Welcome to the April edition of Beats Per Minute’s monthly playlist BPM Curates.

This month saw the annual Coachella carnage in the California springs which crowned some new stars and the periodic collective losing of sense when a certain Princess of Pop brings out something new. Both have made an impact on this month’s playlist, but we also have a remixes, international treasures and hip-hop legends, to name a few.

Listen to our playlist of picks below.

Below is the track list and some notes from our team about why they’ve selected them for this month’s playlist.

Arooj Aftab – “Raat Ki Rani”

Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab is back with a new album titled Night Reign, a follow-up to her Grammy-winning Vulture Prince, and with it comes new single “Raat Ki Rani”. The song is immediately forging in a slightly new direction for Aftab, whose work is usually set at a beautifully glacial pace, all wide-open space and wondrous melodies spinning like spells. “Raat Ki Rani” has more momentum to it, with plinking pianos, tapping percussion, and some gorgeous harp work. Above it all is Aftab’s signature voice, a smoky mix of perfectly-controlled melodic command and simmering emotion. The choice to process her voice with a touch of Auto-Tune is a potentially divisive one, but the strength of her singing still comes through on this intoxicating single. – Jeremy J. Fisette

Bullion – “World_train” (feat. Charlotte Adigéry)

“World_train” shouldn’t work. Hokey keyboard horns, toy-like steam engine percussion, and a gleeful folksy fiddle; on paper it sounds like a concoction from a kindergarten music session. But somehow Bullion (aka Nathan Jenkins) brings it altogether, creating an oddly alluring and slightly beguiling locomotive-led slice of pop music with a tender edge (“I can hardly understand what it takes to be a real man,” goes the refrain). Naturally guest vocals from Charlotte Adigéry help, but it’s all propelled by Jenkins’ keen ear for melody and momentum, creating a chugging rhythm it’s hard not to get caught up by. All aboard the “World_train”. – Ray Finlayson

Cassandra Jenkins – “Only One”

Cassandra Jenkins proved herself a perfect combination of cynic and believer in spirituality in her travelogue-like 2021 breakthrough album An Overview On Phenomenal Nature. All those qualities remain firmly intact, and come out more confidently, on “Only One”, the lead single from follow-up album My Light, My Destroyer. An ode to the drudgery of daily life, of trudging the streets of NYC in search of inspiration, only to be surprised by pure emotion in “the only one I’ve ever loved”, “Only One” is a glorious glide through a spectrum of quotidian emotion. – Rob Hakimian

Chanel Beads – “Police Scanner”

I  don’t even quite know how to describe Chanel Beads’ debut LP, Your Day Will Come, to be honest. Dewy-eyed dream pop with the smirking, yet sincere, attitude of The Smiths? Art pop with a slight post-punk throb? There’s some Set Yourself on Fire energy in there, as well? Hell, I don’t know. I do know it jams. It’s sleek. It’s too cool for us all, yet wears its heart on its sleeve. – Chase McMullen

Devan – “Headrush”

Devan is the solo project of Devan Glover, one-third of the acclaimed band Wild Rivers. “Headrush” is both beautiful and believable, heralding great things from this Toronto-born, UK-raised artist. – Larry McClain

Fontaines D.C. – “Starburster”

Pushing deeper into the experimental corridors that were tentatively explored on their 2022 record Skinty Fia, Fontaines D.C. have moved beyond their blistering mid-aughts art-punk revivalism with a striking hint at something new and refreshing. “Starburster”, the lead single from the Irish band’s forthcoming record, is a woozy high-wire act where trip-hop meets post-punk, alchemized by mystery and the band’s sheer urge to create something wholly different from their usual riveting, more traditional punk hi-jinks. – Kyle Kohner

Hinako Omori – “foundation” (claire rousay remix)

Already a highlight of Hinako Omori’s 2023 album stillness, softness, “foundation” gets a mechanical augmentation in the hands of claire rousay. The sound artist/producer/songwriter takes the opportunity to “reinterpret the fable” head-on, adding her own voice alongside mechanical whirrs and clicks that take it to a future planet – one where machines can feel love and yearning. It’s a true remix that maintains the emotion and feel of the original but expands upon it to create a whole new atmosphere and story. – Rob Hakimian

Jess Ribeiro – “Howl”

With a ringing piano note bobbing across “Howl'”s near-six minute runtime, Australian folk singer/songwriter Jess Ribeiro moves at a soft and ambling pace. With a chord progression ready to be the title music to a new TV series, Ribeiro conjures This Is The Kit and Faye Webster’s most languid moments, creating a dreamy world sustained on soft onomatopoeic howls that are in between actual doleful animal cries and gentle cooed utterances of the song’s title. – Ray Finlayson

Jessie Goldsmith – “Rockstar”

The brilliance of this Swiss/US artist really sneaks up on you. Her voice and songwriting skills are stellar, and the allure of “Rockstar” deepens with each listen. Don’t miss the superb harmonies in the song’s outro. – Larry McClain

Kendrick Lamar – “Euphoria”

What to even say about this one…much like with Big Steppers, Twitter seems set on missing all the intricacies in search of simplicity. Kendrick (to his credit) is somehow already a dinosaur in his time. Drake has largely weathered the mood shift in Hip hop towards hazy, apathetic immediacy through draining the blood from any younger artist he con into vampiring their sound as his own. Yet Lamar finally losing patience with the soap opera star tricked into believing he can around like Pac by his own success – studies will some day be done on how social media, and releasing singles that are memes more than songs have artificially extended his life as rap’s ubiquitous leading man – may well yet again bring down Drake’s carefully structured (if increasingly repugnant and misogynistic) fantasies.

