The Return // Sampa the Great

Genre: Rap

Release Date: Sep 13, 2019

Since my introduction to Sampa Tembo’s “Blue Boss” at a concert back in 2017, I have been actively consuming all music produced by the talented rapper. Now, the Zambian-born Australian artist has published her first studio album to complement three EPs and mixtapes, putting herself in a position to grow her young career to new heights. With black and indigenous rights and art at the forefront of her lyrics and collaborations, Sampa the Great comes forward with a powerfully impressive exhibition of pure skill with The Return

Sampa the Great assembled some extraordinary partnerships for this project, most notably on the songs “Any Day” and “Heaven” which both feature Whosane, the renowned collaborator and artist-activist. Supported by bumping East Coast beats who incorporate catchy choruses and amusing verses, the tracks deepen the listener’s understanding of Sampa the Great’s unique style.

“Brand New (feat. SILENTJAY)” takes on a slower tempo coupled with intimate verses, providing Sampa the stage to show off her ability to spit her bars with exceptional flow and clarity. The pinnacle of the album, “Diamond in the Ruff (feat. Thando & Krown),” is a five-minute gem with a lively beat, intriguing switch-ups, and impressive cadence that exhibits Sampa’s talent as a rapper. The track admirably embodies the theme and intention of The Return: to display Sampa the Great’s capability to rap at the highest level alongside fabulous collaborators and bumping beats. 

Given To The Wild // The Maccabees

Genre: Alternative Rock

Release Date: January 9, 2012

Even with just four studio albums across their 10 years of activity, the seven-person English rock band known as “The Maccabees” was able to reside at the top of the alternative rock genre. Before splitting in 2017, the group specialized in strikingly elaborate buildups with a healthy mixture of rock instrument melodies and enigmatic vocals. The group’s third album, Given To The Wild, stands as the most engaging manifestation of this band’s style and expertise.

The Maccabees create their unique sound through gradual escalation to gloriously resounding peaks, and no song displays that more accurately than “Forever I’ve Known.” The track begins with insignificant melodic support and faint vocals and ends with the most intense and intentional guitar and drum sections of the album. 

The triumphant climaxes on this project are remarkable, and the songs “Ayla” and “Go” are prime examples of their gorgeous instrumentation and majestic vocals. The final tune, “Grew Up at Midnight,” provides a superb outro to the project, encapsulating the album’s theme of rising action and dramatic breaks. There is no doubt that this magnificent 13-song, 52-minute compilation of tracks makes Given To The Wild the capstone of this talented band’s limited discography.

Close It Quietly // Frankie Cosmos

Genre: Indie Pop/Rock

Release Date: Sep 6, 2019

At just 25 years old, Frankie Cosmos, also known as Greta Kline, has successfully burst onto the scene as one of the most electrifying names in indie pop/rock. Despite her age, Close It Quietly is Frankie Cosmos’ fourth studio album, culminating as an electrifying 21-song, 40-minute presentation of her lofi-inspired style. With countless highs and lows, and innumerable fasts and slows, Frankie Cosmos has manufactured something exhilarating with this release. 

Finding the balance between energetic speed and soft lyricism is something that Frankie Cosmos has exemplarily completed. Songs like “41st” and “Rings (On a Tree)” exhibit the extreme’s of her style, from quietly isolated vocals to quick-paced percussion-heavy acmes. 

Frankie Cosmos excels at seamlessly blending genres and speeds, but the track “Windows” represents her commitment to invigorating drum-pumping rock music. Behind all the influences and different sub-genres that she pulls from, Frankie Cosmos is a light-hearted indie pop/rock star, and the track “Even Though I Knew” broadcasts that explicitly. While this is not her first album, Close It Quietly provides a compelling taste of what the future holds for this young and bright artist.

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