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

Marking the finale of the first quarter, March produced a myriad of notable tracks that keep up the high quality of the start of the year – looks like 2024 is on course to be another one full of resonant musical memories.

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.

Ani DiFranco – “New Bible”

One of two new singles from legendary folk rocker Ani Difranco, “New Bible” finds the iconic singer-songwriter continuing her revealing of societal woes while also experimenting with her sound in the biggest way in some time. Alongside the announcement of her upcoming 23rd album Unprecedented Sh!t, the new singles see DiFranco working alongside BJ Burton (Low, Bon Iver) on production to create a hypnotic stew of sound and beats, using almost entirely sounds from her guitar and voice to create the intoxicating blend. It’s an exciting step into slightly uncharted territory, and her most exciting new work, arguably, since 2006’s Reprieve.Jeremy J. Fisette

basque – “Funeral For A Mouse”

The closing track from basque’s debut LP, Pain without Hope of Healing (written over three years ago but only released by No Funeral Records this year) is not exactly representative of what the preceding six tracks sound like – that is emoviolence with a disarmingly and disorientatingly funky, instrumental hip-hop influence that’s indicative of a real post-genre attitude – but it does provide the cathartic, deeply emotional release that is lacking from the dark, rageful and chaotic songs that have come before. It’s a perfect closer, drawing on the cinematic post-rock grandeur of screamo at its most wide-eyed and awestruck. A spoken word sample is a well-worn trope, but basque employ it beautifully here: a decontextualised snippet of a Nicolas Cage monologue from the movie ‘Pig’ becomes an  address to someone underappreciated and unseen, before the climactic section blossoms like the denouement of a WU LYF song. We depart with a feeling that basque have been lying to us: our pain has been healed, even if just a little. – Andy Johnston

Chief Keef & Mike WiLL Made-It – “Charged Up”

A simple question: why didn’t this make at least something resembling a splash? The names alone – generational fan favorite Chief Keef and super-producer Mike WiLL Made-It – should have been enough to create a proper tremor among the faithful. Add to this Mike WiLL drawing clear influence from (and paying homage to) the TM101 era of Atlanta trap – and freakin’ nailing it – and DIRTY NACHOS out to have been something of a minor event. Instead, it was hardly even covered, saying plenty about the fickle, conditional, and temperamental nature of hype (not to mention music journalism). Sure, Mike attaching his flag to Miley Cyrus at the peak of his fame was not the best move for his overall legacy, but the way the man has mastered manipulating sonic dissonance into pop out to be studied. He’s subdued his more chart-ready instincts before alongside the late Trouble for 2018’s (also criminally underrated) Edgewood, but he tears through classic Atlanta sounds with even more gusto here. I’ll let “Charged Up” make the rest of my argument for me. – Chase McMullen

The Decemberists – “Joan In The Garden”

Never ones to shy away from epic storytelling in their music, indie folk band The Decemberists are back with a mammoth new single. Going back to some of their more prog leanings found on earlier albums, “Joan in the Garden” clocks in at over 19 minutes – their longest single song ever – and tells a sort of abstracted version of the story of Joan of Arc. Did it need to carry on for almost a third of an hour? Perhaps not, but the song showcases so much of what has always made The Decemberists special: Colin Meloy’s verbose wordplay and rhyme, and knack for a memorable melody; the band’s exquisite interplay of sound, texture, and drama; and their immaculate grasp on structure and tension, build and release, sincerity and cheesiness. – Jeremy J. Fisette

DJ Muggs & Mooch – “Mazda”

It’s Muggs, y’all. Really need I say more? The Cypress Hill legend’s late career properly rivals The Alchemist’s recent run, and his latest with rising NY rapper Mooch is no exception. To my ears, “Mazda” may well be the highlight, as cinematic as it gets, with Muggs flipping a theoretically simple string loop into pure hip hop adrenaline, with Mooch snarling his way through the track, two minds meeting in just the right corner. – Chase McMullen

Grete – “Cz U Don’t”

A Lithuanian-born singer who now lives in Manchester, UK, Grete is a fabulous singer whose songwriting sophistication makes this track irresistible. – Larry McClain

Hannah Frances – “Vacant Intimacies”

Hannah Frances creates gigantic swirls of chamber folk that emerge before you realise you are being swallowed. “Vacant Intimacies” stirs in earthy woodwind, layers and layers of rousing voices, and an unassuming but galvanising saxophone solo from Hunter Diamond. “I want the one whose gone,” Frances pines, like she’s summoning otherwordly entities to bring this person back from the dead. With as much as power as she conjures on “Vacant Intimacies” she might just succeed. – Ray Finlayson