What’s really getting lost in the mix: this is no “Ether”. This is still a warning shot. The promises of receipts withheld, killing blows avoided in favor of smirking competition, and a clear, ready willingness to escalate should Aubrey choose to continue are perhaps the most tantalizing moments of this culture-shifting moment in time yet. – Chase McMullen

Lorelei Marcell – “Social Expectations”

LA artist Lorelei Marcell’s “Social Expectations” is catchy, confident and witty – something that most artists can’t match. This single exceeds expectations by a mile. – Larry McClain

Mariam The Believer – “Tiny Animals”

It’s been a minute since we heard from Mariam Wallentin. The Swedish singer’s best known as one half of bluesy, jazzy, art pop experimenters Wildbirds & Peacedrums (whose last album was 2014’s Rhythm), but has quietly put out several great solo records as Mariam the Believer. Her last album under the moniker 2017’s Love Everything, and it’s so nice to hear her back to her brand of pretty, patient, classy pop songcraft. The squiggling strings, the raindrop-light piano, brushed drums, all supporting Wallentin’s soulful, powerful, yearning voice – one of music’s most enigmatic and entrancing. Here’s hoping there’s more MTB on the way. – Jeremy J. Fisette

miaw – “ATT”

“ATT” by producer duo miaw – a project founded by Liza Dries and Frederik Fog – doesn’t know if it wants to be a club track or a pop song. And that’s actually what’s so glorious about it. It starts as this woozy breakbeat/garage track built around a pitched up vocal loop and around the one minute mark, it turns into this beautiful almost shoegaze-y thing, if only briefly. Once it shifts you can literally feel your heart skip a beat. It’s the perfect piece of music for aimless night wanderings, allowing hopeful and sad feelings to coalesce. – Jasper Willems

Nas & DJ Premier – “Define My Name”

Finally. You really don’t need to overthink this one (if you insist, check out my longer take for the single), just let that back-to-basics, classic Premo beat hit you as Nas smoothly spirals off in whatever direction he pleases, enjoying his late career poise, confidence, and grace.

Sabrina Carpenter – “Espresso”

It’s a bit too early to start examining 2024’s songs of the summer, but my god, Sabrina Carpenter is already in the lead. On her new single “Espresso”, Carpenter has been able to reach all ranges of her audience with this 70s dance boogie. “I’m working late cause I’m a singer” is neurotic, yet classy, and all-around trapped in your head. – Moses Jeanfrancois

St. Vincent – “Hell Is Near”

I jumped off the St. Vincent-train during her Jack Antonoff-phase but self-produced new album All Born Screaming is, as the cliché says, a “return to form”. The opening track “Hell Is Near” immediately grabbed me by the throat, morphing from Zero 7-styled chill pop into beguiling Middle Eastern melodies. On that last note, St. Vincent and her collaborator Cate Le Bon are big fans of Turkish protest singer Selda, so that might have something to do with it. I love how the song goes into an entirely new place with these eerie piano flourishes and sped-up synth arpeggios: like an express lane from netherworld to the pearly gates. – Jasper Willems

Taylor Swift – “I Look In People’s Windows”

While the first disc of The Tortured Poets Department doesn’t present much to shower in praise, its second batch of songs presents Taylor Swift at her most mature and developed. “I Look in People’s Windows” is a short, dark tale of a woman who wanders through streets, attempting to find the face of their lost love in foreign rooms and strange places. Accompanied by the Sufjan Stevens-like playing of Aaron Dessner, Swift’s voice climbs up and down, following her gaze investigating the lives of other people. With all the hate that this album has been showered in, it’s tracks like this one that prove that secretly holds – and hides – some of her best material. – John Wohlmacher

Tinashe – “Nasty”

Teased on her Instagram live and released in time for Coachella, Tinashe’s “Nasty Girl” is the warm-up for our future warm weather adventures. “Is somebody gonna match my freak?” Tinashe questions the audience. ‘Nashe stays on her classic fusion of old-school R&B and futuristic Aaliyah-induced funk. It’s less of a ‘getting dicked down’ anthem and more of a spiritual sermon to find someone with the same energy as you. But the backseat of your car isn’t off limits. – Moses Jeanfrancois

You can listen to BPM Curates: April 2024 here.