Thursday, December 19, 2013
Local ear candy: 5 new songs from Buffalo Black, St. Vincent and more
For your hip-hop, indie pop, R&B listening pleasure.
“No Blood Frets Man,” Buffalo Black
Former University of North Texas philosophy student Jamil Kelley delights in making friends and followers think more deeply, whether he’s sparking political discussion on social media or kicking out provocatively personal rap verses. That’s not to say the rapper, who performs as Buffalo Black, focuses only on the message. He demonstrates impeccable and adventurous musical mores by layering his rapid-fire struggle stories on top of a dreamy Mustapha Mond-produced track in the new single “No Blood Frets Man.” The song is the first to be released from the forthcoming EP REDPILLwondrland, out early next year, but you should go ahead and dig into past releases like the eponymous album that came out several months ago. Buffalo Black’s one of the shining stars in what’s considered a booming era for North Texas hip-hop.
“Birth in Reverse,” St. Vincent
“Here’s my report from the edge,” St. Vincent’s Annie Clark sings just before the chorus of her just-debuted new single, the herky-jerky pop gem “Birth in Reverse.” I’m no Rock Genius contributor, but that particular line could mean different things depending on Clark’s mindset at the time of writing it. She could be referring to her own well-documented musical edginess — an ability to wrap accessible grooves in off-kilter, guitar-centered arrangements. Or, thinking bigger, she could be commenting on how American culture drives her a little nuts at times. Whatever the meaning, we’re glad she’s singing a new song. That means that more are on the way, in the form of her fourth album due out in February. It’s self-titled, which either implies a definitive artistic statement or a fresh start. But perhaps we should stop with the speculating and hit “play” on the single for the 49th time. It’s a doozy.
St. Vincent - Birth In Reverse (OFFICIAL)
“I Will Marry You,” Red Like Heat
Idol Records continues to demonstrate its commitment to Dallas’ rock scene with the signing of Red Like Heat, a four-piece band prominently featuring the anxiety-ridden vocals of Benjamin Painter and the melodic guitar work of Sean Dove. Painter and Dove, along with percussionist Tex Sirisawat and bassist Matt Stewart, chose to record their debut album, Rivals, live rather than laying down individual tracks separately. Considering the skill and tightness on display in the first single, “I Will Marry You,” it bodes well for how the guys will fare when they start playing the new material around town. (Unfortunately, the band’s planned CD release show on December 7 was iced out by the big winter storm of 2013.)
A few years ago Dallas’ B-Hamp contributed to what was then a dance craze in local hip-hop with his breakout single “Do the Ricky Bobby.” While the track’s popularity led to other singles with a similar feel, it did nothing to show the rapper’s full range. And it took a while for B-Hamp to fully process the frustrating experience of trying to live up to past successes. He’s made more of an effort recently to examine his own career, embrace his maturity, and it’s starting to affect the music he makes. Take the endlessly smooth, West-Coast-inspired new single “Ridin’” and its companion video. It’s a step toward a more laid-back, contemplative side of B-Hamp, one I’m hoping he will explore even further in next year’s planned mix tape, E.P.O.D.
B-Hamp - Ridin | Shot By @HagoPeliculas
“Make a Way,” Carmen Rodgers
It’s been a while since we heard new music from the soulful local R&B singer Carmen Rodgers, but she’s gearing up to release her sophomore album, Stargazer, next year. Earlier this month Rodgers previewed the first single from the record, an ode to love conquering all called “Make a Way.” The singer’s impassioned old-soul delivery is balanced out by the crisp, modern beats that back her, and that’s no surprise considering they’re produced in part by Dallas’ S1 (Kanye West, Eminem, Beyoncé).