Pugs Atomz - Test Drive LP

Pugs Atomz is a Chicago emcee who has been at this for two decades, rocking with artists like Psalm One and Offwhyte and working as part of groups like The Electric along the way, as well as maintaining a steady solo career. Most recently, he teamed up with producer Inkswel to release the album The Moon in 2020. Now he’s back with a new solo album, Test Drive LP. Pugs Atomz came to the title of this album from his long career and his attitude of trying out different things and seeing what took and what was worth pursuing and working harder at to get right.

Apifera - 6 Visits

Apifera is the group started by Tel Aviv keyboardist/producer Yuval Havkin, aka Rejoicer. After working with keyboardist Nitai Hershkovits, drummer Amir Bresler, and bassist Yonatan Albalak on different projects, they decided to officially start working as a group, releasing their debut LP, Overstand, just last year. Now they are back with an interesting take on the covers EP with 6 Visits. Normally, when you see someone releasing a covers project, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect – a bunch of songs you already know, maybe a couple of deeper cuts, arranged a little differently than the original, but close enough that you get the essence of the song.

Blackbird Belle - Microcosm

Blackbird Belle is a producer from Kingston, Ontario in Canada. You might now him by his alias, Atra Aeterna, the name he has been releasing music under for the last ten years or so. Using the name Blackbird Belle, however, is a recent change, but he’s already released two projects since 2020. Now he’s back with a third, Microcosm. The first thing that hit me when listening to Microcosm was just how crisp and funky the drums sounded.

ALXNDRBRWN - Glow Kid

ALXNDRBRWN is a producer from Baltimore who has been putting out music for a couple of years. He got on most people’s radar when he made his debut for Strange Famous last year with an instrumental project called The Alex Brown Project. Now he’s back with a different type of album, Glow Kid. Glow Kid is a posse album, with ALXNDRBRWN steering the ship with his production, while a large swathe of the Strange Famous roster stop by to make an appearance and drop some dope rhymes.

Evil Needle - L'Emprise

Evil Needle is a producer originally from Germany but now based in Grand Est, France. He has been releasing music for over a decade now, with his most recent project, a collaborative EP with chromonicci called Travelers, coming in April of 2020. He’s now back with a solo LP, L’Emprise. Over the years, Evil Needle has played with a lot of different style of production, but I don’t know if we’ve ever heard him as seductive and romantic sounding as he appears here on L’Emprise.

BudaMunk & J.Lamotta - Searching Skies

J.Lamotta is an artist born in Tel Aviv to Moroccan parents, now making her home in Berlin. She released her debut album, Conscious Tree, back in 2017, and since that time she’s shown a few different sides of herself with various different projects. The most recent project, an EP called Brand New Choice, came out in 2020, and had her at her most accessible and danceable R&B/Pop. Now she’s shifting gears once again, working with Tokyo producer BudaMunk to make the album Searching Skies.

Adeline - Adi Oasis

Adeline is a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist born in Paris, now based in Brooklyn. She initially came to the spotlight when she joined up with nu-disco group Escort in the early 2010s, but in recent years she has struck out on her own, with her first solo album coming in 2018. Her most recent EP, INTÉRIMES, came out in July of 2020. Now she is back with a new project, Adi Oasis. As implied by the title, Adi Oasis is Adeline coming to terms with the fact that music exists as an oasis for her while so many difficult things are happening in the world.

Curse Ov Dialect - Dark Days Bright Nights

Curse Ov Dialect are a group from Melbourne that have been together since 1994. They had their biggest crossover moment in 2003, when they released Lost in the Real Sky on Mush Records. Since the beginning, though, the group has carved out a unique space by exploring Dadaist stage theatrics and adventurous costuming, then combining that with some avantgarde production and intense political lyricism informed by the multi-ethnic makeup of the group.

Dillon & J57 - '83 Kids

Dillon and J57 have led parallel lives, being born in the same year (1983), with one growing up in Jacksonville and co-founding Full Plate Records, and the other growing up in New York and becoming part of the Fat Beats family. The two eventually crossed paths in Atlanta and instantly bonded over their love of hip hop and ‘90s hockey. It didn’t take much longer after that for them to start working on an album together, which is now here in the form of ‘83 Kids.

Showrocka & Sankofa - Showkofa

Showrocka is an emcee from New Haven who has been part of the New England underground scene for a few years. When things lined up for him to work with Fort Wayne emcee Sankofa, the two jumped at the chance to put something together. The result is their debut EP as a duo, Showkofa. Over the years, Sankofa has shown a knack for finding lesser-known-yet-talented producers for his projects. For this project, he found an emcee in Showrocka who might not be well known outside of his scene, but as you can tell from listening to this EP, he’s certainly not lacking in skill and charisma.