In the Scene: The vibes and moods of the latest local releases

Here’s our latest conversation on what the alt-weekly The Nashville Scene is covering with its music editor Stephen Trageser.

Jewly Hight: Since you and your fellow music writers have put together yet another round-up of recent local releases, let’s discuss a few those. How about that?

Stephen Trageser: Let’s do it.

JH: R.A.P. Ferriera is such a fascinating and elusive figure, I think. I mean, he plays with everything from song forms to album concepts and release strategies. Listeners may or may not have read that New York Times piece about how he priced a previous album at $77. What is he up to on his latest album?

ST: His most recent release called the Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures came out in November. He’s continuing sort of the jazzy and experimental sort of groove that has marked a lot of his records before. This one’s kind of a statement of purpose. There is a recurring lyric that pops up in several of the songs: “I am R.A.P. Ferreira and I will rap forever.” And you can only hope he will.

JH: It has been a minute since laidback and deeply philosophical hip-hop singer and songwriter Brian Brown, who is a WNXP fave, dropped his album Journey. That was a really cohesive album. It was grounded in a very particular experience of Nashville. But I gather Brian Brown’s new project is a looser collection. What can you tell me about it?

ST: [The Scene] recently actually got to have a little Q&A with him, and he talked about how he and his production partner really kind of never stopped working on stuff after Journey. Yeah, he’s got a new EP on the way, but he released this collection of demo tracks and sort of freestyles and things like that called One and Done just a few weeks ago. They’re all songs that sound to me like they could be on a record, but just didn’t really kind of work for what he had in mind. They’re still vibey and strong.

JH: How does the band Sundaes maximize mood on their new EP Boys Who Made Me Cry?

ST: They take this very intense, emotional experience of heartbreak and heartache and pull in a ton of different pop sounds to sort of express it. It’s almost like, “Here’s this really unpleasant, terrible experience, and I’m going to process it by refracting it through a bunch of different lenses to try to find a way to get through it.” As our reviewer pointed out, the end result kind of has a very strong kind of Roxy Music vibe, for folks who like that band.

JH: And lastly, there’s also new music from Dominic Billett, who is often thought of as a side musician, and from I Could Live in Hope, which is technically a side project. What stands out about each of those?

ST: Dominic Billett’s new album Lower very much continues the melancholy, post-Beatles pop kind of sound with some experimental techniques that put me in mind of something like Brian Eno’s Another Green World. You know, he’s just kind of trying to process this world that’s in flux, where what we thought of as normal has been gone for a while, and we’re still trying to figure out what a new one might look like. And I Could Live in Hope is a political slowcore project from Travis Trevisan from the shoegaze band Tape Deck Mountain. Fans of the Duluth, Minnesota, band Low also might recognize the name of this project; I Could Live in Hope, that’s the name of Low’s first record. The new I Could Live In Hope EP is called I Won’t Go. It’s a little bit more optimistic than their 2020 record, but still kind of wading through the social and political mess that we find ourselves in right now.