Though tours are on hold and venues sit idle and empty, reports of music’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Locally, Jacksonville artists have been releasing new–and very good–music at a record clip. Here are eight releases from Jacksonville artists we recommend putting in your earholes immediately, and one podcast that we hope you’ll binge.
“Off the Ground”
The local faves’ latest cut, “Off the Ground,” (as featured on Void On Vinyl (Vol. 3)), finds Tomboi upping their game. Vocals are processed through Autotune and various echo’d effects, with thumping syncopated beats, and an ascending bass riff offset with filigrees of funky guitar licks. All in all, the effect of “Off the Ground” is to wander into some languid dream-world, where genres and preconceptions are washed away by a tide of nebulous 21st-century music, while cutting-edge electronics and universal emotions of unrequited love walk hand in hand.
The kind of heavy, emotional, contemporary rock song we’ve come to expect from Modern Violence, “St. Gregory” simmers and boils between confusion and despair; a tune–at least emotionally speaking–for our times.
“One More Chance”
Aside from being one of our fave local photogs, Tenny Rudolph makes sultry, chill AF R&B. “One More Chance” begs the question: Does Rudolph prefer photographer-slash-musician or musician-slash-photographer?
“There’s a whole wide world out there and I’m missing it,” sings Hensley front-person Kendall Mason, before launching into the pre chorus kicker, “If this is where I spend the rest of my life, I’m gonna lose my f*****g mind!” We feel you, Kendall! All of us feel you. Click play to “Get Out” with Jax Beach youngsters Hensley below. It’s the cathartic release we all need right now.
After a half-decade of working out a signature, albeit familiar, sound, Faze Wave has changed tack, emerging with its first song of the new decade–a grimy, primal rocker called “Lights Out.” With distorted guitars, diluted drums, heavily affected vocals, all mixed into a concussive wall of noise, “Lights Out” shares more DNA with early 2000s garage rock revivalists like The Strokes than the chill, reverb-heavy wave of guitar groups from the 2010s.
Everything is Good
With the mantra-ready titles “Everything is Good” and “U R Gonna B OK” Sunbears! collection of ambient, electronic, and decidedly pensive instrumentalsare shoe-ins for David Luckin’s Electro Lounge. With lo-fi drum and bass samples, swaths of colorful synths and lots and lots and lots of space, the interstellar (and stellar) “U R Gonna B OK” sounds tailor made for the lobby of a New Age healing spa. So find a quiet place, plop down on the floor criss-cross-apple-sauce, and click play on these new Sunbears! tunes. You’ll certainly be in a better place if you do.
The Black Toilet
Gotta Get Home
Featuring eight new joints–each of which is so short we recommend consuming them via roach clip–Gotta Get Home is a mesmerizing collection of languid, trippy hip hop. Mellow, jazz-tinged samples undergird TBT’s chill-AF, poetry-slam-esque flow on tracks like “Motif/Crew” and “Apprentice”, while “Avenue” may be the most animated we’ve ever heard the young artist, as he rips through the song’s catchy hook at a BPM that would, all things considered, still be of concern to a cardiologist.
“Reach Out But Don’t Touch Me (21st Century Boy)”
A mellow, yet drive-y rocker propelled by fuzzy guitar and the artist’s singular and, in this case, flippant wordplay, “Reach Out But Don’t Touch Me” is indicative of rickoLus’ propensity to always be cooking up something, genre-bending and experimenting while always maintaining his lyrically driven style.
Three Episodes (Streaming Now)
We’ve long felt like music streaming services like Spotify make it increasingly difficult to discover music made by local artists. In that vein, The VOIDCAST cuts through the digital noise and subverts the algorithms, taking listeners through the past and present with the help of local musicians, producers, and the people who lived local music history. Hosted by Void Mag editor Matthew Shaw and produced by WJCT’s Lindsey Kilbride (“What it’s Like“, “Oddball“), The VOIDCAST dives deep into the Allman Brothers Band’s formative period in Jacksonville, introduces listeners to the locals making music alone in their bedrooms — including one who scored a big record deal, and passes the mic to women and queer people claiming their space in the Northeast Florida hip hop scene.
This feature appears in Void Magazine’s May 2020 issue, The Check In, under the headline “Music is Not Cancelled.” Click the mag below to check in with local artists, musicians, biz owners, and eternal optimists.