BROCKHAMPTON returned with a bang on their third release, Saturation II, off their own label Question Everything, Inc this past August 25th . The group has a sound as unorthodox as their origin story, the majority of the members having met on a popular Kanye West forum before ever meeting in real life. Coalescing under leader Kevin Abstract and taking up the all-caps moniker BROCKHAMPTON, the group of 15 moved to South Central Los Angeles in 2015 to be the next great American boyband. Following their two previous releases, Saturation II creeps, crawls, and roars its way into your sonic sphere with the youthful energy of a group of 19-23 year old men that have something(s) to say.
Moses Sumney’s debut full-length Aromanticism, released Sept 22nd on Jagjagwar, is a shimmery showcase of Sumney’s smooth-as-butter voice that marks an artistic departure from his 2016 EP Lamentations. While the EP revolves around layers of Sumney’s vocals and guitar, his latest release incorporates a much wider color palate, replete with beautiful orchestration and swirling synths. There’s a higher production value, which in turn sacrifices some of the intimacy of his earlier releases which made his music so powerful.
Freudian, Daniel Caesar’s debut album, released August 25, 2017 on Golden Child Recordings sparked discussion among music fans across all genres. It’s variety of production, a seamless fluctuation of emotion between subtle elegance and bold passion, is reflective of the intricate message the love-ridden Caesar is trying to convey. Throughout the 10 song album, Daniel Caesar spills his heart out about the complexities of love, ranging from despair to pure ecstasy.
The first spoken words on Mizan K’s Dark Blue – “Are you looking for somebody?” arrive at the end of a short sequence of thick, rumbling synthesizers, which, along with…
Can you feel it? Monday night at the science library. Three vending machine coffee cups and a hallucination of your girlfriend’s scent bear witness to your struggle—you’re new to the writing staff, and despite your general zeal for music and exegesis, you find yourself waylaid with uncertainty. What can you give to this blog? And what must you keep for yourself?
SZA’s Ctrl, released June 9th, 2017 on Top Dawg Entertainment, is widely about the endless personal journey towards understanding and balance in life. SZA, born Solána Rowe, writes about her own personal challenges, blessings and limitations and how they’ve each shaped her ability to maintain her autonomy. Reflecting on the advice and support of her mother and grandmother, provided for listeners in the form of audio clips interspersed throughout the length of the album, SZA navigates tides of uncertainty.
The artistic narrative surrounding Frank Ocean often frames him as an enigmatic, reclusive musician whose notoriously secretive (and infamously long) recording processes result in fully-formed projects being dropped seemingly out of the ether. What does this approach to making music produce? For Ocean, the answer seems to be an oeuvre that is limited but critically unimpeachable.
By most metrics, How to Dress Well still has a lot of room to grow in the music industry. This past Tuesday, singer/songwriter Tom Krell’s first appearance in Nashville meant a twelve dollar Tuesday show at Exit/In that maybe half sold out. The intimate crowd size and locale seemed much more befitting to How to Dress Well’s early lo-fi work than to 2014’s immaculately produced “What Is The Heart?” While his music is influential to similar indie-R&B peers like The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, Krell is several orders of magnitude behind the breakout recognition those two have enjoyed. Critical appeal has grown with each full-length release, and so has both the production quality and amount of potential breakthrough singles, which makes it hard to say why Tom Krell has yet to experience a higher level of cultural significance.