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New Music Radar

New Music Radar for December 13th, 2023

Slow Funeral – “Bugs”

Spartanburg, SC-based project Slow Funeral, fronted by artist Mary Norris, delivered a haunting new track, “Bugs,” to our ears last week. The song is evocative of 90s alternative in a way that feels deeply satisfying, with big guitar and drums that are matched evenly by Norris’s stirring vocals. A deep bass line maintains a dark tone through the meat of the track. Norris’s singing explodes with intensity in the chorus, and lyrically, the song embraces the unhinged, with lines like “I cry when I touch myself” and “I love you and I hate myself.” It’s a musical exploration of the shadow side.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

Editor’s note: “Bugs” was produced by Corey Campbell with co-production from Mary Norris. It comes from the upcoming Slow Funeral album, Conditions of Trust, which was funded by the Chapman Cultural Center and the Metropolitan Arts Council. Stay tuned for more.

Adrianne Lenker – “Ruined”

Adrianne Lenker, the vocalist, guitarist, and lead songwriter of indie folk group Big Thief who also creates remarkable work as a solo artist, released a new track, “Ruined,” under her own name last week. The song is a lovesick piano ballad that demonstrates Lenker’s unparalleled prowess as a songwriter. Lines like “You gave me no answer / Nor asked me / To lie / You just gave / Me an amethyst / From your jeweled vest / As you cried” are delivered with world-weary softness. Lenker’s voice is the focal point, and gentle piano pulses along like a heartbeat keeping the song moving forward. Backing vocals add an emotive layer of romanticism to the third half of the track. “Ruined” is yet another demonstration of Lenker’s knack for crafting songs that cut sweetly to the bone.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

GiRL – “Shekinah”

Sound healer and hip hop artist, GiRL enters this week’s radar with “Shekinah”, a pindaric ode that intersects sacred feminine energy and the core essence of hip hop. GiRL, also known for her auditory based meditational practice, Awaken Spanda, debuts after over a decade with a powerful song and video that embodies the very ideology and etheric wisdom that continues to guide her after her spiritual rebirth. 

In the words of GiRL, “The song shekinah is the embodiment, honoring, and recognizing of the feminine energy within us  ALL. Shekinah is the Goddess, the feminine counterpart of God. The equal of God. When we acknowledge her and her divinity within us we grow, we evolve, we shine, we create, we integrate, we harmonize, we elevate, we remember who we are again from the inside out.”

Backed by a gentle layer of classical boom bap production from Ben Beam, GiRL shows the listener that not only is she still a practicing lyricist, but she can effortlessly take the knowledge and principles that guide her, and translate it to one of the most effective forms of spoken word, hip hop. After tapping in to the #GxldApproved track, hit up YouTube and check out the video for “Shekinah”, with cameos from various creatives on the scene that have inspired her to re-animate her effectiveness as an hip hop artist.

Contributed by Thaddeus Adams

Gold Light – “Lovers on the Run”

Gold Light, the brainchild of regional musician Joe Chang, dropped a new tune, “Lovers on the Run,” on Friday. The track begins with old school country-style wistful harmonica and piano, but when Chang’s voice cuts in, it ushers in a more classic pop-rock troubadour point of view. A xylophone playfully tingles along, adding an element of campiness. When the drums and guitar pick up, the tone shifts, and the song takes on a more energetic pace. Chang indulges in beautiful narrative lyricism, recounting cutting across the south in a car with a lover (a journey that will end in tragedy). When you reach the end, it feels like the culmination of a genre-defying adventure.

Contributed by Kate Bryan

George Fetner & The Strays – “Carolina Moonlight” – Live from Fr8yard

It wouldn’t be New Music Radar without the inclusion of a live album. This time, it’s a homegrown release from South Carolina funk rock group George Fetner & The Strays, Live from Fr8yard, recorded in Spartanburg, SC. The album features a raucous array of groovy rock & roll, with a 9-piece band that includes a full brass section and plenty of jam-ability. They even ripped a cover of “Shakedown Street” by the Grateful Dead, which I strongly considered adding to the playlist, but at 10 minutes long I opted for “Carolina Moonlight” instead. A great jam that devolves into a call-and-response segment about partying and getting naked in the Carolina Moonlight. Aw yeah.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Brave Baby – “First Time Homebuyer”

