Brevin Kim, a duo of brothers from the Greater Boston area, release “swim!” and announce that they have a collab EP with Lil West that’s set to drop this upcoming Friday.
Consistent with the majority of the pair’s discography, both Bren and Cal play somewhat of a balancing act throughout “swim!”. Bren sings with an overwhelmed, almost aching torment that revolves around the various hurdles that life throws one’s way. Just when his thoughts seem to spiral out of control, Cal arrives with the important reminder to “swim” as Bren belts out, “it’s hard to forget, when you’re focused on forgetting”. Not only does their lyricism evoke a vast amount of emotion, but the manner in which they deliver these lyrics takes that feeling and expands it exponentially. In short, “swim!” is a powerful anecdote that emphasizes the necessity to persevere through the depths of life’s tumultuous moments. No matter how bad things may seem — we can never give up.
More than four years since the initial debut of the song, Nick Gray has finally unleashed the official music video for his timeless single “Slow Motion”.
This track in particular comes attached with an extreme level of nostalgia for me, being that it was one I played a countless amount of times when I first started working at UMass Amherst’s 91.1 WMUA. Despite the song’s age — and the amount of times that I’ve played it — I found myself watching the video for “Slow Motion” and falling in love with the record all over again.
Ryan Schaefer, who shot, edited, and assisted with direction on this visual, really knocked this project out of the park. A listen through “Slow Motion” is highly comparable to day dreaming — in a sense that the listener feels transported to an entirely different time and place. This hypnotic, yet powerful feeling is wonderfully represented in this video, making it one of the more prominent music video releases that I’ve seen in some time.
Watch the official music video for “Slow Motion” below:
When speaking of raw authenticity within the circuit of Massachusetts music, it’d be difficult not to include Boston rapper BoriRock in the conversation. Since coming on to my radar last year with the music video for “La Vida”, BoriRock has developed a truly dominant artistic presence. His ability to portray Boston street life through his raps is second to none, and as time has progressed he’s successfully pieced together a formidable catalog of music like no other.
“MOSHPIT” is the latest component of this musical catalog, which features a verse from Coke Boyz-affiliate Swipey. Cambridge’s Maka was responsible for the production on this single, and while he’s typically known for his more tropical/soothing sound, “MOSHPIT” serves as proof that he’s capable of making hard-hitting drill beats as well.
While the song itself is already well-done, Henry McGowan truly outdid himself here with respect to the direction of this music video. Each word that BoriRock utters comes attached with a sense of regality, and this sentiment is represented perfectly as he raps with Massachusetts casino Encore as his backdrop. If this is the first time you’re hearing of BoriRock, I strongly urge you to dive deeper into his discography, as “MOSHPIT” is merely the tip of the iceberg with respect to the amount of solid music he has within his discography.
Watch the official music video for “MOSHPIT” below:
When it comes to crafting one’s own sound, there aren’t many artists within the state of Massachusetts — or elsewhere for that matter — that can compete with Pistola. The Boston rapper’s latest single “Sellin’ Dreams” certainly helps to reinforce this statement, as Pistola delivers yet another undeniable track for his listeners.
Known mostly for his past singles “Swang” and “P.I.S.T.O.L.A.”, Pistola is no stranger when it comes to the Massachusetts music community. He’s never been one to shy away from experimenting within his catalog of music, something that’s ultimately been a key factor in his overall development as an artist. Utilizing a sound like feels almost intergalactic, time and time again Pistola manages to float on each instrumental that crosses his path with ease. In my eyes, he’s been making his best music as of late, with both “Sellin’ Dreams” and “Disstracktoeverybodyidontlike” being living proof that Pistola is more determined than ever to make exceptional music.
Briefcvse is here to remind us all that we can still remain productive while flattening the curve, as the Jamaica Plain artist unveils his latest body of work — Low Quality Demo’s.
Sitting at roughly 10 minutes in length, Low Quality Demo’s is a collection of experimental, lo-fi tracks that Briefcvse made over the course of a week while stuck at home. Despite what the title of this project might suggest, this mixtape is actually some of the 2020 member’s most exceptional work to date. Equipped with free-flowing storytelling and poised production, a listen through Low Quality Demo’s feels like a breath of fresh air.
