Let's not waste time elucidating the confounding ups and downs concerning COVID-19 policies and their impact upon live music. Instead, let’s focus on those who continue to scratch that itch called making music.
Several of New Times' favorite South Florida artists have kept busy recording and releasing tasty new tracks over the past few weeks. Here are five of the best.
Baybe featuring JF, “Speak of the Devil”
For her third release of 2020, Baybe swings the pendulum into the gloom of glam. It’s a seesaw that began in June with “My Name Is Baybe.” In fact, both “Speak of the Devil” and “My Name is Baybe” have a darker edge and seem to come from the same wicked forest. Meanwhile, her second single this year, “Rosalie,” is brighter and gentler. The decision to bounce between the light and the shadows is a conscious one. “As a musician and as a person, I’ve always had a sort of extremist mindset," she explains. "I never want to water down the range of what I create to fit into a smaller space.” It is one of Baybe’s enduring strengths that she doesn’t fit into any genre, and with each new single, she continues to make it difficult to categorize her music.
Dama Vicke, “Entre Sus Piernas”
What happens when an artist goes from a jazzy, sultry sound to being a rougher, teddy-bear-destroying (but still sultry) Tricky-esque trip-hopper? One haunting and mesmerizing result is Dama Vicke’s “Entre Sus Piernas.” Literally translated as “Between His/Her/Your/Their Legs” — it truly could be any of those, given the song's subject matter, toxic relationships — “Entre Sus Piernas” feels like a universal anthem for many a romantic aftermath. Of the course change for her sound, Dama Vicke says, “Humans are constantly changing. Exploring the creativity is essential for growth in one’s craft and art.”
Denzel Curry, “Live From the Abyss”
Carol City native Denzel Curry needs only two minutes to elaborate on and eviscerate the ills of modern American society in his latest, “Live From the Abyss.” The swaggering, visceral track is angry, desperate, confrontational, and heartfelt. Short and about as sweet as sucking on a battery, “Live From the Abyss” comes at a watershed divisive moment in history. In an Instagram post, Curry commented:
Voter suppression has been a ploy of amerikka for a long time. They were more bold in the past but they found new quiet ways to disenfranchise us. As they attempt to revert back to these tactics just know panic and terror didn’t work on us in 1939 and it won’t work on us today. Indian land. Black slavery. Chinese mining. Latino labor. My brothers and sisters have overcome substantial amounts of injustice to achieve equal opportunity. Equality doesn’t come with a limit and no amount of your PRIDE can instill fear in my heart. This has been a Black Man Broadcast Live From The Abyss.”
The anti-Trump, anti-racism, anti-everything-that’s-wrong-with-America protest song closes with the refrain, “When is it really gon' change? When is it really gon' stop?” It’s a question Americans of all colors and all ethnicities have been asking for far too long. Considering the history of our country, the answer is almost too depressing to contemplate.
The Haunt, “Constant”
The ethereal opening to the Haunt’s latest, “Constant,” is just the huffing and puffing before the track violently exhales like the big bad rock 'n' roll wolf this young outfit has grown up to be over the past few years. The song is heavy and thick, not just with a throbbing bass reverb and echoing vocals, but with a confidence that has a chokehold on the past, present, and future of alternative music. As in-control of their sound as they’ve ever been, the tandem of siblings Anastasia and Maximilian Haunt blissfully thunder through a song permeated with a self-described ominous energy that has some very carnal imagery, offering both sides of the equation. The second single from the Haunt’s upcoming EP, Social Intercourse, was written to “pay homage to the chaos and inconsistencies often experienced in teenage relationships.” For guitarist and songwriter Maximilian, the chorus is deeply personal as the words “fuck your wants and your needs” is a quote torn directly for the girl it was written for. Love may be complicated, but it makes for some ass-kicking anthems.
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Holy Dances, “Hard to Know”
“Hard to Know” bumps and sparkles and makes for a thoroughly energetic, at-home bounce groove from a band that’s always been clear in its influences but nebulous as to what comes next. Holy Dances lives up to their name on their latest even as the lyrics are somewhat dour. Frontman and founder Jose Perez says of the track, “It’s a post-punk inspired dance tune. We wrote it and recorded it before the pandemic, but ironically it’s about feeling ultimate loneliness although it’s a happy ass sounding song.” Listen, with its whomps and whistles, “Hard to Know” is easy to love, in both good times and bad, and especially when they're occurring simultaneously.