How was music in January 2023? Join us and find out!

By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez

Thanks for popping in! Everyone who’s been tuning in to read what we’ve have to has been a huge help these past few months, and we really owe it to y’all. Here’s our coverage for some albums that, for one reason or another, we couldn’t fully cover. Our full collection of these projects and some other gems is below. Enjoy!

03 Greedo & Mike Free – Free 03

Shoutout to Brandan Verrastro (@verrastro25) for writing such a great review for this album. Free 03 is 03 Greedo’s first project since his return from prison, and he’s not missing a beat here. Full of bangers that pack grit like “Took a Little Minute” and pack melody like “Pourin,” Free 03 is all yoy can ask for from 03 and then Some. Some of his best work is even delivered through phone recordings like “If I Die”, which is almost like a fiery proclamation of survival. 03 is an artist that more people should get in their rotation, and this record is a great place to start.

Babytron – Bin Reaper 3: New Testament

Two albums with the number “3” in the title when they’d score way above that. Babytron’s second half to his Bin Reaper 3 project is kind of just more of what the previous entry offered. That means two things for me: there will be lots more great tracks to take in, but it’s not gonna be perfect. Sure enough, songs like “Michigan Ave” and “RIP Hitch” are fantastic examples of why this guy is so good despite how different he sounds; his pen is unbelievably good. On the other end, we didn’t need 26 tracks. There’s a more concise album that doesn’t drag somewhere in here, but the filler may be the killer here.

The Housing Crisis – Astral Apartments

Of all the projects on here, Astral Apartments by far made me feel the happiest. Maybe its the Gainesville band’s mix of upbeat indie, pop, folk, and even electronics; maybe it’s their sharp and catchy songwriting; maybe its just the band’s incredible personality. Their debut album is perfect for a clear spring day, with songs like “Better Weather” and “Changes in the Shape of the Earth” feeling like wonderful odes to how nature reflects our emotions. The band excels at painting a picture of the external and internal: “Wonders of a Station Wagon” excels at painting the area of Gainesville, “Every Day” is bubbling with nervous anticipation of passing time, complimented by a trippy instrumental. The band blends their many stylistic influences in a way that is not only unique, but infectious. Give it a listen!

Oddisee – To What End

Listening to an artist for the first time is always a bit daunting when you don’t know what to expect, but after hearing To What End, I’m a confirmed fan of Oddisee. This album has all you could want from an underground jazz rap record, with emotional storytelling on “The Start of Something” brushing shoulders with self-improvement affirmations on “Choices”. It’s a deeply personal record for Oddisee, with tracks like “Ghetto to Meadow” diving into violence and “Many Hats” delving into his habit of ignoring his fears. His production here is A1 too, with smooth rhythms, funky bass, and gorgeous keys lacing every track with a classiness and earnestness that’s unmatched. One of my favorites this year so far.

Ice Spice – Like..? EP

If there’s one person who’s blown the hell up on the internet, it’s Ice Spice. After her track “Munch (Feelin’ U)” blew up, it was only a matter of time before she dropped a project, hence this EP. While I still have qualms with Ice Spice’s style (I think it can be a little too simple at points), I can’t deny that there’s some bangers on here. “In Ha Mood” is genuinely one of her catchiest songs, succinct and hard hitting with relentlessly infectious one liners. “Princess Diana” goes hard as hell, a guitar backed beat showing that Ice Spice can work really well outside of a typical drill beat. There’s some real gems here that can turn you into an Ice Spice stan…but I still think she has room to grow as an artist. Even if I don’t like “Munch” or “Bikini Bottom” like that, I genuinely am excited at the direction this EP is hinting at for Ice Spice’s music.

Lo-Minds – Lo Minds EP

Another first time listen, (Lo-Minds (a duo consisting of John Gray Shermyen and Will Campell) and their self-titled EP instantly became a band I couldn’t wait to hear more from. The duo has this raw growling energy with a lot of passion behind it, and it’s evident from the moment you press play. Despite being only 16 minutes long, there’s a lot of nuance to unpack here, from the raw recording sound lending a maniac personality, to the songwriting having a lot of interesting twists and turns. I’m a big fan of “Out Here On Your Own,” a garage jam that is equally anthemic and intense; “Natural Philosophy” has this psychedelic soundscape that is almost hypnotic; “Stuck” is a perfectly paced and performed rager. It’s great listen for any garage rock, punk rock, or even just music fan. It rips.

Boldy James & RichGains – Indiana Jones

Prayers up for Boldy James; after having been in a deadly car accident that hospitalized him this past month, my thoughts go to his recovery, family and friends. To see an album drop in this timespan was comforting; it’s strange to call an album as dark as Indiana Jones comforting, but when you’re a fan of Boldy’s sinister delivery and pen game, it’s always a good time. This time, he teams up with producer RichGains for one of his hardest hitting albums. There’s tons of lyrical highlights from the Detroit dealer, from the lowkey and catchy “Wrong Side of Town”, to the vivid storytelling on “8 Days”, to the lyrical three man weave on “Hunnit Sales.” RichGains brings some of my favorite production on a Boldy album yet, bringing a weight and force that accentuates Boldy’s cold demeanor while still having a lot of presence. “Dopey” has a great flip of a Gary Burton sample, “Electric Blue” brings an almost poppy energy to the track, “Never Had a Friend” is a depressingly numb track that is engineered to instill loneliness. Awesome record, awesome contributions from everyone here. Get well soon Boldy!