I am late to Troye Sivan. I’ll admit I skipped his debut Blue Neighborhood because of my aversions towards the pop he makes: melodically pleasant, but ultimately forgettable. But that, of course, completely denies him the power of his music, and that does him a great disservice. His sophomore release, Bloom, continues on the same path, but then you realize that the typicality of his sounds serve to put the spotlight on his stories. A lot seems to have been put on Troy’s shoulders, as one of the few people who openly discuss the experiences of the gay community – through his particular prism of exhilaration and trepidation – in pop music today. These themes continue here, and that’s where the strength of Bloom lies. Troye’s sincerity makes what should be incredibly specific exercises quite universal. His vulnerability makes you root for him. While he’s musically conservative – and sequencing-wise you might be forgiven for thinking this is another throwaway pop record – you can’t help but listen, and understand, and appreciate the whole “there’s more that unites us than divides us” idea going around lately. But then, that’s me adding to the load on his shoulders. [NB] | 4/5
From my nascent time directly observing the local indie scene, April Hernandez is one of its quiet yet most effective workers. While she does a bunch of things for other artists, you more likely know her as TheSunManager, whose music bursts with an effortless optimism. On Friday she will release her first full-length debut, Worth, and we’ve taken the chance to ask her about the five songs she can’t live without. Her selections have actually surprised us – and it’s a good thing, we must add.