Release Radar 6/5/20: Run The Jewels vs Rolling Blackouts

Release Radar 6/5/20: Run The Jewels vs Rolling Blackouts

Summer is here, and the humidity has begun to creep in. Between the intensity of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd, we are all in need of some relief. Folks, music can be the key to relief and new belief.

Run The Jewels released their long-awaited fourth album, RTJ4. It started with the hard-hitting "Oh La La" single, and it continues with a scorcher called "JU$T." The hook is sung by Pharrell Williams, while Zach De La Rocha makes another guest appearance, exploding out of the speaker.

"Look at all these slave masters posing on your dollar!"


The timing of this release is nothing less than historical. Killer Mike's verse on "Walking In The Snow," is eerily reminiscent of a scene that just rocked our country last week with the murder of George Floyd.

"And every day on the evening news they feed you fear for free. And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me
And 'til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, "I can't breathe." And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV
The most you give's a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy"

After a few listens, I'm convinced this is the album our country needed. Channel the rage and take it to the voting booth. Let's make some real changes. Also, buy this album, support this group. We need to keep hearing their voices.

The other big release this week is Sideways to New Italy, from the Rolling Blackouts CF. It's another step in the right direction, a jingly-jangly affair reminiscent of a young REM, or Guided By Voices. After two listens through my favorite song is "Beautiful Steven."


J. Mascis, of Dino Jr fame, appears on Kestrels' latest single, and they have a lot in common. Kestrels remind me so much of Ride, while they do have some Dinosaur Jr. in their veins; or maybe it's the ridiculous lead J rips out in the bridge. His solos are the stuff of legends.

Is it Sugar, is it Husker Du? Nope, it's Bob Mould and he's back, sounding more punk rock than ever on "American Crisis."

Gizmo Varillas releases another new single called "One Day At A Time," and there's a Rusted Root, Paul Simon vibe. He has grabbed my attention and kept it. Definitely, one to watch.


Travis returns after 10 years, but I'm a bit underwhelmed. "Ghost" is a good song, but so similar to everything else they've done.

Too Short is back with Lexy Pantera, who sounds like MIA. This new style gives Short Dogg some new life and he sounds rejuvenated. Man, this dude has stuck around in the game for almost 40 years, respect due!

Geographer continues to impress with his latest single, "Love Is Madness." Awhile back he released a New Order cover for "Age Of Consent" that I really liked, and since then I've been a fan.

This Aaron Park "The Storyteller" is such a cool slice of freeform jazz. That's why I'm leaving it right here for you. Having a cookout? Put this on low, and enjoy the birds chattering over the top of this think piece.

That's it for me. Wave and smile at someone you don't know this week.

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