“Quarantine”, which features Massachusetts’ Jerome B and Premo Dee, is the perfect encapsulation of what life has been like for many of us during this period of uncertainty. An additional standout off of Low Quality Demo’s is “Play Nice”, which does a great job at highlighting Briefcvse’s high caliber of skill with respect to both rapping and producing. In my personal opinion, this project is most impactful when listened to in its entirety, so I’m thrilled that Briefcvse uploaded the uninterrupted version of the mixtape on his SoundCloud.
In an effort to help amass some much-needed support for local artists during these unprecedented times, Boston Music Awards and Redefined have announced the launch of Project #thisis617. Sponsored by Jack Daniels, Project #thisis617 is a $10,000 relief fund for artists within the Boston music community where $100 will be given away every single day over the course of the next 8 weeks.
To enter, artists must record a video of themself performing one of their songs from home, then nominate another local artist to do the same. Every day, the Boston Music Awards staff will select one video to be featured on their website, with each featured video being the recipient of $100. To find out more information and to upload your video, simply head on over to thisis617.com/apply to find all relevant information.
Despite all the negativity persistent within the world at this current point in time, Jamaica Plain’s Heath240 is here to provide our readers with some uplifting energy as he releases his latest single, “Attention”, featuring Jazz Ingram.
Those familiar with Heath240’s musical catalog will describe the young artist’s sound as being a concoction of Hip-Hop, Bedroom Pop, Dance, and House music. Coming onto my radar in early 2019, it’s been evident from the jump that Heath240 is a special artist — as “Attention” only helps to further this sentiment.
Enlisting Jazz Ingram to help bring this record to life, Heath240 wants his listeners to understand what it takes to make one’s dreams come to fruition. He’s been working diligently towards becoming the best version of himself, and I’ll be the first to say that he’s succeeding with respect achieving his goals. With the amount of development he’s shown over the course of the last year, it’s safe to say that he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. If this is the first time you’re hearing of Heath240’s name, then definitely be sure to give this track a listen as it’s the perfect microcosm for his discography thus far.
Van Buren Records continues to amaze the masses, as the collective of Brockton artists elevates with each and every new release. Today, Jiles makes his way onto the Graduation Music site with a two-for-one special that includes the official music video for both “Freestyle 001” and “Big Homie”.
What impresses me the most about Jiles’ discography is how he manages to exemplify realism. Rather than shying away from his life experiences and rapping about the many superficial topics that plague modern music, Jiles takes pride in what he’s endured — whether positive or negative. Daymian Mejia does a phenomenal job at incorporating these sentiments into this visual.
“Freestyle 001” takes on a gritty approach, as Jiles takes some time to remind his listeners of the struggles that he’s faced throughout his life. He’s been molded to be an extremely formidable individual no matter what life throws his way, and it’s this attitude that will continue to steer the Brockton native towards a successful future. “Big Homie” takes on a bit more of braggadocios approach than “Freestyle 001”, allowing for Jiles to talk his shit. Equipped with scenes full of his Brockton counterparts, “Big Homie” rests as one of my favorite visuals to-date in 2020. It’s most certainly evident that Jiles has been steadily improving his craft, and it’s a blessing to be able to see his progression in real time. Be on the lookout for more Van Buren Records releases each and every Tuesday, as #VBTuesdays are only just beginning.
Watch the official video for both “Freestyle 001” and “Big Homie” below:
Making his return to the Graduation Music site is glvsshouse, who’s formerly known to listeners as King Kade. This time around, the Quincy native drops off two extremely well-executed singles titled “Games” and “Again”.
“Games”, which utilizes production at the hands of San Antonio’s Julian Skiboat, is a true breath of fresh air. While the lyrical content of the song revolves around moments in life that are anything but pleasant — glvsshouse manages to soar over the vibrant instrumental, helping to instill an overall feeling of optimism. “Again” also takes influence from tumultuous relationship experience, however takes on a much more somber temperament. Establishing an almost yin and yang relationship between the pairing of songs, glvsshouse reminds his fans of just how versatile of an artist he is. Be on the lookout for his upcoming collab EP with Donald Grunge which is set to drop in the coming months.
Roxbury’s Tony Bodega is making his presence known in 2020, as he recently dropped the official music video for his hypnotic single, “Roll$ Out”.
