With this month's Local Music Singles Roundup, you put your headphones on and, as these songs begin to fill your ears, you close your eyes …

Local Music Singles Roundup: December 2021

Local Music Reviews

Imagine you’re taken to a room. Lying face up on an armchair is a smart phone connected to a pair of headphones, its pale illumination the only source of light. You sit, bringing the phone into view: The word “LISTEN” blinks in bolded red letters and an arrow points down. You put the headphones on and tap the word. The screen goes dark and, as these songs begin to fill your ears, you close your eyes …

Tyler Chen | "Acclimation" | Self-ReleasedTyler Chen

Street: 09.08
Tyler Chen = Stan Getz + Glenn Miller

While there aren’t any palm trees for miles around, that doesn’t stop Tyler Chen’s “Acclimation” from conjuring up scenes of twirling dancers in a steamy, tropical climate. Smooth phrases blend into each other, punctuated by the regular beat of a tambourine. Add in guitar and drums, and “Acclimation” comes closer to the velvetine sounds of bossa nova than a traditional big band. Still, the saxophone and trumpet solos across this mid-length piece aren’t lacking in toe-tapping flavor. For the first 30 seconds of the song, tension builds through a unique time signature until the rhythm unfurls into the warm sounds of horns. As wonderful as that section is, my favorite part is easily just after the piano solo around 5:00 The horns are gentle and bouncy before the tambourine leads them in picking the pace right back up. “Acclimation” is perfect for both the jazz newbie and the connoisseur. –Jude Perno

Cum Fight | "Hellscapes of the Fuckth Dimension Part 1: Trust Me This Isn’t Fucking Porno-Grind” | Tribeless RecordsCum Fight
“Hellscapes of the Fuckth Dimension Part 1: Trust Me This Isn’t Fucking Porno-Grind”

Tribeless Records
Street: 09.30
Cum Fight = Jeff Witscher’s Approximately 1,000 Beers + w i n t e r q u i l t

The new mirco-release from the unclassifiable Cum Fight works in full overdrive. Each of the six sub-minute bites combine relentless blast beats with dry, lethargic text-to-speech singing. The snatches of sound range from nearly catchy, as in the opening track “Baiser,” to the jilted stumbles of the nine-second “Donde.” Outside of the obvious, shock-effect glee of these strange concoctions, Cum Fight furthers Hellscapes‘ interest through their deft production. The degraded digital vocals often sound like they’re buffering behind the blistering beats, most notably on one of the longest cuts, “La Hora es Ahora.” A speeding guitar line slides and chugs alongside the tempo dips and rushes of the MIDI drums, while Cum Fight’s vocals sound like they’re trying to squeeze through a low-bandwidth internet connection. Hellscapes of the Fuckth Dimension wears its gauche audacity like a crown, breathing life into a tangibly human digitalism in the process. –Audrey Lockie

Division of Doubt | “Suffer, Sinner” | Self-ReleasedDivision of Doubt
“Suffer, Sinner”

Street: 07.09
Division Of Doubt = PiL + Joy Division

The track “Suffer, Sinner” from Division Of Doubt is a post-punk burner engulfed in a light, gothic haze. Isaiah Michael’s vocals demand to be heard—their style is loud and immediate, like a post–Sex Pistols John Lydon. The track rages perfectly at the nervous, razor-edge void we all live in. Matched with Michael’s heavy bass lines, Jordon Strang’s kinetic drumming provides an amped-up, Joy Division–esque intensity, leaving guitarist Sophie Day enough space to light the track on fire with her playing. Day’s guitar swirls around like mid-career The Cure, sounding like fear and candy at the same time; her runs are melodic treasures. I love this track and found originality in its familiarity. Division Of Doubt’s “Suffer, Sinner’’ is a perfect crystal—a crystal that reflects the past but also shines bright, scary and new. –Russ Holsten

Fil, Loloren | “Upside Down” | Self-ReleasedFil, Loloren
Upside Down”

Street: 06.25
Fil, Loloren = Biig Piig + Clairo

Unfortunately, Fil and Loloren’s debut single is not as easy to listen to as the sense of the same name by Jack Johnson, but it is definitely in the running for a close second. The tune has a dreamy beat that runs from beginning to end and is definitely reminiscent of early Katy Perry in the most Gen-Z kind of way. And speaking of Gen-Z, should we talk about those lyrics?—“I lost my charger and I’m getting bored.” In all seriousness, Loloren has a heavenly voice. Combined with Fil’s high-quality production, “Upside Down” is a must. Plus, its summer-y melody is a nice distraction from the cold months ahead. I’m excited to see what Fil, Loloren drop next—whether together or separate—and after your first listen, I’ll be shocked if you say that you aren’t, too. –Theadora Soter

Gaszia | “ApexClub” | KUMO CollectiveGaszia

KUMO Collective
Street: 09.16
Gaszia = Baauer + Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Drawing in upon ice-cold, dripping plusations, Gaszia’s “ApexClub” is quick to display Aaron Spasiano’s deft ability to create infectious rhythms through sound mixes filled with minute textures. An attentive blending of percussive vocal samples—none of which draw too much focus or are leaned upon too heavily—pitted against sharper, digital drum kits creates a delicate interplay between the ears, chasing the track’s swells and drops. Relieving us of a perpetual climb, Gaszia lingers in bass explorations for several dance-break moments throughout the song that tour grimey, thick beats to staccato grooves. “ApexClub” presents Spasiano’s dynamic range of production savvy by offering a buffet of sonic palettes to choose from, each merging with the other in a concoction of pop-driven electronic music. It’s the type of breadth so desperately wanted but rarely afforded in the sea of EDM debauchery. –Aidan Croft

Idan Jene | “Gone” | 7WingMoneyIdan Jene

Street: 09.17
Idan Jene = Grouper + Lil Peep

Idan Jene’s “Gone” looks toward contrasting sides of romantic loss—wallowing depression and bitter guilt. In the opening verse, Jene’s voice floats over watery acoustics with various layers of autotuned harmony before a grounding piano melody jolts the track into its chorus. Here, the versatile singer diffracts even further into choral harmonies, rhythmic refrains of “I just hope that this songs gets to you” and a defeated plea of the track’s title. “Gone” then drops all aqueous pretext and locks into a rigid, sad boi–trap beat. The vocal acrobatics don’t let up, but now each snippet serves the urgency of the lead line’s intonations: “I know / I can’t / Change / The past / It’s too late / For that.” Each syllable sounds like it’s eked out between shorted breaths, desperate and pained. The track melts back into its opening ambience in the final minute—calm sorrow after a brief outpouring of self-directed anger. –Audrey Lockie