Local Crafts: Southern New England in music, May 2018

We're back with another fine list of hand-picked crafts for May 2018.

During last month’s Local Crafts, we gave you music from Cam Bells, Jon Hope, Khary, Lunchbagg, KREW$ and more. This month, we have a couple of different genres in the mix so we’re switching the format ever so slightly. We’re adding in a navigation bar so you can get to the genre you want to listen to even faster. There’s some music here that was released prior to the start of Local Crafts, so we’ve been including them…but not too much.

Electronic  | Hip-hop | Indie/Rock/Alternative | Pop | R&B |


FBGM — “Apple Trees” (Boston)

With respect to the duo, we have not placed FBGM within the confines of a genre and you will read why. FBGM is a Boston-based genderless/genreless duo and have just released their newest single a couple of days ago. The song was “inspired by cheaters, conflicting emotions, synthesizers and Prince.” FBGM, Matt Jatkola and D. Orxata, spent a couple of months in their studio “chasing the song down a different sonic path.” The song grows on you through the very first listen. FBGM is a dynamic duo as they wrote, produced, recorded and mixed the song. Stream or pay-what-you-want for the song on their Bandcamp. Catch them on tour at the dates below.

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Electronic/Producers (Any Genres)


5AM — Onward (Delaware to Providence, Rhode Island to Philadelphia) 

Sam Andrus, known as 5AM, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and has half a decade of experience in graphic design. What you may not know is he also doubles as an electronic artist. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, 5AM has been making music since being inspired while attending RISD. The five-track Onward is the latest from the artist. He blends jazz, funk and R&B with what he calls “forward-thinking psychedelic bass music.”

Jinénji (Providence)

Jinénji has spent some time working in the background and has now started to release music to the masses. The catalog is a bit on the smaller side at the moment, but that’s because he just started it up. He said he’s been hesitant to release content before, but now the recent college graduate isn’t holding back. My personal favorites so far are “Hana Valley” and “Galaxies.”

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Chachi — “Kill The Radio” (Video) / “Speed” (Cartoon Edit) — (Pawtucket, Rhode Island) 

If you’re aware of Rhode Island hip-hop and the players in the game, you’ll know of Chachi. Not only is he still creating great music, he hasn’t changed his sound to conform to the shift in “popular” styles and has remained relevant. With the j. depina-produced “Kill The Radio,” Chachi raps about the toxicity of mainstream media and radio, using The Notorious B.I.G.’s line “I let my tape rock, till my tape pop” from his 1994 track “Juicy” to serve as his chorus. In the Rich Ferri video, Chachi takes his talent to a carnival. The cut comes from his and j. depina’s collab album, The Human Factor, that released in April. 

Another cut, “Speed,” was edited by Mario Ahumada.

(Below the video, check out a bonus clip where Redman big ups Chachi…but also wants some extra greenery…we don’t mean money)

Code Green — “Chemical” (Rhode Island)

Formerly putting content out under the name Live by CG —quite a number of years ago — the Rhode Island trio have released their newest video for “Chemical,” shot by Providence-native DIRxARX. The Los Angeles transplants Code Green have slowly been releasing new music and videos since their 2016 release 7 Day Trip.  

Inkie — Afterlife (Providence/New York) — [Also filed under: Yucking Awesome]

We first introduced Aasim “Inkie” Rasheed last month when he released his Graves and Sunshines EP under Yucking Awesome, which he uses more when he releases music with his band. Afterlife, Inkie says, is a collection of freestyles he made in just one day after returning from his sister’s funeral in Dallas, Texas. Inkie felt grief after the funeral due in part because he had never met his sister in person. Her passing, at 41, was no irony he writes. Forty-one is also the age his father passed away. Afterlife in its entirety is a reflection of life after death. The project was produced by Tommy Bistro, check it out below.

The Jae — Unleashed (Providence)

Unleashed is the newest release by Providence artist The Jae. The three-track EP was recorded at B08 Studios in Pawtucket where a number of artists have recorded music including Cam Bells, Spocka Summa and even a couple of episodes of “I.D. Required” were recorded there. One of The Jae’s goals with his music is the hope that he can help educate his listeners with his view of the world. He’s motivated by improvisation and authenticity and explores classical, jazz and hip-hop.

Joe Bruce — “Oh Noe” Prod. by D. Valor (Providence)

Not even a full two months since the release of his EP AudiowaterJoe Bruce drops a new track. If you didn’t already know he was from Providence, all you’d have to do is listen to the track and catch all of the references to the capital. Produced by fellow Providence native D. Valor, Bruce hops on the eerie letting listeners know he isn’t phased by any challenge. 

Karma — “NA$A” (feat. Devo Night, Mercedes) (Rhode Island x3)

Karma drops the visuals for his latest track “NA$A.” The song features fellow Rhode Island artists Devo Night and Mercedes. While the song is produced by CashMoneyAP, Karma, Devo Night and Mercedes star in the video that features a multitude of special effects all in relation to the song’s title. 