Off of his 2019 project, Drgz & Wifi, “Roll$ Out” is most definitely a standout within Tony Bodega’s musical catalog. Equipped with a smooth, almost whispery delivery that helps put an emphasis on his clever lyricism, this track is extremely well-executed from every angle. Jakob Bauwens did a tremendous job with his visual work here, as this music video rests as one of the best thus far this year.
Watch the official music video for “Roll$ Out” at the link below:
Hailing from Western Massachusetts is Deadmall — an extraordinary duo composed of Gabe Gill and Honeyfitz that specializes in crafting starry eyed music that gracefully leaves the mind of the listener in perfect solace. While both Gabe and Honeyfitz are in possession of solo discographies, there’s something captivatingly unique about the music the pair have released alongside one another — with this sentiment only being reinforced on Deadmall’s latest project, Zach’s Mice, which was released this past Friday. To gain some more insight towards what went into the making of this project, I had a conversation with Deadmall where the duo touch upon the group’s origins, their transition to NYC, and how Western Massachusetts ties into their identity.
Shamus Hill:To start things off, I wanted to ask about what went into the making of ‘Zach’s Mice’. What were some of your early goals in terms of recording the project? And how did they change with time?
Honeyfitz: We made it mostly last Fall and it definitely didn’t feel like we were starting an album.
Gabe Gill: I think we started it kind of half-heartedly because we still had to finish up parts of Bunny Rabbit and the Deadmall 1 EP at the time, but I think we wanted it to be bigger sounding and more polished from the start. I don’t know what our first thoughts on the sound of it were.
Honeyfitz: We were just making songs — doing whatever felt like the next step sonically from Bunny Rabbit and DM1, but there was no big plan. I think it’s the album where our production is most synced up. We were making beats in a super collaborative way where its hard to tell who’s contributing what.
SH:I see where the both of you are coming from. This project in particular seems to combine a variety of sonic elements from the group’s prior releases, and the both of you also appear to be meshing sonically better than ever. Would you attribute this to anything in particular? Like was there something about living together in Hadley recording music that amplified things? Or would you say this is just the result of years of development alongside one another?
GG: I think definitely because this was the first project we made when we lived together, a little of both. But living in the same space made it so much easier to be in the same space mentally and kind of be taking in the same influences at the same time.
H: We made a lot more songs because we were together all of the time, whereas Bunny Rabbit we made essentially in a week in December 2017 when Gabe was living in Boston. There was this urgency to make those songs before Gabe went back to Boston. Zach’s Mice feels like we could take our time and execute the things we learned on the first project.
GG: But still, most of the songs were made in one session. I think it honestly wasn’t until after ZM that we’ve started working on songs for much longer. They still have some of that urgency just in that we both were writing really fast and just putting all of our ideas down.
SH:That makes a ton of sense because you can quite literally hear how in sync the both of you are throughout ZM. The bond the two of you have has really enabled your music to reach entirely different heights. While on the subject of Hadley, how would you say Western Massachusetts, and MA as a whole ties into who the both of you are? And subsequently how it ties into your music?
GG: Really deep! I think a lot of the initial Deadmall aesthetic and idea was really around trying to make music that was inspired by growing up in Western MA and the landscape, community, feeling, etc. of being from there. A lot of [our] music has this contrast between like really dense, dark passages that feel like a house party or something where you might be crushed with 200 kids in a basement & then there’s parts that feel like just driving or walking on the bike path or a field where everything feels really huge and empty and beautiful.
H: WMass is the best place! Both Gabe and I have been really integrated into WMass music scenes for a long time, and that’s always been super helpful in terms of always having models for bands and musicians making shit happen for themselves, but I think musically the stuff i make has always been as much in opposition to the people around me as it was influenced by them. It’s funny now to be surrounded by people who are making similar music to me, cause I’m really not used to it.
GG: Same, which is funny because I think the music scene in WMass is also equal parts more like our music and less like our music than it was when we were teens. Like there are people doing stuff with autotune and like emo/hip-hop adjacent stuff but we were more hanging out with kids in rock bands and I think Deadmall ends up sounding mostly like neither of those things, or both of them.
H: Gabe and I used to book shows together before we were really friends because we knew that our music had more in common than other peoples’, but I don’t think we could have articulated that at the time.
