Shay-J – Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop

2 03 2010

Today I’m talking about Gainesville, Florida, hip hop artist Shay-J. He’s got a lot of an Atlanta-type sound in his delivery. Shay-J released his album Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop in like December, and I’m just now getting around to talking about it. Apologies to Shay for that. But, better late than never, right? Right.

So, a bit of background first. If you don’t know Shay-J, he’s a pretty phenomenal artist. When Common and Kid Cudi played at UF, Shay got to open for them, so if you went to that, you’ve heard him. Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop promos were given out there, and practically everyone toward the front of the crowd got a promo. Over the past few weeks, Shay has been handing out copies of the album all around campus recently, so if you’re lucky enough to see him, ask for a copy. He’s been getting so much buzz in Gainesville, the Alligator even did a story on him.

As a matter of fact, the first night I met Shay-J, he ended up doing a recording of “Can I Kick It? (2009)”, which is one of the songs he performed when he opened the Common & Cudi show. As you can probably tell, Shay goes over the the “Can I Kick It?” instrumental, and needless to say, he owns it.

Look of Love” is a great track off the album. The beat is laid back, yet the subject matter and the delivery is pretty serious, leading to an interesting contrast. That’s really what I love about Shay’s tracks: the lyrical content. Every song means something. There aren’t any tracks that are just throwaway filler tracks, which is impressive, especially for a 19 track album.

Late Night Special (Apple Drank)” is probably my favorite track on the album. The way he talks to his producer at the beginning is a great addition, and I’m really glad they didn’t cut that out. It gives it a nice, little, ragged-edge type feel. The guitar bit about three minutes into the song is fucking dreamy, as is the horn solo that starts a little after four minutes in. And once again, the lyrics are creative, yet not overly complex, allowing the listener to just zone.

You can listen to the whole album online. Hit up Shay’s bandcamp page. There you can listen to every track for free, and if you feel like buying it, you can purchase it for five bucks or more. It’s a name your price sort of thing, except the minimum to pay is five dollars. But for 19 tracks, it’s more than worth it.


Michael Claytor & His Friends

18 11 2009

Howdy. You should become a fan of everydaymusic on Facebook. Today, I’ve got some local talent to talk about. The group is called Michael Claytor & His Friends. In unrelated news, I’ll be in Phoenix for the next few days, so I think Chris is gonna take over for Thursday and Friday. Uh-oh. Cross your fingers. Things might get out of control.

I first heard of Michael Claytor & His Friends in the Alligator in early October of this year. I read the article about them, and I was immediately excited to hear some of their stuff. I got to the band’s MySpace, where I heard “The New River,” a melancholy, slow, and sweet tune. From the first few lines, I was instantly reminded of The Format’s lead singer, Nate Ruess. Michael Claytor & His Friends definitely have some of the same elements The Format employed, especially in songs such as “Snails.” Combine that with a little bit of a southern, almost-country feel, and you have a catchy combination.

In my eyes, Michael Claytor & His Friends are easily one of the premier sources of talent in the Gainesville area. If the right people hear their music, and they get a few breaks here and there, I could see them gaining substantial notoriety. They definitely play local shows, and from what I’ve seen of them live, they’re really good. Take this video as evidence.

You should support Michael Claytor & His Friends. If you’re on Facebook, you can become a fan of theirs. And then you can buy their first album, 2008’s We Have an Elephant, from DigStation. It’s 10 bucks well-spent. And if you’re a Gainesville resident, go watch them play. According to their Facebook, you can catch them at Flaco’s, every Wednesday at 11:00 PM. I’m sure it’s well worth going. You probably don’t have anything better do on a Wednesday night anyway.