It’s the end of the year and there are many reasons to turn up. First, we haven’t been killed by North Korea (yet). Also, the net neutrality repeal can still be rejected by Congress, and Beyonce continues to slay Instagram, so life isn’t completely over yet. We survived another year of insanity and we deserve to celebrate.
If you want to do just that, here are some local and national artists that can help.
DaMood — “Gimme Revolver”
DaMood is a band that sounds too good to be true. A mix of Frederick musicians trained in almost every genre jam out to tunes with a sound that seems seamlessly blended together. One of their first musical statements was “Gimme Revolver.” Frontman Retro/Ricole makes his voice higher, and the brighter tone and energy he offers matches the catchy elastic bass and frenetic distorted guitar. If you want to have a party, this is the perfect starter.
The Fun Boys — “Hangin”
It’s not everyday an artrock band riffs on a famous line from Destiny’s Child. The Fun Boys quote the group in “Hangin” on their ”too fun” EP. “I don’t think you’re ready for this spaghetti” makes sense and no sense at the same time. And that’s why it’s perfect. The line comes right when the guitars soften so you can hear every word. Then it gets really crazy, with a gutteral scream, “You got me hangin’ on.” This song is pure adrenaline and that translates — no matter if you understand the lyrics or not.
Gloop — “Sad Man Meal” and “Rest Area 51”
Gloop’s “Sad Man Meal” and “Rest Area 51” on their ”Junk Drawer” EP sounds like organized chaos. The unintelligble screaming in “Sad Man Meal” — along with the exquisite distorted guitar melodies — are layered on top of a driving rhythm section. “Rest Area 51” offers more of the same, with a catchy guitar riff that can have you playing air guitar in your shower. Gloop knows their strengths, and they do them well.
This is where things get real ratchet. Turn up music is typically hip-hop, so we might as well explore the songs that made my trunk rattle.
Cardi B — “Bodak Yellow”
This ubiquitous song is a given. “Bodak Yellow” was Cardi B’s coming out party to the male-dominated world of hip-hop, and her charm and confidence oozes on this track, beginning with the trash-talking hook, “I don’t dance nah, I make money moves.” Her staccato rhymes fit perfectly on the hypnotizing synth melody. Cardi B combines autobiographical references that make you want to root for her (“I pay my mama’s bills, I ain’t got no time to chill”) while her unfiltered arrogance makes you want to be her (“I’m hottest in the streets, I know you probably heard of me”). I dare you to listen to this song only once.
N.E.R.D. — “Lemon”
This song came out of nowhere, but the first time I heard “Lemon” I thought I already listened to it a million times before. And I say that in a good way. The track comes out of the gate strong with an intriguing quote from Pharrell: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” When the beat drops, with a tricked out sounding xylophone melody and a rhythmic, “Wait a minute” sample, you know this is not going to be the same trap music you’ve heard before. The song’s transition to Rhianna’s rap verse sounds a bit disorienting, but the change actually brought my attention even further to the track. Rhianna’s voice, honey coated and languidly pronouncing her words, elicits a sing-along reaction. Lyrically, “Lemon” isn’t complicated, but it is memorable.
Kendrick Lamar — “Humble”
Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” is a song that makes me angry I didn’t make the Mike WiLL Made-It beat. It seems so simple, like if Schroeder from the comic strip “Peanuts” used only his pointer fingers on his tiny red piano. It’s truly Kendrick Lamar’s rhyme patterns and expert breath control that truly shines. His tone, high and nasal, cuts right through the mix, and his choice to ride the beat and keep the same tone throughout the song works perfectly. Kendrick Lamar typically raps with a million different voices and cadences, but this song proves that sometimes sticking to the basics works.