I know I missed a beat with my last “Hoosier Monthly Digest” of 2018, so I decided I’d try to make up for it with an exceptionally extensive column for my first one of 2019. If January is any indication of what the Hoosier State has to offer this year, I have a feeling that we are all in for one wild ride in 2019.
DisTinct – “Colors”: DisTinct just released his stellar LP The Feeling: Kuro back in November, a release which was my #13 album of 2018, and yet he is already back with another, equally phenomenal, new single called “Colors.” The 3rd4low main man offers up a terrific two-part track, which in all honesty sounds like two separate tracks—I wouldn’t be shocked to see “SICKO MODE” comparisons being thrown around the more widely this song gets heard. Part one is slower and more melody-oriented, while part two picks up the pace with a “Jumpman”-esque beat as the Naptown rapper changes things up with a more biting flow. Different as they are, both parts of “Colors” boast the same lyrical hook (albeit with a slightly different delivery) and a break halfway through that seamlessly connects the two unique beats.
Bitter Breath – “Blameless”: Wait, what is this? A metalcore song that I thoroughly enjoy? What year is it? The debut single from Indianapolis duo Bitter Breath is the epitome of brutality, embodying a sort of massiveness that I miss hearing in a lot of heavy music today. Haunting strings lead the way for much of the tune, giving way to a subtle melodic undertone that you may completely overlook if you’re not listening for it. Of course, it’s the crushing breakdown to end “Blameless” that seals the deal on the song’s overall intensity.
Dead Silence – “Paranoia”: Circle City battle rapper Dead Silence continues his reign of dominance with his first record of 2019, which features guest spots from fellow Indy artists Alexis, Keke Songbird, and Jeremiah Stokes. The latter brings to the table a brief yet powerful second verse, one that you’d never guess he wrote on the fly during the recording session, but that’s the “BLKBRD” for you. The composition’s chilling melodies are what really make “Paranoia” stand out though.
Keke Songbird – “Phoenix”: Speaking of Keke Songbird, the singer herself has just released a new song of her own, a soaring, uplifting tune that perfectly showcases her signature, self-proclaimed “neo jazz soul” sound. Genre-wise “Phoenix” is not one that I would typically spin on my own volition—at least not without being somehow prompted to do so. However, the song’s quality, both in lyrics and production, made it easy for me to see “Phoenix” for the stellar cut that it is.
Stay Outside – “Bottle Rocket”: Stay Outside blew me away last June with the jam of the summer, and they continue to impress on Bottle Rocket, which just released this month and opens with “All The Way Down.” The EP’s highlight, however, may very well be the title track, which also serves as its closer. The tight shuffle-like groove and soaring vocals give it a markedly anthemic quality, not entirely unlike its bookend counterpart.
O.D.D.I.T.Y – “Part of Me”: O.D.D.I.T.Y just keeps getting better and better with each successive single. His latest, “Part of Me,” is a head-bobbing banger that is equally smooth as it is funky. But don’t let that hard-hitting beat overshadow the powerful message here. I’ve always appreciated O.D.D.I.T.Y’s music for how open and honest he is about his life, and that transparency only continues with “Part of Me,” which may be one of his more vulnerable tunes yet. This may have technically released at the very tail end of last year, but to me it’s one of those notable top-caliber cuts that was lost in the barrage of year-end lists. And with him playing our fourth annual Steadfast Festival in March, you knew we had to squeeze it in here somehow.
You can find all of my Hoosier picks in one place, whether you use SoundCloud or Spotify, each with its own set of exclusives.