Gatecreeper is a Death Metal band out of Arizona that quickly became one of my favorites. They formed in 2013, so they have done a lot of work in a relatively short amount of time. I would categorize the band as Death/Doom Metal, for the most part, with hook-riffs and some vocal components of Grindcore/Hardcore.
They are signed with Relapse Records, on which they’ve released two full length records: Sonoran Depravation(2016) and Deserted (2019). This year (2021) they surprised us with an EP release, An Unexpected Reality, on Closed Casket Activities.
Chase “Hellahammer” Mason – vocals
Eric “The Dark Cowboy” Wagner – guitars
Sean “Hell Mammoth” Mears – bass
Matt “Thunder Rage” Arrebollo – drums
Israel Garza – guitars
An Unexpected Reality is a banger, where the first seven songs are heavily influenced by the Grindcore and Hardcore genres, connected together by feedback, to seem as though they’re one song; and the last song, “Emptiness,” stands alone, completely different from the first, in a dark, doomy Death Metal posture. The first seven are 6:45 in length, combined; while, the last song is 11:06 on its own. This record is full of great riffs and powerful vocals, regardless of the style of any song. I love it!
Starved – 1:03
Sick of Being Sober – :58
Rusted Gold – :56
Imposter Syndrome – 1:07
Amputation – :31
Depraved Not Deprived – 1:11
Superspreader – :59
Emptiness – 11:06
Favorite Songs: The first seven, and Emptiness! LOL
Who are the Burkharts? The Burkharts are a new band that sounds like an old style of 50s doo-wop beach music. With angelic background harmonies, a fast drum beat, and a light bit of guitar, this band seems to mimic almost everything the Beach Boys stood for. However, that’s not to say that the Burkharts are a carbon copy of them.
The Burkharts started in Buffalo, NY around two years ago. They have described themselves as not too sleepy, not too spicy. I honestly couldn’t put it any better than that. Their music keeps you engaged, but it’s not too overwhelming. It’s the kind of music I could do homework to or listen to while I walk around a park on a Sunday afternoon. Right now they only have two EP’s and a few singles out, but my favorite songs are “Our Rockaway,” “Pretty Words,” “Oh, Dreamer,” and “Flower City Nights.” Their second EP contains the latter two of my favorites and has more of an indie feel to it than their most recent EP, however you can still hear their trademark old-beachy-sound.
Hope you guys enjoy the tunes, -The DJ Formerly Known as Chippypants
My favorites: Lost One, Girl Like Me, Bodies – Intro
Listen if you like: SZA, Summer Walker, H.E.R., Jorja Smith
Jazmine Sullivan, typically most well-known for her hit 2008 single “Bust Your Windows” has again created new music worthy of our attention. Since her 2008 “Fearless” which earned her seven Grammy nominations, Sullivan has only released two full-length projects before “Heaux Tales.” However, she has performed many notorious features with artists such as Goldlink and Bryson Tiller. “Heaux Tales” has quickly risen to the top of R&B charts – for good reason.
“Heaux Tales” perfectly encapsulates all the talents Sullivan offers: versatility, depth, and realness. Sullivan’s purpose? Portraying “today’s women standing in their power and owning who they are.” She delves into relationship issues, love, and sex while utilizing the stories of other women as anecdotal tracks throughout. Sullivan navigates these topics with care and honesty, making each track delectably real and showing off the conflicts brought about by being a woman in the 2020’s. Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” contains a mixture of catchy rhythms with Sullivan’s velvety vocals. She also features several artists which complement her style well including Anderson .Paak and H.E.R.. The album features prior-released singles, “Lost One” and “Pick Up Your Feelings,” released in 2020; and released in 2021, “Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)”. The most popular song from the album currently is “Pick Up Your Feelings.” This song is catchy and playful, but meaningful. Sullivan discusses getting cheated on and how she “doesn’t need it” and deserves better. I know that’s true. “Lost One” is emotional and raw. Sullivan reflects on losing a good relationship: “And if it’s too late, I understand/Sometimes it’s too late to make amends.” Another notable track is the last one on the album, “Girl Like Me” which features vocals from R&B artist H.E.R.. The song follows a woman after a breakup rejected by her lover. The vocals include soft, beautiful harmonies; Sullivan and H.E.R. play off of each other’s energies beautifully.
