Critical Circuit #6 – September 30, 2021

So I’ve got to be honest, no reviews this week. I spent my weekend at Governor’s Ball Music Festival and that really cut into the time I could have spent listening to new music or seeing new movies. But that’s okay because this gives me a chance to be a bit creative. For one, I can just say Gov Ball was absolutely phenomenal. Highlights were not surprising, Phoebe Bridgers, Freddie Gibbs, Carly Rae Jepsen and Bleachers were all incredible in the festival setting, all doing their part to make sure my voice was gone for most of this week. And despite my issues with his music, Post Malone closed the festival on the highest of notes, bringing out Young Thug and 21 Savage for “Goodbyes” and “rockstar” and then shocking us all with a Roddy Ricch appearance that absolutely killed.

So instead of half-assing a few reviews for things I barely gave time to, I figured this would be a nice time to go back and highlight some smaller projects that I haven’t been able to cover but still feel are worthy of attention.

Adeem the Artist – Cast Iron Pansexual

What this album lacks in subtlety, it makes up for with charm and raw emotion. As the title suggests, this album is focused on Adeem’s experiences living in a conservative landscape as a member of the LGBT community. While this is easily one of the most socially-conscious country music that has come out in a while, it never feels like it is trying to preach to you, instead just paint an honest depiction of Adeem’s struggles trying to fit in. It is a short, simple but beautifully written project that has really stuck with me this year.

Backxwash – I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses

Last year I was blown away by Backxwash’s God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It, a refreshing blend of industrial rock and hip hop that felt genuinely bold statement from an artist full of personality. Her most recent album takes everything I loved about that project and turns it up to 11. The production is outrageous, blaring with an chaotic energy on each track as Backxwash screams each bar for a result that is more intense than any hip hop project this year. The content here is also insanely personal, as Backxwash opens up about her experiences as a member of the transgender community and the societal backlash that comes along with it. It is genuinely difficult to listen to at times, not just because of the abrasive sound but just trying to process to darker implications of many of these lyrics. I cannot recommend this project enough, even if it will instantly turn many off, and do not be surprised when you hear more of my thoughts on this later this year.

Sundays – Inner Coasts

Sometimes you need an album to put on that will instantly put you in a calmer mental place. Sundays can best be described as a folk group with pop flare, taking quiet poetic lyrics and pairing them with some stick hooks and melodies. Songs like “Shadow Dress” and “All We Have is Time” have some great momentum and have been on heavy rotation since I first heard this back in February. Whether you want some genuinely great indie music to get into, or just want something nice for a background playlist, I think this band has something that will entertain you.

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