With I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy, Fat Tony embodies the kind of quixotic figure he would rap about; a singular entity who’s motivated, confident, and hungry; a perpetual-motion-machine locked in a staring contest with his country. Ever since 2020’s Wake Up and Exotica, he’s demonstrated he is in his own lane as a professional rapper with the mind of a magician, as quick to conjure an image as pull it out from under you, deftly maneuvering through so many details and references a listener feels as if they have witnessed the work of an illusionist. He paints these canvases inside of songs that are pocket-sized diaries replete with acute observations, character studies, microdoses of storytelling, and single-minded ruminations on a topic that bud, blossom, and fade before too long. Make a Baby cements Tony’s status as someone whose albums are not so much lyrically-lyrical as they are picaresque.
In the quiet surrounding the pandemic, Madeline Kenney made sonic sketches in the basement studio she shared with her then-partner. In 2022, he left suddenly, and in the wake of that seismic shift she revisited the ideas that became the foundation for her fourth record. Rather than reckoning with love lost, A New Reality Mind grapples with the self that chose to fall, accepting that we’re all doomed to repetitive, ordinary heartbreaks, but not without agency to build new realities for ourselves.
The music of Melati ESP aka Melati Malay is a euphoric vision of megacity rhythm and rainforest escape, club breaks and weightless pop, mapping new dreams from the sound of futures passed: hipernatural.
The Search for God is a wake-up call for a troubled world that’s still worth saving, animated by a belief in the power of small connections to add up to big changes. Jimmy Whispers’ sophomore album was created mostly with two vintage synths, a drum machine, and a busted karaoke machine. It channels Midwestern emo, the Beach Boys’ Smile, subtle nods at hyper-pop production and forgotten jewel-box era college radio of the early aughts into a pure pop sound that transcends easy categorization.
Anchored by a hypnotizing bass line, "Etc"–Foyer Red's latest single and first for Carpark Records–unfolds with off-kilter call-and-response vocals with stilted deliveries bouncing around the mix. The track is searching but discontent with the algorithmic and claustrophobic realities of daily life. While there’s paranoia and cynicism undergirding the lyrics, the song itself is a thrilling and playful listen.
@ is composed of Philadelphia guitarist Victoria Rose and Baltimore producer/musician Stone Filipczak. They named their band @ (pronounced “At”) — a symbol that calls to mind the detachment of an email exchange or a Twitter mention. The folk-pop duo created their debut album Mind Palace Music almost entirely remotely from, sending each other recordings over iMessage from their respective cities throughout fall/winter 2020.