Marc Murphy  — “Own It” feat. KG (Rhode Island x2)

The two Rhode Islanders link up for this track that looks to be for the ladies. I’ve heard Marc Murphy‘s stuff before, but  KG  is a newcomer on a track for me. I’ve always known him to be a dancer and didn’t know he was making music. 

Michael Christmas — “Ball” (Boston)

The newest Fool’s Gold Records signee Michael Christmas just dropped a single off of his upcoming album Role Model — due out June 22. Christmas jumps on this upbeat Theolonious Martin and Aniko “Niko the Great” Thomas beat and showcases his singing skills as well. Prior to the release of “Ball,” Christmas released “Girlfriend,” a more melodic joint with a funny video to complement. 

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123 Astronaut — The Friction (Providence) — [Before the Local Crafts Sound]

Honestly, I’m not sure how myself or other 45s and 40s writers haven’t heard of this band. It’s refreshing to hear sounds from genres you’re not accustomed to hearing. Now, the members of this indie-rock band — comprised of Jeff Robbins on vocals and guitar, Keith John Benjamin on bass and Eric Hastings handling the drums — aren’t new to music. We hope to see 123 Astronaut continue on this path of releasing good music.

Crow Kid — “Clean House” (Allston, Massachusetts)

Crow Kid drops the first single off of the upcoming Clean House EP. The follow-up EP to his 2017 release doesn’t have a release date, but it’s sure to be another solid project.

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Roz and the Rice Cakes (Providence)

File this one under “fin.”

Roz and the Rice Cakes, an experimental pop/art rock band from Providence has released numerous albums for the past 10 years and have officially closed the curtain on their career. Roz Raskin, Casey Belisle and Justin Foster performed for what looks to be the final time on May 13, in front of a sold out crowd at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. The trio aren’t done with music as they’re moving on to either work on solo projects and other music, but it was the cap on a voyages for the history books.

If you’re lacking your Roz fix, purchase their 2017 release Devotion or two new songs released this month that were recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks music studio two years ago. 

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BĀS PVD (Providence)

The Providence-based company held their first event  — by invitation — earlier this month in collaboration with PANZA, whose food selection was fantastic. The event featured a great selection of music from the 90s, such as Common all the way to what you would hear now away from what is typically on the radio — like Sango. Headed by Michael Silva, BĀS is a “cocktail service specializing in class and comfort.” Silva coordinated the event and served as the head bartender for the night. Working nonstop to ensure each guest’s palates tasted the carefully curated drinks. Be on the lookout for more from 45s and 40s and BĀS. Here’s a recap of the night (video by ‘Rouk for his company Beyond the Eats):

Empty Hour (KREW$ x Tyler Palmer) — “Blue” / “Pink”(Rhode Island)

We first heard of KREW$ during the April update with his newest project and now he’s back with Tyler Palmer. KREW$ announced they were coming together alongside the official video for the first track they released, “Blue.” The video was directed by Empty Hour and filmed and edited by Palmer. The two recently had a going away party and have officially moved to Los Angeles to venture further into their music careers. 

Just before the month ended, Empty Hour snuck in another one. They dropped “Pink” and its video yesterday.

Jean Lou — Melodies & Remedies, Vol. 1  (Providence)

This one is a breath of fresh air. R&B has been steadily expanding and the genre has been consistently redefining itself to become multi-faceted. Where some artists excel at rapping, singing or anything in between, JeanLou finds his home with a mix. It’s different, especially with the way R&B has developed, to find an artist that finds his home with mostly singing. Melodies & Remedies Vol. 1 follows JeanLou’s 2017 release, Since You’re Listening… We’re definitely feeling the island vibes on the G Riot-produced “Sade.”

Karen Stoneher — “Young Love” (Providence) — [Before the Local Crafts Sound]

Produced by Tyler J. Palmer and KREW$, the production was before the duo became Empty Hour, Karen releases her first publicly-posted solo single. Prior to the release of “Young Love,” she was featured on a couple of tracks by Pyrex Lex.  

Lily Rayne — “I Might” (Rhode Island)

Since dropping her EP Rhode Girl last year, Lily Rayne has been relatively quiet. The six-track EP was a taste of what was to come for Rayne that looks to be coming to fruition in 2018. Last October, Rayne was invited to perform at the A3C Festival in Atlanta.  Prior to the release of her Moflo-produced track “I Might,”  Rayne remained active on social media and began to tease the track a couple of days prior to its release.  After its release, the song has been featured on numerous playlists and she’s even working on shooting the music video in Los Angeles. Take a listen:

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Hensley Carrasco
Hensley graduated from the University of Rhode Island where he was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Good 5 Cent Cigar. He founded the site with hopes to add to the ever-growing digital music newsroom. Hensley generally writes about Hip-Hop, but other genres are not out of his writing spectrum. On the side, Hensley is a photographer, specializing in concert photography.

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