This week has been surprising. The fact that I’m in better spirits than I have been for the past few months is a bit exhilarating. I think I have a bit more energy stored up that needs to be released. And considering there didn’t seem to be anything released this week, I thought I was scot-free. Well, almost. I sometimes need to thoroughly look at my messages, emails, and reminders because yup, I’m going to miss things now and again. Of course, everyone knows I’m not one for pretense so…
I won’t spend too much time here but with Bandcamp allowing another Friday of fee-free releases, a number of artists have taken the opportunity to release new material today. One artist is Divide and Dissolve, out of Australia who dropped its TFW release (Saddle-Creek). These two ladies are noisy and hypnotic focusing much of their time with dissonance, bombastic drumming, and sheer power.
Championing dälek for years now, I have seen how they don’t sit comfortably in one genre and their Hip-Hop experimentalism has crossed boundaries time and time again. dälek drops a new instrumental joint, Meditations No.3 (Deadverse Recordings) compiles thick beats, spacey atmospherics, and can sit comfortably within that Boom Bap. Vivé dälek!
Many would probably agree that Illogic is one of the best rappers of our time with insightful wordplay, even going back to earlier releases like 2004’s Celestial Clockwork and 2013’s Capture The Sun w/ Blockhead. On The Cosmogramma Interpretations EP, he steps a bit out of his comfort zone based off of Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma. The EP is insightful and gives Ill a different look.
Occasionally we’ll lose touch with an artist for whatever reason. There are a number of Psalm One releases I’ve missed but today the enigmatic emcee dropped a smooth single in “Gas Lighters.” It’s easy to fall in love with the Chicago rapper’s voice under that sultry backdrop. Her work with MC Longshot in the past (Changes mixtape) was pretty dope.
Speaking of Longshot, he hasn’t taken much of a break. He just released an album, Army Of 2, last month, collaborating with ANG13. Today he dropped the uplifting Champion and this is the Longshot I’ve come to enjoy. There are a number of sides to the rapper and the one we have right here fills 12 tracks with fresh beats, fun lyricism, and all around it’s just a dope vibe here. “Lazy Dayz (feat. Tammi Love, Big Zach, Chance York, DJ Gabe Garcia)” is one I keep going back to.
Finally, we have Ceschi’s The One Man Band Broke Up: Deluxe Edition (Fake Four Inc.). While he did have a couple of albums before it, this decade-old release was my introduction to the introspective rapper that always wears his heart on proverbial sleeve. There are four additional tracks here to whet appetites for new material but it’s still great to hear some favorite songs like the title track and “Hangman (feat. Shoshin, David Ramos, iCON The Mic King).”
(Support artists. Support change.)
All things considered, the first time ever hearing anything by Idris Vicuña was a single released back in December 2019 called “Jealous.” This is the moment thoughts of grandeur went dancing through my head with “This is a hit single” and “His label needs to promote this as much as possible.” In the end, I’m just a simple scribe.
But Vicuña releases music as Eyedress and Let’s Skip To The Wedding (Lex Records) is his fifth album. Why has it taken so long for me to find Eyedress? That’s a good question and one that I don’t have an answer for but I plan to become a bit more familiar with the project in order to sweep my ignorance under the proverbial rug. Vicuña has compiled a healthy amount of songs here, 19 tracks to be exact, and at no point does anything even have the semblance of filler. Every track serves its purpose.
The Manila born musician takes everything in stride here and we can all get a sense of his pop influences which much stem from the 70s and 80s popular culture, which takes absolutely nothing away from his compositions and his affinity to draw from music that’s been highly influential for Vicuña. The opening title track resounds with a bouncy beat, skewed indie-pop guitars, and keyboard notes that fit within the concept for the song all too well. His soft-spoken word delivery adds to the song’s charm, which he projects through most of the tracks on here. But(!) he doesn’t always stick to one formulaic vocal delivery.
Vicuña’s “X-Girl” is impressive by many songwriting standards; it has the ability to appeal to mainstream culture and indie enthusiasts alike. Led by a keyboard, this Eyedress number has Vicuña gently cooing while occasionally repeating hypnotic guitar notes. Eyedress quickly switches gears on “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend,” with an 80’s Robert Smith-like guitar delivery as vehemently lashes out lyrically against former friends. But as I recount back to “Jealous,” this enthusiastic pop/punk delivered track will allow those grayed and older to relive their youth alongside the new breed of fandom.
With this album, there’s a theme that continuously runs through it. Vicuña sounds like a hopeless romantic and his love for his girlfriend is obvious and sweet. He’s happy and everyone can get on board with that. Songs like “Never Want To Be Apart,” “Pop The Question,” “Last Time I’m Falling In Love,” “My Girl Is The Finest,” and “Kiss Me Like It’s The First Time,” yeah, these are the things that are important in any relationship.
While Vicuña is a clever songwriter and wordsmith, his album will make you want to love being in love and you’ll understand why he’s telling her, Let’s Skip To The Wedding. There’s a brilliance in what Eyedress is and does.