Friday Five: Fred Thomas, Isaac Levine, Briaa Dupree, Jib Kidder, Aye Hawk
Friday Five is where we celebrate new and recent music by Washtenaw County artists. This week we feature Fred Thomas, Isaac Levine, Briaa Dupree, Jib Kidder, and Aye Hawk.
Fred Thomas, Another Song About Riding the Bus (Selected Songs 2002-2020)
All Energy Must Continue Upward, All Energy Must Continue Upward
Chandra, "Shut In / Shut Out (Fred Thomas Version)"
Ypsi's Fred Thomas is so prolific he could always have a place in the Friday Five—and I'd welcome it. Three new releases feature Thomas' versatility, too. Another Song About Riding the Bus (Selected Songs 2002-2020) is a cassette and digital collection of Thomas rarities. The self-titled release by All Energy Must Continue Upward finds Thomas experimenting with instrumental synth music, which pairs nicely with his recent Dream Erosion (Synthesizer Songs), released under his own name. Finally, Thomas did a remix of a new song by Chandra, who released the cult post-punk Transportation 12-inch as a 10-year-old in 1980. The EP received rave reviews when it was reissued in 2008, and Chandra started performing and releasing new music again in 2018. (Thomas also did a great interview with her in 2017.)
Isaac Levine, Rainbow Garage
Another one of Washtenaw County's most prolific songwriters, Isaac Levine writes off-kilter indie-pop songs that sound almost naive until you listen to his pointed lyrics. Rainbow Garage is another collection of quirky, low-fi, loosely played tunes that address the political and personal with sharp wit.
Briaa Dupree, "Push Through the Pain"
Ypsi rapper Briaa Dupree's previous singles danced in the playful realm of Cardi B / Megan Thee Stallion, but "Push Through the Pain" is a serious song in support of Black Lives Matters.
Jib Kidder, Jump the Gun
This super-clever record by Ann Arbor's Jib Kidder recalls the best moments of early Beck and Coldcut's chop-and-paste aesthetic to create fantastically catchy songs. It's a great album wherever you play it—on your computer speakers or bumping in your car—but I'd recommend listening to Jump the Gun with good over-the-ear headphones so you can hear all the details Kidder puts in his songs. So good.
Aye Hawk, "Coffee & Hookah Smoke"
Ypsi rapper Aye Hawk, with beats by Keet It G's in-house producer Dyelow, celebrates introspection, relationships with friends and family, and the plant that helps him meditate on all of that.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.