I'm over here keeping you up-to-date with the Charleston music scene, a growing and grooving powerhouse. The Hooties and Shovels & Ropes of the scene have paved the way for a new generation of talent that spans the genre spectrum. And this month has been particularly good for local musicians, featuring several releases in indie rock, pop and hip-hop.
From a full-length album by 2 Slices to a smooth and jazzy EP full of collaborations from Abstract — That Rapper, here's the local music you could be listening to this February.
'Somebody' by Doom Flamingo
A local synthwave project has emerged, featuring Umphrey's McGee bassist Ryan Stasik, along with powerhouse vocalist Kanika Moore, keyboardist and synth player Ross Bogan, drummer Stu White and guitarist Thomas Kenney. The band is out with a new lighthearted and dreamy '80s pop love song, and a lyric video was released on Valentine's Day. The song’s lyrics describe a “magical being,” or as Bogan imagines, “that sweet little alien to come into your life and turn your world right side up.”
'Baby Belle' by Strom McCallum
A local socialist writer and activist has made a foray into the world of music with his release of "Baby Belle," the first single from an upcoming self-titled LP. Strom McCallum's single was recorded at Truphonic Studios in West Ashley and co-produced by local country musician Mel Washington. Local mandolin player Aaron Firetag and state fiddle champion Jim Graddick play on the track. McCallum's vocals, treated with a wiggly reverb effect, take the track from folk to the future.
'Wu Would Never Die' by Abstract — That Rapper
Abstract — That Rapper's latest EP, "Mosaic," was out Feb. 15 on all streaming platforms but pre-released on SoundCloud. It starts out with a psychedelic poetry reading called "Shells and Glass" then phases into a series of tracks that are a result of several local collaborations. Making an appearance are Dr. Mambo, LaTeeDa and Gary Vee and guest producers Popz, OLeg and John G.
"How Many???" kicks off with an "Austin Powers" soundbite before transforming into a smooth and jazzy serenade highlighted by Abstract's bouncy cadence. My favorite track from the EP is "Wu Would Never Die," featuring macabre instrumentals from Dr. Mambo. It's eerie and haunting with clever lyrics delivered impressively fast while maintaining a compelling calm. "Nothing but hopefullies, wannabes, neverhaves / Here's some tips, get a pen and pad / Hit the lab," Abstract raps. The track also comes with an accompanying video, directed by Stephen Massar.
'Let Myself In' by 2 Slices
I've now had ample time to listen to 2 Slices' recent full-length release, "Vision of 2," and it exceeded my expectations. The electro-pop project with indie rock elements showcases the best of their talent on my favorite track of the disc, "Let Myself In," a fuzzy and spacey introspective number that slips into a haze with reverb-laced guitar and vocals but stays on pace with a staccato drum beat and rhythmic electronic backdrop. It's a well-produced stack of semi-psychedelic sound. It's a tipsy track, akin to the feeling you get after a few glasses of wine at happy hour: loose without unraveling.
'Dancer' by Daddy's Beemer
Daddy's Beemer moved to Charleston last year and has since been producing the same popular indie rock they made popular while at Clemson University. The band's upbeat Valentine's Day track "Dancer" is no different, a pop-rock song with some electronic melodies that compliment groovin' guitars and lead singer Brady Sklar's earnest vocals. The lyrics get a lil' lovey, too. "I've never been much of a dancer, but I can still walk / I've never been enough to romance her, but we still talk," Sklar sings of a hopeful love story.
'I'm on Edge' by John Bias & The Simplicity
Recorded at Love Baby Studios in Asheville, N.C., this debut single from new Charleston three-piece project John Bias & The Simplicity — John Bias "throwing his guitar and yelling on vocals," Drew Lewis (of SondorBlue) "whacking on a drum set" and Tommy Merritt "holding a giant bass guitar, maybe playing" — gives a little taste of the unhinged psychedelic rock yet to come.
'Backflip' by Big Yen
"I'm a hopeless sort of optimist," Ohm Radio program director James Frolio sings in his latest single, "Backflip." The track, a blend of acoustic guitar and mellow hip-hop, was produced by John Shields of Charleston hip-hop duo Little Stranger. Big Yen's self-titled four-track EP was released on Valentine's Day.