What better way to guide your musical tastes towards new listening, as part of the main issue of the Summer Guide, than this roundup of new releases from artists in the metro and surrounding areas?
Whether your tastes lean towards electronic, indie, country, rock or hip-hop, we have a treasure for you here. Let us be the eclectic soundtrack to your barbecue with friends and family.
rhythm monster, beat the punk
(Boot disk and cooling)
There’s a certain thrill when a musician asks us if we’re covering their new release, and then finds the release to be incredibly good. In this case, a man named Mick put together a collection of self-described “experimenting with stutter-like uptempo hyper-soul beats”. It’s the first of what he hopes will be monthly mixtapes throughout the year.
Namely, this is a real mixtape. A few days after we corresponded, it appeared in my mailbox and went straight to my tape recorder. [Yes, I still have a tape deck, and it rules. All you vinyl junkies need to expand your horizons.]
What came out of my spreaders was a set of soulful grooves shot through with 808 kicks. The whole experience feels like a lost MF Doom session from the early 2000s. While a few vocals get done at home, it’s mostly a collection of beats having an emcee come up and follow the running.
Although minimal in arrangement, the bass sticks out like it’s rolling down a highway to your skull. As I listened in the midst of an unusual heat wave, the lightly stained tracks seemed to melt as much as my body each time I left the house that day – a sonic warmth on par with my personal sweat.
If you cannot find a tape, beat the punk is readily available on Spotify.
For a project that began as literal bedroom recordings, Flora’s emeraldcity works as a metaphor on several levels. The first is the obvious Wizard of Oz a nod to the album title and Flora’s outfit on its cover, appropriate due to her Kansas roots and the album’s recording location on a farm.
More deeply, it fits the concept of escaping the world during a pandemic, with a slew of similarly themed videos coinciding with the album’s release.
Just as Dorothy’s journey was accomplished with a motley crew of collaborators, you’ll find guest appearances from fellow musicians like Jim Barnes of Quiet Corral and Hembree on drums, and Republic Tigers’ Ken Jankowski on vocals on two tracks.
The end result is an album grappling with loneliness and isolation, as seen in the track titled “Don’t Fit In,” in which flute and saxophone lend levity to Flora’s outspoken, unapologetic vocals. .
Conceptually, Flora’s journey through non-Oz shines through in every track, highlighting her personal struggles with high school, learning to drive, and a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Hearing a line like “I wonder if you’d still remember my middle name” in “Dumb Little Girl” will make even the most jaded music listener shiver to relive their first real breakup.
by Flora emeraldcity is now available on tape at florafromkansas.com
inch, Wired lock of the trunk
Thumbs are a band committed to releasing new music at least once every 40 years, but it’s always worth the wait.
When singer Steve Wilson makes announcements on social media about Wired lock of the trunkthe new album by the 2016 Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductees, they both depreciate and absolutely live up to it.
Thumbs’ last record came out in 1982, but the new album is, like the blog Obscure intentionally describes, the “power pop cum bar band pastiche” of the group.
The first two songs, “Meet Me at the Edge of the World” and “Bam a Lam”, demonstrate the two sides respectively and kick off the 12-song collection with an energy and verve one might not expect from a group of musicians all approaching. retirement age.
The album was recorded in 2021 amid the pandemic, so members Kevin Smith, Wilson, Karl Hoffman, Marty Olson, Gary Mackender and Todd Newman – with Alex Flores on sax – tracked their parts at various locations across the countries, including Lawrence, Tucson, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. But it doesn’t feel like that at all.
Wired lock of the trunk is not so much a reunion record as a continuation of what Thumbs did four decades ago, but with the chops and skills learned in the meantime.
Inches’ Wired lock of the trunk is available at thumbs.bandcamp.com
Jenna Rae, Lo-Fi Country
It’s been four years since Jenna Rae’s feature debut working woman hit, but it’s not like Lawrence’s singer-songwriter is resting on his laurels. She has performed dozens of solo shows and as part of the Jenna & Martin duo with her partner, Martin Farrell Jr.
The pair released Cosmic Western Duos in 2020. Formerly, the bluegrass quintet Unfit Wives (which counts Rae among its members), debuted alive and unfit. It should be noted that in addition to this growing discography, all of these releases come from a label that Rae runs herself.
With this level of productivity, it only makes sense that the musician would go back to basics with her second outing and live up to her name. Lo-Fi Country.
Many of these tracks debuted on Rae’s YouTube channel, where recordings were first made in the woods, the desert, and even in a rowboat. For each song, a single additional instrument completes Rae and his guitar, such as the perfectly fitting mandolin addition on the sweetly hopeful “Dandelions Dancin.”
Sometimes you’ll hear a whiff of harmonica or piano on these singles, or drumming made from ice cubes, barking dogs and other accidental sounds around Rae’s home studio.
Lo-Fi Country is true to both aspects of its name. It comes from deep space, and what is engaged in the recording will forever feel like it is happening right in front of you, and only for you. Who wouldn’t be flattered by this attention and talent?
by Jenna Rae Lo-Fi Country is available at thelostcowgirl.com
Joel Leoj, Invaluable
We first caught wind of Joel Leoj when he featured on Cuee’s stellar 2021 single “Ain’t Going Back,” and now he’s back with his feature debut, Invaluable. The rapper’s rhymes run the gamut from religious to earthly subjects without ever sounding offbeat, making this an album that has already taken over my warm weather playlists.
Leoj’s sonic approach takes unexpected branching paths. Going from the percussive “Ain’t Going Back” to the Mellotron and acoustic guitar of “Proud Mary” is a big change, but these two songs set the stage for what’s to come. Invaluable.
Our hero isn’t all intensity and boastfulness – he’s a rapper willing to try a little tenderness. Repeated use of pinched acoustics dampens the mood at times and keeps things from getting overdone.
Add chiptune lineup on ‘Lit’, power ballad-worthy electrics on ‘Better’, and organ on the closer album ‘Lights Out’ – what you’re left with is an experience that surprises the listener with choice but never vibrations. as if the creator doesn’t have full control.
Joel Leoj Invaluable is now streaming on most digital outlets.