bandmates have reunited to release, “Death Grip,” a single credited to both Andrew McMahon in the Wildnerness and Something Corporate. Andrew McMahon has explained the reunion as a “full-circle” moment, which we think may translate to an upcoming tour announcement for 2025.

The Pop Out unites the West Coast, Quavo and Lana Del Rey collaborate, Clipse and Rakim both will release new albums in 15 years

Undoubtedly, one of the best moments of Juneteenth was Kendrick Lamar’s The Pop Out, a unifying rally cry that meaningfully brought together the community of Los Angeles to celebrate West Coast hip-hop. Aside from playing “Euphoria,” old Kendrick classics, and hilariously repeating “Not Like Us” five times in a row to end the night, it was a West Coast hip-hop broadcast that brought together a long list of both Los Angeles staples and lesser-known rappers: Dr. Dre, YG, DJ Mustard, Steve Lacy, Tyler, the Creator, Blxst, Ty Dolla $ign, Roddy Ricch, Black Hippy (a supergroup comprised of Kendrick, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy Q), Dom Kennedy, Remble, Westside Boogie, RJMrLA, BlueBucksClan, and Ohgeesy. With strong communion from some of the most influential rappers in Los Angeles, does this moment become a potential turning point for hip-hop?

Separately, in a somewhat unexpected tie-up, Quavo and Lana Del Rey have been collaborating on a new song, “Tough,” though the release date has not been officially announced.

Finally, brothers Pusha T and Malice (together known as Clipse) are planning a reunion sometime next year to release a new album in collaboration with Pharrell, their first in 15 years. Similarly, legendary hip-hop MC, Rakim, will release his first album in 15 years titled, G.O.D.’s Network (Reb7rth), on July 26th.

Country & Folk

Post Malone reveals upcoming album, F-1 Trillion

Now fully embracing his foray into country, Post Malone announced the name of his upcoming album, F-1 Trillion, via an F-150-themed Nashville billboard. Alongside the reveal, Posty officially released his second single “Pour Me a Drink” featuring Blake Shelton. If you happen to be in Nashville on July 16th, you’re in luck as Post Malone will be playing a one-night-only show to promote his album in partnership with… you guessed it, Bud Light.

Indie & Alternative

A2IM Libera Awards, Julien Baker and Dayglow announce tours, :)

Last week, the American Association of Independent Music hosted Indie Week in New York City, including its annual Libera Awards ceremony. This year’s coveted Record of the Year and Breakthrough Artist awards went to Mitski’s The Land Is Hospital and So Are We and Blondshell, respectively.

Additionally, indie pop artist Dayglow and ex-boygenius member Julien Baker announced tours, both expecting to kick off their respective tours later this fall.

Finally, The Japanese House shared her new single, “:)

Primer: When you hear of an artist who has been co-signed by Katy Perry and Troye Sivan, then featured on FIFA 16 and Frozen 2, you may not be surprised to hear that AURORA has seen steady growth in her career each year of her career. While she has the numbers of a mainstream artist, our goal is to support her growth in her current secondary market of the U.S.

AURORA grew up in a small Norwegian village that, according to her, “reminded her of Narnia.”  For much of her childhood (and even now), AURORA’s eccentricity was inspired by withdrawing into nature and discovering the innate power of her mind. Her journey with music began at age 6 when she discovered an electric piano in the basement of her childhood home. Three years later, she began songwriting but kept much of her early work to herself, due to her introverted personality. Therefore, she was surprised when Made Management, a leading music management company in Norway, reached out to her for a meeting after seeing a video of her performing at a school graduation. At first, she was inclined to say no; however, her mom encouraged her to explore the opportunity. Soon after, she was signed, and at age 16, she published her first single, “Awakening.”

What’s Next: AURORA is performing across nine tour dates this fall to promote her most recent fourth studio album, What Happened to the Heart? More notably, we recommend checking out her feature on the new Bring Me The Horizon album 👀

TikTok expands licensing, in-house content, and music + AI investments, Sonopress creates environmentally friendly CDs, SoundLabs supports ethical AI vocal models

TikTok Expansion: Here’s a quick rundown of recent TikTok music updates:

  • Last Thursday, TikTok kicked off a behind-the-scenes album content series called “Off the Record” featuring Charli xcx, Meghan Trainor, and Bleachers.

