Friday Five: ness lake, Youth Arts Alliance, Mista Midwest, R1TUAL, Jonathan Edwards
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features indie pop by ness lake, hip-hop from Mista Midwest and the Youth Arts Alliance, horror soundtracks by R1TUAL, and lushly arranged songs by Jonathan Edwards.
ness lake, i lean in to hear you sing
Ypsilanti's Chandler Lach has been a prolific bedroom-folk artist for several years now, usually evoking the early '90s lo-fi pop era. But his new eight-song album, i lean in to hear you sing, bridges his acoustic-based music with electronic instrumentation and rhythms. It's his finest release to date. The tunes are earworms, and Lach has really honed in on arrangements that support and lift the songs, expertly pulling you into their emotional journeys.
Youth Arts Alliance releases
The Ypsilanti-based Youth Arts Alliance (YAA) runs arts workshops for kids all across Michigan, believing that "access to high-quality arts experiences and education is a human right." No lies detected. In addition to running creative writing and visual arts workshops, YAA brings in musical mentors to help teens create music. The info on these releases is a little sparse, but all nine songs below—six on the Drip Drip EP—are trap-oriented hip-hop tunes.
Mista Midwest, On a Mission to Be the Illest pt.4 (Tha Venom)
Mista Midwest is an Ann Arbor-born, Inkster-raised rapper who seems to spend every waking moment in the studio. Dude is prolific and talented, as heard on his latest full-length, On a Mission to Be the Illest pt.4 (Tha Venom). There are some trap-influenced tracks here, but a lot of the production sounds influenced by 1990s boom-bap rap, and Mista Midwest rides the beats with a laid-back but stentorian vocal style.
R1TUAL, occultic knights, "shadows of the forgotten," "forever"
Ann Arbor duo R1TUAL debuted last month with two singles and a six-song EP. While the occultic knights record gives off '80s horror-movie soundtrack vibes, the organ droner "shadows of the forgotten" could be the intro to a Cradle of Filth orchestral black-metal screamer, and "forever" mixes that menacing sound with hip-hop-inspired beats.
Jonathan Edwards, Wild Ghosts
Ypsilanti's Jonathan Edwards debuts with a record lush in lovely, layered vocal harmonies and shimmering fingerstyle guitar. The 13 songs on Wild Ghosts kept me guessing as to his influences: early Radiohead, Neil Young, Bon Iver, Elbow? Maybe it's none of those bands, but if you like any of those groups, there's a ton to like about Jonathan Edwards.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.