Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Happy Holidays!!! After a busy 4th quarter to 2019, I'm back with sounds that have graced the Llama's ears over the past few months. In this series, I just give quick takes on projects, tracks, and bands that impressed me, but I didn’t have time to initially review in depth.
Nothing much needs to be said about this mellow French Funk machine. It’s just a solid, sad surf rock track. Light guitars, steady bass foundation, and simple lyrics. I could hear his music in your local boutique or on the smoker patio of an ideal Friday night kickback. Make sure to check out his latest project, Sunny Side Up, and his latest single, Open Market. Jean takes a chill funk path on these projects. Both are 8 out of 10 in my book.
Thanks, Jean. I have been on a classic funk wave, but now I am getting back on a surf/alt-rock wave.
The Best: Like You, Open Market, Too Bad, I'd Rather Be With You
The So-So: Sunny Side Up, California, Mohawk St.
First impression: 10/10
Deep Listen: 8.5/10
The combination of drum machine and funky baselines makes me almost forget that the lyrics fit a sadboi, bedroom pop mood. Released as a single ahead of the EP, Why’d You Have to Act Like That Though was already in my top 50 of 2019.
The Best: Why’d You Have to Act Like That Though, Mushroom, Mate
The So-So: Oof, Six AM
First impression: 9/10 Deep Listen: 8.5/10
The Nude Scene classifies this song as alt-rock, but this might be more of a progressive blues/jazz track. The excellent bass and piano melody upstage the reverb'd vocals, but sets the mood for an easy morning or somber evening. Fans of The Mattson 2, Men I Trust, Rex Orange County, Hector Gachan and Astronauts, Etc. should check out this Australian artist.
First Listen: 10/10
Deep Listen: 10/10
Du$tin - Money Talks EP Dustin Borel AKA DU$TIN has been toying with flows and boom-bap beats since I first met him under the moniker $h_dow in 2015. If DU$TIN were to leave the game tomorrow, this latest project would be his magnum opus. DU$TIN takes his listeners on a lo-fi jazzy journey through his rough upbringing, trouble with the law, and current grind with lyrical masterpieces such as The Mission. Don’t count out this white rapper. He’s true to the game, true to his love, and true to his hustle. The KoG Collective is proud of one of their own. Upstate New York better catch this kid once he starts touring. The Best: Intro, Money Talks, The Mission, Thread The So-So: Time, Outro First Listen: 6.5/10 Deep Listen: 7/10
Black Shades & Arrogance - Irregular Black Shades & Arrogance immediately had my curiosity with the album title. But the production quality kept my attention. Although the intro track Strangeland came off as a garden variety post-2013 Eminem impression, the rest of the album’s lyrical substance is nothing to compare. This duo blends sounds and vibes from the last 20 years with timeless bars.
Blurry Memories feels like a leftover gem from the early 2000s Rhymesayers Entertainment or Adult Swim bumps. At some points, BS&A vibe like Run the Jewels in an alternate dimension if they were produced by Nujabes or Exile.
Dreams Last is easily one of my favorite tracks of the year. Arrogance’s delivery on heavier track demands your attention and declares that there is beauty in the battle to the top.
The skits were unexpected satirical breaks. While The Mother Chunker felt out of place, The Interview is a refreshing auditory illustration of the hive mindset needed in the modern corporate workplace. (Ironically, I probably bump portions of this album on the way to work every morning.)
This album could probably afford to cut two or three tracks, but the bright spots make this project an underground classic. I hope to interview these guys before they "Initiate Phase Three".
The Best: Dreams Last, The Mother Chunker with Aindogs & Chompamatic, Book Bag, Blurry Memories, The Interview, Trapped
The So-So: Strangeland, Lucidity, Friends to Foes, Reflections, Keep It Hood, Mr. Strange, Nuisance
The Meh: Aces, The Illest
First Listen: 6.5/10
Deep Listen: 9/10
[Cover Photo - Rapper and Songwriter DU$TIN, who recently released Money Talks EP]
Llama Ruckus is an aspiring songwriter and producer from Atlanta, Georgia. His primary genre is trip-hop; blends of elements from funk, surf rock, chill hop, blues, synthpop, and psychedelic rock/jazz.