ROUNDUP: Some Blizzard Music For The 802


Welcome back to another selection of some of 2019’s best new tunes. It’s a mix of familiar names and brand new talent. So far, the new year has confirmed my suspicions that some of this year’s biggest stories will be surprises, flying into the ring with a steel chair outta nowhere. I’m also betting it will be both harder and easier than ever to put these roundups together, thanks to continually improving quality control.

In other words, everyone is getting real good at sounding real dope. Props to the creators and props to the engineers.

THEN WHAt — a/k/a Selfish Presley — and Yung Breeze have a lot in common, including the fact they’re both artists and engineers. And it shows. They’ve been on a prolific run for months now, but “Sinbad” was a serious standout. The vibe is impeccable through the first verse, and it’s clear that Selfish Presley’s upcoming project, No Sleep, will be a monster. What really sends this cut into the stratosphere, though, is that second verse from Yung Breeze, who absolutely snaps.

Bourbon Legends is a new group featuring some of the foremost unsung spitters in the state: Hoarsehed, Eyedos and Eugenyks. Their debut single features brutal & funny verses over some whumping hardcore boom bap, pretty much exactly like it should. It also features a dope chorus by NYC grime lord Ruste Juxx. You can tell there’s a lot of mutual respect in this trio because all three emcees bring their A+ game to the booth here. Whatever comes next … damn.

Rapper TAZE is a new artist on the scene, and “Venom” is a damn impressive debut. She can spit, bud. (She will also be doing so live on Feb. 21st at the next round of 3rd Thursdays at The Monkey House.) This is a straightforward rap workout, flexing some flows to show & prove. It’s also a new front on an emerging Lamoille County wave — those backwoods are buzzing right now.

This new single from Fresh and Flex 45 is a perfect rap demo: sure, the quality is a little rough here, but the performances shine. The hook is genuinely good, and both of these verses are rock solid work from confident emcees. My bet is that 2019 is going to make it clear they’re also songwriters with some real depth to offer. Keep an eye out for these names.

Up next, a new soundscape from producer SkySplitterInk. “Epiphany” was the winner of the second round of the VTHH Sample Challenge, a regular contest that’s being run by Flip Physics. Calling it a big success would understate what’s going on. The contributions so far have been extremely impressive, testifying to a much deeper beat scene than scientists had previously estimated. Here, the maestro kicks off with a groove that hovers between DJ Spinna and Aphex Twin, then brings in one of his trademark, gorgeous guitar lines to ride it all out.

Omega Jade is back with a strong new cut which demonstrates a lot of growth — she sounds more comfortable, and dynamic, in the booth on “The Power Of My Mantra.” Her pen game is getting sharper, too, but that’s always been a strong point for this introspective, poetic emcee. Another constant has been the soulful production of Rico James. In his collaborations with Omega Jade, he’s side-stepped his usual sound to provide lush, left-field beats that create a huge space for her performances. This is not an official group, but it’s still one of the most interesting and consistent duos going right now.

Justin Boland