What’s going on, CLT Scene & Beyond?
Looking back months ago to the last time we dropped a collection of single reviews at RF20XX, I’ve got to tell you how much of a crime it is, especially in 2021. What can be said, however, is that the artists near and far from the Queen City have been on it with releases, making for a much more vibrant year in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. As we get back into practice over around the HQ, this week’s edition, dubbed the “Energy” Issue, comes packed with a pulse, carefully curated to give you sound motivation, just in case you lost yours along the way or need to add in a bit more for the mental battery. ~
By Family Video
As a band that got put into a time capsule right before 2020, just as they were building up steam, Family Video has spared no time in carrying forward through the Summer 2021 season on Charlotte’s stages. The moment the beat kicks, front-man Josh Shabtai morphs the atmosphere around him, drawing not just the eyes of the crowd forward but their feet as well, changing the tone from concert into full-on party. A hefty dose of dance can be felt in many of their tracks, and especially in one of their most recent songs, “Hyperdrive”.
Not only does “Hyperdrive” ooze with Synth-sensibilities, filtered through Mitchel Franklin’s magic hands, but it floats listeners past neon-lit signs into a mind that’s not of our time. The 80’s feel is prevalent within the track, broken up through Josh Durst and Ben Fortenberry’s handling of lead guitar and bass, respectively, while Gabe Avant keeps it sharp on the drums. Not to be outdone, the lyrics bleed the scene’s picture out with lyrics like, “I’ve been running in the wrong direction/I’ve been tearing up the furniture/chasing super starlight alright/”, sending the right message home for listeners to pick up and assimilate with, almost out of instinct.
With as much face-forward force as possible, “Hyperdrive” hits home with the exact fuel and mindset it is looking for, which indeed will give new listeners just a taste of what can come through the speakers once Family Video takes the stage.
By Phaze Gawd feat. Lil B, Prod. by AMWA
In the midst of Charlotte’s hip-hop scene, you don’t have to watch for long to notice the constant movement when it comes to artists finding ways to innovate the area around them as well as themselves. As someone that started their saga in the early 2010’s and constantly keeps an eye out for opportunities to grow, Phaze Gawd keeps himself in the spotlight long enough to be heard while often keeping to the background in order to help the Queen City stay on an upward trajectory. When he’s not specifically working on his own work, he is on the pulse in embracing others, most notably through his start-up music & arts platform For Artists By Artists (FAXA). When he is, however, listeners get graced with his prowess for performance and wit, showcased in his recent collaboration with Lil B (The Based God) and AWMA, “Energy”.
The fun had with this track doesn’t go unnoticed, as Phaze changes up his delivery between the first and second sections, starting straight forward before adding on a muscle exterior via lyrical scattershot. Never to target a soul out right, he mixes together self-images of the constant struggle with the temptations of not being as authentic with his work (/My boss mentioned I’d be better if I tossed gimmicks/), before dropping what he’s gained from keeping his own consistency constant (/Be yourself and you can floss like a dentist in the clinic/the kid is so sick/). In an already hot track, Lil B comes in midway through, breaking up the lines into what could be its own single, slowed down, relaxed, but marking his stanza in a way that’d make DOOM proud.
Mixed together by legendary CLT producer AMWA, what comes out from the two forces combined is a track that lights up the mind with motivation, never light on the content, and plays perfect for those looking for inspiration outside of their own sphere, and both Phaze Gawd & Lil B offer it up freely here.
by The Sun God (Greensboro, NC)
If there is a way to put fun to a beat in an any given situation, Greensboro’s duo The Sun God has the formula down for such a feat, even if the scene painted in their lyrics occasionally goes sideways. After catching their set over on The Milestone stage this September, it is an understatement to say that their brand of fast Electro-Funk isn’t just lightning in a bottle, and the style is evidenced further in the latest single, “Mimosa”.
The desire to exist in the moment versus intimate expectations is straight forward when checking out the track, all while “Nikki” Forester keeps a needle thin barrier, keeping listeners on a constant toss ‘n’ turn on vocals as he tangos with his would-be pursuer. “Mimosa” is more than just about the casual Sunday Morning, as the tension of single-to-mingle flows against events that might be meant to build into something else persists. It’s a merry-go-round of sound and situation, kept dynamically in time by Jacob Kuhn’s on the drums, especially towards the “break” point (she sat me down/said what are we?/I said just livin’/she said that’s no good for me/what are we/are we/are we), swirling inside the glass as well as in the imagination.
It is all games at the end of the day, and we all play them to some extent, making TSG’s new single a chill thought balloon that’s perfect on any weekend playlist.
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