Peter Zhang

Rabbit Holes: Musicians

Introduction

Yes. Episode two of Rabbit Holes is out.

Last week was rough. I was in debt for half a month of homework, faced a ramp-up of extracurriculars, and spent the weekend at both a competition and a god-awful debate tournament (this was how I spent my time). Amidst that stress, I believed that my birthday (last Wednesday, so it’s not too late to send belated wishes!) would offer 24 hours of serenity. That dream was crushed when I had my music taste ridiculed for being too “simp-y.”

1net, if you are reading this: that is a libelous, baseless characterization. In this post, I shall absolve myself of this accusation. The following is a representative sampling of my favorite music artists (n=7), many of which are most certainly not “simp-y.” If you are 1net, I request a formal retraction and an apology.1 If you are not 1net, I hope that you vibe with my taste.

1. Postmodern Jukebox

PMJ (or, as no one else calls them, “PomoJuke”) covers modern songs with a vintage spin. The dynamic collective pairs jazzy instruments with talented vocalists. Sure, synths and autotune do not exist yet for this dinosaur band (I personally don’t mind one bit), but I assure you that you’ll nonetheless love their unique sound. Their collaborations with Haley Reinhart are particularly awesome. Here’s a good one called Lovefool (and yes, I know this doesn’t help my case):

Lovefool

My personal favorite is PomoJuke’s vintage reboot of Tove Lo’s Habits:

Habits

And of course, who could forget that time she sang Mad World with Puddles Pity Party? Cute!

Mad World

2. Ski Mask the Slump God

Ski Mask has been my favorite rapper ever since Catch Me Outside graced my ears in 10th grade. His South Florida style features impeccable flow, hilarious lyrics, and fire beats. For uninitiated, imagine combining X’s delivery, Eminem’s wordsmithing, and Lil Pump’s producers. Catch Me Outside is still my favorite, but Foot Fungus and Faucet Failure are also strong contenders.

Catch Me Outside

Here’s a Spotify playlist with 50 of my favorite Ski Mask songs. If you like Ski Mask, keep an eye out for his new album. Yes, he’s been dragging his feet since last October (he’s shlumped), but I have faith!

3. Phum Viphrit

I have a soft spot for fruity songs and Phum rocks that genre. If you like Surfaces, khai dreams, or Finneas, you’ll like this guy too. Songs like Lover Boy (unfortunate title) are perfect for studying, driving, or just waiting around. I personally like his COLORS performance:

Catch Me Outside

Long Gone is also a bop.

Catch Me Outside

Full “fruit” playlist here.

4. Dimash Kudaibergenov

I was momentarily obsessed with Dimash last year, a classically trained Kazakh singer. He is—for almost everyone who has listened—the most technically proficient singer ever, wielding an enormous vocal range, fantastic control, and great artistic intuition. His debut performance was on a Chinese talent show, so the video is interspersed with shrieks from the crowd and cuts to the faces of people realizing that they do not have talent. Both fun and awe-inspiring to watch.

Catch Me Outside

There are more good vids on YouTube, so I’ll let you explore that rabbit hole for yourself.

5. Jacob Collier

A recent find! Like Dimash, Jacob is a prodigious musician. His work combines overlaid voices, the couple dozen instruments that he plays, and harmonies too complex for my brain (maybe 1net can explain). Moon River is a good place to start, a Grammy-winning acapella masterpiece.

Catch Me Outside

He’s not a one-trick pony either. Jacob releases everything from sweet acoustic pieces to R&B collabs with Daniel Caesar.

Catch Me Outside

Currently, I’m obsessed with Time Alone with You, which is chief among the offending songs mentioned at the beginning.

6. GHOSTEMANE

In my junior year of high school, I blasted GHOSTEMANE during all of gym (and some classes). This rapper has a machine-gun flow and the hardest hitting beats, wrapped up in satanic ideology. His music videos say it all.

Catch Me Outside

I certainly wouldn’t recommend listening to GHOSTEMANE regularly (just look at his fanbase), but I continue to have his songs queued for 1RMs at the gym.

7. HYOKOH

I never thought I would like k-pop. I still don’t. BTS sounds like the output of a neural network and men who like TWICE have disproportionately thick forearms. But, I do really love HYOKOH, a Korean indie band. Not understanding a thing they’re saying is helpful because it lets you focus on just how goddamn groovy the songs are. For example, if I had to have one song on repeat as a sound track to my life, I think it’d be HYUKOH’s Leather Jacket.

Catch Me Outside

They have sadder songs too. I really can’t be sure, but the singer of Wing Wing sounds like he’s complaining about a girl.

Catch Me Outside

Worth a listen! Just don’t follow this rabbit hole to mainstream k-pop.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably enjoyed a few of these, so now I’ll shameless plug my Spotify. Stay tuned for the next episode of rabbit holes, which I plan to write just about when I should be studying for midterms (so like, mid-March, I think).

  1. Just kidding, 1net. You’re too right. :( 

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