I already announced that I’m leaving DJBooth, but today is officially my last day.
I consider the Bronald Oil investigation I just did with Nathan my mic drop, but for my last day I also wanted to do something that felt quintessentially me. Over the last four years nothing has given me greater joy than putting y’all on to some music you might not have heard otherwise. I remember combing through DJBooth as a fan and finding a new song or artist that got me excited. The rush, the goosebumps, the immediate search to download anything and everything they ever did, that's my passion. Knowing I gave that feeling to others a few times is something I’ve never taken for granted, so it just felt right to go out sharing some great new music from an Under 1K artist.
Change is hard. Hell, even not changing is hard. Moving on, paying the bills, trying to figure out how to follow my dreams and desires while still keeping my bank account relatively swole are all weighing on me and I’ve been using music as an escape and a distraction more than a fuel.
That’s why I was so excited to dig in to L.A. Salami’s new EP (which is more like a single with two b-sides attached than an EP), the first piece of music since I covered him for the Under 1K series. While I was expecting a distraction, what I got was the cathartic confrontation of the feelings I've been trying to ignore and a much needed proverbial arm around the shoulder from someone who understands. It’s only three songs long, but the weight, power and beauty of L.A. Salami’s The City Nowadays feels like a double album.
The EP begins with "The City Nowadays," a track that's much more elaborate and instrumentally driven than his typical minimalist sound. Once again, his songwriting stands out as he paints a cynical, jaded picture, one I'm sure anyone in their twenties can really identify with. While you might think "The City Nowadays" has a negative tone, what really makes this project a thing of beauty is how he follows it up.
On "Gets You Wondering," Salami shares some musings that fit the vibe of the proceeding track with lines like, "Your freedom may be falsified by the paycheck that you earn," but what makes them even more powerful is how he sprinkles in glimmers of hope and positivity. Salami urges listeners to look at the good that shines through all the bullshit, frustration, and confusion, concluding that it's those small slivers of beauty we can find if our eyes are open that make dealing with the ugly worth it.
One of those small slivers of beauty is the concluding track, "When The Poet Sings," which is a must-listen for any artist, writer, creative, or anyone trying to follow a dream.
"When The Poet Sings" is the perfect piece to leave you with because L.A. Salami is a singing poet. His songwriting is beautiful, his pictures are vivid, and his words strike you deep. Even apart from the power of his words, Salami's The City Nowadays is valuable simply because it's heartbreaking music from an artist you might otherwise miss, and I'm thrilled to be able to put him on your radar.
More than free concert tickets, more than getting followed by Nicki Minaj, it's getting to share music with DJBooth readers that I'm going to miss most, but taking a page from "Gets You Wondering," I'm not going to lament. Instead, I'm only grateful for every goosebump I've ever gotten from music and ever goosebump you've gotten from me sharing. Our lives are a series of chapters that open and close, but great music lasts beyond us all.