Lowertown: “Burn on My Own”
Lo-fi indie band Lowertown is comprised of two best friends who met in high school math class in Sandy Springs, singer Olivia Osby and multi-instrumentalist Avsha Weinberg. Visually, their vibe is kind of like if Timothee Chalamet and Billie Eilish had secretly launched a music project together. Or perhaps more of a Gen Z Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham vibe.
The prolific duo began releasing music at age 16 — and now, just a few years later, at age 20, they’ve recently played sets at Shaky Knees and Pitchfork London. Their band name derives from a neighborhood in Ottawa, Canada — significant as the site of a school trip where they first began to collaborate musically (and also became best friends).
This song is part of their recently released EP, The Gaping Mouth, which they recorded in London soon after their high school graduation with producer Catherine Marks, who has worked with Manchester Orchestra and St. Vincent. Olivia has said she wrote it from out of the constricting darkness of the United Kingdom in wintertime combined with the isolation wrought by the pandemic. The music video was directed by Zachary Bailey, who is no stranger to concocting visually intriguing music videos, having helmed Strick, Young Thug and Kid Cudi’s “Moon Man” video.
Summer Walker – “Unloyal”
It has been a banner month for Atlanta. Our beleaguered baseball team won its first World Series in 27 years, and a certain talented Atlanta R&B singer’s album just happened to beat out ABBA — you know, that obscure little band from Sweden, who released their first studio album in four decades on November 5 — for the top spot on the charts. Hello Summer Walker.
Walker’s second LP, Still Over It, is a follow-up to her electrifying debut, Over It. The “Still” part is apparent throughout the roster of songs that burn brightly with gasoline-drenched heartbreak.
This song, in particular, will remind you of the grand dame of blow-out breakup/GTFO anthems. We’re talking, of course, about Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” — the echoes of which are crystal clear in “Unloyal” with the opening declarative statement: “I ain’t takin’ your shit today (No) / I ain’t takin’ your shit tomorrow (No).” Though the song’s narrator can identify that she’s too good to put up with a “man who’s so childish,” she still emanates the pain of not being valued, even by someone so clearly unworthy of her time.
As a cherry on top, the smooth vocal collaboration with Ari Lennox stands out as one of the best appearances on the album’s star-studded guest list. (Another standout: a pitch-perfect appearance by Cardi B doling out the advice to “put the drama in your music.”) Plus, that sax!
Goodie Mob: “Soul Food”
It would be easy to just concentrate on “Cell Therapy,” the immortal hit single from Goodie Mob’s groundbreaking debut album, Soul Food. That particular number with its eerie piano refrain was inducted earlier this year in the Smithsonian Institution’s 129-song Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap. But, since it’s almost Thanksgiving, our Vintage Track of the Week can be no other than the eponymous track, which concentrates on the various ways in which we feed ourselves — with warmth, joy, connecting, meaning, belonging and, yes, with a long list of actual food items that will probably make you hungry when you’re done listening.
Plus, they make the distinction between food crafted with care behind it — like the soup your mother makes when you’re sick — and the crud peddled by nefarious corporate giants.
Released in 1995, Soul Food the album celebrated its 25th birthday last year. The group made up of Cee-Lo, Khujo, T-Mo and Big Gipp gets credit for making ubiquitous the term “The Dirty South.” They were part of the brilliant hip-hop revolution ushered in by the Organized Noize label and the Dungeon Family in the mid-’90s, including OutKast and Killer Mike and many others members of ATL music royalty.
As Variety’s Andrew Barker put it: “If OutKast’s first four albums were the Matthew-Mark-Luke-and-John of Atlanta rap, Soul Food was both its Leviticus and its Book of Revelations: simultaneously defining, refining, and expanding the parameters of what the South had to offer.”
Now, let us bow our heads and chow down.