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Nov./Dec. '22 Roundup
Last regular post of the year!
The days between Thanksgiving and New Years always see the music industry grind to a halt as people give in to a year’s worth of fatigue to focus on year end lists and Spotify wrapped. There are still projects being released though so I wanted to attempt to grab people’s attention (at a time when it’s most valuable), and spotlight a few great projects that are missing some extra shine they’d be getting if released earlier in the year.
Mike Tyson Jab - KIDZ
11 tracks, 34 minutes
Released: November 4th, 2022
Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Alternative, Indie
Recommended For Fans Of: BLACKSTARKIDS, They Hate Change, N.E.R.D
An Instagram post from R&B singer Alex Vaughn tapped me into this eclectic debut album from the oddball collective KIDZ. Though it seems most people are discovering KIDZ (short for Kidz At Play) through their TikTok, where they’ve amassed over four million likes across their videos. The (at least) 10 person collective is comprised of artists, producers, designers, photographers, and videographers that come together to create everything in house. The meeting of this many creative minds is what guides the group as they effortlessly (and with seamless transitions) shift through aggressive hip-hop, alternative indie, electronic, and jazz ideas across this ambitious project. It’s not going to look or sound like much of the other songs on your playlists, and that’s the idea. Their goal is to approach everything they do and make with a child like sense of curiosity and wonder. When you say why, they say why not?
Standout Track: The Sexualization of Pharrell Williams is the title, but it used to be called “Big Cunt”
Sound Is Like Water - Dreamcastmoe
10 tracks, 43 minutes
Released: November 4th, 2022
From: Washington, D.C.
Genres: Electronic, R&B, Soul, Funk
Recommended For Fans Of: Yaeji, John Glacier, Vegyn
Sound feels just like water on this naturally flowing collection of electronic R&B jams from dreamcastmoe. Since 2017, the DC artist has trickled out singles, EPs, remixes, and ‘lost tapes,’ all leading up to this proper debut album in Sound Is Like Water. A lifetime resident of the district once dubbed ‘chocolate city,’ dreamcastmoe aims to make music for people like him. "This is what I am making this music for, in the DC tradition of soul and empathy and love that is rooted in this city,” he says. “My music is for real people dealing with shit every day." In embracing those roots, he finds sly confidence over these cozy electronic beats.
Standout Track: Cloudy Weather, Wear Boots
NSFW: Notoriously Debaucherous - Rob Apollo
10 tracks, 27 minutes
Released: December 1st, 2022
From: Detroit, MI
Recommended For Fans Of: Bfb Da Packman, Zack Fox, Sada Baby
Don’t take the title of this album in jest, this might be the horniest music I’ve ever heard in my life. And I’ve listened to plenty contenders; Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, 100s, Zack Fox, Cardi B, Cupcakke, and Pinkerton by Weezer. NSFW: Notoriously Debaucherous makes them all look tame. It should be clear from the opening bars of the first song what I mean. But if you can get past that (if it’s something that bothers you in the first place), it’s somehow beautiful. Rob’s technical skill, comedic timing, hooks, and charisma are undeniable. I will preface by saying I don’t think this is the best track on the project (something I’d give to Swag Addict, God Laughs, or Bada Bing), but Lumps is probably the best example of what Apollo is doing/capable of. The track begins with Apollo sonically taking the role of ringmaster in the most perverted circus ever, pitching his vocals around, making way for a feature, coming back on a new flow, then suddenly sliding into a confessional above overly dramatic keys. It’s such a jarring shake up that you have to laugh despite the intense vulnerability of those lines. All for him to launch right back into the opening routine to close it out. It’s shocking, it’s provocative, it’s honest, it’s hard, and (by the end) it’s surprisingly self-reflective. It’s NSFW.
Standout Track: Lumps (Feat. Srch Engn)
Wyoming - Nana Lourdes
10 tracks, 31 minutes
Released: November 11th, 2022
From: Monção, Portugal
Genres: Electronic, Folk, Indie, Hyperpop
Recommended For Fans Of: Fauness, Katie Dey, More Eaze & Claire Rousay
Despite growing up in a small town of Portugal with less than 800 residents, Nana Lourdes has taken it upon herself to pick up where Sufjan Stevens left off. That is, she’s assisting in finishing his mission of making an album for all 50 states, with Wyoming being the start (she claims on Twitter the next project, Colorado, is only a few months away). Influenced by Fleetwood Mac and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the sound may not be what you expect when you think of the title state, but I’d argue the spirit was captured well despite being conveyed differently. As a suburban Marylander living in Los Angeles, I’m in no better position to speak on the plains or Rocky Mountain regions of the United States than Lourdes is. But as I listened to this album I certainly felt resonating with it between the the book I’m reading (the free-wheeling Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) and the day long drive I had just taken through the snow covered Wyoming mountains. It may not speak to the true lives of midwest residents, but it creatively pits traditional American values against modern realities.
Standout Track: Cowgirl Make Me Cry
Something Odd Is Coming - Odd Mojo
12 tracks, 29 minutes
Released: October 31st, 2022
From: Capitol Heights, MD
Recommended For Fans Of: Armani Caesar, Junglepussy, Mick Jenkins
Well known for her bars and being a notorious live performer in the DMV area, this first album since 2018’s Channel Yo Mojo highlights Odd Mojo’s perseverance and dedication to the craft. Something Odd Is Coming sees Mojo perfecting a sound she’s been at for years, while also pushing forward into new directions. The Washington Post’s Lawrence Burney hit the nail on the head when he said Mojo raps with, “the type of soothing nature that you’d hope your therapist or favorite advice-giving radio host would.” She lays down buttery smooth flows about growth, self-care, and self-confidence over boom bap beats while also experimenting with new sounds like on Whip and GLACIERS (which comes with an assist from the previously featured Kelow LaTesha!). It’s a celebration of all the hard work that’s gotten her this far, a glimpse at what’s to come, and her best collection of everything she has to offer.
Standout Track: 555
Many of you know I’ve been working as a tour manager over the past year for BLACKSTARKIDS and Ambar Lucid. As this last tour I was on came to a close, the sister of an artist I was on road with was in a very serious car accident. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts this holiday season, and if you’re in a position to contribute at all, a GoFundMe has been setup to support medical costs.
Finalizing my favorites in music from this year, will post the lists on either the week before or after New Years, don’t miss it!