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Ear To Ear: Here’s What Hey, Listen!’s Nick Brunner Is Loving This August
Any given month is an embarrassment of riches for the Hey, Listen! library. Between digital and physical submissions I get roughly 30-40 records in a week. Picking favorites isn't always easy but from party punk to local R&B, contemporary twang and a dynamite cover, I hope these tracks will make you sit up and take notice.
Mattiel — "Moment Of Death"
I love a good opener. "Moment of Death" is working class blues from Middle America and it isn't taking any of your guff. Mattiel Brown [pronounced Mah'TEEL] grew up listening to ‘60s psyche pop and you'll hear that inflected all through Satis Factory.
Stef Chura — "Method Man"
As much as I wanted this to be a Wu-Tang Clan cover, I'm just as happy with this mid-album track from Stef Chura's latest. There's a raw energy to this cut that reminds me of finding some underappreciated 90s era garage rock gem. If you need to muster the strength to move some furniture, play this one loud.
POOR Majesty — "Nobody Knows (Feat. Sydney Ranee)"
POOR Majesty (Adrian Gilmore) continues to masterfully weave jazz around his verses. The Sacramento rapper tells the story of addiction wreaking havoc on a family man and a woman struggling with depression. It's warm, it's heartbreaking and vocalist Sydney Ranee shines on the refrain. “Dreamer” is one of those records to be enjoyed from start to finish, but if you have to start in the middle, this is the track.
Jade Jackson — "Don't Say That You Love Me"
I'm a sucker for slide guitar and songs that make me want to drive fast in the spring. Jade Jackson's latest record reminds us there is a wealth of underheard contemporary country worth your time in the spirit of Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and John Doe.
Japanese Breakfast — "Head Over Heels"
I don't think I ever listened to this song before. I've heard it in the mall, on the radio, maybe a movie. The intimacy Japanese Breakfast adds to this Tears for Fears song from thirty-four years ago manages to cut through it's ubiquity and make me truly listen.
Quantic — "Atlantic Oscillations"
This one took me by surprise. I was listening on my bike while riding to work. Once the opening beat gave way to the string section, it dawned on me that this was the new Quantic. “Atlantic Oscillations” returns to his brand of bossa nova but blends in more electronic dance beats throughout. It's an extremely satisfying record and the title track is a great place to begin.
Gauche — “Cycles”
Gauche fills a much needed gap vacated by dance punk bands like Le Tigre and Q and Not U. The Washington, D.C. group just signed to Merge Records and their label debut has all the fury of Fugazi and Kathleen Hanna, but in a wider color palette (which the name may imply).
Check out 'Hey, Listen!' hosted by Nick Brunner Saturdays 8-10 p.m. on 90.9 Sacramento, 90.5 Tahoe Reno, 91.3 Stockton Modesto, 88.1 Quincy or anytime online.
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