New Music | Friday Roll Out: Prefuse 73, Jesus And Mary Chain, Minnows, Cakes Da Killa

New album, new band, but one thing about Columbus, Ohio’s Minnows, it doesn’t walk in quietly into a room, with the roar of its songs, it delivers a powerful punch directed at just about anyone within its vicinity. While the not-so-new band was pieced together back in 2020, which already seems like a lifetime ago, it just released its new album Foreign Moon, 11 songs of brash melodic pop/punk that’s forever unyielding. But you don’t have to take my word for it, the music alone speaks for itself.

Through its music, Minnows delivers a cathartic display of 90’s guitar rock, weaponizing dual guitar attacks with a steady-handed rhythm section that never slips or skips a beat. Opener “Buried Needles” is larger-than-life blurring lines between arena rock-sized appeal and indie rock mortality. But it’s “Future Ruins” that showcases the band’s musicality as it shifts its verse-chorus-verse sensibility into something pretty unique with unexpected cooing backing vocals. “Choke” unexpectedly shifts into a monster of a song as it begins quietly enough. The walls of guitar are equally balanced never giving up space to catch your breath. Foreign Moon is a catchy little release, let’s see what comes next!


Music has evolved. It’s not a question, it’s not up for discussion, it just simply has. We began seeing semblances of it within popular music in the 90s but it kicked down doors making room for artists who were filled with concepts and ideas. The next couple of decades the music had exploded leaving a few artists circling above it all through consistency and sheer innovation.

While the world may have been introduced to the world of Prefuse 73 through 2001’s Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives, I was still riding off the high left in after listening to 2000’s Folk Songs For Trains, Trees And Honey, under another one of Guillermo Scott Herren’s monikers, Savath & Savalas. But I immediately digress here since it’s Prefuse 73 we’re here to discuss, along with the album New Strategies For Modern Crime Vol. 1 (Lex Records). While Herren’s earliest release(s) dove in headfirst with head-nodding beats and rhythms, splicing together captivating melodies (of course “Black List” will always remain a favorite track for many as is “Last Night”), the sound and space around Prefuse 73 has evolved into something much more organic and dramatic. Throughout the album we witness a merger of sorts, as electronic instrumentation swirls around percussion, strings, horn, and wind instruments from time to time. Herren’s jazz-like approach predominantly makes its appearance within a variety of tracks beginning with “Forever Chase (Scene One)” which is one joint easily marked for replay. There’s a wide array of sound to take in and for Prefuse, it’s fitting. It moves like Coltrane with a sparse attack while still remaining identifiable as a Herren piece. If that doesn’t make sense to you, just know that it does in my head. It’s brief but gets its point across.

At almost seven minutes, “A Lord Without Jewels” gives off more of the same with horns fitted around it but it’s balanced with a heavier bottom end and doesn’t leave much room to catch a breath. The low-end theory here is quite enthralling, allowing other instruments to build around it. Early on, the album moves like an unrequited love song, pushing everything out wishing everything was reciprocated. There’s an enduring sadness within “The End Of Air,” and you may feel it difficult to breathe until about a minute and a half in when the song takes a different turn and we’re swallowed in sweetness. “She Needs No Introduction” takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion and while it may linger in repetition, it’s not repetitive. It may leave you in un-comfortability but if it was supposed to be congenial, what fun would that be? It’s obvious that Prefuse 73 is doing what’s supposed to be done, no matter how good or bad it makes you feel. “Onboard, Overboard” may do the opposite, driven by interesting keyboard tones and horns for distinct melodies filled with orchestral maneuvers that are filled with light, never falling into darkness. You may want to soak it all in. If there is any one place to live within on this album, it’s probably “Lullabyes and Awakenings,” which builds across a mountainous melody, and nothing should exist beside it. There’s a wide array of instrumentation balanced across its landscape and Herren utilizes everything at hand, creating a beast of a track, no matter how small anything used might be. The percussion around it is offset by the beauty of the wind and strings. I don’t know if it gets any better than this.

Throughout the 12 tracks compiled within New Strategies For Modern Crime Vol. 1, there isn’t a moment anywhere that should leave anyone questioning the purpose of Prefuse 73 this go-around. Herren has created a soundtrack for the world, for our own lives, that lets us all explore our own emotions. When has that ever been done?  


Do you ever have to check your calendar to make sure it’s the right year or do you wonder if the past has somehow caught up with you because you believe you’re hearing things from another time? Ok, there’s a given here, and it’s that some music just remains timeless, no matter when you listen to it. Let me find out Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” comes on at any time of the day and you’re not either bobbing your head or Freestyling all over your office until you reach your desk.

Well, New Jersey’s Cakes Da Killa returns, dropping his third full-length release which is relentless in its movements! How? First let’s get it out of the way because Cakes Da Killa, known to friends and family as Rashard Bradshaw, is first and foremost an emcee and throughout Black Sheep (Young Art Records), he spits rhymes and melodic cadences over catchy dance grooves. It’s clear from the get-go Black Sheep is rooted in House Music but this isn’t on a Jungle Brothers tip, it’s relegated to lingering on the fringes of R&B. Yeah, I know, crazy right? Cakes Da Killa isn’t trying to bust caps, but he will bust a groove with his flow and I expect he’s got dance moves too he’s not afraid to show off. Yeah, I’m pretty sure of it. Musically, Cakes is larger than life, with a persona much too buoyant to be held down within the grooves of a record.

