Stream: Greatest Hits … This Week (Vol. 284)

Cover image by Wolfgang Hasselmann via

Storefront Church‘s magnificent new track from last week’s playlist was deservedly well-received, and a cool thing happened when Lukas Frank took to socials to thank everybody. Rather than the too-frequent chest-thumping or humble-bragging in which some artists engage, he took the opportunity to highlight a handful of other L.A. artists who are making great music. (See his post here.) So Nos. 5 through 9 on Greatest Hits … This Week (Vol. 284) are courtesy of Lukas Frank — Angélica Garcia, Marina Allen, Loren Kramar, Clarity and Lane Hartley.

As a result, the 284th edition of our (almost-) weekly playlist is packed. Besides those artists, hear the mighty comeback track from Nico Vega, along with new songs from Local Natives, Communicant, Jessica Pratt, Lawrence Rothman, Blondshell, Gospelbeach, Lauren Ruth Ward, the Drives, Waverly Drive, Temme Scott, Izzy Outerspace, Superfan and more. Plus, we’ve included singles from new albums out this week from Chicano Batman, the Rocky Valentines, Peel and Dent May.

More info on the artists and their songs below the player … Dive in, won’tcha?

Nico Vega, “$5” — It seems eons ago that Nico Vega barreled through L.A clubs led by the dynamic vocals on Aja Volkman. Much has happened since, such as: Two hiatuses; Volkman’s on-again, off-again marriage to Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds (they divorced this year) and her duties as a mother of four; band co-founder Michael Peña’s successes as an actor; and Volkman’s duo collaboration, TWWO, with Nico Vega drummer Dan Epand. Now, with guitarist Rich Koehler having rejoined and Peña returning as bassist, Nico Vega is back. “$5” is the first single from an Epand-produced album, “Make It Out Alive.” Like the best of Nico Vega’s singles, it’s a beast. Live April 3 at the Moroccan Lounge.

Local Natives, “April” — Just eight months after releasing their fifth album, “Time Will Wait for No One,” L.A. indie staples Local Natives have announced that they will release a new one that is titled as though it’s a companion piece, “But I’ll Wait for You.” “April” is the first single, and Jon Chu directed the video. Live May 4 on the middle day of the Beachlife Festival in Redondo Beach.

Lauren Ruth Ward, “Babysitter” — “Self Electric,” the new EP Lauren Ruth Ward, arrived today. Introduced last year with the single “Self Love,” the EP comprises just four songs and a remix, but there’s some range. Two songs made with producer Matt Pauling (5 Seconds of Summer, Palaye Royale, LP, Jagwar Twin) crackle with Ward’s typical vocal pyrotechnics and rock guitars. “Babysitter,” made with Claire Morison, is a different story altogether.

Communicant, “Annabella” — The follow-up to “The Day” and the second single from the forthcoming album “Harbor Song,” “Annabella” finds songwriter Dylan Gardner channeling the Beatles in fantastic fashion. Live April 20 at the Echo, supporting Meltt.

Angélica Garcia, “Color De Dolor” — L.A.-reared Angélica Garcia uses her avant-garde pop ministrations to probe the deepest emotions, expressing them in an agile, powerful voice. Garcia’s third full-length, “Gemelo” (out June 7 and produced by Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arévalo), is her first sung entirely in Spanish, but as you’ll find with the lead single “Color De Dolor” (the color of pain), language barriers can be hurdled in a single, soaring phrase. “Grief is nuanced, and sometimes pain can be intertwined with beauty,” Garcia says. “‘Gemelo’ is a body of work that explores the process of grieving — acknowledging the light and shadow within it. ‘Color De Dolor’ was the first song that was written for ‘Gemelo.’ It’s also the first song on the record where I face grief for what it is. I wanted ‘Color De Dolor’ to feel very textured and lush, like you’re walking through a jungle. To me, its kaleidoscopic quality shows sadness and beauty.”

Marina Allen, “Red Cloud” — “Red Cloud,” named for the south-central Nebraska outpost where Marina Allen’s family has roots, is the first single from the singer-songwriter’s third album, “Eight Pointed Star,” out June 7 on Fire Records. It’s a gorgeous, painterly track accompanied by this video directed by Eliel Ford. Live June 13 at Scribble in Highland Park.

Loren Kramar, “I’m a Slut” — The follow-up to “Hollywood Blvd.” and “Glovemaker,” the cheeky “I’m a Slut” is the latest from singer-songwriter and recent New York Times style section cover dude Loren Kramar.

Clarity, “Okay” — Clarity Sushman, working as just Charity, has released but three singles (the first was a cover of that one Tracey Chapman song), two of which found the singer-songwriter working with producer Pascal Stevenson, aka Fashion Club.

Lane Hartley, “Naming Horses” — Asheville, N.C., transplant Lane Hartley will release his debut solo album, “Naming Horses” (produced by Adam Gunther). on May 10. Hearing the title track, you’ll swear time can stand still.

Jessica Pratt, “World on a String” — Jessica Pratt’s fourth full-length (and first since 2019) is titled “Here in the Pitch,” and it’s out May 3. She makes magic as much as music; find a quiet place to listen to “World on a String,” or February’s single “Life Is.”

