New Music | Friday Roll Out: CZARFACE, The Young Hearts, Atmosphere

At this point in the duo’s career, it seems they can do just about anything they want. Not to sound stereotypical but Atmosphere has put in its dues and its catalog and touring schedules speak volumes all their own. On the heels of releasing its latest full-length, So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously, Slug and Ant share the Talk Talk EP, where we find Ant continuing to expand his musical palette with backdrops that are colorful canvases of sound Slug is able to dress with his vocals and lyrics. It seems like an odd meeting of the minds here but both suit one another with oddities. At times it sounds electro-pop (“Where I’m/You’re At) and at others, it’s electro-pop on acid. Just listen to the title track featuring Bat Flower (ex-Lifter/Puller). Then there’s a Bronx 80’s feel (“Hello Pete”) which may make sense with Buck 65 and Kool Keith contributing to the track. Ant’s nostalgic beat take makes sense here, with a simple rhythm pattern. The Talk Talk EP isn’t bad, it’s different though, and keeps the Atmosphere blood flowing.


Just when you think the curtains are closing and some might just be getting ready to call it a day, here comes the monkey wrench into it all. After multiple releases on their own, both Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck, and 7L & Esoteric, joined forces to create Czarface, the multifaceted antihero that became the face of their latest project. Now almost a decade into its career, there’s the realization that there’s no slowing down as the group releases its eleventh full-length release in Czarmageddon (Virgin)! Does our hero have what it takes for another round of releases?

While the new release isn’t as gritty as its earlier releases, Czarface is still bringing the hammer down from track to track, I think that should go without saying. With opener “Czarchimedes’ Death Ray” INS and Esoteric run dexterous lyricism around 7L’s beats accented by odd guitar interplay but it works alongside a slightly droning bassline. Things are much cleaner musically and we hear that on “Blast Of,” with the additional cat scratch fever going maneuvering around the decks. But it’s that melodic bassline leading the way, with both emcees trading barbs around daily life, sweetening things with lowkey braggadocio. Let’s talk about NEMS though who guests on “You Know My Style,” and if you have no idea who they are, they’ll let you know. Brooklyn’s NEMS though, he’ll take shit somewhere else tho’ as he shares “It’s the mayor and you still can’t fuck with me/it’s that NEMS-Czar with the gem star, buck fifty,” which clearly offers he’s not one to ever be disrespected. We have to all be here for this one

There’s seriously no slowing down for Czarface and “Mama’s Basement” is without a doubt, fiery introspection. Esoteric takes the vocal reins, taking ATCQ inspiration within the song’s vocal hook as he litters his words & his life around 7L’s musical tapestry. His lyricism is wrapped around opening old wounds through old comic books seems quite therapeutic. He shares a part of his past for all to witness. The surprise that may have come to many is “Gatecrashers” which features Doc D and Logic who trade comedically venomous barbs against one another as Czarface emcees question why the hell they’re on here to begin with. Don’t get confused though, this joint is relentless and catchy AF!

There’s no quit in Czarface, and just when you thought they wouldn’t be able to continue with the energy of 1.21 gigawatts, “Helicopter” is the perfect fit for Kool Keith’s cadence and lyrical flow. Metaphors and similes are flagrantly tossed around 7L’s slight kookiness within his booming bap, all fitting well amongst emcees. By this point through album imagery and hell, even by the face of the project, we get an idea of what Esoteric fetishes on…get your head out of the gutter because I’m referring to comic book culture. “Marvel At That,” with the help of his kid, ESO runs through the alphabet with an assortment of Marvel© characters. Given, it’s not an easy task but here, it’s flawless.

We can go on and on about Czarmageddon but there isn’t enough time in a lifespan for it right now. It’s compiled of 14 tracks of bangers, from beginning to end that will leave you wondering what they could possibly come up with next. That’s the magic of Czarface, the group is much more refined and simply gets better with time.


With the advent of social media, the internet, and communication in general, anything goes and anything is up for grabs. I mean honestly, how many American groups have performed with cockney accents, sneering like UK punks? Probably too many to mention, so when you first hear The Young Hearts, no one should bat an eye at the band’s delivery, its songwriting, and simply its all-around flavor. The band has just released its new full-length offering, Somewhere Through The Night (Year Of The Rat), which probably sounds more American than a lot of American bands but who gives a shit?

From the get-go, The Young Hearts rev their engines with crunching guitars, harking back to youthful 90s punk/pop overdrive, and we get it all in on “Famous Last Words” which has everything and anything you need. I kid you not! Perfectly places wording/phrasing around the crisp interplay of fervent guitars and a frenetic rhythm section but it’s the plinking of unexpected keyboards that accent the song’s melody. All this from the album’s introduction may leave you thinking “One-off” or “They can’t do that again” but yes, they can. They do. But it’s easy to get wrapped around the first track, playing it over and over again. “Take A Ride” continues dragging listeners through its musical landscapes of dueling guitars and catchy rhythms while also offering up a taste of slight dynamic shifts, which allows everyone the opportunity to get to know the band through its music. When bands create rock music, they’re not reinventing the wheel and we can be completely honest about it. While The Young Hearts aren’t doing something new, they create something refreshing, with an energy and fervor that’s unmatched. Once you hear “The Way Back,” you get that sense as they build around a few chords and kick those guitars into overdrive with a melody and vocal delivery that’s unwavering. And I’m not even sure if these are the best songs within this collection of tracks.

The band is relentless in its powerful delivery of songs but it isn’t the only thing the band is capable of achieving. The band’s “Passengers” moves in a different direction, sliding across the fork in the road. Acoustic guitars, harmonica, and distanced vocals give way to ominous nostalgia, love, and youth. There just might be two sides to The Young Hearts and this one gives off a taste of what could be. It’s back to business though, with more thoroughly poignant pop-rockers like “About Time” which builds around a rhythm before its full potential is realized. Fuck yes! Excuse my excitement please and thank you.

Somewhere Through The Night is something we all probably haven’t heard in a while and actually haven’t heard before. The band revisits all but forgotten sub-genres creating something exquisitely loud and appealing. The Young Hearts literally rocks.