  • On Monday, TikTok announced a partnership deal with Adobe to expand its commercial music library to support content creation through the “Adobe Express” application.

  • On Tuesday, TikTok released new job postings that indicated the company’s interest in “acquiring and investing in music rights.”

  • On Friday, ByteDance announced plans to invest $2.1 billion in creating an “AI Hub” in Malaysia.

💿 EcoCD: In partnership with Warner Music Group, Sonopress has developed a CD made from 90% recycled polycarbonate. The company will be releasing its first production-ready EcoCD album through its collaboration with Coldplay’s upcoming album, Moon Music.

🎤 MicDrop: SoundLabs and Universal Music Group have partnered to provide MicDrop, an AI vocal plug-in that extends artists’ vocals for AI training while allowing artists to maintain ownership of their vocal data.

🔋 Battery Life: Warner Music Group and gaming-focused music licensing platform, STYNGR, are rolling out a virtual, time-based listening product known as “Batteries.”

Scooter Braun retires from artist management, The Recording Academy expands globally, KKR enters the music festival market

🛴 23 Years: That’s how long Scooter Braun has been managing music artists. In a heartfelt Instagram post reflecting on his career, Scooter officially announced his retirement from artist management, a true end of an era.

🏆 The Recording Academy: The organization behind the GRAMMY Awards is partnering with regulatory and cultural entities in Africa and the Middle East to expand its support for artists in these regions. Additionally, The Recording Academy plans to host an inaugural Asian version of the GRAMMY Awards in Korea.

💰 Securing the Bag: Private equity firm, KKR, acquired European festival operations company, Superstruct Entertainment from Providence Equity Partners for approximately $1.39 billion. Warner Music Group is expanding its distribution and label services in Eastern Europe by investing a minority stake in Croatian music company, Dancing Bear Music.

📚 Catalog News: While not confirmed, multiple sources have reported that Sony Music is close to acquiring Queen’s catalog for $1.27 billion 👀

Pop dominates charts with BRAT debut and Sabrina Carpenter’s “Please Please Please”

📈 Charli XCX’s sixth album, BRAT, lands atop several charts, including Top Dance/Electronic Albums (her first #1), top Vinyl Albums, and #3 on the Billboard 200 with 77,000 equivalent album units (her biggest week of sales ever). Interestingly, fans have speculated that Charli was unable to overtake Taylor Swift on the U.K. Official Charts (debuted at #2) due to a strategic but controversial tactic by Taylor’s team to release new, U.K.-exclusive editions of The Tortured Poets Department to propel album sales for her upcoming shows at Wembley Stadium. After using a similar tactic affecting Billie Eilish’s opening week, we see how fans are understandably annoyed. Separately, Sabrina Carpenter scored her highest debut at #2 with “Please Please Please,” while also giving a public nod of approval to Chappell Roan, which has helped The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess climb to #10, the highest chart placement so far in her career.

A$AP Rocky announces first album in six years, big pop & EDM albums arriving this week

📅 For upcoming albums, tours, and festivals access our comprehensive music calendar here.

📣 Album Announcements: A$AP Rocky will drop his first album in six years on August 30th, Suki Waterhouse plans to channel the ‘90s for her upcoming double album, Ezra Collective encourages fans to Dance, No One’s Watching in their upcoming album, Tones and I will share her sophomore album Beautifully Ordinary, PVRIS will drop a mixtape titled F.I.L.T.H. featuring LIGHTS and Tommy Genesis, and MICHELLE will release Songs About You Specifically.

⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week: 

  1. Lil Yachty, BAD CAMEO

  2. Camila Cabello, C,XOXO

  3. Imagine Dragons, LOOM

  4. Omar Apollo, GOD SAID NO

  5. Wilco, Hot Sun Cool Shroud

  6. Still Woozy, Loveseat

  7. Lupe Fiasco, Samurai

  8. Rich the Kid, Life’s A Gamble

  9. Washed Out, Notes From a Quiet Life

  10. Channel Tres, Head Rush

  11. Steve Aoki, Paragon

  12. jxdn, When The Music Stops

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See ya next Sunday 😎

Chris and Donya

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