Lawrence Rothman, “Yesterday Tomorrow” — A piano ballad turned immersive mediation, “Yesterday Tomorrow” is the latest single from Lawrence Rothman’s album “The Plow That Broke the Plains,” out April 26. (See also: “Poster Child” and “LAX.” Live April 25 at the Lodge Room.

Superfan, “75 Germany” — “Tow Truck Jesus” (out June 28), the debut album from Kali Flanagan’s solo project Superfan, is a coming-of-age story that was introduced in February with “Sewn Up and Handsome,” a song about the songwriter’s recovery from top surgery. “75 Germany” appears later in the album, as Flanagan’s voice settles into a lower register, the result of hormone replacement therapy.

Easy Sleeper, “Pleasure Thrills” — The follow-up to their February single “Timekeeper,” “Pleasure Thrills” is the new taste of a full-length that indie-rockers Douglas Guttenberger, Alex Lubeck, Michael Caddigan and David Poznansky have planned for the fall. Typically, Easy Sleeper tackle weighty matters in “Pleasure Thrills” — here, Guttenberger explains, “the legacy of ambiguity in art and whether that’s shifting. If it’s changing, is that positive or negative?”

Blondshell, “Docket” (feat. Bully) — Blondshell (Sabrina Teitelbaum) and Bully (Alicia Bognanno) team up for a tongue-in-cheek rocker about taking chances. “For me this is a song about splitting off from yourself,” Teitelbaum says. “It’s about uncertainty when you’re in different environments all the time. In a way it’s about wanting to cope with distance and change but it’s also just a bit about being reckless.”

Low Hum, “Hints” — “This is an open letter/diary of shifting feelings that I was going through … the central idea being everything you need is here in front of you, as long as you can see it,” songwriter Collin Desha says of his astral new track “Hints,” the latest from the third Low Hum album, “Terra Incognita” (out May 24 via Last Gang Records). See also: “Only If You Say So.”

Maudlin Strangers, “Silver Stain” — Following up “Don’t Worry, I’m Fine,” songwriter Jake Hays and gang unveil the slow burner, “Silver Stain.”

Izzy Outerspace, “A Bird” — The follow-up to “Takes Time,” “A Bird” is the latest dose of fuzzy dream-pop from songwriter Isabelle Baumgartner. Catch her live April 24 at Gold-Diggers, where she celebrates the release of her new EP, “Lip Service.”

Gospelbeach, “Nothin’ But a Fool” — The follow-up to “Hang Thyme” and “The Dropouts,” “Nothin’ But a Fool” is the latest single from Gospelbeach’s fourth album, “Wiggle Your Fingers,” out April 28. Joe Harvey-Whyte joins Brent Rademaker and gang to add some sweet steel guitar.

Windows, “Wanted to Know” — Psych-pop with a sprinkling of California country? Yes, please. L.A. five-piece Windows this week released their new EP, “Raindrops on the Open Road.” “Wanted to Know” is the opening track on the EP, produced by Rocco Guarino and the follow-up to the quintet’s two singles released last November.

Chicano Batman, “Live Today” — Friendly reminder that Chicano Batman’s new album, “Notebook Fantasy,” is out today. Live June 29 at the Kia Forum.

The Rocky Valentines, “Agree” — Friendly reminder that the Rocky Valentines’ muscular debut album, “Erase,” is out today. Fans of heavy indie-rock from way before 20-year-old Charlie Martin was born should take note.

Dent May, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” (ft. Pearl & the Oysters) — Friendly reminder that Dent May’s feel-good album, “What’s for Breakfast?,” is out today. Live June 15 at the Lodge Room.

Peel, “Manic World” — Friendly reminder that “Acid Star,” the debut album from Peel (Sean Cimino and Isom Inni), is out today.

Temme Scott, “Softly” — Temme Scott first single in over a year, “Softly,” is a gripping anti-love ballad that’s the first taste of her sophomore album, out later this year. Watch the Tim Finch-directed video.

Model Child, “Headlights” — Songwriter Danny Parker will release his debut album as Model Child on June 21. It’s titled “Get There!,” and the single “Headlights” follows the late-2023 release of “Tough Guy” and “My Angel.”

Gatlin, “Too Much Woman” — Florida native Gatlin Thornton (just Gatlin here) debuted in 2019 and struck gold with the 2021 single “What If I Love You.” Her de rigeur pop diaries continued with last fall’s EP, “I Sleep Fine Now,” and she turns up the grit on her new John Velasquez-produced single “Too Much Woman.”

Waverly Drive, “After the Show” — The solo project of songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and Votiv Sound head honcho Phil Galloni, Waverly Drive released EPs in 2022 and 2023, with a third, “Push My Luck,” arriving May 10. Live May 9 at Genghis Cohen.

Child Seat, “Dancing at the Disco” — Child Seat, the duo of Madeleine Mathews and Josiah Mazzaschi, are frolicking their way toward their sophomore album. The glossy “Dancing at the Disco” is the follow-up to the footloose jam “Money,” released in February. Live April 12 at Permanent Records Roadhouse.

The Drives, “Overeducated” — Keeping the pedal to the metal doing their take on the ’00s garage-rock revival, the Drives contemplate college life vs. an empty future on “Overeducated.” “This song is about how completely lost and directionless I was in my college and post-college years,” frontman Andrew Levin says of the latest single from a forthcoming EP (release TBA).