New Music | Friday Roll Out: The Kills, BEANS, Shabazz Palaces, Spoken Nerd, Fawns Of Love

Back with a new album is Shabazz Palaces, the project fronted by vocalist/producer Palaceer Lazaro, known to friends and family as Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets). Robed In Rareness (Sub Pop) seems to begin where The Don Of Diamond Dreams left off; creating a spectacle of sound that’s unique and irreproachable. It’s heady, futuristic, filled with psychedelia with an aura of boundlessness. The experimentalism flowing through Robed In Rareness allows Butler to travel far outside of any comfort zone he may have had in the past. The album moves within the realm of Hip-Hop with more than just a semblance of R&B but allowing the funk and other genres to expand his vision of what Hip-Hop actually is. This isn’t for the light hearted, Shabazz Palaces requires your full attention.

BEANS has always been on some next-level shit with verbose lyricism that’s always made fans feel a certain way. Just released is the new “ZWAARD_OVER,” which also features Anti Pop Consortium. The track teeters over the weight of its own power. With an off-kilter beat that seems on the verge of collapse, BEANS, H. Prizm, and M. Sayyid deliver flavorful rhymes that always make sense standing and poised right next to one another. We should also note this is the first single of his new album ZWAARD, set for release on February 16, 2024. You may think things get better than this but they don’t, and we’re all here to enjoy it.


All things that are retrofied will always be in style but that doesn’t mean it’s available for all of those that may search for it. But in 2023, there are varying time stamps and eras, all of which may have their place in the space/time continuum, and some less than others. Moments like these are usually an acquired taste but at moments, it belongs to all. This is where the Fawns Of Love come in. The husband-and-wife team of Jenny and Joseph Andreotti have become quite the pair with the music that blurs the line between ethereal and post-punk, as semblances of shoegaze peer through. The band has just released its new 8-song LP, Fear The Softest Gaze (Kingfisher Bluez).

The release runs the gamut of a variety of emotions while always leaving a sense of longing from track to track. It opens with the spacey title track, with its Peter Hook-like low-end theory, and effected guitars as it drifts around washes of percussion. The track drifts through the atmosphere until its eventual end. It’s quickly followed by “Ambrose Pierce,” which featured guest vocalist, K Records’ Calvin Johnson, lending his signature baritone as he and Jenny sing in unison with a bit of urgency in their voices. Odd vibrato/instrumentation matches Jenny’s vocal pitch and makes it difficult to distinguish which is which at times. They blend together cleverly but it isn’t until we get to “Courting The Devil’s Printer,” that the band walks differently. This is where lines are actually blurred. You may wonder if it’s post-punk, ethereal, or an ode to shoegaze until you come to the eventual notion that it just might be all three at once.

Fear The Softest Gaze is rife with sweetness and melancholy while also delving into nostalgia that may offer some viable memories of past love or youthful playfulness. “Broken Bodies of Violent Storms” evokes some of those all-but-forgotten memories, as it moves with its cascading keyboards and shimmering guitars. All that while “Emblem Stumbles,” takes a much more direct approach that may take its lead from freestyle rhythms. The band has unwittingly taken this approach in the past and it’s only favored its sound.

There’s a lot going on with the band throughout Fear The Softest Gaze, as rhythms climb and descend, but one thing remains true, Fawns Of Love is always evolving and seems to be getting better all the time.


Sometimes we need to address things quickly. Address the elephant in the room so to speak, although there isn’t an elephant present. But I digress slightly when everyone should already know about the greatness of The Kills. Formed back in 2001, the English-American duo of vocalist Alison “VV” Mosshart and guitarist Jamie “Hotel” Hince have slowly but steadily released albums since 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side, the group has expanded on its music with every subsequent release. While the band’s releases may not be as frequently released as some of us may like, The Kills has just released its sixth LP, God Games (Domino)

Let’s get back to the elephant though. The band can seemingly do no wrong. That’s something that should be taken literally. These two are bursting with creativity that’s always prevalent from one album to the next. With God Games, things get better. You don’t have to take my word for it because the proof is littered throughout the 12 tracks of the album. Still present is the duo’s garage rages, although they’re smothered in melody and cleaner deliveries. Take “Love And Tenderness” for example. While guitars are prevalent but sparse throughout, when those tones and distorted notes hit, they hit hard. Mosshart’s voice takes it somewhere else on this soulful sojourn. But that doesn’t mean the band has relinquished its past but merely updated it for its next decade of sonic storytelling. The guitar play on “Bullet Sound” doesn’t dominate the song structure of the track but its presence is fully realized three-fourths into the song, its role is effective, closing the track out with Hince’s slow hand wrapped around strings.

It’s a song like “LA Hex” filled with horns lightly splattering within, that gives way to the band’s growth and majesty. Mosshart wraps her words around the rhythm as her overdubbed background vocals coo alongside Hince’s guitar. The Kills forage through musical amazons with pop sensibilities on “Wasterpiece,” what’s sure to find itself as an underground classic. But it’s actually the album opener “New York” that immediately captures one’s attention with its staccato melody and Mosshart’s vocal delivery that pushes her to the brink with lyrics wrapped around love comparable to NY. There’s some interesting wordplay throughout it as well.

With God Games, The Kills offer up a wide array of sound structures we may not have expected, expanding on its keys and horn use. Yes, we know The Kills are good, but we all probably didn’t know that the band was this good!


Well, damn. We all know I can be biased but I’m biased through honesty. Friendships, like-mindedness, call it whatever you want but sometimes it’s difficult not to develop some friendships through a mutual love of music, horror films, humor and a number of other things. Nathan Conrad records and performs under the Spoken Nerd moniker and has just released his new album, Magical Powers. The new release is a couple of years removed from 2021’s Grapes, his collaboration with Juan Cosby, a welcomed offering that had Nerd treading new ground.

This time around on Magical Powers, produced entirely by Nick Zensen, we find Spoken Nerd challenging himself again. Nerd is a chameleon of sorts here, tipping the balance of his music with harder edges while also allowing room for tongue-in-cheek humor. It’s difficult to ignore the single “Work Work Work,” with Zensen’s combining guitar notes against dark rhythms where Nerd adds a deliberate and engaging vocal delivery. He’s moving forward, less concerned with what everyone else is doing instead focusing on his own progress here. But it’s “Trying Beer For The First Time” where his humor is evident as Zenser matches it with a sprawling drunken rhythm. Then there’s “Lunchable Blues” featuring Adder. The freewheeling Spoken Nerd offers ideals of friendship, with chill vibes from start to finish.

There are more surprises that we might not be ready for, starting with “The Beast,” over banger of a beat as Nerd drops “I was so powerful when I was younger/I was the fire that was lit by the thunder…” lyrics that tell a story of the animal behind the friendly demeanor. Where does the surprise lie? Ceschi jumps into the fray with his words accentuating Nerd’s and we know he’s nothing to fuck with either. It also features 247’s more abstract lyricism that fits like a glove as Spoken Nerd closes the track out. It’s a hot track that burns brightly. Even as Nerd waxes nostalgically on “Getting Kicked Out of Church,” we learn more about the backsliding, his past, his life. This over darkly timbre beats walking a thin line of the melancholic. On “Secret Door To The Mall” he trades verses with fellow Nashville emcee Negro Justice as they both share rhymes around popular mall culture with poetic deliveries revolving around the real and fantasy.

I’m not sure how he does it but Magical Powers is a recording that showers Spoken Nerd in a different light, casting a wider shadow of his skills and talent. We should all familiarize ourselves with the Nerd, truer words have never been spoken.