Our top picks this week - sleazy party rap from Unknown Radicals, indie rock grooves from Saints Amongst Sinners, and future bass goodness from Momo's Keys!
The Party / Radical Drugstore
On their latest eponymous single, alt-rap collective Unknown Radicals make their return with a thumping tribute to The Party. Harkening back to the hazy familiarity of pre-pandemic club-going, The Party packs a strong one-two punch combo of sleazy groove infused beats and convincing performances, detailing nights of hedonism and debauchery. Be it its deadpan mantra of a hook (“Girls at the nightclub/ Party when the lights out/till the night goes/till the day comes”) or verses telling tales of the night through the lens of an intoxicated narrator (“Went too ham now breathing lil’ tougher/ Drank too much now u embarrassed/ Bitch suck dick at the back of bus / You suck dick on the first of the month”), The Party doesn’t shy away from partying’s seedier and more unpleasant sides. Combined, it makes for a listening experience that, much like a night of getting smashed, is as exhilarating as it is nasty.
Listen to "The Party" here:
- - by Isaac Yackem
Saints Amongst Sinners
Lover's Dream / SPIKYFRUITS
An ode to unrequited love, Lover’s Dream sees Saints Amongst Sinners instil their signature youthful introspection with a heady immediacy. Yet, even with its sense of catharsis, it understands the power of holding back. Within the verses, there is breathing space, one that leaves room for its building layers – infectiously groovy guitar riffing, phase-laden strumming, encompassing synths, and driving bass. As the band collides together at the song’s soaring climax, it makes for a truly gratifying listening experience.
Always having been one of the band’s strengths, the stark contrast between Saints Amongst Sinners’ vocalists further adds to Lover’s Dream’s potent flavour. Here, both singers come to the forefront, with impassioned performances and lyricism – From Mateen’s heartfelt crooning ("Flow right into my my arms/ Flow right into your heart/ No need to shed no tears/ I will be right here/ I will be here here/ To make it out okay”) into Day’s earnest lament on the song’s chorus (“Every night alone/ Holding onto pictures i keep of you in my phone/ Will you think of me tonight?/ Though i know i’m not the one on your mind”), it feels as though there’s a shared solace between the two. Dynamic, yet emotionally-driven, Lover’s Dream proves itself to be one of the Saints’ strongest offerings thus far.
Listen to “Lover's Dream” here:
- - by Isaac Yackem
Lying comfortably in the pastel worlds first pioneered by Japanese future bass maestros like Tomggg and Snail’s House (along with other adjacents in early Mark Redito and groups like CY8ER), the beats of upstart trackmaker Momo’s Keys envelop the voices of his collaborators with an inviting warmth. From dripped water samples to crisp rhythmic breaks, his debut EP Mizu showcases a keen awareness of his genre’s tropes, distilling through melancholic beats an airy, cotton-candy like sweetness. It’s an EP that demonstrates a fair bit of stylistic breadth – unfortunately, it’s also a sense of ambition that delivers mixed results.
Itself a product of the kawaii train, Mizu often falls victim to its saccharine tendencies. On the unfortunately-named Awkward, an overwrought vocal delivery overpowers any attempts at subtlety, as cheesy verses render its originally adorable synths into satire. As it morphs into an aggressively tacky drop, its processing turns into overkill, rendering the entire track into a difficult, weeby disaster. On other attempts, like New Life’s synthetic hip-hop grooves (think compatriots at Tsudio Studio), Momo conjures a potent, laid-back atmosphere that brings the EP’s to its most joyous – but with sluggish verses and a mildly unconvincing vocal delivery from Lil Chill (ironic name), the track struggles to find a clear focus. Jumping between its smooth saxophones and soft, auto-tuned hooks, the impression it leaves is, at best, ambiguous.
It’s when Momo slightly dials back on that ambition where the music truly shines. As his melodies become unobscured by gimmicks, a sincere emotionalism comes through its highlights. Authentic thrives through simple yet effective contrast, as gently bitcrushed keys wrap aosuzu’s understated, confessional vocals towards a bombastic sax hook. And on Kindle, the EP’s clear highlight, Momo sounds right at home with his Japanese peers. Intertwining warm synth leads with filtered vocal chops, its beatwork forms a perfect backdrop for vocalist nate’s delivery. With a softness balancing cute stylings and airy delicacy, her melodies lead with an addictive confidence. “Don’t forget about me, I’ll come and meet you,” she sings amongst harmonies – and upon swirling mallet winds and echoing oscillations, the song comes through with a captivating future bass drop, vocal chops and elastic synths galore. The result is undeniably powerful – even without reinventing the wheel (in a genre growing increasingly saturated), it’s a promising beginning for Momo’s Keys, and shows there’s still plenty of potential for sweetness to thrive.
You can listen to "Kindle” here:
- - by JX Soo