Jessica Pratt – “World On A String”

Jessica Pratt, lyrically, is as inscrutable as ever on the gorgeous new single from her upcoming album, but “World On a String” also deploys her guitar and voice so perfectly that you lilt along into devastation. Whatever you take away from lines like “I used to want for what your desolation hadn’t come by” or “I want to be a vestige of our senses free”, they will float down upon your consciousness so unsuspectingly – you won’t realise they won’t have become braided on your brain until it’s impossible not to swoon every time you hit repeat. – Rob Hakimian

Keeley Forsyth – “Turning” (feat. Colin Stetson)

Keeley Forsyth herself has said she knows how rare it is to hear someone singing over the inimitable sound of Colin Stetson’s saxophone, so she has grasped the opportunity to do just that with both hands. Her own vocal instrument is itself surprisingly powerful and malleable and hearing it deployed alongside Stetson’s indomitable brass is like an aural wrestling match between two odd but perfectly match opponents. They whirl, tussle and dive together – thrilling to the last breath. – Rob Hakimian

Leni Black – “Thank Me”

There’s a Taylor Swift / Billy Eilish freshness and believability to this track. Like those two artists, Leni brings studio subtlety and radio-ready hookiness to every song. – Larry McClain

The New Eves – “Astrolabe”

One of my favorite new bands. The New Eves’ “Astrolabe” is what happens when Velvets-style rock minimalism turns cosmic. It’s a love song we hear too few of: one that appeals to the universe itself. The vocal harmonies seem to burst out of the ether, possessing you physically. When I saw the band play at Left of The Dial Festival, I was reduced to tears, and this recording manages to summon that same joyous urgency. – Jasper Willems

Porter Robinson – “Cheerleader”

Suffused with the vibrant gloss and nostalgia of mid-2000s indietronica, Porter Robinson’s propulsive “Cheerleader” is an irresistibly processed, hook-driven gem punctured by lyrics about an obsessive fan, befitting to this very era and sound. Propelled by a subtle undercurrent of hyper-pop urge, “Cheerleader” could very well be a pop-leaning hint of what Porter Robinson may be envisioning for his next project. – Kyle Kohner

Roc Marciano – “Higher Lord” (feat. T.F & Flee Lord)

I kinda feel for Roc. Having been so consistent for so long, it can be all too easy to take his precise lyricism and slick production work for granted. He perked ears back up in 2020 by linking up with an (at the time) rising Stove Good Cook$ for the excellent Reasonable Drought, and once more in 2022 by linking up with The Alchemist for a long overdue full-length collaboration, but his latest, the still strong Marciology, struggles a tad with the inevitably of feeling a bit familiar. “Higher Self”, however, is essential Marci, slicing right for the jugular thanks to his reconnecting with Alchemist for a flawlessly simple beat that sees him sparring with latter-day favorites T.F and Flee Lord. Hot damn! – Chase McMullen

Softcult – “Spiralling Out”

Toronto sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn were just nominated for Canada’s prestigious JUNO Award for best alternative album. “Spiralling Out” is reminiscent of Wolf Alice because this duo can really rock and write gorgeous melodies. – Larry McClain

STRFKR – “Parallel Realms”

When a track takes the tonal quality of a song that live in my head, it’s almost a dead cert for me liking it. “Chizzlers” is the unassuming French-spoken highlight from STRFKR middling new album Parallel Realms, and it evokes CFCF’s “Raining Patterns” so much that I feel like I am getting a 2024 sequel. “Chizzlers” dribbles and drizzles (and chizzles?) in that downbeat way that STRFKR hit upon every so often, everything coming together for a slice of gorgeous synth pop – even if you don’t have the same association I have. – Ray Finlayson

This Is Lorelei – “Dancing In The Club”

I’ll always be amazed how easy Nate Amos keeps making it look: writing perfectly formed pop songs brimming with fun lyrical twists and interesting stylistic juxtapositions. Make no mistake though: Amos has studied all the classics and has developed a sixth sense on what makes a good tune tick.“Dancing In The Club” is a forlorn yet morbidly funny heartbreak anthem, which somehow channels The 1975 and Bruce Hornsby simultaneously. – Jasper Willems

You can listen to BPM Curates: March 2024 here.