Bad Bad Hats - "Detroit Basketball" is not actually about basketball, but it might be the most goddamn hooky infectious little ditty I've heard in a long time. Released in 2021, there's nothing COVID about this song. Just poppy fun. They are also the most casual band ever... release music kinda whenever they want to (over the last 9 years, maybe 20 songs?), and play local gigs, and are just so chill.
Ren - "Hi Ren" fuck everything you think you know about popular music and storytelling and long songs... Ren is an interesting character who has spent more than a decade sick with chronic illnesses and mental issues. During that time, he has persevered, and worked on the only thing that gave him any solace; music. His pieces are LONG - 9 to 13 minute songs - with multiple movements and sections, and extensive storylines that are poignant and often (like "Hi Ren") autobiographical. An absolute stunner, but also an emotional journey. You listen to these songs like you listen to jazz or classical music; pay deep attention.
Ren = "The Tale of Jenny and Screech" is a 13-minute opus that is absolutely worth the full journey. Not gonna say any more about that. Just listen. To the WHOLE thing.
Ren also plays/busks with a full band called The Big Push, and their take on Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" is astonishing, and integrates probably a dozen fantastic hard rock songs into a single seamless funky jam! Live. On the street. Brilliant.