What You (Maybe) Missed is the Daily’s new roundup of important, interesting and underlooked musical releases from the past few weeks, cataloging the stuff you may have missed out on while studying for your midterms, or whatever it is you kids do these days. Every week, we’ll have some singles, albums, and other musical discoveries for you.
Lil Keed ft Young Thug — “Proud of Me”: Young Thug is the godfather of the past four years or so of Atlanta trap music. Everyone from ascendant hitmakers like Lil Baby and Gunna to that one Lil Yachty guy who played Blackfest this year traces their styles back to the melodic, off-the-wall flows that Thugger pioneered on his first few mixtapes in 2013 to 2015. “Proud of Me” can be traced back to that era, which is when it first leaked. Four years later, “Proud of Me” returns with a lot to like from the old version— including classic Young Thug quotables (“Suck my banana, no pudding”) and Goose’s production, which expertly flips a UK house track by Route 94 and Jess Glynne. But Lil Keed’s opening verse is what elevates “Proud of Me” into greatness, making his case as among the best of Young Thug’s descendants and capturing some of the wild-eyed energy of his prime.
Japanese Breakfast — “Essentially”: In the Renaissance, the bankers, merchants and nobles of Italy and Northern Europe served as patrons of the arts, providing financial support to the greatest artists of their day. These days, hotel chains commission tracks from indie rock groups, which is basically the same thing if you think about it. “Essentially” is the first new original song that Philadelphia-based Korean-American indie rocker Michelle Zauner has released since the 2017 release of “Soft Sounds From Another Planet.” It comes as part of W Hotels’ W Records program, which has enlisted indie rock stars to record new tracks as promotion. Regardless of its provenance, “Essentially” is prime Japanese Breakfast, merging the more ambient and electronic sounds that have always danced around the edges of her music with a power-pop edge.
Marika Hackman — “I’m Not Where You Are”: Marika Hackman’s 2017 transformation from weirdo folky to weirdo power-pop singer was criminally under-discussed— at their best, the hooks on “I’m Not Your Man,” her 2017 reinvention album, had the ability to stick in your head for weeks, never outstaying their welcome. “I’m Not Where You Are,” the first singer from her forthcoming third album, is more a continuation of the sound of “I’m Not Your Man” than another reinvention, but she seems more comfortable in the sound than ever. The added production touches from David Wrench, who’s produced for Frank Ocean and The XX, lend the song a richer feeling.
03 Greedo — “Still Summer in the Projects”: The last year has been a tumultuous one for the Los Angeles rap scene, with its artists simultaneously achieving newfound chart successes (mostly in the form of thinkpiece lightning rod Blueface and the resurgent YG) and enduring personal tragedy, whether in the horrific murder of community leader Nipsey Hussle or the incarceration of Drakeo the Ruler and 03 Greedo, two of the city’s most promising new stars. Greedo, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last July, has somehow only seen his stardom rise since then. On “Still Summer in the Projects,” his second studio album, Greedo partners with L.A. hitmaker Mustard, whose signature style has soundtracked nearly every hit from the city since 2013 or so. It’s a natural fit, with the two working off a shared worldview to make an album that’s distinctively L.A., whether in the form of bangers like “10 Purple Summers” or more thoughtful pieces like album closer “Visions.”
Big Thief — “U.F.O.F”: While it’s been two years since indie folk group Big Thief released their breakthrough album “Capacity,” it feels like less, due to lead singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker releasing a solo album, “Abysskiss,” last October. That album stripped down Big Thief’s already restrained sound into an almost hermetic minimalism, leaving songs like “symbol,” sounding like incantations rather than fully formed songs. “U.F.O.F,” Big Thief’s third album, acts as a companion piece to “Abysskiss,” bringing more electric elements to the band’s sound and expanding its sonic universe. Yet the core of the band’s sound is still as strong as ever— at every song’s center, Lenker’s songwriting and unique voice are as clear as a lighthouse piercing through the fog.
Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats — “Anger Management”: Over the past year, rapper Rico Nasty and producer Kenny Beats have made their cases as two of the most provocative, energetic voices in alt-rap. Their pairing on collaborative mixtape “Anger Management” makes sense— their metallic, punk-like styles go well together, with each feeding off the other’s energy. Despite the tape’s short run-time (9 songs in 18 minutes), the pair never feels rushed. They even have time to bring in similarly oddball guests, from weirdo rap duo Earthgang to “Harlem Shake” producer Baauer. The mixtape’s highlight, though, comes on “Hatin,” where Kenny flips a classic Jay-Z sample (“Dirt Off Your Shoulder”) and Rico, improbably, does it justice.
Protomartyr — “No Passion All Technique” (Reissue): Midwestern punk group Protomartyr has been one of the most consistently skilled voices in indie rock over the past decade, with every song painting a picture of a grimly funny dystopian world. The reissue of the band’s 2012 debut reveals an embryonic version of their sound, not quite as polished but with their voice firmly locked down.
Toro Y Moi — Tiny Desk Concert: Chaz Bear, the mixed Filipino-American/Black producer known as Toro Y Moi, is known for his jazzy, chilled-out electronic beats. His appearance on NPR’s celebrated Tiny Desk series takes him out of his element, with his set consisting of four stripped-down takes on songs from his most recent album, this year’s “Outer Piece.” Yet the change of scenery doesn’t erase Bear’s tuneful songwriting and honed charisma, his performance recalling the greats of 70s R&B.
Sidney Gish — “Sin Triangle” (Music Video): Sidney Gish’s “No Dogs Allowed” was one of The Daily’s best-loved albums of last year, and lead single “Sin Triangle” was a piece of power pop perfection, complete with a ripping guitar solo and a sample from a 1950s educational film. The song’s long-awaited music video lives up to Gish’s idiosyncratic musical choices, combining computer-generated and filmed elements into a funny, vaguely horrific whole.
Contact Jacob Kuppermann at jkupperm ‘at’ stanford.edu.