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

It may be the shortest month, but this February was still packed with great songs, either from albums that landed in the last 29 days or set the stage for what we can look forward to in the coming months.

You can listen to BPM Curates: February 2024 here.

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

Adrianne Lenker – “Fool”

Recalling the gentle avant-garde guitars of Wilco’s blue phase, Adrianne Lenker reaches out to an absent and silent lover (or friend) – slowly unraveling the current day status of her family, friends, band members. In a way, she channels the passing of time, with each plucked string marking another second that trickles away. Ultimately, she concludes that even with change, true love will last, until life won’t. A gentle epic, in the form of an audible postcard, perfume and lipstick kiss included. – John Wohlmacher

ALEXVNDRIA – “He Loves Me”

“He Loves Me”, a Jill Scott cover and a highlight from the NYC based singer-songwriter and violinist Alexvndria’s new Hopeless Romantic EP, sweeps and soars with orchestral romantic glitz. With strings that sounds somewhere between Nelson Riddle’s prime arrangements for Sinatra in the mid 50s and a classic Bond theme, the track is a luxurious time, all satin and glassy. – Ray Finlayson

Amiture – “Rattle”

Wispy, serrated guitars establish a bluesy sound, while Jack Whitescarver’s vocals veer into hyper-melancholy vibes (“I am lonesome”, “I see myself alone”). Electronics swirl in the background, contrasted with a crisp drumbeat. Distorted guitar swells and Whitescarver’s vocals, evoking a deeper and deeper sense of desperation, elevate the piece into an atmospheric take on aloneness and the brutality of death. While lyrics and audial gestalts forge an emotional heaviness, the track also exudes a dark and ephemeral beauty. – John Amen

Armand Hammer – “Doves” (feat. Benjamin Booker)

Like a ghost, “Doves” suddenly appeared out of the ether: a leftover track from We Buy Diabetic Test Strips. In three movements, it delves into the uncanny depths of psycho-analysis. Locked doors and forbidden attics, death and dinner flow free in an associative river that recalls the haunted variations of The Caretaker and William Burroughs’ lurid nightmares. Apocalyptic and despaired, it’s a gothic masterpiece, that defies analytical approaches. Body music, horror sounds! – John Wohlmacher

Couch Slut – “Ode To Jimbo”

Couch Slut are back, baby! Brooklyn’s finest noise-mongers have always plumbed the absolute darkest depths of humanity for the narratives they soundtrack with their grimly discordant, crusty noise-rock, so you can excuse them if the lead single from the upcoming new LP is nothing more and nothing less than a paean to getting absolutely shit-faced at their favourite local bar. Suffice to say it’s an absolute blast that passes in an intoxicating, violent, exhilarating blur. Like a night out with vocalist, Megan Osztrosits, at Jimbo’s then! – Andy Johnston

Courtney Farren – “I’m Not Alone (I’m Lonely)”

An LA artist who honed her production craft in Croatia, Courtney Farren’s a globe-hopping introvert who has all the necessary ingredients for stardom: amazing voice, songwriting chops and production finesse. – Larry McClain

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes – “NIGHT_2_GOLD”

Coming at you like it’s fresh from the airwaves of LA indie radio from mid 2010s, “NIGHT_2_GOLD” is a hark-back to impossibly catchy indie pop of the decade gone. Daniel Ellsworth’s high register, the shuffling guitars, and a chorus that’ll stick in your head for days, there’s absolutely no point grumbling about having heard a version of this song before. “Do you wanna dance, baby?” Ellsworth asks, and when the track is as simple and good a time as this, the answer should be a resounding yes. – Ray Finlayson

Delacey & Valley Boy – “someone’s gotta be the last”

The internet went to work when Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell announced their divorce. While most comments paid tribute to a relationship that revived one career and launched another, others mean-spiritedly updated the heartbreaking lyrics to “If We Were Vampires” to, “Maybe we’ll have 11 years together”. With outrageous timeliness, Delacey and Valley Boy echoed the track on “someone’s gotta be the last” by forecasting its ’til-death-do-us-part more violently: “We’re only here / ’til a big meteorite / or a quiet thief in the night / You can’t tell me otherwise.” Or until one of us decides that this relationship ain’t big enough for us both. – Steve Forstneger

DJ Muggs & Crimeapple – “My House”

Oh, the joy of a rapper you admire more than enjoy finally clicking. As an avowed Muggs stan, you’d think I’d have jumped on the Crimeapple train sooner, but for whatever reason it was “My House” that finally made me go, “I get it now.” With Muggs’ beat providing an offkilter, dazed backdrop that seems to coil like a sinister serpent, Crimeapple chooses to offset the slow churn of the music behind him with a flow that’s frenzied, rapid, and deliberate by turns, switching seamlessly back and forth between English and Spanish (one of his trademarks) as he fires off at both foes and the competition with a supremely confident, dismissive poise. – Chase McMullen

El Perro del Mar – “Please Stay”

Leave it to the unpredictable experimental pop sound worlds of Sarah Assbring (aka El Perro Del Mar) to plop a Burt Bacharach cover in the middle of her dark, dusky, ambient-influenced new album, Big Anonymous, but despite the seemingly odd choice, it makes sense. “Please Stay” fits right into the themes of transience, longing, and wondering that find their ways into the 10 songs on the album, and with a beginning that sounds like it’s being beamed in from a radio signal from a past era (and maybe from hell), before blossoming into a classic El Perro Del Mar ballad, it ends up being a true highlight of the bewitching LP. – Jeremy J. Fisette

Erick the Architect – “2-3 Zone”

James Blake has long since proved himself to be, among other things, an outstanding hip-hop producer – see 2019’s Travis Scott-featuring “Mile High”. His beat here for Erick the Architect is just as brilliant: a cool, thumping instant classic. Erick – AKA the one Flatbush Zombies member without a weird voice – matches the production’s effortless swagger with a tight flow and steadily increasing energy. – Ethan Reis

Future Islands – “Say Goodbye”

Yet again, the decidedly soulful Future Islands explore a rather somber topic interwoven in their upbeat synthy production: this one being the difficulty of long-distance relationships. However beneath the difficulty explored in such connections is a rather striking romanticism that is just as quick to repair the heartstrings as it is to snip them. – JT Early

Hana Vu – “Care”

On “Care”, Hana Vu filters her sadness and depression over her fading days of youth through the song’s spry power pop instrumentation, with acoustic guitar tones that remind of The Bends-era Radiohead. “Care” ends up being the kind of song that makes you happy when you feel sad, and sad when you feel happy. As an artist who has often been pegged as “wise beyond her years”, it made sense for Vu to be writing a song that mourns the naïveté of her salad days. It screams all the more urgent when you realise those lost years – in Vu’s case – happened during the pandemic. – Jasper Willems

Hauzu – “Little Shells”

The recent self-titled debut EP by Hauzu announces a special talent in the noise/screamo/hardcore scene. Guitarist/vocalist, Ben Goodbody, used music to process his experience in the US military and subsequent disillusionment that came from first hand exposure to the dark corners of the American experience. The four-track EP encompasses chaos, melancholy and hopeful beauty, and finds its culmination in the closing multi part eight minute epic, “Little Shells” – a track that will leave you absolutely reeling. – Andy Johnston

Isobel Campbell – “4316”

The one-time OG Belle & Sebastian bandmember Isobel Campbell has had quite a fruitful solo career, having released several solo albums along with a fantastic series of collaborative albums with the late Mark Lanegan, and now she’s gearing up to release her fourth solo record, Bow to Love. If this first single is anything to go by, it’ll be another collection of breezy, zippy, smart indie pop. “4316” has a bit more of an electronic edge than much of her solo work, but it’s still buoyed by her pretty, feathery voice, and ease with earworming melody. – Jeremy J. Fisette

IU – “Shopper”

As IU continues to more willingly embrace the “pop” within K-pop, her projects grow ever smoother and more immediate. “Shopper” serves as the perfect opener for The Winning, celebrating her overall intent for the project: for people to not only stop feeling ashamed of their desires, but to celebrate them. It also happens to be a scathing satire of unabashed consumer culture. Few could pull off such a duality in a song while retaining its status as an absolute, it must be said, “bop”, with the all smiles on the surface, but surging with an urgent, even almost manic energy beneath the gleaming presentation. – Chase McMullen

Jlin – “Auset”

When she emerged a few years back, Indiana producer Jlin was hailed as the torchbearer of footwork and the singles from her upcoming album Akoma prove that she’s moving it into whole new territory. She had Philip Glass on her last single and a Björk collab is coming up on the album, but with “Auset” she reminds us that she only needs her own multiplicity of rhythms and subtle melodies to meld something entirely unique and mesmerising. – Rob Hakimian

Lizzy McAlpine – “Older”

