Patrick Murphy/Northern Star
Weekly Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5gKdccvkYqspwcdM23zsms?si=m9sRM6f6Sky2OR01oWkUsw
Chief Keef – “Alone (Intro)”
Mutilatred – “Forced to Stay Dead”
Internal Rot – “Harpooned”
Tyler, The Creator – “NEW MAGIC WAND”
Junkie XL – “At the Speed of Force”
Chief Keef slightly changed his lyrical themes with his album “Thot Breaker.” A trap album with a focus on more love-centred material. “Alone (Intro)” still gets listeners bobbing their head to the track, but through a melancholic and lonelier trap beat. The song is a really phenomenal track and intro for Keef’s newer focus.
Mutilatred is the pinnacle of what is exciting about underground death metal. “Forced to Stay Dead” has it all — very low guttural vocals, dense riffs and awesome drum work. When it comes to grindcore, “Harpooned” by Internal Rot strikes like a shark attack, fast, visceral and deadly. Also, their album cover for “Grieving Birth” absolutely rocks.
Tyler, The Creator seems to bloom a little more each album he releases. Off of his exceptional 2019 album “IGOR,” “NEW MAGIC WAND” features Tyler obsessing over a love interest and discussing the inner thoughts of relationships most people don’t say out loud. That’s not where the song shines the most, though; Tyler’s production is off the charts and the track mixing is mind-blowing.
“Pentagram” by Possessed may lack the extremity that death metal is commonly known for, but Possessed pioneered the death metal genre in the mid-1980s in fashion. “Pentagram” is rebellious, expertly forged and exciting as hell. And for a track so early in the days of the subgenre that is death metal, the production value is a true feat.
“At the Speed of Force” marks The Flash’s character defining moment in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” The track continuously builds with a thunderous orchestra until suddenly a subtle set of electrical guitar chords, and time feels like it seemingly stops. Junkie XL doesn’t let that moment go to waste one bit, and for some, this piece of music may be the best part of that moment in the film. Given the context of the film, “At the Speed of Force” only elevates the greatness Junkie XL composed with this track.
Citizen – “Black and Red”
Alien Boy – “Somewhere Without Me”
Conway the Machine, Method Man – “Lemon (feat. Method Man)”
Julien Baker – “Heatwave”
The Mountain Goats – “Palmcorder Yajna”
Pinegrove – “The Metronome (Amperland, NY)”
Coming nearly four years after their last album “As You Please,” Toledo rock band Citizen released their much anticipated album “Life in Your Glass World.” The band once again shows their growth and expanding sound through “Black and Red,” a track that is driving and trance inducing.
“Somewhere Without Me” is a vibrant post-punk shoegaze track from the band Alien Boy. This track is a lot of fun. The swirling guitars drowning in effects and lead riff will have the listener dancing in their seat. The vocal melody on the chorus is extremely catchy and will be playing on repeat in your head all day.
Released in late 2020, Conway the Machine’s boom bap track “Lemon,” featuring hip-hop great Method Man, is a rhyme scheme masterclass. The bars, flow and beat on this track will make the listener want to drive around and just tune out the world.
“Heatwave” by singer and songwriter Julien Baker is a track backed by acoustic guitar and Baker’s textured vocals. It is a brutal recalling of a traumatic and panic inducing experience for Baker, according to an interview she had with Apple Music. The song reflects on how often society relies on words and ideology rather than actually taking action to fix issues.
One of my all time favorite bands, The Mountain Goats are a Claremont, California folk band that are the staple of the genre. Lead singer and guitarist John Darnielle’s lyricism is unrivaled and this track is no different. Top contender for my favorite Mountain Goats song, “Palmcorder Yajna,” tells the story of addiction through Darnielle’s eyes, backed by their signature honest sound.
New Jersey neo-folk band Pinegrove recently recorded a collection of live songs from their discography in their long term rental home and studio. “The Metronome” from their 2015 album “Everything So Far” was already a great track, but the band killed it again with the live performance. The maturity in the band’s sound coupled with singer Evan Hall’s live vocal harmonies take this track to the next level.