Now that Baby Yoda, donning his tawny, rough-spun New Year’s sash, came crawling out of the sacred tree log to proclaim there were no more weeks left and the snarky, chubby British man publicly shamed Hollywood elites for their complicity in an international pedaphelic sex ring, we have officially turned the page on 2019 and are rushing headlong into the fever dream of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel-come-to-life utopia that we’ll dub the Boring ’20s – just like the Roaring ’20s, complete with record income inequality and a looming world war, but with memes.
While we here at your local rag of record were spending the holiday weeks arguing amongst ourselves about what products of 817 artists deserved which arbitrary ranking in our decidedly nonscientific system, the flood of new music perpetually being cranked out from within the confines of our fair burg refused to be stemmed.
We no doubt missed quite a bit during our four consecutive weeks of running fodder for hate mail. Let’s spend a moment or two getting caught up. It should go without saying that the following is far from comprehensive, so if we’ve forgotten anything, you simply need to look in your recently used contacts for where to send your disgruntled digital communiques.
Just as the tryptophan was wearing off from Thanksgiving, high school-aged indie-pop outfit Ting Tang Tina, led by Ruby Lewis, daughter of Toadies frontman Vaden Lewis, dropped a new single. “D-D7” originally appeared on Dreamy Life Records’ latest Group Therapy compilation but was released as a standalone track and is now available on streaming services. The sweetly melancholic ditty teases the forthcoming follow-up to the foursome’s acclaimed 2017 debut, Love Is Trippy, due out in the spring.
One of the more interesting projects to slip past our attention is Glymmur. Former Missing Sibling/Fate Lions frontman/guitarist Drew Gabbert started the project by working out sound collage musical sketches as a sort of therapy to battle anxiety. He found the subtle conflict of disparate moods “simultaneously soothing and reflective of the daily push-pull” of his mental state at the time, he told me. The result is Field Study: 33 Minutes, an intriguing bit of aural expressionism that’s as therapeutic for the listener as it was for its creator.
The turn into December saw Americana maven Lindsey Hightower and her eponymous backing band offer a new EP. The three-song Day is Hightower’s second extended player of 2019, balancing April’s effort, naturally called Night. Day features the single “Magnolia,” a nod to the Near Southside’s cultural yellow brick road of the same name.
Quirky bedroom electro-pop artist Itchy Ritchie & The Burning Sensations also sent the EP Low, Slow, and Dark out into the world. The brainchild of keyboardist/singer/guitarist Richard Keller, the four songs explore Keller’s disaffected view of modern society with moody synth-based compositions. With each sale of the EP through his Bandcamp page through Valentine’s Day, Keller will donate $1 to Foundation45, a nonprofit aimed at helping musicians and their families coping with suicide, depression, and mental illness.
’90s emo-revivalists Better Now came out with a new single, “Mr. Downman,” their first release since the spring of 2018. The point-counterpoint back-and-forth of vocalists Lillian Cormack and Louis Lopez resurrects a nostalgia for long-lost emo icons like Verses and Rainer Maria.
Rapper Mark Spits is trying to capitalize on the current mania brought about by The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker for anything Star Wars-related. The cover of his recently dropped a full-length, Lone Star Fleet, features a silhouette against a star-filled sky brandishing a lightsaber. Through 11 songs, Spits rhymes about all things astronomical with a refreshing old-school flavor.
Daryel Sellers and his new backing band, The Turners, featured a new single, “I Might,” that casts away the introspective folk stylings that Sellers debuted on 2018’s Lost Years. The track somehow cohesively marries an Americana root with an undeniable Ramones bop topped with a tinge of Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road.”
Melodic emo-core five-piece Mountain Kid put out The Calm, a four-song EP of their signature layered, mathy melancholy. The guitars of Drew Shields, Addison White, and Nicholas Wittwers intersect and complement one another beautifully under White’s impressive vocal range helped along by Shield’s harmonies.
Finally, one of the more pleasantly surprising discoveries I made last month was that of fuzzy doom metal militia Buzzürd. The beefy, detuned riffage and singer Richard Loew’s unashamed metal vocal undulations wrought on their new sophomore EP, Join the Wake, definitely earn every bit of the unnecessary umlaut over the second “u” in their awesomely misspelled name. Horns up!