PLAY THIS WHILE YOU READ:
To say that a few kids from St. Louis, who collectively have maybe around 2500 followers, are more talented than most artists with hundreds of thousands, even millions, would probably set me up to be crucified on the cross of music journalism – if that’s even what I’m doing. I’ve struggled to give other artists the attention that they probably deserve because Dylan Brady is the future and his friends are all like the 12 disciples (besides Judas because that guy was a dickhead). Dylan is the perfect example of doing what you can with the resources and tools that you have at your disposal – he shoots his videos on an iPhone 6+, and they come out looking better than most of the visuals that people are paying an arm and a leg for. He’s a vocalist, writer, producer, designer, and did I mention that he shoots his videos on an iPhone 6+? The Gateway City native has done nothing but release fire content since he first showed up on the scene. “I don’t really like to make bad music to be completely honest,” Dylan once told me over a text message that included the word “LIT” in every other sentence. Brady first captured my attention last month when I saw the video for his single Little Bando, which features him in a shitty motel jumping on the bed in frames that cut between real life and simple animation. I was hooked from the minute I heard the lyrics, “Little bando don’t play that shit,” in his signature distortion-filled autotune. Little Bando led me to his album, All I Ever Wanted, that has found a nice resting place in my favorite projects of 2015. Each song opens up a different emotion, and the features, while chosen carefully, all compliment the project perfectly. After following Dylan closely, my eyes were opened to the fact that this man is surrounded by a cast of characters who all contribute a different style but are equally as talented in their own right.
Robel Ketema’s verse off the album (U>Them) had me digging and digging through the internet to find more from him only to find that I was going to have the play the shit out of this verse until he dropped off new music. Robel, who is of Ethopian descent, has a completely recognizable sound that blends a rastafarian-esque cadence with intricate lyricism. Recently, he dropped his first music video for the song Don’t HMU (produced and directed by Dylan – yes on an iPhone 6+), and again I found myself looping the song over and over again just itching to hear more from this kid. Both of these tracks can be found in the accompanying playlist, and you can access the music video for yourself in the description.
Lewis Grant is another one of the creative-cast with little content (1 song) but extreme potential. His debut single, Loading Screen (produced by guess who), instantly took me back to the days of crying to Panic! At The Disco in my bedroom as a sad and confused middle schooler. The emo-pop-synth vibe is something that I’ve missed for years, and I pray that this means the genre is facing a revival. Calvin Lewis is another member of the posse who has had the ability to hit me in a place that I’ve always felt like music is supposed to hit someone. Three-quarters of the time, I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the lyrics – but it doesn’t matter at all. He is releasing content that is hitting me on a much deeper level than most of the music I’m hearing on a daily basis.
Then, there is Ravenna Golden. The St. Louis songstress has a sound unlike any other female vocalist that I have listened to as of late and has me wondering if Kanye West made the right decision when he decided to sign Kacy Hill to GOOD Music in December (disclaimer: I really like your music too, Kacy. I’m sorry – it’s nothing personal). Ravenna, sticking with the popular theme here, also has very little content out; but what she has yet to miss on a release. Dylan has also been big in exclaiming that she is sitting on one of the best projects of the year.
And as if all of this wasn’t enough, Dylan & Co. dropped of an experimental pop EP this week that was hotter than anything I’ve heard on the radio in the past few years outside of Katy Perry’s Dark Horse. Cake Pop, under the name CAKE POP, was “just a collection of pop songs I made with my friends in my moms basement one weekend when she was in Florda”, according to Dylan. The only negative thing I can really say about the 6-song EP is that it didn’t feature Ravenna.
I know this is only the beginning for all of these artists. Robel has shared glimpses of what he has soon to come, and we’ve got some amazing things in store with Dylan coming very soon to 1833 (insert smiley face). As I touched on, briefly, Ravenna does apparently have a project finished, and I hope I’m not the only one in utter suspense waiting to hear what it sounds like. I’m not sure what Calvin and Lewis are up to, as far as their solo endeavors go; but if the general consensus is that of their close cohorts then I would expect content from them soon as well. It’s only a matter of time before these guys go from deep-web favorites to cult heroes.