In The Local this week, Nooga.com spends some time with music from Tryezz, TheHeir, Great Bay and Dameka Rochelle. Who do you think should have a spot in The Local next week?
Tryezz, “Zero II Max Experience”
Jonathan Fowlkes (AKA Tryezz) has long been a fixture in Chattanooga’s vibrant music scene, with an impressive 10 albums under his belt. These have been self-released and completely Fowlkes’ own. His music is quite hard to categorize, with moments that recall the tendencies of a dozen genres. But there’s a description on his Facebook page that aptly sums up his approach: “creator of the Scenic groove.” Taking the multidimensional environment that Chattanooga fosters in musicians and riding that wave through countless looping grooves and rhythms, Tryezz creates music that could soundtrack your next night at the club or something far more spiritual in nature.
On his latest release, “Zero II Max Experience” (of which I am woefully late in recognizing), he wanders through a neon wonderland of synths, bloops and funk melodies that seem to streak across the sky in florescent patterns. This is music to explore and in which it is easy to become lost. Call it headphone music; call it vibe-y, chill-out music. But don’t ever call it uninspired. Through these circuital glitches and cabled sounds, he finds a pure inspiration that feels as liberating as it does experiential. These songs become almost like memories that you didn’t know you had. The lack of words only makes their melodies that much more relevant and prone to fits of explosive decompression in midair.
TheHeir, “Cold Comfort”
Chuck “TheHeir” has been collaborating and finding inspiration within the music scene of the Scenic City for years now, although up until now, it’s mostly been as a producer. His work with artists such as Swayyvo and Marley Fox has been consistently exciting and completely absorbing. He has a deft touch when it’s called for and a forceful presence when subtlety is thrown out the window. Both of these moods suit him fine, and his work as a producer has benefited from him being able to submerge himself in the creative vision of his co-conspirators without losing that sense of self and musical direction.
He recently released a beat tape called “Cold Comfort,” and it’s a precursor for his forthcoming project, “The Gawds.” And while that’s certainly something that should be on your radar, “Cold Comfort” reveals much more about the producer than we’ve heard before. He ventures into some darker waters here, with melodies only barely breaking the surface for air before dropping out of sight in the murky depths below. Beats move and shake; omnipresent shadows stalk and sneak around in the back alleys of his mind. The mood is an unsettling one, with him slowing letting each track unfurl wordlessly. Eerie and ethereal, these songs display an inherent understanding of the sounds and landscapes in which he moves.
Great Bay, “Disco-graphy RIP 2013-2016”
The work of alt rock band Great Bay has always straddled the line between a handful of sounds without pledging allegiance to any single one. And it’s this sense of rhythmic capriciousness that has kept their music from ever feeling staid or bogged down in influence. Borrowing liberally from punk’s ferocity while incorporating the burst of shimmering theatricality that pop music revels in, the band has created a brew of poppish rock music that stomps and charges ahead, plowing over anything in its path. Great Bay manages to look past their own heroes and toward some future where music is just a compendium of experience and influence.
If you’ve never heard their music before, the band has just released a greatest hits of sorts with “Disco-graphy RIP 2013-2016”-although the “RIP” part makes me a bit anxious, as it seems to point toward some finite point for the band. Regardless of their immediate plans, this collection culls tracks from their entire career and shows just how well they are able to transcend their influences and create something that is both an homage to and furtherance of a wide range of sounds. A pop shimmer clashes with a punk growl over melodic percussion and some howled vocals that sound like they were pulled from the mid-’90s (and I mean that in the best possible way). If this is it for Great Bay, it’s a very sad day, but they’ve left behind an impressive body of work that speaks to their abilities as musicians and interpreters.
Dameka Rochelle, “72 DropTop”
Chattanooga singer-songwriter and rapper Dameka Rochelle has a fierce and independent spirit, the kind of person who speaks their mind when it’s needed but is completely loyal to those who earn that trust. Her music is infused with this same sense of devotion to those who have supported her and an almost-tangible derision for those who have stood in her way. Her voice is confident and strong, a lone light in a dark place where music seems to be the only means of escape. Rochelle provides her listeners with tracks that play to her strengths and to our expectations of her past work. She casually mixes hip-hop tenacity with an R&B charm and produces some truly memorable, captivating music.
Recently, Rochelle released a video for “72 DropTop,” and it displays all the signs of another stellar outing from the multifaceted performer. Her vocals are, as always, the standout, with the music providing a powerful foundation on which to highlight the incomparable lyricism that fans have come to expect. The video itself-shot by Keith Ward and Colby Clark for AK Films-takes its inspiration from “Grease” and the delinquent gangs and showmanship of the ’50s. Rest assured, though, this is definitely still her territory, and she instills an anachronistic feeling of the present that keeps the video grounded while its visuals hearken back to a simpler time. The track is expressive and does an amazing job of accenting her particular ardor and resilience in the face of struggle, whatever shape it might take.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.