SH: It’s really interesting that you say that, because it seems as if Massachusetts as a whole has been birthing this exact type of artist. A lot of artists here are upset by the art (or lack thereof) that’s surrounding them, so they strive to create something unique to fill that void. In my eyes that’s the essence of what you two are accomplishing with Deadmall.
H: Yeah I think that’s it really. I would never want people to get the impression that WMass isn’t full of people making great music, but none of it was ever quite what I wanted to hear, and it’s taken me a long time to figure out what it was that I wanted to hear, but I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on it now.
SH:I wanted to ask about what went into the decision to move to NY, and how would you compare it with MA in terms of its effect on your music?
GG: It’s definitely different in NY. I think it was a thing I always wanted to do when I was like in high school, but we moved kind of for no reason. I think meeting Rothstein and seeing how he was able to network and connect with a community of musicians here inspired me to just take that logical step. It’s ended up impacting me as a person way more than it’s really influenced my music though, because musically I’m always chasing a feeling of like riding a bike over a bridge.
H: I never wanted to move to NYC. It just kinda happened, like the cards fell into place and all of a sudden it seemed like the logical next step. I was seeing this community that Gabe had gotten to be involved in and was excited to be around people making similar stuff.
GG: In some ways being in NY has made me focus in on what I carried from WMass into my music and accentuated those elements. I think we would have gone a little crazy if we stayed in WMass, which has a big comfort but it feels like the time of our lives to try and get a little more out of things.
H: Yeah it was time. The last year there was incredible, but it also felt like the walls were closing in a little bit, like every knows each other and you just see the same faces over and over again like since high school.
SH:Change is both good, and inevitable, so it’s exciting to see how well this transition has been working for the two of you. Moving back to the subject of Zach’s Mice, how would you describe the project to someone who’s never heard it before?
GG: It’s for kids who are starting to feel a little anxious about how much time they’ve spent in their hometown. We made this big crazy list of influences on the Deadmall instagram but it kind of sounds like nothing. To me it sounds like the coolest, most smooth take on like “emo rap”, but it also has like an experimental folk song and a yacht rock song and a song that sounds like a T Minus beat so I don’t know. I guess I’d call it “noise pop”.
H: It’s funny because I think there are lots of specific influences and thru lines, but it’s hard to put my finger on the bigger genre or sound. I think it’s sort of stadium rock that we made in my bedroom.
SH:What can listeners expect next from Deadmall?
GG: Our next album is way mellower, it’s like bigger and calmer. And we both have solo projects coming I guess.
SH:That’s another thing I meant to ask about as well, what would you say is different about the music you two make collectively under Deadmall than the solo stuff?
H: It used to feel like Deadmall was a blend of our solo stuff, but now it feels like our solo stuff is hugely influenced by Deadmall.
GG: Ya for my new solo stuff a lot of it was me trying to figure out what I couldn’t or wouldn’t do on a Deadmall song and use that to trace the sound of what I was going to do as a solo artist.
H: It takes me much longer to make honeyfitz songs, and it feels like much more of a cerebral process.
SH:Do you two have any parting words pertaining to Zach’s Mice for our readers?
GG: It’s the best album, I’m stupid excited about it honestly.
H: Just that we play the mice on the album, it is stupid good, and it feels so nice for it to be coming out because we’ve been listening to these songs for a year now.
SH:Thank you guys so much again for taking some time out of your weekend for this interview!
Randolph’s Lance Jackson has been on fire as of late — with his string of stellar releases only being furthered as he slides on some Ricky Felix production for his latest track, “Museum”.
The feeling that’s derived from this song is comparable to suddenly having a 70 degree day in the midst of January. Just when you need that warmth and positivity more than ever, Lance swoops in to deliver some heat. From both a sonic and lyrical standpoint, Lance Jackson manages to fill his listeners’ ears with a heartwarming reminder that we all have purpose and should be striving toward greatness:
“Life’s hard of course, I can’t argue that,
I find peace knowing this a process, I thank God for that”
Lance Jackson – “Museum”
Helping to take this release to an even further height is videographer, Colin Pagnoni, who’s proven to be one of the most capable in his craft throughout Massachusetts. His work continuously showcases the talent prevalent within the Bay State, and this theme remains relevant on “Museum”.
Watch the official music video for “Museum” at the link below: