Hoosier Monthly Digest: January 2021 Edition
After over a year of no “Hoosier Monthly Digest,” I decided that it would be good to give the perennial feature a much-needed reboot. After all, it’s not like there hasn’t still been quality music coming out of the Hoosier State on a regular basis. The feature’s inaugural 2021 edition features new cuts released in January from both long-time local favorites and new discoveries alike, so without further ado, here are my “Hoosier Highlights” for the month of January 2021.
BAYEM – “Rush”: German-American pop sensation BAYEM burst onto the scene last year with his hit song “Pressure,” a bouncy head-bobber that landed over 100,000 plays and a noteworthy top 40 spot in my favorite 100 tracks of 2020. Meanwhile, his first single of 2021 and third overall feels like its infectious antithesis. “Rush” is this incredibly-percussive, mid-tempo banger with a driving bassline that helps keep things moving constantly.
Public Universal Friend – “Firestarter”: The first album since changing their government name (and in turn their band name as well), their forthcoming LP Perennials has been depicted as a “coming out deconstruction parable.” This may be an accurate description of the record itself, but what it fails to account for is Jody Friend’s vast sonic evolution since 2017’s Lower, Permission. The album opener that also serves as its second single, “Firestarter” is both lush and vibrant, both complex and expansive. At points the riffing harkens back to Carnavas-era Silversun Pickups, while vocally Friend channels this Dan Haseltine sort of crooning.
Haley Jonay – “i’m not the ex he’s back with”: Electropop songstress Haley Jonay has released three albums and countless singles, the most recent of which being the carefree pop rocker “i’m not the ex he’s back with.” I have seen parallels to both Maggie Rogers and Taylor Swift in Jonay’s music, and I would say that both of those are accurate comparisons, but on her newest tune she really embodies the attitude of a 1989-era Swift, particularly with her vocal flourishes throughout.
Diop – “The Way That You”: Having released at least one project in each of the last five years (and sometimes releasing more than one a year), Diop is easily one of Indianapolis’ most prolific hip-hop artists. Add to that a consistency across his catalogue, and he’s not just one of the city’s most prolific, but he’s also one of its most reliable. With a melodic backbeat and emotive verses throughout, his latest single “The Way That You” is no exception.
Aaron Frazer – “Can’t Leave It Alone”: Throughout his solo debut Introducing…, Aaron Frazer seamlessly blends elements of R&B, soul, and indie, but one of the album’s sure-fire highlights takes this to the next level. “Can’t Leave It Alone” is this brief, funky foot-stomper that is as much of a rocker as it is a groover. Although the Baltimore-raised, Brooklyn-based songwriter doesn’t exactly qualify as a “Hoosier,” Frazer first came into the spotlight as co-lead vocalist and drummer of Bloomington’s very own Durand Jones & The Indications, a band he still plays a pivotal part in to this day. Just consider this one a bonus highlight for the month of January.
You can find all of my Hoosier picks in one place, whether you use SoundCloud or Spotify, each with its own set of exclusives, updated monthly. Be sure to go follow the playlist if you like what you hear, and feel free to let me know of any up and coming Hoosiers you think I should feature for the next month.