Illustration by Alice Leach
Hello y’all! Welcome to Speakeasy Sounds. In this blog, I am going to (hopefully) introduce you to new music. Speakeasy Sounds features artists that do not necessarily fit within pop culture. These artists will probably never find pop culture’s spotlight; nevertheless, they deserve it. Thus, these artists remain …Speakeasy Sounds.
I ask that you open your minds to new music with me. I like to think of finding new music almost as if you have not even heard your favorite band of all time yet. This is to keep you always searching and ready for your next favorite band!
Whether you like rap, rock, country, grunge, hip-hop, thrash, dream wave, shoegaze, freeform jazz or afrobeat, I have something for you. I will be providing you with a little background on the artists, similar artists for your reference and my favorite album or song by the artist.
With that said, let’s get into it!
Leikeli47 (rap/hip hop)
Let’s start with rap, specifically Leikeli47. Leikeli47 is a New York based masked rapper with true bars. She makes her own easily recognizable beats with a fluent and distinctive rapping style. Leikeli47 means to show you that not only can she run with the boys in the rap game, she “runs these streets.” You can catch Leikeli47 on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Sessions” if you want to see her perform live.
Leikeli47’s album “Acrylic” is a must. The album has my two favorite songs by her: “Let’s Go Get Stoned (Portier’s Vibe),” (a cover) and “Girl Blunt.”
Kate Bush (experimental pop)
For fans of David Bowie, Björk or the general ‘80s fanatic in all of us, we find Kate Bush. I would compareBush’s vibe to that of “dream wave.” One of Bush’s most known songs would be “Wuthering Heights,” based on the book with the same name by Emily Brontë. “Wuthering Heights” gives a different flavor to what you might taste on my favorite album by Kate Bush, “The Hounds of Love.”
“The Hounds of Love” will deliver this dreamy-synthetic-bass-driven trance that will satisfy the nostalgic and the retro-lovers. On “Hounds of Love,” be sure to listen to my favorite track “Mother Stands for Comfort.”
I asked you to keep an open mind, and now I hold you to it.
Pete Drake (country/blues)
Do you like country? Do you like background singers? Do you love steel guitars? Well, it doesn’t matter because with Pete Drake you will be surprised that you love all of these things even if you did not before. Drake started as a studio musician, recording for bigger country bands who needed a great steel guitar player. From there, Drake began holding a tube connecting from his steel guitar to his mouth to create the sound/illusion of a talking steel guitar.
I am asking you to give Drake’s “Forever” album a chance. This is my favorite album and holds my two absolute favorite songs: “Forever” and “Sleepwalk.” If you come away not caring for it, at least you got your feet wet and jumped into the deep end.
Her’s (dream pop)
If you don’t already know them, I am going to introduce y’all to Her’s. I would recommend this band if you listen to bands like MGMT, Unknown Mortal Orchestra or Tame Impala.
Her’s was an English-based, two-piece, dream-pop band that started to blur the boundaries between pop culture and the underdogs. Unfortunately the duo, along with their bus driver, died in a head-on collision in 2019 in Arizona while on tour in America. The band’s life and music career was very short-lived. While they were alive, they became relatively famous for their signature sound.
For this listen, I recommend “Harvey” on their album “Invitation to Her’s.” The whole album will give you a lucid-dreaming state. This would be their last album, as Her’s released it within months of their deaths.
King Missile (art rock)
Last but not least for this week, we have King Missile. King Missile is considered by most to be “art rock.”
For those unfamiliar, art rock is a very experimental form of rock ‘n’ roll that employs strong deviations from your average rock song. These deviations include things like offbeat tempos, droning sounds and/or sporadic vocal tones. Art rock could describe King Crimson, Talking Heads or Pink Floyd. You might also call this psychedelic rock.
King Missile might not become your new favorite band, but it will refine your music taste. If you look up King Missile, you will most likely find their song “Detachable Penis.” This is a very dry (humored?) song that definitely shows you what to expect next. If you made it this far, then take it one step further and listen to King Missile’s “Jesus Was Way Cool” and “Cheesecake Truck.” I do not have a favorite album of theirs. King Missile’s albums are inconsistent and all over the place … in a good way.
Thanks for jumping into the rabbit hole with me, y’all! Let me know how you feel about these listens. If you like an artist that you feel deserves more recognition, send them to me and I will give them a listen. Contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Insta: iamterryterryiam
I am also planning on doing a local artist edition in the future. If you know of rad local bands or you are in one, send me your stuff. Let me know when the show is, and you could end up featured in Speakeasy Sounds!
Terry Lee III is a junior at Kent State with a major in journalism and mass communication. Terry is from Canton, Ohio. He spends his free time biking, reading and listening to music. He also enjoys many forms of art, including film and poetry. You can follow him on instagram @iamterryterryiam and Twitter @terryleeiii.