I highly recommend giving this album a listen, especially the three pre-released tracks which showcase the versatility that makes Jazmine Sullivan so appealing as an artist. I predict Sullivan to rise to ranks of other female R&B artists like SZA and Jorja Smith in the coming year.
Well, it finally happened. After years of anticipation, memes, and leaks, the long-awaited album “Whole Lotta Red” finally dropped on Christmas morning. Playboi Carti had declared himself as Santa and donned a red appearance to match the theme of the album. However, and I say this as a true Playboi Carti fan, it turned out to be a whole lotta hype for a whole lotta garbage. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some good songs in there. “Place” was a classic throwback to the synth-style of Carti’s music and “Go2DaMoon” sent me to Pluto. But for the most part, the album was an evolution to a new style of rap that hasn’t entirely taken hold yet. Instead of sticking to his beloved dream-like style of music found in his first album, Carti is slowly transitioning to a more grunge, pop style of rap found in songs like “Poke It Out” in Die Lit.
One of the most asked questions from fans concerning “Whole Lotta Red” is why none of the dozens of leaked songs were found on the album. To be honest, I feel like if Carti made an album entirely out of leaks it would have blown up. However, leaks such as “Kid Cudi” and “No Lie,” for as good as they may be, hinder Carti’s ability to actually release the songs. When a song is leaked by a fan it goes against how a rapper’s label may have intended to release the song. If it doesn’t gain enough popularity fast enough or in the right way, it may never release. So while it may be possible that some leaks could have been on WLR, since they were leaked they never made it on the album.
Although the album wasn’t for everybody, it still had some pretty good songs on there and the new direction of Carti’s music warms up to you after a few listens. Hopefully fans are still willing to stick with him in the future and hopefully we can see less leaks and more legitimate songs.
ALBUM: “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen by Kid Cudi”
RELEASE YEAR: 2020
LABEL: Republic Records
BEST TRACKS: “Tequila Shots,” “Dive,” “Heaven On Earth,” “Show Out,” “Solo Dolo, Pt. III”
FCC: Every Track
Since hitting the mainstream more than 10 years ago, Scott Mescudi has become something of a legend in the hip-hop scene. “Day ‘N’ Nite” was Kid Cudi’s first success and is still racking up streams to this day. That was in 2008, when he started the Man On The Moon trilogy.
12 years and several albums later, Kid Cudi has just released the finale to the Man On the Moon trilogy: The Chosen. It’s clear he’s still fighting the same demons he was on The End of Day, as the album is no stranger to themes of isolation, depression, and despair. Also like its predecessors, the final track “Lord I Know” serves as a triumphant denouement for our hero. After the intro track, “Tequila Shots” is the first taste of what the album has to offer, and its woozy synths and catchy chorus are the perfect appetizer. “Heaven On Earth” is the first act’s climax and finds Cudi in full Rager mode, backed by tinny synthesizers and a growline bassline.
Kid Cudi has always been renowned for his emotional vulnerability and willingness to wear his heart on his sleeve, not to mention his therapeutic singing voice. Man On The Moon III stays true to all of these accolades and gives us an updated insight into the mind of Kid Cudi. If you are a fan of hip-hop music, I recommend you give The Chosen a listen.
BEST TRACKS: “Infunami,” “When I,” “I Think I Should” and “Uuuu”
Steve Lacy has returned! “The Lo-Fis” is his second full studio album, excluding his first EP “Steve Lacy’s Demo.” If you’re a die-hard Steve Lacy fan, it’s likely that you’ve heard most of “The Lo-Fis” already. Similar to his other releases, it’s filled with the indie-funk vibe that Steve is best known for. However, unlike his previous work, it is comprised solely of beats and songs he wrote in high school and released on SoundCloud.
The album is heavy with his signature falsetto, funky bass lines, and borderline mournful guitar strums. While Steve definitely showed off his hopeless romantic side in “The Lo-Fis,” he pursued other themes in his lyrics as well, such as personal growth in “That’s No Fun.”
To me, what stands out most about this album is how Steve explores instrumentals. In contrast to his previous work, these tracks feel almost like bits and pieces of songs rather than complete works; there are only a handful that have full bridges, choruses, and verses. Each song, though they’re all under three minutes, is completely different from the one before. I love how Steve flips back and forth between raw instrumentals, like in “I Think I Should,” to heavily processed and layered tracks like “Hummer.” It’s a quick album, full of surprises and beat switches, but it works as a whole unit very nicely despite its general lack of traditional songs. I know that all of this can be attributed to the fact that “The Lo-Fis” is more of a compilation rather than an intentional studio album, but I enjoy that it fits together so well.
ALBUM: “Plucking a Cherry from the Void” by Cecile Believe
RELEASE YEAR: 2020
BEST TRACKS: “Stay Open,” “Living My Life Over (Extreme Vocal Edit” and “Bitch Bites Dog”
It feels like it was only a couple days ago when Cecile Believe dropped her first album “Made in Heaven” in May (you can read my album review here 🙂 ). And now she has blessed us yet again with another EP- “Plucking a Cherry from the Void.” The EP cover is really what drew me in– the glitter nails and tiny cherry are SO cute!!
Speaking of “Made in Heaven,” Believe takes one of my favorites from the album and transforms it into the 5th song on “Plucking a Cherry from the Void”– “Living my Life Over (Extreme Vocal Edit).” I didn’t think the song could get any better, but I was wrong!! I actually find myself listening to the Extreme Vocal Edit way more than the original version. This along with “Stay Open” and “Bitch Bites Dog” have to be my favorites.
“Bitch Bites Dog” reminds me a bit of Rina Sawayama. It’s very pop, but also kind of hard? Plus, there’s an incredible classical music interlude towards the end of the song, that contrasts the rest of the song beautifully. If we could go to the club, this would be playing.
“Stay Open” on the other hand, is much more calm and more reminiscent of “Made in Heaven.” It reminds me a bit of Magdalena Bay and Caroline Polachek. It’s sooo pretty and just makes you wanna bob your head– the perfect song to drive to. This song has to be my favorite off the album <3
I hope you give “Plucking a Cherry from the Void” a listen and love it as much as I do.
If you know me, you know that I love me some 2008 sounding metalcore. I have been wanting a band to incorporate that sound back into their music now because the riffs and the ambiance of the metalcore back in 2008 is so technical and precise. It makes for a beautiful and heavy sound. Well, Butcher Crew, Boundaries did just that on their most recent album, Your Receding Warmth. It was released on November 13, 2020, and I have literally been listening to it all day, every single day since it dropped. By far, one of my favorite releases of 2020.
Boundaries has released 2 albums and one EP: Hartford County Misery in 2017 (one of my all-time favorites), My Body in Bloom (EP) in 2019, and now in 2020, they have released Your Receding Warmth. The band has progressed since their first two releases. They are known for their use of panic chords and breakdowns, and although the band does use these styles in their recent release, they evolved their sound and use more of a fast-picked thrash riff, to melodic riffs that sound as if they are from the early 2000s metalcore. These sounds can be heard throughout the entire album, and I love it.
Although each song contains heavy breakdowns and melodic metalcore riffs, each song is different in their own way. Whether that be tempo changes, lower vocals, or heavier riffs, each song contains something different and is different from the rest of the songs. This album has a great blend of hardcore, melodic metalcore, noisy pastiche aesthetic, along with lyrical content to create an atmosphere of anger and anxiety around the music. You can practically feel the emotions that are involved within each song, and the breakdowns just make the song 10 times better. You can’t help but move around. Boundaries know when to deliver beatings but also groove.
Boundaries released a statement about the album on Instagram and the meaning behind it. I think their statement describes the album beautifully. They stated that:
“The record is a vulnerable representation and understanding that things you depend on will start to disappear and whether you’re ready or not, you will have to adjust and find a way to keep going. Your Receding Warmth is a reference to life being less and less forgiving and helpful to those who need help and forgiveness. At the end of the day, it’s all ‘sink or swim.’”
I think the band described the album perfectly. This album is an absolute ass whoopin’. Each song is dark and eerie in its own way. Songs like “My Strength” and “Behind the Bend” Matt (their singer) talks above the music and it has this eerie sound to it. The lyrics in this album are awesome and you can really feel the emotions that Matt is talking about.
I watched an interview with Matt on the Scoped Exposure Podcast, and they discussed the making of Your Receding Warmth. Matt said that the band gets together and they first talk about how they want the song to sound, what emotion they want the song to have, and what styles they want to incorporate. I find that really interesting that they start with an idea before they start to jam. Matt also stated that he has journals that he keeps that contains his lyrics. These journals date back to his teens and he goes through them and grabs lyrics and ideas for songs. Matt recommends listening to the album in order because each song was written with an emotion and intent that they had while writing that song. I have done this every time that I listened to the album and it really does capture the emotion of the whole thing. The last song, “From the Departed, Dearer or Otherwise” is a monologue that gives me chills every time. It incorporates all of the titles of the songs on the album and has a very strong message. It was a great way to end the record.
This is tough because I literally love each and every song on this album. When I listen to the record, I always think “no, this song is my favorite song.” So, it’s hard to say which ones stand out to me. Each song has a meaning and each song is good and awesome in its own way.
But if I had to choose my favorite songs that really get me moving and jamming out, they have to be: Behind the Bend, Written and Rephrased, Fade Away, and Get Out.
What did you think about Boundaries’, Your Receding Warmth? What are some of your favorite songs?
Power Up is the 17th studio album (the 16th released internationally) by the Australian Rock band, AC/DC. Released on Friday the 13th of November, 2020 by Columbia Records and Sony Music Australia. As Back In Black (1980) served as a tribute to the late Bon Scott, so Power Up is a tribute to the late, great Malcolm Young, according to his brother, Angus.
I know I don’t need to list the members of the band (if you don’t know AC/DC, you’ve obviously been hanging in the Meat Locker too long!), but: Angus Young (founding lead guitarist), Brian Johnson (vocals since 1980), Phil Rudd (drums, `74 – ’83; ’94 – 2015; 2016 – present). Cliff Williams (bass, backing vocals, ’78 – retired in 2016; 2018 – present), and Stevie Young (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) stands in for his uncle Malcolm. In April of 2014 Stevie played all rhythm guitars on Rock or Bust, and had previously played live on 1988’s US Tour.
Angus explains that he raided the vault for previously unreleased Malcolm Young riffs for Power Up. And you can hear from the differing array of tracks on this record that it spans the entire AC/DC time-frame. “Demon’s Fire” sounds like the old Bon Scott days, with multiple breaks, a main riff that’s interrupted by tempo changes and solos. “Wild Reputation” is reminiscent of “Beating Around the Bush.” Much of the record is the mid-late AC/DC sound, driven by the rhythm section of the band, with Johnson’s stylized voice and Angus’ trademark leads.
Brian Johnson has not lost a step in his vocal game! His unmistakable sound and style hits on every single song on this album (and every song he’s ever sung, honestly!). There are a few surprises, though; spoken words and tone changes from his patented rasp. 40 years of Rock-N-Roll and race cars may have affected his hearing, but definitely not his vocal power!
Power Up, of course and without surprise, is an extremely solid record from the veterans.
Rating: 8.5/10! AC/DC just know how to bring the sound, consistently, for 45+ years!!
Favorite Songs: Witch’s Spell; Demon Fire; Shot in the Dark
BEST TRACKS: “WHAT WE DREW,” “WAKING UP DOWN” and “THESE DAYS”
Yaeji dropped her first full-length mixtape, “WHAT WE DREW” this April. Before the mixtape, she released some of my favorite songs like “Raingurl” and “Passionfruit” under the eps “EP2” and “Yaeji” in 2017. The music video for “WHAT WE DREW” is SO cute. It includes snippets of her and her grandfather walking and chatting as well as her and friends. It’s so genuine and heartwarming and I think it really sets the tone for the “WHAT WE DREW” mixtape.
I highly recommend watching the music video before listening to the mixtape if you haven’t already. The mixtape is so calm with her sweet lyrics and that classic Yaeji synth and quick bass. It is so uniquely her sound. “WAKING UP DOWN” reminds me a lot of Sassy 009’s “Maybe in the Summer,” (another banger). Some of my favorites from the album have to be “WHAT WE DREW,” “WAKING UP DOWN,” and “THESE DAYS.” “THESE DAYS” reminds me a lot of Blood Orange.
I feel like this would be a great mixtape to do work to. Its rhythm and pulsating beat make you want to move or be productive. I listen to this a lot when I sew 🙂
I highly recommend the mixtape and hope you all will give it a little listen the next time you’re making something, driving, or need some motivation.