While waiting for the nasty heatwave to break, we dug into recently-released songs from Louisville area musicians. Per usual, there’s an array of great tunes from a variety of genres. From celebrated songwriters to new projects to remasters, here’s what we found. Find them all on Spotify.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy
“Crazy Blue Bells”
For several decades, Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has used his precise and haunting writing to build songs that are both gentle and intense, peering deeply into the human condition. “Crazy Blue Bells” is the latest iteration of this, featuring lines like,“Flowers from the ends of time are blooming in our hearts / Catastrophe is where you’ll find that real self-knowledge starts.” The song is from the upcoming album, Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You, which will be released on Aug. 11.
With a slick beat and a nimble flow, Jordan Jetson’s “Ghost” is a measured, sturdy piece of hip-hop with a hook that will burn straight into your brain, and a vibrant scattershot of statements. There’s rarely ever filler on a Jetson song, which are packed with ideas and quick turns. Like usual, “Ghost” is dense, yet lean, using a kaleidoscopic yet disciplined approach that carries stopping power. Jetson’s a sniper of a wordsmith, rarely missing, and can breathe emotion into every line. “Ghost” is off of the album It’s Up Forever, which was released in June.
Kiana & the Sun Kings
“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”
On “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” Kiana & the Sun Kings use supercharged jazz and smooth R&B to tell the story of sidestepping someone’s toxic personality. A big song that swings with gusto, “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” carries some sadness with it in terms of finding out the true and negative nature of a person, but it also carries joy, celebrating the strength to comes to terms with what’s really happening, and to break away from it. They put a magnetic modern twist on a classic style. “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” is from the EP Monarch, which Kiana & the Sun Kings released in July.
“Year Of The Scorpion”
With an ominous, gripping post-punk atmosphere, Charm School’s “Year Of The Scorpion” is a song that feels like a distant, swirling fever dream. Like a lot of post-punk music, the song’s soundscape is slightly abrasive, but that’s part of the charm — the piercing guitars and the creeping bass stir up feelings that you can’t quite put a finger on. Charm School, a new project, features Andrew Rinehart, Matt Filip, Drew English and Jason Bemis Lawrence. “Year Of The Scorpion” is from the EP Finite Jest, which was released in July. On Bandcamp, they wrote: “This album is dedicated to complicated, heart-crushingly-too-real jokes everywhere.”
A breezy, contemplative folk tune about where he’s at in life, Shadwick Wilde’s “Easy Rider” is a meditative look at living in the moment. It’s also a love letter. Wilde, the singer-songwriter behind the Quiet Hollers, is a deep and thoughtful artist who’s equally as good framing a story or simply turning a phrase. There are lines that dance with poetry, but Wilde’s greatest talent, which he does here, is making listeners feel the weight of what he is carrying around in his head. Shadwick Wilde & The Quiet Hollers are also playing at Seven Sense Festival on Friday, Aug. 4.
Belushi Speed Ball
“Anchor Arms” (Joel Grind Master)
Since coming onto the local music scene, the thrash metal band Belushi Speed Ball has been one of the most exciting and unique bands in town. The live shows are controlled chaos, filled with fun-loving theater where people do weird things and sometimes throw trash at one another. The band has now remastered their 2020 EP, This is What We Actually Look Like. On the new version of “Anchor Arms,” all of the sounds are cleaner, while not losing the grit and grime that Belushi is known for. It’s also a reminder of the band’s trademark humor, which is eccentric and absurd in all of the best ways. An underground classic is reborn.