On Crossbill Record's Michael Leahy, Blee's latest album, DLRN and Stevie Nader
Sacto’s indie-folk Mark Cuban: If you are Kenny “The Dancing Man” Buchanan at Friday-night Concerts in the Park, the endgame to your moves is snapping cameras and rolling Vine accounts. For Kenny, it’s about being a maniac in our social feeds. The crowd at Bows & Arrows for the Brass Bed show on Wednesday, July 17, refrained from capturing the antics of Crossbill Records founder Michael Leahy’s swing dancing with young lasses and all-around good-natured buffoonery. He was in rare form, but rightfully so. He invested in Portland’s Brass Bed, specifically the recent full-length album The Secret Will Keep You, rewarded with much critical acclaim and fanfare. The intimate gathering was like a belated album-release party, with Leahy in tow as the indie-folk Mark Cuban—a figure as big and engaging as his band. It was tremendous fun seeing Leahy, but visiting Brass Bed was not to be ignored, grinding out visceral wails of reverb.
Cornbread in milk rules, too: Local rapper Blee is serving seconds with his sophomore album, Hot Water Cornbread. Recorded at Omina Laboratories, the record began as an eat-healthy concept record. Blee toned down the preach to his farm-fresh doctrine, in favor of bangers like the Sleigh Bells-sampling “Nor-Cal” and the leisurely swank of “Clink Drinks.” His rhyming style is something overlapping the drawls of Pimp C and Young Dro, particularly in the cadence. But he carves his own avenue on “Sweet Tea Therapy,” which feeds off all the right distinctions of vintage Organized Noise slow jams.
He might have leaned his cuts, but one core concept held strong in the album title. For those not in the know, hot water cornbread is a bare-ingredients version of the barbecue side dish; no butter or milk, just add water to mash. Blee said, “It’s what you make when you come from the bottom of society to complete a meal on a budget with minimal resources, so it will always be connected to the struggle, and I come from that way of life.” He added it also sounds fucking awesome. Got to concur on both sentiments.
Blee’s next show is in August at Assembly with N-Pire Da Great and Peso Harlem. Hot Water Cornbread is available for free download at DJCosTheKid.com and Dimple Records stores.
Listening party: No rest for the weekenders as this third Saturday features another sterling and free event. Insight Coffee Roasters is hosting Good Company, a co-listening party for DLRN’s Neon Noir and Stevie Nader’s 333. Come early for the free swag courtesy of Getta Clue and the savory snacks of Squeeze Inn Midtown and Sprinkle It Gold Cakery, which rolls in a clear-windowed wagon of baked goods. Special performances by DLRN, Nader and Soosh*e to follow. Since DLRN and Nader are close buds and past collaborators, I had each of them speak on their favorite song from their friend’s upcoming projects.
Sean LaMarr of DLRN chose “Hurt No More”:
“Stevie is truly becoming a great producer/singer/song-writer. From conception, to production, to melodies & content he does it all with an ice-cold tone. ’Hurt No More’ is a track laden with history, reflection and it emotes a somberness that anyone who has felt hurt can relate to. Everything about it is implied. The production is minimal but driving, there is no oversinging. While layered well, the melodies and harmonies are careful and sparse. Easily the most addictive track on 333.”
Stevie Nader chose “Good Company”:
“’Good Company’ has been one of my favorite songs since I heard it. Not just my favorite DLRN track, but a favorite on my music playlist. It’s got a superchill, feel-good vibe and the music video is ridiculous (shout out to Sami Abdou). Sean and Jon [Reyes] are always solid in their lyrics and production, respectively, so expect greatness from Neon Noir.”
The Good Company listening party begins at 7:30 p.m. at Insight Coffee Roasters and ends at 10:30 p.m., but 21-and-over attendees should stick around for an after-hours surprise that includes sets by DJ Whores, Jon Reyes and DJ Druskee.