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DUN – [Clairmont The Second]

By Lucas Garrison // 23 Mar 2020

I tend to associate Toronto with R&B, but Clairmont The Second shows (in the most demonstrative way possible) there’s more than just singers up north. The T-Dot emcee makes quite the LL debut with an impressive, visually-assisted single in “DUN.” From the jump, “Dun” carries a brutish tone with an off-kilter beat laced by a dizzying whirr. Clairmont matches that energy wrangling the beat with his potent flow and brash attitude, perfect for expressing his “fed-up-ness” with lines like “DUN letting you slide/ Dun going outside” (#socialdistancing). The striking power of “DUN” is magnified by the visuals, which are directed and edited by Clairmont The Second himself (with cinematography help from Beee). Almost like two videos in one, the videos match the frenetic energy of the song by drawing your eye back and forth with some really amazing shots. I was super impressed by this clean (yet raw as fuck) offering and am definitely looking forward to more from Clairmont!

Whatever You Got (Live) – [Niia]

By Lucas Garrison // 19 Mar 2020

Last month, Niia dropped off a stellar album in II: La Bella Vita. Now, the talented crooner is following up with some really amazing live renditions of cuts from the album. I was really looking forward to these live renditions, because the ones she released with her prior album, I, ended up being some of my favorites. With “Whatever You Got” leading the charge it looks like the trend will continue.    “Whatever You Got,” was initially released last November, but remains one of my favorite tracks on the album, so I was thrilled to see it get the live treatment. With an absurd amount of groove to it, the track doesn’t have a typical, orchestra feel but I think that’s what makes this so effective. The orchestra really highlights the lush, ornate texture Niia excels in creating in all her music and it fits her velvety vocals to a T. The live setting is still the best way to separate the real deal from the fake, which makes it perfect for an artist who has the pure, natural “chops” like Niia. It also serves as a great example for artists looking to supplement a release with additional content because it adds another layer to the …

Do Not Disturb – [Angelo Mota]

By Lucas Garrison // 15 Mar 2020

Angelo Mota is becoming a frequent visitor to the LL pages and it’s not hard to hear why. On his last feature, January’s ” Look In The Mirror” Chuck highlighted Mota’s “willingness to leave it all out on the record.” The exact dame could be said for his latest offering “Do Not Disturb” as well. The difference? “Do Not Disturb” has a sneaky bounce to it. What makes “Do Not Disturb” a winner is that blend of a catchy, uptempo R&B vibe with his rumbling vocals. Mota brings his signature personal, melancholic feel but still match the catchy feel the dense, whirring boardwork (produced by Mota, Tim Gunter, and Mike Moraes). The blend of authenticity with melody and a crisp sound is a portent combo and I’m definitely looking forward to more.

Wasted & Lonely – [jaydafuckingkelly]

By Lucas Garrison // 12 Mar 2020

Though it was released in February (which is basically a year in internet standards)Jaydafuckingkelly’s “Wasted & Lonely” has been haunting my rotation. No matter what mood I’m in, or what I’m listening too, “Wasted & Lonely” has been constantly creeping up, going neck and neck with heavy hitters like Uzi and Lil Baby. It’s pretty crazy for a track that seemingly came out of nowhere from an artist that only has 89 monthly listeners on Spotify, but it’s a testament to the unique atmosphere the Canadian artist builds. Fitting the title, the stoic WoodOxha-produced instrumental is set off by a distant whistle that beckons you further into the dark. Kelly’s soft, airy crooning laces the production to create an almost unsettling yet hypnotic environment; the way she weaves between English and French adds an extra dash of uniqueness to the already unconventional sound. Credit to kelly for creating something really different. I haven’t heard anything like this recently and it’s been very hard to pull away from. Be sure to check out her latest EP, The Fool.

Hold It Together – [The Marías]

By Lucas Garrison // 9 Mar 2020

Emerging as one of my favorite band around, The Marías have been keeping my appetite for new music bay with a series of live renditions of cuts from their library ( like “Loverboy”). As great as the live cuts are (this group can literally do no wrong) I’m really excited to see them back with new music that brings a really fresh, new vibe. Typically, The Marías live in a dreamy, light environment. While “Hold It Together” certainly has those elements–mainly the intoxicatingly smooth vocals of María Zardoya– it also has a little more edge to it. I think the song’s sharp electricity stems mainly from the instrumental, engined by that powerful, plunging bassline, as well as the stellar switch-up/pace change that caps off the effort. Described as part A of an A side/ B side expect more new grooves from them soon!  

“come around” – [Frex]

By Lucas Garrison // 5 Mar 2020

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Frex. That’s coming from me, someone who only discovered her last year thanks to the video her 2018 cut “Ellis Dee.”  Almost exactly a year since the video, Frex is back with a brand new video for a brand new song! From the moment the drums kick in “come around” will have your head nodding. Helping keep you entranced, Frex drapes her feathery, inviting vocals atop the crisp drums for a nice juxtaposition that results in something as hypnotic and headnodic as it is light and smooth. The spirit of the dreamy effort is captured succinctly by the rae-directed visuals which feature some fuzzy, colorful shots that take Frex into the wilderness for a trippy-twinge to the “come around” experience.

Nothing To Lose – [Black Fortune]

By Lucas Garrison // 4 Mar 2020

When I think of Black Fortune I tend to think of high-energy, brash bangers a la his last LL feature “Keith Sweat” or my personal favorite “Katrina.” His latest release, “Nothing To Lose,” caught me off guard. The DMV emcee showcases a different style, but has, nonetheless, earned more than a few replays. On the first single off his forthcoming album, OSSHLORD, Fortune trades in his boisterous approach for a more melodic style. With a sung rapped style, he floats atop a whurring backdrop from Lil Rich. Even with a more melodic, pillowed sound, Fortune keeps it gritty with his dark, vivid wordplay. It may be a different pace, but it’s equally as potent. Excited to see what else he has lined up for OSSHLORD. 

Synthetic Soul – [Chiiild]

By Lucas Garrison // 3 Mar 2020

Chiiild made their Lyrical Lemonade back in August with a powerful track in “Don’t Count Me Out,” a song left quite the impression me. With an engaging sound and ton of potential, I’ve been looking forward to more. Now, “more” comes in the form of their first project, Synthetic Soul. Building on “Don’t Count Me Out,” the 7 track offering carries similar energy as their debut track; they really succeed in blending experimentation with emotion. The lyrics mixed with the soft crooning give off a personal, authentic feel that really anchors their sound. With the emotion grounding them, the instrumentals are where the group’s experimentation really takes flight. The swirling, hazy, and lush backdrops allow you to “explore” and get lost in their atmosphere while never losing that personal feel. Standout Tracks: “Don’t Count Me Out,” “Pirouette,” & “Sunday Morning”