Cakes Da Killa, moves quickly with rapid-tongue wording. Watch it though, his words aren’t without meaning and steeped with lyrical forethought. “It’s A Luv Thing,” featuring Wuhryn Dumas, begins with jazzy percussion eventually shifting dynamics as Cakes spits rhymes about love, or for the evening anyway, mixing in facts about “Techno, dance and house is black music.” Dumas’ voice adds more texture to the song as Cakes doubles on his wording. THIS! is the way to begin an album. There’s no confusion as to where it’s heading, going straight for the throat. “Mind Reader,” this time featuring Stout, finds the same energy with Cakes in the club over a steady rhythm, easily reading minds in the darkest recesses of what they want from him. And it just might be what they all want. Cakes is a tongue twister and we can get the sense whatever Cake wants, Cake is gonna get.

While we catch Cakes Da Killa moving at quick-paced BPMs “Make Me Ovah” comes in with slight differences, not hitting listeners immediately but allowing an eventual build. There’s a lot of braggadocio but when it comes to Hip-Hop, when isn’t there any? His similes and metaphors while humorous at times, are popping though. With “Crushin In The Club,” if it hasn’t been clear, Cakes is completely open with his sexuality. Here we find him cruising the club looking at all them boys as he pushes his way through. Not those thugs though, ‘cause he’s “too grown to be crushin’ on a thug / don’t touch there ‘cause the gun might bust / all these boys wanna uh uh…” The track is relatable for anyone because we’ve all been there and when he spits “This is the part where the flow gets vicious/why every ex tryin’ to mind my business?” you understand. But it’s “Do Dat Baby” featuring Dawn Richard that seems to flip the script, offering a different take on Uncle L’s “Doin’ It.” It’s probably unrelated but the backing vocal delivery on the hook is a familiar one although the subject matter, while similar, is different. This is obviously over a House beat so there is no real comparison. Each artist obviously stays in their own respective lane.

Surprisingly enough, Black Sheep moves quickly and before you know it, it’s over. While that might be an issue, it’s fine considering we’re all able to hit that repeat button again, and again, and again. Yeah, Cakes Da Killa may mind fuck you in more ways than one.


It’s the question that’s posed often when speaking with other music fans/writers, but I’m never sure where I stand: Should musicians retire as they get older? Within the Hip-Hop community, it’s been proven there’s much more creativity brewing as emcees & producers age gracefully. Indie musicians & post-punk rockers have also been bursting with innovative music as well. But then there are also those that seem to remain stagnant, releasing music that probably should have remained shelved for an eternity.

Where does this leave legendary groups like the Scottish outfit the Jesus and Mary Chain? Well… the question may linger but it might be the answer might be an obvious one. The brothers Reid, Jim and William, have been at it since 1985’s Psychocandy, and while the group hasn’t released an astounding number of releases, it returned after almost two decades with 2017’s Damage and Joy. Now six years later, Glasgow Eyes (Fuzz Club Records) makes its way into the spotlight with cover art that seemingly emulates one Robert Smith. Intentional or not, it’s a bit confusing. The album starts of strong though with “Venal Joy” propelled by what sounds like an electronic drum rhythm that are steady, cold, and controlled. It seems the band hasn’t lost its knack for breathy vocal deliveries atop those rhythms filled with punctuating melodies, but the band makes it easy to anticipate the change. It’s a pretty good start but “American Born” is off putting as I try to make sense of it as Jim Reid sings about looking, drinking, acting, and being “American.” If there’s a message here, it’s not translated well through the song’s lyrics which whine at points. Maybe tongue-in-cheek slapstick on American culture? It’s followed by “Mediterranean X Film” which musically sounds cute but lacks the vehement explosive guitars we’ve become familiarized with through the band’s previous works.

JAMC moves steadily through its single, “jamcod” which has a sultry bass end is reminiscent of Jesus and Mary of old as the band finds solace around a rhythm pattern and layers everything on top of it, including effected guitars and feedback. This is the movement right here. Now while “Discotheques” is a decent enough track, “Pure Poor” hits some sour notes, which while they sound intentional, it’s still middle-of-the-road songwriting we’d expect from a group of not-so-high caliber. What makes the least amount of sense is “The Eagles and The Beatles,” which sings about “Rolling with the Stones…I grew up with Beatles…I got laid Sex Pistols…” which again, makes absolutely no sense. Are these all the artists they’ve hobnobbed with? Is there a comparison? This throws the JAMC into complete uncertainty. There’s a bit of redemption with “Silver Strings” and “Chemical Animal,” two more subdued tracks that swim in floating spaces, lingering around clouds as guitars swirl and notes trickle in.

In the end, Glasgow Eyes is pretty uneven with a lot more filler than one might expect. Is there much left for The Jesus and Mary Chain? Maybe the band should focus its back catalog and play to its strengths in that way. I don’t know if there are any diehard fans left but I’m not sure they’d all be willing to get through the album in its entirety.