By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
What has been on repeat for us here at SOFLOSOUND? Any new stuff, any old? Join me as I recommend some awesome tracks for you to check out!
Driptones – “Deprestrian”
Driptones never miss with the singles man. The Gainesville indie band came through with another fantastic blend of pristine pop, wavy surf rock and the fire addition of several rhythmic changeups. The song is sad when you read between the lines of the lyrics, but the overall package is almost like a happy sadness. “Deprestrian” is instrumentally fantastic and aesthetically rich, making it a perfect addition to any number of playlists you got.
Xarissa – “Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl”
If any song captures the energy of its title, its Gainesville visionary Xarissa’s “Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl.” The song is controlled chaos, with Xarissa’s incredible vocals grabbing your ears as the punk energy of the production blares on the chorus. The writing of the song is fantastic too, capturing the highs and implied lows of feeling that aforementioned chaos bubbling inside oneself. It’s a great balance of drama and genuine emotion, balancing the lyricism with a rock instrumental that slaps. Check this out.
Blood Orange – “Wish”
Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, has been relatively quiet the past few years, so of course I was gonna jump on his new Four Songs EP. The whole project is classic Blood Orange, beautifully performed with a lot of zany twists on the alternative R&B sound Hynes came out with. “Wish” is by far my favorite, an electronic-based R&B jam with driving kicks and really pretty keys and vocal layering. Hynes’ writing is as great as always, minimal in terms of the quantity of words said but heavy on the heart. I hope a new Blood Orange project is on the way!
UGK – “Int’l Players Anthem”
This past Monday I had a long car ride; what better time to fully dive into an artist’s catalogue? Texas rap duo UGK (comprised of Bun B and the late Pimp C) has one of the most solid collections of albums in the rap pantheon, with verses and instrumentals that display the South’s raw power and creativity. This track is arguably their most popular, a shimmering gospel-influenced banger that celebrates both the married and the pimp life with four slick verses sliding like butter across an insane beat. Bun B and Pimp C kill it as usual, and a healthy helping of late era Outkast verses make this rap song a transcendental experience. It’s one of those songs that deserves its overplayed status online.
Rina Sawayama – “Hold the Girl”
The queen of genre bending has returned! Rina Sawayama’s latest album, Hold the Girl came out last week, and it’s once again a great blend of numerous influences and genres on a catchy pop format. The title track is easily my favorite, a cinematic song that is composed fantastically in order to emphasize the passion behind Rina’s writing; every beat drop, every use of instrumental experimentation is accompanied by a passionate performance. It’s hard to describe this song in words, as so many elements come together to create an instantly catchy and hard-hitting pop anthem.
Freddie Gibbs – “Dark Hearted”
I almost missed this one. Freddie Gibbs is one of my favorite rappers period, so to see myself miss out on the rollout of his upcoming album left me with quite a bit of shame. Thankfully, we’re here and “Dark Hearted” is another great track. The beat is minimal, with somber keys and skeletal drums backing up Gibbs’ ruminations on fear, drug dealing and his own faith. I think that it’s a nice blend of his classic rap style while throwing in a little more trendy pizazz, ala his singing or the generally clean sound of the mix. I have a strong feeling Soul Sold Separately will be somewhat like his 2015 record Shadow of a Doubt, but only time will tell.
Mavi – “Baking Soda”
Mavi is a special lyricist. Having been put onto him by my good friend Thomas, I’ve always loved Mavi’s knack for heartfelt songwriting, unique production choices, and his sage wisdom. “Baking Soda” is a great teaser for his upcoming album Laughing so Hard It Hurts. The production is whimsically hard, with a playful guitar loop running over some hard hitting drums and weird shots of synthesizers. Mavi’s lyrics are cryptic but equally hard-hitting; he’s a master of his craft after all, and he conveys equal parts pain and pride here. The line “Intimately in the business of stretching out lessons/Crammed in the business of pressure investеd” still gives me pause. If you’re a fan of abstract, jazzy hip-hop this is right up your alley.
Flipturn – “Sad Disco”
My first ever Gainesville live show was for indie titans Flipturn, so naturally their latest album has been on loop for me. Shadowglow is a great record front to back, but goddamn is “Sad Disco” such a perfect song. It blends the band’s classy vocal style with a jaunty guitar line and great use of tension as the rhythm appears and disappears to emphasize the song’s emotion. It is a sad song, yes, but it’s also so fun and so goddamn catchy that it’s impossible to ignore. (Expect a catchup review on this and a few other records soon!)
Weezer – “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me”
Weezer, prolific as ever, has dropped their third EP of the year, the Autumn release of their SZNS series. While I haven’t listened to the rest of the EP, I gotta say this track impressed. The instrumental of this track is great, blending polished pop production with some heavy guitar riffs and nice tempo changeups. Rivers’ songwriting is on point, equal parts goofy and heartfelt, and the actual structure of the song lends to the hooks hitting like a truck. It’s a solid power pop track, so consider me interested in this new EP.
DJ Quik – “Pitch In Ona Party”
For the final addition of today’s release, I have to shout out DJ Quik’s incredible “Pitch In Ona Party.” One of my essential party songs, this song embodies what makes DJ Quik and West Coast rap so great: the beat’s a danceable mix of hearty kicks, synths, and soft guitar licks. Quik’s verses are excellent at portraying the vibe and mood of a house party, both the good and bad parts. The hook is one of the best rap music, perfectly engineered vocals confidently gliding over the beat. I can’t really think of any words to describe this track, other than perfect!
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