13 Beats of the Week: 2/26/21


Miller Downer, Managine Editor

  1. “MAZZA (feat. A$AP Rocky),” by slowthai & A$AP Rocky — slowthai’s recent album TYRON unsurprisingly features a star-studded cast after his propulsion to stardom following his debut album Nothing Great About Britain. “MAZZA,” an in-your-face anthem, is no exception, as A$AP Rocky makes a guest appearance to aid Northampton’s own braggadocio.
  2. “Yeah Right,” by Vince Staples — Some of the foremost names in the experimental underground, Vince Staples and guest producers SOPHIE & Flume could not have made a better album when they collaborated on the 2017 Big Fish Theory, a cutting edge project that changed the nature of hip-hop forever. “Yeah Right” puts their respective strengths in the spotlight.
  3. “FIX URSELF!,” by JPEGMAFIA — JPEGMAFIA silently released his EP2! Recently, notably changing his sound to be more based in R&B and cloud rap as opposed to his usually aggressive and experimental delivery and production. While the project itself may be polarizing for fans, “FIX URSELF!” is a welcome dive into Peggy’s new sound that manages to bridge the sonic gap between projects like Veteran and All My Heroes Are Cornballs.
  4. “Jitsuryoku,” by Hideyoshi, Leon Fanourakis, & Ralph — The Japanese soundscape continues to evolve with new acts like Hideyoshi, who takes some pages from American emo rap and trap while paying respects to notable J-rap names that allowed his interests in the sound to flourish. “Jitsuryoku” is unarguably a welcome development of the J-rap scene, opening new avenues for future artists.
  5. “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster,” by Thee Oh Sees — Previously known as Orinoka Crash Suite, OCS and Orange County Sound, the confusing Oh Sees are constantly changing their image and lineup, making them a fairly enigmatic yet significant household name in contemporary garage rock. Slightly psychedelic and incredibly raw, “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” comes from their 2013 album Floating Coffin, a great introduction to the group’s extensive discography.
  6. “Athens, France,” by Black Country, New Road — Forming in 2018, experimental post-rock powerhouse crew Black Country, New Road have been called incredible titles like “the best band ever” and the continuation of the American rock band Slint.
  7. “Alphabet,” by shame — shame has long surpassed expectations by experimenting with punk, finally making significant breakthroughs with recent album Drunk Tank Pink, a dance-punk tour de force. The group’s raw and anxious poetics may come across as overdramatic at times, but this doesn’t change their incredible production and musicality.
  8. “Dotted Line,” by Pinegrove — Pinegrove, a new-wave indie rock crew, continues to impress with their recently released Amperland, NY, a project that highlights the beauty of Upstate New York. In order to get the full experience, one might want to watch the group’s mini-movie and live performances on YouTube.
  9. “Mama, You Been On My Mind – Studio Outtake – 1964,” by Bob Dylan — Everything that can be said about legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan has already been said, but his overlooked studio outtakes provide a special angle of Dylan’s extensive discography.
  10. “Under Cover of Darkness,” by The Strokes — The Strokes occasionally have the problem of constantly repeating their sound, and until they released The New Abnormal, many fans found themselves frustrated by the group’s lacking sonic development. 2011’s Angles was a notably incoherent mess of single after single, but “Under Cover of Darkness” stood out to many as a quirky contemporary new wave spin on the typical Strokes repertoire. That being said, everyone was still confused as to why the rest of the album didn’t sound like “Machu Picchu.”
  11. “Rocky,” by Still Woozy — Still Woozy continues to push out danceable singles (with “Rocky” being a semi-impressive flex of production and vocal performance), but what the fans really want is a full-length album. Needless to say, all eyes are on Oakland-native Sven Gamsky as he continues to create his own brand of electronica influenced bedroom pop.
  12. “Beauty Is a Rare Thing,” by Ornette Coleman — American jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman was a principle progenitor of free jazz, a movement that opposed the conventions and strict studies of jazz improvisation. “Beauty Is a Rare Thing” captures the spontaneity of the genre while simultaneously making it palatable to the casual listener.
  13. “Aurora Borealis,” by Sun Ra — A pioneer of Afrofuturism, Sun Ra claimed to be an alien from Saturn on a mission of peace through his incredibly avant-garde take on jazz. An innovator of the genre, he notably incorporated instruments like synthesizers into his dense and spectral musical performances, recording over one hundred full-length albums.