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WEGL's Weekly Picks March 22-29


JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown - SCARING THE HOES - Mar 24, 2023

Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA have finally come out with their highly anticipated collab after eleven long months since they announced it. So far, SCARING THE HOES is probably the rawest and most heavy hitting album of the year, and as it ages, it’ll likely be seen as a pillar to 2020’s experimental hip hop. This is Danny Brown’s first project of the decade, his last being unknowhatimsayin¿ in 2019. As for JPEGMAFIA, he continues to remain an essential asset to today's hip hop scene as his 2020’s discography consists of this, LP! (which a lot of his fans consider to be his magnum opus), and two more albums that he will release later on this year. Even though SCARING THE HOES clocks in at just over thirty-six minutes, the listening experience doesn’t seem to drag, nor does it seem to fly by. There are fourteen songs, no longer than four minutes each, and every single one is unique enough to stand out on its own, yet not take too much attention away from the flow of the track list. Personally, I’d have to say that my favorite five track run is from Burfict! to God Loves You, however this project is so consistent that you could make a case for any run of five songs throughout the track list. The main problem that comes with collaborative albums, is that people will try to pick out an MVP between the two collaborators, however SCARING THE HOES seems to swiftly nullify this issue as both rappers match each other in terms of energy, lyrics, rhyme schemes, flow, and delivery. Additionally, this album serves as yet another steppingstone to JPEGMAFIA’s production. Since Black Ben Carson, we’ve seen his skill as a producer gradually improve to remarkable levels of creativity and given that he only used an SP 404 to produce the entirety of this project, it’s safe to say that his production will only continue to reach exceptional heights. Overall, SCARING THE HOES is the best hip hop album to have released so far in 2023, and has set a very high bar that few will be able to beat, as both JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown have proved that you should expect nothing less from them except for greatness. 

Favorite Tracks: “Steppa Pig” ; “Burfict!” ; “Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up / Muddy Waters” ; “Kingdom Hearts Key” ; “God Loves You” 

- Gerrit Notch

(not currently on spotify)

파란노을 [Parannoul] - After the Night - Mar 25, 2023 

In 1999 Fishmans released 98.12.28 男達の別れ [98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare], a live album consisting of their last ever concert before the band’s frontman Shinji Sato unexpectedly passed away. The recording of this concert serves as one of the best from the 20th century, is widely considered as the best live album of all time, internationally loved, seen as one of the most impressive feats in all of modern music, and a true testament to both dream pop and progressive pop. Not once did I think that a live album could reach the quality and talent showcased in Otokotachi no Wakare, however, twenty-five years after its release, South Korean artist Parannoul dropped its 21st century equivalent with his new live album After the Night. Unlike Fishmans, this is his first concert as an up and coming artist. The recording features Parannoul on vocals and keyboard, Yo and BrokenTeeth on guitars, Asian Glow on bass, 9Suk on drums, and Fin Fior on trumpet. On the night of January 14th, this group of independent musicians played one of the best concerts I’ve ever heard recorded, matching that of the Fishmans album. It’s a beautiful, grandiose, serene, and mesmerizing performance that illustrates the outstanding chemistry of each of these musicians. The nearly flawless set list showcases some of Parannoul’s best songs, which is crazy to think about since a good chunk of these songs hadn’t yet hit streaming the night this concert was played. After the Night displays new levels of shoegaze and indie rock that it’ll likely be seen as a hallmark to these genres for years to come. With eight tracks, it runs for exactly an hour and twenty-seven seconds, and even though I could sit here and pick apart each song, the standout track is undoubtedly Into the Endless Night. Clocking in at forty-six minutes and six seconds, and serving as a parallel to Long Season, this track represents the collateral beauty of the entire live album. Prior to Into the Endless Night, the musicians had already been playing forty minutes worth of music, so the fact that they were able to perform a perfect rendition of this track displays the sheer talent of each and every artist on that stage. The part that gives me chills every time is when you can hear the audience singing the chorus back to them. At the end of the day, it’s just really beautiful to see an aspiring artist create their generation’s Otokotachi no Wakare. If you are a fan of shoegaze, indie rock, emo, noise rock, post-rock, or progressive rock, I highly suggest listening to After the Night. This album is currently not on streaming; however, you can access it on platforms such as YouTube and Bandcamp.

Favorite Tracks: “북극성 [Polaris]” ; “아름다운 세상 [Beautiful World]” ; “I Can Feel My Heart Touching You” ; “흰천장 [White Ceiling]” ; “Into the Endless Night”

- Gerrit Notch

Black Country, New Road - Live at Bush Hall - March 24, 2023

Few bands have conquered the sphere of independent music as quickly and potently as the London-based 6-piece have over the past few years. After receiving massive critical acclaim for last year's record Ants From Up There, which doubled as a swan song for the bands former vocalist Isaac Wood, there was an undeniable sense of nervous anticipation for what the band's new material would sound like. For frequent readers, you may remember my concert review from late last September where I first heard these new tracks, and was blown away. Live at Bush Hall is the same exact set list performed for a moderately sized English crowd on what is revealed to be their "prom night." The instrumental tightness and maturity continues to amplify with each new release from the group, and while I do think a lead singer will either join or emerge from the current cast, it is heartwarming and loads of fun to hear the band share the role of lead vocalist, with bassist Tyler Hyde taking a large portion of the responsibilities. Just as they did between their first and second albums, we hear the band take a tasteful turn for poppier song structures and melodies, whilst still showing the discipline to slowly build up these long developing orchestral-esque pieces. It's refreshing to hear the band remaining true to who they are without fearing sonic and emotional evolution.

Favorite Tracks: "Up Song" ; "The Boy" ; "Turbines/Pigs"

- Will Lewis

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