Prepare yourselves, it's Memorial Day weekend. A time to honor those no longer with us, the heroes who sacrificed their lives while serving in the armed forces. And of course MDW is also the unofficial start to summer and the signal that vacation season is upon us. Barbeques, beaches, bikinis, beer, Barter 6 will all be in full supply as the masses collectively decide that it's finally a good time to get drunk at the pool. Does that sound complicated and maybe even contradictory? Welcome to America! Can you enjoy your freedoms this weekend while also being profoundly thankful for those who secured those freedoms? Of course you can. Let's do it!
One thing is for sure, you will need a stock of fresh new sounds for the weekend. The problem? Way too much music came out this week, just like the week before and the week before that. How will you possibly filter through all that and still find time to load up on sunburn? Well, that's why we're so selective about the music that we post, and why we created our charts, but I'm here to personally give you the best of the best, that "if you missed this music this week you might as well miss summer" music. These are the four most essential songs that you need to hear this week.
Lysergic acid diethylamide. LOVE x $EX x DREAMS. It doesn't matter if it stands for the name of the drug or Rocky's interpretation, what does matter is that the aptly named At.Long.Last.A$AP album is coming soon and the latest effort from the project is another sign of great things to come. Rocky has been touting his psychedelic influences as of late, so "LSD" doesn't exactly come as a surprise, but what is impressive is his ability to seamlessly transition from gliding indie rock vibes, akin to floating through the clouds, to braggadocious bars over opulent-sounding looped samples and back again. Put everything together and it all works, especially when paired with the trippy video, which Rocky co-directs.
I must have been feeling some type of way when I watched this for the first time earlier this week, because it really struck a chord. I've always known Locksmith as a monster on the mic, a freestyle master able to quickly and handily dispose of any who dare to oppose him. He's an extremely intelligent person, but has an ability to convey his thoughts in a simple and straightforward manner, and while I've always enjoyed his music, "For Now" has been the record that's elicited the biggest emotional response from me. I can appreciate nostalgia, and the clips of a younger Lock dispersed throughout fuels the song's message. You can feel the grind he's endured, and reflect on the ups and downs while continuing to set his sights on the future. This is motivation music right here, for when you're goin' thru some thangs, and like the record itself I'll leave you with this quote: "If you can find faith in yourself and escape from yourself you can finally find life and its purpose."
"We Gettin Throwed!" This is my anthem for the weekend, and maybe every weekend beyond; a song that I may have unjustly overlooked a bit upon first listen. You see, sometimes you can't help it, you hear something and depending on your mood or your environment you don't quite get the full effect. Maybe you hear it again in a different setting and everything changes. Maybe you have to be as blunted as this Two Fresh production, a beat that somehow simultaneously retains an aura of being chopped and screwed while boosting the adrenaline with its cosmic, electronic permeations. If I still had a car, I would probably suggest throwing this one on in the midst of a late-night highway drive, turning the volume up all the way and making sure you sing along throughout the entirety of the chorus. I might just call an Uber for the sole purpose of bumping this in a car, preferrably while extremely throwed. The artists would agree with me, as they've described it as "an anthem that willl take you from daydreaming at your 9 to 5, to cruising down Santa Monica Blvd in your 9-5." Well said.
Obvious alert: If you haven't noticed, this is not a song. Congratulations on your astuteness, and welcome to a special week for the "4 Essentials" series. Should I call this column "4 Essentials Songs, or Maybe 3 Essentials Songs & an Album If There's An Album That Demands Special Circumstances"? I don't really care. What matters is that this is an entire album, it's essential, and believe it or not, it was not featured on DJBooth upon its release. As I alluded to earlier, sometimes you miss things. Maybe you hear a song in the wrong setting, or maybe you miss an entire album when it comes out and don't get to hear it until weeks later. We all make mistakes, and they're not mistakes if you eventually take the time to listen. Today, I rectify my earlier misstep by telling you to listen to Jazz Cartier's Marauding In Paradise album RIGHT NOW. Go download it, as the Toronto up-and-comer has crafted an impeccable body of work that has quickly risen through the ranks into the upper echelon of my favorite projects this year. 16 tracks in total, the project ranges from dark and paranoid ("New Religion," "Feel Something") to reckless aggression ("The Valley," "The Downtown Cliche," "Holy Shit") to reflective and poignant ("A Sober Drowning," "See You In Hell"). The symbolism is heavy, the imagery vivid and production so on point it takes on a life of its own. There is a record here for every time of the day, and though the sound varies to reflect this the project plays as one cohesive theme, rather than a collection of songs. I made an honest attempt to choose a favorite, and couldn't do it, the entire thing is just that good. If you have followed this series and trust my musical judgement in any way, shape or form, do yourself a favor and make this your top listening priority immediately.
Alright, DJBooth faithful. Stay safe this weekend, enjoy the extended time off if you are lucky enough to have it and tell someone to hand you the damn aux cord. Thanks for rocking with DJBooth for another week.