Charleston indie rock legends Brave Baby released a split single last week featuring the new song “First Time Homebuyer” alongside “Difficulture,” which the OGs will remember from the 2017 Scene SC Sampler (I’m not sure if I was supposed to say that). Maybe a new mix on this one. Anyway, “First Time Homebuyer” offers us a taste of Brave Baby’s stylistic maturation, with Keon adopting a spoken-word vocal style that seems to take influence from hip-hop, and a modern arrangement drenched with synths and a taste of funk. It’s good stuff, and I really hope it means that Brave Baby will finally release a new album in 2024.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Chemi$t and smxkeDoji – The Misadventures of Dojimite and Iceberg Chem

An unexpected duo I never knew I needed, smxkeDoji and Chemi$t of UnHeard Ent, came together and released a 3 song EP The Misadventures of Dojimite and Iceberg Chem. Incorporating the names of two legends, Ice Berg Slim and Dolemite, is the first inkling into the environment of the project. Playalistic vibes, bars for days, and slick tongued wordplay, take us on a ride inside of a 4 door Cadillac, with a diamond in the back, and smoke treading from the windows. Produced by KJ Wol, the EP has two tracks and a creative spin on the historic Playa’s Ball as a transitional interlude. The production fits the deep inhale of Chemi$t’s wordplay clad storytelling and fluid delivery and the smooth, exhale of smxkeDoji’s nostalgic, punchy style. So sit back, relax, spark your lighters, and live briefly vicarious through The Misadventures of Dojimite and Iceberg Chem.

On the playlist: “hoes2night”

Contributed by Thaddeus Adams

Wings – “Band on the Run (Underdubbed Mix)”

As Paul McCartney and Wings prepare for the 50th anniversary of their classic album, Band on the Run, which will include alternate “underdubbed” mixes of the entire record. McCartney explains, “This is Band On The Run in a way you’ve never heard before. When you are making a song and putting on additional parts, like an extra guitar, that’s an overdub. Well, this version of the album is the opposite, underdubbed.” This stripped-back “Band on the Run” is just excellent and I’m sure the rest of the album is as well. Kudos to Paul for actually doing something unique for the anniversary release.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Car Seat Headrest – “Bodys” (Live at Brooklyn Steel)

If the addition of multiple live albums on this list every week isn’t a sign that live albums are all the rage, I don’t know what is. Car Seat Headrest are the latest band to release a live album in 2023, with Faces of the Masquerade, featuring live recordings from the group’s shows at Brooklyn Steel in 2022. As an unrelated side note, that is one of the best music venues I have ever been to. The track I’ve added to this is “Bodys,” the popular track from the group’s 2018 album, Twin Fantasy, a modern indie rock classic.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Deaf Andrews-  “Just Not Right”

Deaf Andrews, the rock-dream-pop group of friends from Charlotte, NC just released another single, “Just Not Right”, making their second drop of the year. “Just Not Right” is a four-minute tune with suspenseful elements placed to peak in the song structure (something this band does flawlessly in all of their releases), along with prolific 80s synths that mirror a Stranger Things-like intro and weighty rock vocals. This track is no exception to Deaf Andrews’ reputation of crafting masterful tracks with an edgy grunge that oozes passion within each project. 

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

The Japanese House – ITEIAD Sessions

The Japanese House, a.k.a. Amber Bain, covered ABBA’s iconic track “Super Trouper” in a stripped-down, reconceived version that was released in late November. The Japanese House brought her exemplary delicate delivery to fruition and gave the well-known pop song a more histrionic platform. The single was recorded through Bain’s ITEIAD Sessions, a collection of live versions from her album In the End It Always Does

On the playlist:Super Trouper” (ABBA Cover)

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

Benny Sings – Champagne People (20th Anniversary Edition) 

Benny Sings, the singer/songwriter and producer from Amsterdam just re-released his very first album Champagne People which originally dropped in 2003. The re-issue also includes some “nice extras” with five bonus tracks including new single “No!”, a laid-back tune with a first-rate Benny Sings synthy sway. The rendition of the record was in collaboration with Sings’ close friend Allen Stone who “reinvisioned” the record more than 20 years later. 

On the playlist: “No!”

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy