Lil’ Music Reviews – Keezy & Sk8 God, ZAYN, Drip Drop, Iggy Pop, Hungry Clocks

Alan Fearns / Sun Star

Keezy & Sk8 God – “Departure To…”

Keezy of the Sky Division is a rapper based out of Anchorage who, like most Alaska hip-hop artists, had to go out of state to seek out a demographic that supports his music. For Keezy this was Seattle. We learn that in the first track, “Arrival”, which is an audio recording of his landing in the Sea-Tac airport.

“City on my Back” (feat. Peydey).

Peydey isn’t in the documentary video, but his verse has plenty of lyrical skill and speed worth mentioning.  Like the praised “Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City,” which told a story about Kendrick Lamaar’s childhood, “Departure To…” tells a story of the very time it is taking place in, with snippets of conversation and new experiences.  “The Good Life” touches on warm temperatures and gives a shout out to his friends back home, doing work on the North Slope.

“Fill in the Blank” features retired Alaska rapper Josh Boots, who became a realtor, father and husband after traveling to New York to record with producer RAWBEATZZ.  The arctic flow is there, with lyrics about economic reality, being white and whiskey.  When rapping about cooking, it vibes stronger with Action Bronson than Lil B.

“Harvest” has a sweet r&b vocal sample with classic boom-bap beat production.  It discusses how Keezy doesn’t know what would happen were he to fail in his pursuit of a rap career, but that he won’t lose faith simply because others are quitting.  He has unfulfilled promises to his mother, and won’t stop working until he fulfills them.

Genre: AK hip-hop

ZAYN- “Pillowtalk” [single]

Zayn Malik, who disbanded from One Direction, is now taking on college radio with his new single “Pillowtalk.”  It’s something like Justin Timberlake doing his own thing after N’SYNC.  A little dirtier and somewhat one-dimensional.  Best of luck to him and Shahid Kahn (Naughty Boy) in working this sound into something worth listening to (not recommended).

Genre: Slow Pop

『Drip Drop』 – “メカMECHA DREAMS   “

“◎◙◎ N.E.R.V. after hours ◎◙◎” is total bliss.  Chrono Trigger piano, Vocals sung in Japanese,  streaming water samples takes off with a live drum take and elevates until it’s dripping by the end.

“◌⚔◌ Gurren lagann ◌⚔◌ ” opens with anime dialogue and heavy bass drops in before being squeezed into a lofi filter and erupting its way out in key change.

“RX-78 ” stands out from the other songs on this EP, with its doo-wop melodies that get industrialized with metallic chimes.  The tone is somewhere between Gundam Wing and Cowboy Bebop, but with a touch of Nujabes.

“❤☒☒ No Life ❤☒☒” is exactly what the song title implies.

Genre: Future Beats

Iggy Pop – “Gardenia” [single]

Iggy Pop is coming back with another album tiled “Post Pop Depression.”  He recruited Josh Homme (of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age [QOTSA], Eagles of Death Metal, and more) to play guitar, bassist of QOTSA (Dean Fertita), and Arctic Monkey’s drummer.

The album started from a series of text messages between Homme and Pop with notes about the techniques David Bowie and Pop had used in the past.  The second track of the album, “Gardenia”, sounds like his late 70s work recorded with newer equipment and musicians.  Spring reverb tanks and natural amp tremolo make the sound sweetly vintage.  A watery keyboard sits in the back, likely a Fender Rhodes.  At age 69, one cannot help but relate him to his deceased comrades, Bowie and Lou Reed, but in my mind he is still a “street racin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.”

Hungry Clocks – “One Day You’re Gonna Wake Up And I’m Not”

This whole album makes me feel warm.  Bernia Bousa sets his heart free in this momentary release.  It is compassionate, confessional, yearning and hopeful.  If you are unfamiliar with Bousa’s talent, find him at the Marlin Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. hosting open mic.  He also plays in Barcelona Boys Choir, we he went from standing drummer to cruising bassist.

“One Day You’re Gonna Wake Up And I’m Not” is Bousa’s eighth bandcamp release, second this year, and first to feature percussion and electric guitar.  His effected melodies lay a watery layer for his signature acoustic to glide over.  The vocals seem to walk on this aural water, as he maneuvers through the breaking branches of kicks and snares.

The entirety of Hungry Clocks was recorded on an iPhone.  I would have never known were it not for hearing it from Bousa directly.  The first song flies by in with its skittering rhythms and easy going tone.   At the same time it is brutally honest, and somewhat self-loathing. Listen to “A” as he sings about how he “would love to be one who really cares,” but struggles to be ever present for the one who this song about.

“Find My Way” has a beautiful chorus thats easy to sing along to, where Bousa shifts registers and climbs his way up in scale. “Her” has a gloomy essence about it.  I am instantly reminded of The Cure, but I know that there is much more to Bousa’s sound than a definitive goth pop band.  The darkness of the track brings me back to “Crocodile Street” from Bousa’s 2014 summer release, “Bernie Yonderly.”

“Substance Coordination” is the most personal song I have heard yet.  “I tried so hard to believe that I was immortal, and not filled with sorrow.”  He admits to the pain he has caused to himself by upping his tolerance, since his hides his true feelings.  This is song is his release.

“A suffering meditation infected me so I’m different, I lost my resilience. / Affordable medication helped myself to be outgoing, to hide what I’m showing. / But like my tolerance, I’m too high, sometimes, I run out of love. / I wish that I could live a life so i can finally find love. / I know I’m wrong but I’m not strong. / One day you’re gonna wake up, and I’m not. / One day I’m gonna wake up and you’re not. / I wanna be loved, but I, am sure you will stay strong.”

Genre: Emotional Songs

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