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New Music Radar

New Music Radar for December 20th, 2023

Twen – “SeaStar”

Nashville-based indie group Twen hit us with a new track, “SeaStar”, over the weekend. The song is laden with underwater motifs and seems itself to float, drifting through pensive lyrics delivered in Jane Fitzsimmons’ resonant voice. “Don’t think you’re apart / From the world that made you” she implores us. Choppy guitar flourishes feel like the occasional nudge of a wave. “SeaStar” strikes a bit of a mournful tone, but is, at the same time, irreverently compelling and gorgeous.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

Jack Fortune – “Brevard”

Charleston-based singer-songwriter Jack Fortune released a devastatingly self-aware new single, “Brevard,” on Sunday. The song is piano-driven, simple instrumentation allowing the full emotive quality of Fortune’s vocals to shine. What begins as misty contemplation (“I can’t help the way I feel”) soon gives way to self-destructive intensity as Fortune’s voice rises in both volume and key. “People call but I don’t answer / Telephone ain’t nothing but cancer / Burn holes in all my favorites clothes / Ashes falling like snow / Searching for something like feeling / Lord knows I could use some healing” is a particularly stirring string of lyrics, exposing a type of wounded thinking that is universally recognizable.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – “Look What You’ve Done to Your Brother” 

Much-beloved Americana artist Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit dropped a surprise single, “Look What You’ve Done to Your Brother,” last week. The track is a cover of the original tune by rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ (who, as fate would have it, are actually making a stop at the Charleston Pour House this weekend). Isbell’s spin on the song packs the same punch as the original, full of outrage and a certain country-rock confidence that calls to mind the swagger of Tom Petty. The song’s reminder to check how we are treating our fellow humans remains as poignant a message as ever.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

The Inhibitors – “Burderer“

The Inhibitors, the most recent formatted project by members of Sandcastle, dropped their newest double-single “Burderer” alongside their progressive discography that’s been developing since April of this year. The double-single is launched with “Archaeopteryx”, a thirty-second track with eerily scratchy croaks and birds chirping… an appropriate intro for reptilian enthusiasts. Fading into the main track, “Burderer” unleashes a chaotic surround sound with schmaltzy vocalization and tyrannical auxiliaries that propel their sound against superior genres. The single was recorded with The Inhibitors’ go-to local engineer, Elliot Elsey at Truphonic Recording and stands as another solid single as they continue to stay true to their punchy punk background, while also experimenting with their identity.

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

The Thing – “Neptunne”

If you’re looking for a band with raw instinct and a bona fide tone then look no further than The Thing, the four-piece rock band that only began releasing music under the project in late 2022. The group released their newest single “Neptunne” last Friday, that’s set to be the second track on their upcoming LP The Thing Is. With the sounds of Jack Bradley (guitar), Michael Carer (guitar), Lucas Ebeling (drums), and frontman Zane Acord (bass, vocals) this group of friends execute an aesthetic mixture of honeyed vocals and psych-driven instrumentation. The Thing has recorded a plethora of tunes over the past year that surpasses a rock-bending genre with transcendent immersion, requisite chemistry, and a familiarity that allures the most sincere of music lovers. 

Music Video

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

Eyedress (feat. The Marías) – “A Room Up In The Sky”

Bedroom-pop artists Eyedress and The Marías joined up for a woozy duo “A Room Up In The Sky”, which was released last week and nestles as their second collaboration this year. The single oozed as a sensual and unwearied piece that unites these artists’ seamless compatibility that radiates through glossy vocals, plush lyrics, and eclectic stylistic choices that mirror Kraungbin’s approach of reverberated guitar. “A Room Up In The Sky” is yet another release that exudes a constant flow state in this hypnotic and ethereal dreamworld of Eyedress.

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

Z Saj – Double Goddess

I had the pleasure of crossing paths with a truly charismatic artist from Chicago named Z Saj. Our encounter took place at the Hairpin Center during my tour in the Windy City. Z Saj is not only an introspective and emotionally attuned artist, but her infectious personality and passion, have earned her a rightful place as a rising “need to know” of Chicago’s underground scene.

In my view, Z Saj’s musical style is a unique blend of RnB, hip hop, and mid-2000s Neo soul, infused with the modern contemporary sound and swagger in popular hiphop. Her music resonates on a deep level, as it combines relatability, raw emotion, and profound understanding from a genuinely unique standpoint. These qualities are particularly evident in her latest project, Double Goddess, where she weaves together tales of love, divinity, life experiences, and the essence of who she is as an artist.

Without a doubt, Z Saj is a talent that deserves to be heard and supported beyond her local hub. Join Extra Chill in giving this #GxldApproved artist the attention she deserves.

On the playlist: “10 Mins Witchu (Carter)”

Contributed by Thaddeus Adams

Joshua Ray Walker – “Thank You For Listening”

Joshua Ray Walker, the Texas-based blues-tinted rising country star, released a new single last week called “Thank You For Listening.” With the song’s release came the revelation that the young songwriter is battling colon cancer. Thankfully, he is expecting to make a full recovery. “Thank You For Listening” is a solemn ballad expressing gratitude towards his fanbase, weaving in memories of how he reached this point in his career, and finally landing upon a sense of peace with the circumstances of his life. Here’s to many more years of sad, modern-classic Texas country songs.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Billy Strings – “Whiskey River” (Live at Willie Nelson’s 90th)

Psychedelic pioneer Billy Strings kicked off Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday celebration this Spring with a cover of Willie’s famous 1973 tune “Whiskey River.” Appropriate to have Billy kick it off considering the friendship that the duo have developed in recent years, immortalized by the collaboration “California Sober.” The full Willie’s 90th live album was just released and weighs in at a staggering 53 songs, featuring such legends as Bob Weir, Beck, Norah Jones, Tyler Childers, and so many more, including Mr. Willie himself, performing a set with special guests for the final segment of the album.

Contributed by Chris Huber

DJ DollaMenu – “Candy Rain”

DJ DollaMenu drops a new single, “Candy Rain,” ripe with his signature clever, humorous word play and laid-back delivery. The title is a nod to the 1994 Soul For Real track “Candy Rain,” which DollaMenu shouts out, followed by a modern reference to Steve Aoki throwing cake & more. The whole song is packed with cultural references from all across the spectrum, putting on display a well-versed lyricist who doesn’t place himself inside of any particular box.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Spencer Cullum & Erin Rae – “The Drum”

Nashville-based songwriter Spencer Cullum recently linked up with Aquarium Drunkard for the second installment in their Lagniappe Sessions with the artist, who is taking a unique approach to his music. His albums, Coin Collection 1 & 2 (2023 & 2021), feature a wide variety of musical guests and a general quirkiness. Changing it up so much with different contributing artists is a great move in an era of short attention spans. His take on Slapp Happy’s 1993 track “The Drum” featuring Erin Rae presents a duet that is anchored by a strong, warm guitar groove.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Kitchen Dwellers – “Pendulum (V)”

Jamgrass act Kitchen Dwellers are gearing up to release a new album on March 1st, 2024, titled Seven Devils. The album is inspired by Dante’s voyage through the nine circles of hell, with some songs corresponding to one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Latest single, “Pendulum (V)” represents the fifth circle of hell and confronts issues of addiction, and specifically addiction replacement according to bassist Joe Funk. “I’ve long had a theory that everyone has a baseline addictive tendency that must be satisfied, and it is up to the mind to decide at which point on the “good” and “bad” spectrum that habit is chosen,” he says.

Contributed by Chris Huber