During the summer months I’m patiently awaiting a cool down while the rest of the year I’m constantly expecting weather changes warm enough to jump in a pool. The irony never escapes me, especially when I’m looking for those summer albums that fit the mood (swing) of seasonal fits. This year I think the top pick may go to Aloe Blacc with his single “Brooklyn In The Summer,” but I’m still waiting on an album to round out my own personal “best of” this season. But today is Friday and the weekend is going to start with good food and cold drinks. That’s what’s up.
I wasn’t sure who Harvey Trisdale was. In fact, I wasn’t ashamed to point out my own ignorance there. Realizing that Harvey Trisdale wasn’t a person but actually four friends made up of Tim Gruber, Evan Rasch, Carl Lehman, and are rounded out with Jeremy Stern, who all met in college, even added to the confusion but it all began to make sense eventually. All four members are scattered throughout the country with Lehman and Rasch in Los Angeles and Gruber in New York, but in 2017 all four members met to record its self-titled E.P (Baby Blue). With just five tracks, I didn’t want to spend much time with the band and its music but that became a bit difficult once the opening track “Corners” guitar harmonics start playing. The song’s structure itself isn’t anything odd but damn it if the catchiness of it all doesn’t make one an enthusiastic fan of the band. It intrigues, and while the band’s claimed influences aren’t as predominant as they’d like others to hear, there are other things at play here to make the band that much more interesting. Some might thing the band’s sound could be reminiscent of a 70’s rock band that blended elements of jazz and traditional pop, but here mixing in a folk aesthetic. All this and I’ve just gotten through one song. There are pop leanings throughout here, as “Fit To Be Found” is as sweet as anything you may expect without leaving a saccharine aftertaste, while “Van” slows things down a bit but never relinquishing that sugary tone. The band’s self-titled debut has made a fan of me but I’m hoping they continue to grab my attention the next go around as well.
There are moments in time when you don’t know what you’re going to get. No, I’m not attempting to quote Forest Gump here but it could apply, as compilations can be an experimentation of hit-or-miss. But with Oscillations (Strange Neighbor), I’m not sure that’s the actual case. The label is apparently setting the stage here, releasing an album filled with LA artists with some production genius. Dizz1 pieces together “We Make It Look Easy” with thick and heavy beats with Blu wrapping his words around Georgia Ann Muldrow’s slowly burning background vocals. On “Hard To Breathe,” he brings OG and California stalwart MED, sitting alongside Jimetta Rose. Again, he pieces together a hard-edged beat, wandering through inner-city backdrops that bang! Then there’s Philadelphia-raised Swarvy, whose production gets jazzier, and his east-coast leanings are flagrantly obvious on “So Bad feat. Clark And The Community.” The free-flowing feel of the track swerves throughout smoky R&B styles filled with a lovemaking aestheticism. His “A Song About Timing with MNDSGN and feat. Nia Andrews” is a bit more upbeat but still lingers around the same leanings. But it’s Swarvy’s “Zhen feat. Lojii” that really gets attention here, with its head-nodding beat and emcee Lojii’s laidback drawl. And then there’s Teebs, known to friends and family as Mtendere Mandowa, a producer and visual artist from LA but born in the Bronx. He’s collaborated with Prefuse 73 and has a style not unlike DJ Krush as “Mapito” swerves around elements of sound that are based around relaxation. This shit right here! Oscillations doesn’t focus on giving anything heady or way over the top, but it brings together a collective of artists that are talented and know exactly what it is they’re trying to make you feel. It’s dope on so many levels.