Ahead of the release of her third album, Lizzy McAlpine yanks at the heartstrings and shares “Older”, a resounding sentiment on what is arguably one of the most uncomfortable and frightening transitions a person goes through in life – shifting out of youth and into adulthood. She encapsulates the sorrow of seeing the effects of time on the world around her and the true unsettling, subtle horror that is feeling lost in sudden change. Audibly, it is comforting and serene, but not without an immense sadness and exhaustion that reverberates through the chords. – Brianna Corrine

Magixx – “Okay”

References to the hedonism in modern Afrobeat and high life often seem in disproportion to its presence in other genres and, on “Okay”, the Nigeria-born Magixx has a dismissal: “Only your mama wants you bigger”. Of course, it’d be poetic if that were spoken in defence of his genre, but it’s actually a reference to the depression and constant mental beatdowns while hustling. “Okay” is about the struggle to lift a family, the acceptance of the task’s loneliness, and the lure of substance abuse. Hedonism as escape. – Steve Forstneger

M(h)aol – “Pursuit”

“Pursuit” marks the first release for M(h)aol since their debut album Attachment Styles and their first without former vocalist Róisín Nic Ghearailt. Re-configured into a quartet, the Irish punks steel themselves and march fearlessly onwards, continuing to challenge toxic masculinity by delving into its darkest traits. Constance Keane steps into the lead vocalist role and in this taut and wiry number she describes being followed home by a stranger in voice barely above a whisper, but which still prickles the skin with fear from the moment she’s describing – Rob Hakimian

mui zyu – “everything to die for”

To feel the full extent of love in its genesis, one must also be intimate with the despair of losing it. And nothing screams despair more than a deep introspection of your own mortality. Mui Zyu – the musical alias of Eva Liu – definitely understood the assignment in her first crack at penning an apocalyptic love song. What makes “everything to die for” so powerful isn’t just the sublime, anti-gravity arrangement, but the way the synth melody and Liu’s voice stumble off key from the chord progression in this charming, almost dilettantish way, capturing that woozy swell of infatuation in real time. – Jasper Willems

St. Vincent – “Broken Man”

On the imposing lead single to her upcoming album All Born Screaming, St Vincent offers a portrait of a broken man who’s finally snapped – “What are you looking at? / Who the hell do you think I am?” she snarls at onlookers viewing her protagonist’s demise. Sharp-edged guitar riffs that recall Nine Inch Nail’s and St Vincent’s own Strange Mercy combine with frenetic drum work courtesy of Dave Grohl. Additionally, stacked vocals from Annie Clark that descend into near-unintelligible growls in the song’s final minute turns “Broken Man” into a singular, hair raising statement. – Tom Williams

talker – “Easygoing”

This song, co-written with Jake Finch and Collin Pastore (boygenius, Lucy Dacus), demonstrates once again that talker has the talent to be this generation’s Sheryl Crow. She may also follow in the footsteps of film director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman, Saltburn) because the video she shot for this song is a bit disturbing yet brilliant. – Larry McClain

TWICE – “Rush”

As always, TWICE have you covered with the jams. If anything, the challenge presented by their new mini-album, With YOU-th (hands down their best release since 2021, mind you), is choosing just one song. There’s the swaying fervor and incredible, layered vocals of “Bloom”, the M83 gone clubbing vibes of “New New”, but I’m going to go with “Rush”. TWICE’s answer to the NewJeans mania (much like Usher when he began to borrow from The Weeknd rather than the other way around), the song serves as a friendly reminder that the influencers have a right to be inspired by those they influenced to begin with. Most importantly, of course: it’s irresistible. – Chase McMullen

Usher – “Kissing Strangers”

A straight-up pop gem from his new album, Usher processes the jarring shift from being lovers to strangers over blippy production on “Kissing Strangers”. With an addictive and melodically satisfying chorus, this warrants a lot of replaying due to it never leaving your brain once you hear it. – JT Early

Young Jesus – “Brenda & Diane”

Young Jesus’ John Rossiter quit music following his 2022 record Shepherd Head; he was drained, felt disconnected, but then found work in gardens and landscaping to fill a void. However, this hiatus would be short-lived — a brilliant and talented mind can only be kept down for so long. “Brenda & Diane”, the lead single from his forthcoming record titled The Fool, marks a new and reinvigorated era for the Young Jesus project. A musical and narrative ode to heartland rock, the rolling and cathartic cut encounters Rossiter breaking free from his own confines, most notably, from his vocal comfort zone. His usual placative falsetto still lingers like a ghostly wind, but he’s now also letting loose; he growls, howls, and unleashes with a fire to perfectly parallel the track’s climactic musical highs. – Kyle Kohner

You can listen to BPM Curates: February 2024 here.