The five songs Nikki Nava can’t live without

We’ve had our ear on Nikki Nava since last year, when we included her in a Local Outsider column. We’ve always liked how she does so much with what seems to be little. That’s on full display with the release of her first proper single, “Secrets”, and with more new stuff on the way, we asked her to tell us the five songs she can’t live without. Warning: there are some surprises on her list.

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Review: Antisocialites by Alvvays

Antisocialites by AlvvaysWell, this one was fun. Sure, Alvvays don’t really trade exclusively on fun. In fact, teir songs always have this tinge of melancholy – an acknowledgement that things aren’t really going as well as they should be – but, well, keep your head up, soldier on. Antisocialites is the second album from the Toronto band, and if one thing stands out, it’s that it’s so tight. Every single song is, well, fun. The hooks land just right, the songs build up nicely, and there seems to be something new with Molly Rankin’s vocal – it feels more awash in reverb. If anything Antisocialites aims more keenly towards the jangle pop template it previously set, feeling more retro than its predecessor. But I’m very much willing to take it, because it feels even more affecting this time. The melodies soar, and the album is, again, fun. [NB]4/5

Review: Alvvays by Alvvays

Alvvays by AlvvaysI listened to Alvvays’ debut album in a really bad mood, what with no power and no system left to follow – and I felt good about myself. I know, this sounds so much like a cliché. Album makes music critic feel better about himself! Yes, yes, I know. The interesting thing about Alvvays (aside from the way they spell their name, vaguely) is that their beach pop doesn’t sound out of place in California – and this, despite them being decidedly very Toronto. Yet there’s something uplifting about it, and not in the usual fuzzy ways of, say, Best Coast. Molly Rankin sounds much like Bethany Cosentino, but there’s this sweet, soaring quality I couldn’t quite put my finger on – it’s just a nice contrast. Couple that with songs that are written more like letters than paeans, and you have a record that succeeds in evoking the sunshine in places where there usually aren’t – or, in this case, where it insists on hiding. [NB] | 4/5

“Forget the invitations, floral arrangements and bread makers.”

“Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays | This, apparently, is an old song. This was out last year; the deeper crevices of the Internet must be buzzing about it. But now the Toronto band – whose name suggests the oppression of the letter U by the letter V: see Chvrches – has snagged a record deal and this song is getting a rerelease, and the radio stations are playing it, and I am hearing it for the first time. It’s the good side of Best Coast: slushy and lo-fi and summery. Yes, I see where it’s going. [NB]