Friday Five: Nadim Azzam, Oren Levin, Fangs & Twang, Erin Zindle, Annabella Paolucci
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features hip-hop pop by Nadim Azzam, a silly song by Oren Levin, a roots rocker by Fangs and Twang, a ballad by Erin Zindle, and Latin folk-pop by Annabella Paolucci.
Nadim Azzam, Dreams for the Future
Nadim Azzam has explored the intersection of hip-hop, folk, R&B, and pop for many years. But with the Ann Arbor artist's new album, Dreams for the Future, it's clear that it's not so much an exploration anymore; it's just Nadim. He absorbed all his influences long ago and now spits out unique, smart, frequently frustrated original songs that chronicle his life in an open and emotional style that is distinctly his own. He's a really strong singer, a really fluid rapper, a really talented guitarist, and a really skilled producer. Really. Truly. (Two songs on Dreams for the Future feature singer-songwriter and former Ann Arbor-ite Oren Levin and two others feature Detroit singer Myna.)
Oren Levin, "Cranberry Sauce Isn't Even a Sauce"
In 2022, U-M grad Jacob Sigman made a hilarious appearance on The Tonight Show's "Battle of the Instant Songwriters," where the artists are given a subject and asked to create a song on the spot. Well, the Ann Arbor to Fallon pipeline continues to flow with Ann Arbor native Oren Levin appearing on the show this month for a Thanksgiving-themed insta-tune on the crappiness of cranberry sauce.
Fangs and Twang, "You Monster"
Ypsi trio Fangs and Twang will launch its fourth album, You Monster, with a record-release gig at Ziggy's on Friday, December 1. The title track and first single mixes power pop with John Mellencamp-esque rock twang and wry lyrics that comment on society's passion for misinformation.
Erin Zindle, "Camera Camera"
Ann Arbor's Erin Zindle steps out on The Ragbirds for a beautiful, piano-driven ballad about a trans kid trying to find their way in the world. (Read our recent interview with Zindle about some of her other 2023 singles.)
Annabella Paolucci, "Dos Cafés"
University of Michigan student Annabella Paolucci created this video for her original song, "Dos Cafés," as part of the recent School of Music, Theatre & Dance Scholarship Showcase. She's the recipient of the Artistic Leadership Award and the SMTD Undergraduate Scholarship, and after listening to this tune and watching the video, it's easy to see and hear why. She cites Celia Cruz, Astor Piazzolla, Manu Chao, Sérgio Mendez, and Natalia Lafourcade as influences.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.