Crate Digging with the Tribune – Week 1

Here’s the Tribune’s recommendations for this month’s new and up-and-coming artists:

3AM – Khalil?

By Saanvi Haridas

Genres: Rap, R&B, hip-hop

“3AM” released on Sep. 11, 2022, is artist Khalil?’s latest released single, a supposed follow-up to his 2020 past single, “5AM”. Setting him apart from other artists, most of Khalil?’s songs are singles but all encompass similar vibes to each other. All of his songs, especially his recent release, are heavy on the jazz, highlighting various piano and saxophone rhythms. Khalil? amassed over 800,000 monthly listeners on Spotify after his single “Zodiac Killer” became his most popular song from trending on multiple social media platforms in 2020.


SOULBYSEL Compilation 03

By Emily Wong

Genres: K-R&B, hip hop, jaz

SOULBYSEL Compilation 03 released on Nov. 7, 2022, marks artist SOULBYSEL’s 3rd released album. Starting off with a collaboration with fellow artist dori, “Nikon (Prod. Strawberrybananaclub)” mixes repetitive electronic beats and strums of guitar with soothing vocals that emphasizes dori’s pitch control. It sets the vibe of the album with the impression that the following tracks will be just as carefree and easygoing. Track four “nvrmnd” collaborating with K-pop boy band Monsta-X member I.M., uses elements of a catchy melody and stays within his lower pitch range. This track is the perfect song to jam to with headphones late at night — it’s both satisfying and chill at the same time, hitting the late night feels. Similarly, Track 6 “Don’t Care (Prod. Zodiac)” with artist YONKO has a faster tempo and layers his raspy voice for euphonic harmonizations. The syncopation places emphasis on certain notes and words in the chorus that make the song more captivating. Overall, the tracks on this album have unique melodies with similar vibes and stay true to the genres of r&b and hip hop –- they all have a beat to nod your head along to and feature drum machine rhythms, smooth vocal arrangements and studio produced styles. Listening to this album will immaculately encapsulate the trendy relaxing and vibey sounds all into 29 minutes.

LAGOON – Shigeru Suzuki

By Olivia Phongsa

Genres: bossa nova, samba, jazz, city pop

“LAGOON” is the third studio album, released Dec. 5, 1976, by Shigeru Suzuki, who was first known as a member of rock band Happy End. Suzuki is most often recognized for his work on the CBA Sony Sound Image Series instrumental album “Pacific” with talented musicians Haruomi Hosono and Tatsuro Yamashita, who both had a large influence shaping the classic city pop genre, a loosely defined genre that encompasses all Japanese pop from the 70s to 80s. (Yamashita would later work on “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi, a city pop classic.) “LAGOON” shares the same laid-back, warm tropical sounds prominent in “Pacific,” but has a more active jazz melody that keeps listeners more engaged. The first track, “Lady Pink Panther,” perfectly encompasses all the musical elements seen through the rest of the album with well arranged exotica-type pieces. Although some might say that the following tracks seem much too similar to each other, it can also be said that the album flows smoothly and goes down effortlessly. What makes “LAGOON” stand out is that although it leans into a mix of city pop, bossa nova and samba, it isn’t a complete replica of the genres. Suzuki’s own flair and perspective to the classic city pop genre makes his “Hawaiian vacation”-sounding album a beautiful and timelessly unique listen. 

DEATHWESTERN – Spiritworld

By Samuel JJ Minioza

Genres: Metalcore, Thrash Metal

Smoky, dangerous and daring. “DEATHWESTERN” is certainly your typical metalcore record, especially now, where blast beats and halftime breakdowns are almost as common as guitars. What sets this record apart, though, is its fantastic thematic and performative character. When listening to this album, it’s hard not to be transported to the monster-filled, bloody, desert cowboy apocalypse created by Spiritworld. Building on thick, heavy, country-esque guitar arpeggios and wild screeching guitar riffs, the album blends time signature changes and the grimy, drilling, droning breakdowns that are standard of metalcore with an unmistakable Spaghetti Western energy and flair. Drums take on a jazz-like use of cymbals reminiscent of Clint Eastwood staring across the Great Plains; shout choruses feel like distant voices in the wind urging you forward on horseback. Sure, the album isn’t mixed perfectly, and the riffs are noticeably stale by the end of the B-sides, but the immersive Western hellscape makes you forget any shortcomings, working in favor of the danger-filled, killer realm Spiritworld crafts. In the domain of trite metalcore and overused breakdowns, the fun, pulpy Western aesthetics that Spiritworld paints with makes for an absolute blast of a listen.