Midweek Music Mix: New Releases from Jack Awful, White VHS and More

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This week’s Midweek Music Mix features music by Jack Awful, White VHS, Sunnyside Uppers and Visceral Call.

Matt Carter 
Jack Awful is bringing a little variety to New Brunswick hip hop with his alternative approach to production and composition.

Jack Awful – Mopiest Loops

On his latest album, Mopiest Loops, Saint John hip hop artist Jack Awful blends chopped vocal samples with simple rhythms to create a laid back collection of tracks that sound like nothing else coming out of the province at the moment. Operating outside the artform’s well worn sub-genres like Boom Bap and Trap, Awful finds his strength and sonic identity through a mix of low-fi production supporting a vocal delivery that shifts from upbeat momentum to the incredibly lazy. 

With an admirable mix of both lyrical and production chops, Jack Awful’s bohemian approach to hip hop construction and delivery presents something beyond the categories of Alternative Hip Hop or Underground. With lyrics that are more self-reflective and observational as opposed to self-inflating and confrontational, Mopiest Loops, is a stand alone album free from a lot of the common/expected tropes and one of the most unique New Brunswick hip hop albums we’re likely to hear this year.

Visceral Call – Unleashed

The debut release by the Moncton-based project Visceral Call offers an interesting take on the limitless subgenres that exist under the black metal banner. Checking off many of the appropriate (and necessary?) boxes commonly associated with this style of music – distorted guitars, incomprehensible vocals and dark supporting imagery – Visceral Call take things further, reaching into more experimental territory than what typically comes to mind when we think of metal’s dark half.  The album’s eight tracks largely follow the exact same formula and musical structure. There is an opening form that (b)lasts for about 2/3s of each song’s running time before giving way to a relaxing, closing passage that provides a much needed break from the enormous amount of tension these songs generate off the top. The repetition is both exhausting and predictable.  Perhaps in the case of Visceral Call’s style of repeticore, the magic lies within the slight variations each new track places upon the previous.

White VHS – VGM

Hayden White is an extremely prolific composer, arranger, beat maker, producer, whatever you want to call it. As White VHS, White has been releasing new music with a frequency that’s generally unknown ‘round these parts, rivaled only perhaps by David R. Elliott’s pre-restaurateur era or pre-Halifax era Adam Mowery. It feels like every other month White posts something new to his Bandcamp page, which is also a binge-worthy destination for anyone who enjoys making electronic music. 

For this latest project, White created a lot of the music using samples pulled from a variety of video games. And keeping up with his own productivity, White has already prepped a follow up to this series (Vol. 2) which arrives later this week. Half the fun of his music is simply trying to stay on top of it all.

Sunnyside Uppers – Nobody Gets Me

Sunnyside Uppers may be more than just a cool band name, but it’s too early to tell. Nobody Gets Me, the third release from this Saint John-based project continues the group(?)’s you’ll-never-guess-what’s-coming-next approach to writing and releasing music. A polished, contemporary love song – released on Valentine’s Day no less – Nobody Gets Me follows a short EP of indie and garage rock jams recorded and released on the shortest day of the year as part of Demo Fest 2020, and the straight-up indie folk song, If All Is Lost, that marked Sunnyside Uppers’ debut back in November of 2020. So far, every release from the Sunnyside Uppers has proven interesting and well worth the listen and Nobody Gets Me is no exception. It definitely displays the project’s strongest songwriting and best sounding recording to date. Looking forward to what’s coming next.

Send us your Music!

If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com

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