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

Simply enough, we ask our writers to each pick two songs that were released in the previous month and put them all in a Spotify playlist.

You can listen to BPM Curates: January 2024 here.

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

Check back in a month for our picks from February!

Adrianne Lenker – “Sadness As A Gift”

A song that sounds laid back but displays the Big Thief star’s natural musicality and ability to collaborate. The effortless sound carries the song’s message of finding long-term satisfaction after heartbreak all the more powerfully. – Rob Hakimian

Adult Jazz – “Dusk Song”

Adult Jazz return after eight years of absence and announce themselves with a low bellow of brass, like a Nordic army coming over the mountains. Singer Harry Burgess plays with syllables all over “Dusk Song,” softly treading back onto the scene. Over six minutes the band sound like they are awakening from hibernation, and we are here to witness the return. – Ray Finlayson

Astrid Sonne – “Boost”

“Boost”, with its strange artificial breathlessness and soft panpipe-like synths, swirls to starts and stops. It’s a misty atmosphere, a curious alluring slice of Astrid Sonne’s electronic and avant-leaning compositions. – Ray Finlayson

Bizarrap & Young Miko – “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 58”

It’s distracting that Bizarrap continues to name the singles in his series with titles more suited to mixtapes, but this collaboration with the white-hot Young Miko absolves him. Effortless to the verge of being a Chainsmokers template, the joy is hearing Miko rhyme about jetskis while barely touching the water herself, a rap flow like running with only your toes grazing the tips of the grassblades. – Steve Forstneger

Bruiser Wolf – “2 Dope” (feat. Danny Brown & ZelooperZ)

Usually, when you get two outrageous characters like Danny Brown and Zelooperz together in the room with Bruiser Wolf, one of two outcomes can be expected: an unserious disaster or a display of outlandish brilliance. On the aroused “2 Bad”, two things are true at the same time. It’s a stupid fun masterstroke of that Bruiser Brigade itch for raunchy hi-jinx, highlighted by a hook that’ll end up being one of the most memorable of the year by the time 2024 rolls over. – Kyle Kohner

Frail Body – “Refrain

Despite having just one album to their name – 2019’s A  Brief Memoriam – Rockford, IL’s Frail Body are considered amongst the creme de la creme of modern screamo. After contributing a track to Jeremy Bolm’s (Touché Amoré) Balladeers, Redefined compilation last year, they’re finally returning with a new LP later this year. The lead single, “Refrain” starts out like a statement of chaotic intent, all blast beats, insane fills, strained screaming and guitars glowing hot enough to melt your speakers, before opening its arms and letting in some light, all culminating in the kind of emotional, cathartic crescendo that we listen to this kind of music for. Life-affirming stuff. – Andy Johnston

glass beach – “Coealecanth”

glass beach’s “Coelacanth” is an interesting-but-arcane song, but the band’s new album Plastic Death has more accessible songs that sound like recent Beck, Surf’s Up-era Beach Boys and King Crimson. There’s a virtuoso vibe to the entire album. – Larry McClain

Grace Cummings – “On and On”

The Australian’s nonsensically brilliant, beautiful voice has always sounded great over her folk-rock missives, but with the first taste of her new album she goes bolder and more anthemic. No surprise, it sounds epic. – Rob Hakimian

Gruff Rhys – “Cover Up The Cover Up”

Driven by melancholic piano offset by relaxed drums, “Cover Up the Cover Up” feels like you’re listening to it on a pier, emanating from just across the river. It moves with a fogginess, with Rhys addressing the despair of our current social and political realities with a sort of comical apathy: “Reinvent the government… let’s do it on Monday.” You know, we’ll get to it. Maybe. – Chase McMullen

Imogen Clark – “All Hard Feelings”

Imogen Clark is moving from Australia to the U.S. this year for the express purpose of becoming a star in America. Her latest single “All Hard Feelings” is a great introduction to her music, which has the power and authenticity of a female Springsteen. – Larry McClain

IU – “Love Wins All”

It’s somewhat surprising that IU has commenced her latest era with an aching ballad, but it’s decidedly beautiful. If the high concept video is any indication, she’s been binging Black Mirror. While I doubt her approaching mini-album feels like a Science Fiction dystopia, it’s yet another bold, intriguing turn by the Cannes nominated artist (being able to say that will never get old). – Chase McMullen

Julia Holter – “Spinning”

Julia Holter returns to us with more dizzying technicolor epics, leading us on a bountiful and surprising journey. – Jeremy J. Fisette

Kim Gordon – “BYE BYE”

With this shredder of a song, Kim Gordon once again proves to be more musically curious and bold than her fellow Sonic Youth alumni. – Jasper Willems

Lau Noah – “Ode to darkness (the lighthouse song)”

The closing track on A Dos dispenses with the album’s one-on-one collaborations and opts for a full choir. They have to wait, of course, while Lau Noah pleads for a flame to be extinguished, her nerves as tense as the nylon strings of her guitar. She waltzes on her knees and salvation arrives. – Steve Forstneger

Mary Timony – “The Guest”

