andrés (who also composes/produces under the name Unusuals) has always been one of the more ambitious creators around the central Texas area, in my eyes, and his creative range never ceases to amaze me. I shouldn’t be surprised, however, as he and I share a number of similar favorite artists and influences. For his recent four song collection, “cheers to us.”, andrés seemingly channeled the influences of lo-fi singer/songwriters in the vein of Elliot Smith or Daniel Johnston, the latter of whom he covered via you hurt me. I’ve definitely been a fan of his excursions into the acoustic realm, and this collection definitely represents some of his strongest work. Check out the songs, share them around for others to do the same, and donate a buck or two if you can, as that always helps creators out.
Unusuals seems like an artist trying to get to the core of the feeling spectrum that music creates. His instrumentals somehow manage to be deeply personal and immediately recognizable from other producers, and his broader approach to ideas is bolstered by his execution. Even when he strips the tracks down, such as the case with true love never dies., he still takes us on a journey reminiscent of the phases a relationship goes through : simple, evolving, and eventually founded in a memory of what you remember but nearly unrecognizable by the end. The album cover is dope too, showcasing that dark humor that Unusuals and I seems to share. I’m hoping that this one is an indication that a new project is in the works, but until then, give this one a download or share it around.
Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice stays busy with a diverse range of talents and exploits, but a key part of that business is making sure that none of the disciplines suffer as the palette expands. Recently, in celebration of the steady growth that the Escapism Plan Friday night residency at Tantra Coffeehouse has seen, Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice took to the lab to start curating small mixes for promotional use and listener enjoyment. Dubbed the Escapism series, each mix will feature a unique focus on top of Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice‘s signature DJ skill and execution. The covers will also feature the photography of Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice.
Late Night Drive is a down-tempo collection of pop songs, electronic songs, R&B songs and instrumentals meant to put miles on the road for you. Sonic Enlightenment features the works of independent (and largely Texas-based) producers such as Unusuals, members of the (in)Sect Records and Exploded Drawing family), Yppah, edison and poolboi blu.
If you dig what you hear, then make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for follow-up releases to the series, and don’t be afraid to request or recommend a mix you’d like to hear.
andrés is a man of many diverse interests and styles. When I originally got to know him, it was via his Unusuals moniker and the unique production approach he took with his albums. Over time, I’ve gotten to know him deeper via his radio exploits with Cosmic Grooves on KZSM Radio San Marcos, his vintage clothing ventures with BORDER PALACE VINTAGE, and a recent transition into the middle ground of beatmaking and singer/songwriterdom with his work under the name andrés. Friendly Skies is a reflection on connection, a lament about what one feels when an opportunity for intimacy presents itself, and all you want to do is make things as easy and easy-going as possible. Bonus shoutout to me on the artwork assist, inspired by the recent admiration and respect andrés has for Missy Elliot. andrés is certainly carving out a niche for himself that the San Marcos scene hasn’t seen since the likes of Roger Sellers, but andrés (much like Roger) is a wholly unique individual, so it should be a journey worth watching for those lucky enough to witness the growth.
‘This album celebrates its 2-years since its release date this upcoming August.
I wrote a majority of this album while going through some crazy times, & went back to rewrite it after my appendix surgery.
I feel y’all should check it out, I may be on a current hiatus from seriously listening to music & making music, but this album is something I hope one day people will understand its concept.
It was inspired by dark times & the study of the lust for human interaction.’
I wasn’t hip to this when he first dropped it, but Unusuals is definitely a completely different animal from If You’re Waiting Till We’re Dead, Don’t Bother Listening. This project plays more like a Trent Reznor album than a hip-hop album, with deep sonic textures to match the deep emotional tones hit. This album is definitely worth taking some time with.
Unusuals was already impressing me with the production vibes, but lately, there’s been a metamorphosis taking place that has me wholly interested. After some public deep diving into a range of deep influences, a handful of andrés tracks have manifested, all of which are deeply personal and introspective over deep production. ‘SEWELL.’ has been blessed with the video treatment, with the enclosed space of a car backseat serving as visual reference to the claustrophobic nature of dealing with deep feelings of longing, especially for someone you have yet to learn more about. The video definitely reminds me of being ready to move forward with no control of direction and nobody in the driver’s seat. Definitely a strong and evocative piece of minimalist art… and the wardrobe decision doesn’t hurt at all.
It seems that all of my Texas music making peers have been putting in major work in their respective labs this summer. Unusuals, for example, has been lacing folks with a steady stream of singles over the past couple of months, as well as livestreams of beatmaking sessions and his KZSM radio show. The latest single, Slip Into Darkness, is a breakbeat-based exploration of longing for a loving connection (somewhat inspired by the legendary words of Mary J. Blige). The track features a guest vocalist (Andres, and I have suspicions of whom that might be) rather than opting for the usual vocal sampling utilized by Unusuals. It’s good to know that the folks I dig are out there exploring their feelings via their creative sides and keeping momentum flowing in the right direction.
Unusuals just dropped a gem on us with the full-length banger If You’re Waiting Till We’re Dead, Don’t Bother Listening., and now he’s back at it again with a fresh new batch of singles hitting the airwaves. EVERYTHING HURTS. is the first of the batch to see the light of day, and it’s a somber tone with several movements that capture that feeling of a downward spiral with occasional gasps for air in the mix. The drum programming is tight as hell (as always), but it’s the string juxtapositions that really make this track work… the orchestral stings play well off of the bass that meanders through the track in an Eeyore-like fashion. This one would definitely be a good piece for a film score or something similar. Props to Unusuals for keeping the good tunes coming.
Central Texas has always had a vibrant hip-hop scene, but over the years, an equally strong and diverse beat scene has developed. There are lots of different folks with lots of different styles, many of which appeal to me, but when Unusuals handed me a CD recently of If You’re Waiting Till We’re Dead, Don’t Bother Listening, I was not prepared for how blown away I would be. This is a seriously solid project, and already a strong contender for my local album of the year. I suggest you don’t sleep on this one.