Watch & Listen

SAMMUS (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) is an Ithaca, NY based rap artist, producer, and PhD student in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. Known as much for her rousing stage presence as she is for her prowess as a beatmaker and lyricist, Sammus has spent the past several years cultivating a strong following of activists, hip hop heads, punks, and self-proclaimed nerds and geeks, among others. As noted by the Los Angeles Times, Sammus "has a gift for getting a message across." Now ready to make her Don Giovanni debut (while remaining tied to NuBlack Music Group), she is poised to cement herself as an artist who consistently thinks outside boxes and dances across lines (and does other neat things with geometrical figures).

In addition to managing a full-time music career, Enongo has spent the past eight years as a public-school and college level educator. After graduating from Cornell University in 2008 with a double BA in Sociology and Science & Technology Studies, she was accepted into the national teaching program Teach for America and placed in Houston Texas, where she taught elementary math and science between 2008 to 2010. In the fall semester of 2011 she returned to Cornell as a PhD candidate to pursue an interest a wide array of sound studies topics, including sound and gaming as well as the identity politics of community studios. As an academic in training and very-vocal feminist, Enongo has produced articles for publications such as Bitch, For Harriet, Sounding Out!, and The Mary Sue related to issues of race, hip-hop, gaming, and feminism.

free cake for every creature

Free Cake For Every Creature started as a secret collection of home-recordings by Katie Bennett on a 4-track. Encouragement and nagging from friends persuaded her to share her songs with them. Two years later, after self-booked tours around the country, several solo and full-band self-recorded tapes, and a move from upstate New York to Philadelphia, the band went back upstate to record their first full length record, "Talking Quietly of Anything With You" with Chris Daly (Fraternal Twin, Porches, PWR BTTM, Long Beard) at Salvation Recording Co. The album is a collection of quiet pop songs that explore topics like moving to a new city, looking for answers in books, making muffins, and bein' in love.

Emily Reo takes things slow. In 2009 she put out Minha Gatinha, an album of narcotized dream-pop that sounded like she'd been on a steady diet of Neil Young's honey slides (she also covered "On the Beach", capturing and translating the song's despair for a bedroom recording generation that spent the last three years stuck on Beach House). In the years following, the Orlando-born singer and synth manipulator's output came to a standstill as she moved from Florida to New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. Olive Juice, Reo's first official release in several years-- even though five of the album's eight songs have already been around for awhile in different form-- shows she's gone a long way musically as well. Though her vinyl debut and sophomore record still moves along at a resting heart rate, she's shed the heavy-lidded haze that swaddled these songs the first time around. Olive Juice is Reo's first album for Elestial Sounds, the Gainesville-based record label and collective behind Hundred Waters and Levek. It's the perfect platform for Reo, who also belongs to FMLY, a "DIT" (do it together) assemblage of visual artists, musicians, and other creatives. That nurturing community has always been an important part of Reo's work-- when she covered Built to Spill's "Car" at FMLY Fest last year, by the end of the song at least one audience member was cradled in another's lap, which is kind of what her music makes one feel like doing. On Minha Gatinha, that manifested itself as lo-fi murmurs suitable for times when drifting off to sleep starts to sound more appealing than being awake, like rainy afternoons or staying up late enough to watch the sun rise. That warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't come through quite as strongly on Olive Juice, whose comparatively crystal-clear production value can take some time to get used to. But the songs sound much better now that you can actually hear them. "Car" is a pretty good example, especially since the lyrics "I want specifics/ On a general idea" may as well be about Olive Juice. Like "On the Beach", Reo's 2010 version of the cover nearly drowns out her voice in reverb, and the volume is turned way up on the original's buzzing organs. With different tools at her disposal this time-- namely, a recording studio-- she sharpens the focus, leaving room for harder-hitting drums and a more coherent structure. More importantly, Reo's voice is now front and center, loaded and plaintive like Doug Martsch's and kaleidoscopic with her own echoes. Those same edits hold true for her other re-released songs: titles have been tightened ("Wind Can't Hear You" is now "Wind", "Metal on Your Skin" became "Metal", etc.), rhythms made more pronounced, and tape-deck dust swept away to reveal a palette of bright synth colors. The keyboard warbles at the beginning of "Wind" aren't unlike those at the beginning of the Postal Service's "Clark Gable," and Reo's multi-tracked vocals nod to Imogen Heap's harmonies on "Hide and Seek". A new album of mostly reissues that's not billed as a re-release might seem like cheating, but Reo has said she views Minha Gatinha as a collection of demos made while she was still learning how to write and record songs, which makes sense. Olive Juice, then, is a natural artistic progression, even more so now that her old songs fit like puzzle pieces with the new ones. Such consistent aesthetics might prove limiting as Reo writes more new material, but until she sets her sights on something grander, they're perfectly lovely.

Your Dog

Alternative, post-pop from the Bronx.

$10.00 - $12.00


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