After making anthemic rock songs with her band Ex Hex and Sleater-Kinney off-shoot Wild Flag in the 2010s, Mary Timony seems to be taking things more slowly for her first solo album in 15 years. The patient, gentle “The Guest” addresses the loneliness and listlessness of middle-age – asking existential questions with commendable grace. Alone at the microphone, she wonders, “Am I driven to emptiness or does it just come to me?” – Tom Williams

Moor Mother – GUILTY” (feat. Lonnie Holley & Raia Was)

Exploring the history of colonialism and the damages it has wrought, Moor Mother’s epic and expansive new single, “Guilty”, is a vivid account of futures destroyed and people buried under the weight of inequity and injustice. Enlisting multi-disciplinary artist Lonnie Holley, New York songwriter Raia Was and harpist Mary Lattimore, Moor Mother – aka Camae Ayewa – delivers a scathing indictment of generational trauma enveloped in stunning avant-orchestral passages, spoken word diatribes, and experimental soundscapes fueled by a roiling and communal anger. – Joshua Pickard
NØ MAN – “Glitter and Spit”

A daughter of Palestinian refugees, NØ MAN’s vocalist Maha Shami sounds understandably enraged on the latest single and title track from the Washington D.C. hardcore act’s forthcoming album. And to think, this was written and recorded before the recent escalations! “Glitter and Spit” is more of a personal reflection on the distortion by other people of one’s lived experience, but still barrels along with furious momentum; the band behind Shami – composed of members of screamo legends, Majority Rule – whip up an absolute storm that leaves you breathless and eager to mash that play button one more time. – Andy Johnston

Oddy Knocky – “Skipping

Just a wonderful and unpretentious song about not getting too high and not getting too low, with a likewise wonderful vocal melody. – Jasper Willems

Phosphorescent – “Revelator”

Ravaged by experience and love, Matthew Houck’s voice has always been a vessel for unimaginable ache – and maybe just a little bit of hope colored by sardonic humor – and on “Revelator”, we’re invited back into this world of close companionship and emotional revelation. His songs have always felt out of step with the world we inhabit, relics of dusty horizons and lost conversations. “Revelator” speaks in a language of intimate Americana and folk genealogies, a lesson in how soft words can elevate every moment of our lives and show us the way forward. – Joshua Pickard

Polevaulter – “Pissed In The Baths”

Drowning in the queasy haze of howling synthesizers, pulverizing industrial beats, and the antagonistic barks of Jon Franz, “Pissed In the Baths” lives up to its namesake, but with a plugged-in toaster thrown in for good measure. The result is serrated art-punk at its most perilous and electrified, sadistically inviting listeners to bask in its sinister waters. – Kyle Kohner

R.A.P. Ferreira & Fumitake Tamura – “begonias”

Ferreira’s lyrics are diaristic yet lit-savvy, self-mythologizing yet indicative of a broad awareness. Atmospheres are minimal but with a cool stoner vibe. Overall, the track exudes an alluring blend of sonic laid-backness and verbal intensity. – John Amen

Silly Silky – “BB New Attitude”

YESEO – now known as Silly Silky – has never sounded more contented and confident than she does on her new mixtape. “BB New Attitude” perfectly encapsulates that, with the once elusive K-R&B artist fully embracing pop (there are slight shades of BLACKPINK on this particular track, but entirely through her own unique filter) to absurdly charming effect. She dominantly strides through a playful soundscape, signaling the proper arrival of an artist reborn. – Chase McMullen

The Smile – “Bending Hectic”

Thom Yorke has always been strangely attracted to death: the ashen spiral in “Dawn Chorus”, the acidic defiance of “Exit Music (For a Film)”, the ghostly threats in “Morning Bell”. But he’s rarely embraced self-destruction with as much fire as here, throwing his car off the edge, partner and all! “If you’ve got something to say / Say it now!” There’s a libidinal strength here, familiar from JG Ballard’s writing, infecting the music too: Greenwood’s guitar slowly creeps up and down, the sound of a broken car alarm, the hissing strings, the explosion of Noise that builds upwards. There’s a hideous geometry here that the two haven’t attempted since “Paranoid Android”. It’s cryptic, physical music, extending the body into a falling machine and the strings of a humming guitar. – John Wohlmacher

Waxahatchee – “Right Back To It” (feat. MJ Lenderman)

Over the past three years, Katie Crutchfield has fully embraced the Americana genre and crafted some of the best songs of her career. With “Right Back to It”, she continues on that trajectory, offering enticing vocals and catchy melodies. MJ Lenderman’s supporting vocals and guitar parts are integral. – John Amen

Willi Carlisle – “Higher Lonesome”

A highlight from his brilliant third album Critterland, “Higher Lonesome” is a staggeringly honest piece of classic country that sees Carlisle look for deeper meaning in isolation, listlessness and grief. “Higher lonesome, kill the bitter parts of me”, he pleads on this song, which, with any justice, will one day be regarded as a country classic. – Tom Williams

Youth Lagoon – “Football”

While it could’ve simply been a cast-off from Youth Lagoon’s last magnificent album Heaven is a Junkyard, “Football” proves worthy of Trevor Powers’s current canon of moving, warped glitter-and-dust Americana character portraits. – Jeremy J. Fisette

You can listen to BPM Curates: January 2024 here.