WIBLT: New Projects You Need To Hear
What I've Been Listening To, 4/28/21
I’m not too far off from 200 subscribers, do we think I can get there soon?
Follow the playlist below to stay up to date on these posts! It’s always updated with the eight standout tracks from all of the “What I’ve Been Listening To” posts in 2021.
Black Phoeniix - Mamii
18 tracks, 62 minutes
Released: March 5th, 2021
From: Hammond, IN
Genres: R&B, Funk, Indie
Recommended For Fans Of: Steve Lacy, Thundercat, Omar Apollo
Black Phoeniix is the newest project from 19 year old songstress Mamii. It’s an extensive 18 tracks long , but it never feels bloated, and is a fitting length for a project that’s been in the making since 2019. Mamii’s musical career goes as far back as the age of 3 when she first started singing and performing in her church’s choir. Between church and home she learned how to sing and play multiple instruments. All those teachings and influences amount to this project about growth and change, with the phoenix representing a rebirth at the heels of heartbreak and self-discovery. Lots of highlight tracks here from the two part Blonde Boy (maybe I appreciate this more since I dyed my hair?), Chaos + Sunshine, and Riightway, but I’m going with the super funky Creepin as my standout track. Check out the breakdown for the production and harmonies of the song that Mamii put on her Instagram.
“Most importantly, I hope [this project] makes you make the STANK face. Then I’d know I did something well.” - Mamii for Lambo
Standout Track: Creepiin
Bad For Press - Van Buren Records
13 tracks, 47 minutes
Released: April 16th, 2021
From: Brockton, MA
Recommended For Fans Of: J.I.D., Pivot Gang, Mozzy
Anyone who follows this blog closely (there’s some of you out there, right?) know that I’ve sung the praises of Van Buren Records before, even if you didn’t realize it. Van Buren Records houses rappers, DJs, and producers from the Brockton area (never Boston, as their Spotify bio will tell you), including rappers Luke Bar$, SAINT LYOR, and Jiles who have all been featured on previous posts. While they often feature on each other’s solo projects, here they go all in with a full on collaborative album. You can learn more about them by reading their feature article from local paper The Enterprise that’s featured on this album’s cover. Here’s a link if the cover is too sharpied over to read. But in short, Van Buren Records is making some of the most exciting music in rap right now, and this record is a great way for you to easily get introduced to all the members, all of whom bring their A-game on every track. It’s only a matter of time before these boys blow up big time.
Standout Track: BRAINDEAD
Heaven’s Just A Flight - Caroline Kingsbury
16 tracks, 54 minutes
Released: April 16th, 2021
From: Los Angeles, CA
Genres: Pop, Synth Pop
Recommended For Fans Of: Bleachers, Maggie Rogers, Muna
Heaven’s Just A Flight is the explosive debut album from Caroline Kingsbury (though she says the album has been done for over a year). To Kingsbury, it feels like a lifetime has been crammed into the making of this project. “My brother died in this album. I came out in this album. I fell in love and broke up in this album and fell in love again. God there’s so much shit I went through for Heaven,” Kingsbury said in a Facebook post. Those feelings get expressed in a huge way as this album is not short on big choruses, with massive drums and sticky hooks on every track. The synth bass on Kissing Someone Else might even make you think she’s the second coming of Robyn. In addition to being the first full length for Kingsbury, this album is the first release for Fortune Tellers, a label founded by Peter Matthew Bauer of the Walkmen.
Standout Track: Breaking Apart
Year Of The Orc - Body Meat
7 tracks, 24 minutes
Released: April 6th, 2021
From: Philadelphia, PA
Genres: R&B, Electronic, Hyperpop
Recommended For Fans Of: Tony Velour, Curtis Waters
Who among us has not felt orc-like in the past year? Year Of The Orc is the spectacular new EP from Philly virtuoso Christopher Taylor a.k.a. Body Meat. Don’t let the name (of the project or artist) fool you, the music on here is beautiful. Produced, performed, and recorded by Taylor, the songs (particularly the drum patterns) are very scattered and complex. But somehow everything falls into place. Some of these tracks sound like Taylor made a traditional R&B song, then made a hyperpop song, and then mixed and matched the stems until there was something new. It all works, and adds up to one of the most exciting projects of the year. This is Taylor’s second EP after 2019’s Truck Music.
Standout Track: Stand By
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Vs Everything - AMA
4 tracks, 13 minutes
Released: January 29th, 2021
From: London, UK
Genres: Electronic, Pop
Recommended For Fans Of: Charli XCX, Kilo Kish, Alunageorge
Somehow I’m just discovering the wonderful music of AMA this month, despite her being signed to Dirty Hit since 2018. Vs Everything is her 3rd EP, as she’s released one a year since 2019. On the subject of the EP, Ama said, “VS EVERYTHING sums up this period of time where I felt like I was literally fighting with everything, fighting myself, fighting my relationships, fighting my dreams, fighting doubts... the list could continue but this EP is me drawing the line and choosing to come out on top and win with love.” Hence the trophies surrounding her on the cover (one for each track!). This EP feels like a victory in more ways than one, as it showcases Ama’s sound that effortlessly blends glitchy electronics with pop music.
Standout Track: BPM
After Party - Coach Party
6 tracks, 20 minutes
Released: April 13th, 2021
From: Isle of Wight, U.K.
Genres: Indie Rock, Alternative
Recommended For Fans Of: Lauran Hibberd, Sorry, Wolf Alice
Coach Party has been bubbling in the U.K. since the release of their debut EP Party Food in 2020, and it’s only a matter of time before they blow up in the U.S. as well. This follow up EP, After Party, is full of sad punchy hits. Despite the bluntness of the difficult feelings behind the lyrics (one of the songs has a hook that just repeats “I’m sad, I’m sad, I’m so sad”), the songs are crafted in a way that you can’t help but sing along. “It’s self deprecating but in a positive therapeutic kind of way,” explained lead singer Jess Eastwood. The whole project was recorded, produced, and mixed by the band’s drummer, Guy Paige.
Standout Track: Crying Makes Me Tired
SZNZ - Mother Nature & BoatHouse
15 tracks, 42 minutes
Released: April 20th, 2021
From: Chicago, IL
Recommended For Fans Of: OSHUN, Lo Village, Mereba
I featured Mother Nature on my list of favorite albums from 2020, and now they’ve returned with the followup to that project, SZNZ. This time around it’s a collaborative album with Chicago producer BoatHouse. SZNZ is an expansion on their previous projects as it has more tracks and bigger features (Sir Michael Rocks & Valee drop by for guest verses), but still holds the same conscious rhymes that they came up on. Tierney Reed and Shasta Matthews make up the duo behind Mother Nature, and they’ve spent the last few years making a name for themselves in Chicago in both the music scene and the community. Together they founded The Miseducation of Hip Hop which has “offered workshops to over 500 students, budding Black and brown MCs who can look at their mentors and see a reflection of themselves.”
Standout Track: Cloudz
When I Fall From The Sky - Misty Coast
10 tracks, 36 minutes
Released: April 16th, 2021
Genres: Dream Pop, Psychedelic, Indie
Recommended For Fans Of: Paul Cherry, The Flaming Lips
When I Fall From The Sky is an aptly titled third album from Norwegian band Misty Coast. These tracks often feel like a daydream, and will have you walking around with your head in the clouds. Though Linn Frøkedal and Richard Myklebust, who make up the duo, say the album was inspired by the sensation of falling in your sleep, as well as insomnia. For album number three the band pulled in producer Emil Nikolaisen (who has credits with Serena-Maneesh & Sufjan Stevens) to bring a new approach to their process. Nikolaisen’s experience, along with his synths and pedals helped breath new life into Misty Coast’s fuzzy pop-psych sound.
“We hope our music makes people feel something. This album has songs that fit every situation. We made it for heartbroken joggers and euphoric stoners, and everyone in between.” - Misty Coast for On Magazine
Standout Track: Do You Still Remember Me?
Pulaski Song - Choo Choo
A few weeks ago my friend Jake co-started Cool Music Stuff, which is prime for any fans of this blog so show them some love. This is one of the songs they put me onto recently. Pulaski Song is Choo Choo’s first release, so you’re early to a band that sounds like they could be the next big thing in indie rock.
Chess Move$ - Bruiser Wolf
This video is a great introduction to Bruiser Wolf, a rapper who does kind of just sound like an oldhead ranting at a bar. Whether that’s mesmerizing or obnoxious is for you to decide, but there’s plenty of quality and entertaining bars throughout this video, and his new album Dope Game Stupid.
For Death By Algorithm, this is Brian signing off