John Lisi? More Like Steve Lacy’s Cool Younger Cousin
Get ahead of Spotify’s algorithm with Hummingbird’s Music Feeder, a dose of invigorating and soul-pleasing tunes
With this Feeder, we feature a crafty album from John Lisi, inspiring words from Knyves Escobar, and new music from Kiefer, DAISY WORLD, and Khruangbin. Make sure to subscribe, forward, or share if you’re enjoying the music!
John Lisi — I Hope This Feels Good
Steve Lacy and Q are in your Favorites Mix on a weekly basis
You’re looking for a soothing album for this stressful world
You like the DIY aspect of art
As if directly inspired by Steve Lacy’s Ted Talk on the creative possibilities brought about by advanced technology, John Lisi created I Hope This Feels Good, a gentle, soft-around-the-edges album.
Employing jazz and alternative stylings with his saxophone, guitars, keyboard, and computer, the project keeps its allure over many replays.
I Hope This Feels Good’s cover art tells you much of what you need to know about the album. Lisi, a Berkeley College of Music standout, sits amongst his instruments, comfortable that he’s a four-piece band all by himself. Listening to the album, you could conclude that his primary instrument is any of those listed above. His style is soothing, with gentle notes throughout the project.
Further creating a comfortable atmosphere is his singing voice, which seldom rises above a breathy whisper. I Hope This Feels Good’s sonic environment does well to help listeners process lyrical themes of unrequited love and personal insecurity.
The third track, “ljfsa,” is saxophone-forward, an expressive and lyrical piece with crashing drums to support. Sticking to a few motifs, he throws in some ear-catching improvisation which keeps things engaging through the whole song.
My personal favorite track is “Oh Beautiful (Please Don’t Leave).” The song opens with a tear-jerking guitar section, a gently-strummed lullaby. The guitar deepens in pitch throughout the track but ends with a few bright notes — a happy conclusion to a heart-seeking track.
“Brainfood” is an aptly named track, pushing the listener to listen a little closer and understand the stories behind his lyrics. The chorus sings: “There’s blood in the water (2x) / there’s something out of order / there’s blood in the water.” The second verse opens with my favorite lyric on the project: “I make my mind up like I make my bed / Only when I have to.”
Ever self-aware, Lisi named the last track “A Song for Everyone.” It’s an appreciative outro to the album, as he sings, “When the lights go out in the city / when the owls fly out tonight / when your eyelids fall cause they’re heavy / I’ll be working up a song for you.” The song portrays his dedication to music — it’s clearly a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.
I Hope This Feels Good is a deftly composed, easily replayable project that fits a variety of social and anti-social situations.
Hear from Hummingbird’s Nest: Knyves Escobar Talks Upcoming Album
On the precipice of their debut project, Knyves Escobar — who uses the pronouns she and they — is leaning into their dynamic musical talent and intrinsically strong self-belief as pillars of what looks to be a long and successful career in music.
Escobar says the upcoming debut will show listeners that they have plenty more in store than the typical R&B sounds Escobar tends to lean on. While their voice lends itself well for the genre, Escobar continues to find new strengths in terms of production, and taste for artists like James Blake and KAYTRANADA implies the project is going to be expansive and exciting.
In a landscape where genreless music is still being pushed into corners by media outlets, fans, and streaming services, Escobar is looking forward to challenging these standards with their upcoming album.
“I think [R&B] was mainly just placed on me in the beginning,” they say. “And I sort of ran with it, but now I'm realizing there's so many more facets to make my sound.”
By standing against these widely held presuppositions, Escobar is hoping to teach people to believe in themselves.
“I hope they see that you don't really ever have to hide too much,” Escobar says. “I think it's most important to be as genuine as you can. That's what I feel like people resonate with the most.”
They went on to say that the reason they’ve been so successful thus far is because their confidence and strong personality have allowed them to relate to other creatives and foster strong professional relationships.
Whether it’s the most talented producers in the DMV region or Escobar’s brother, who encouraged them to continue to pursue music production in high school, Escobar shares credit for their current position with those that support them.
After amassing 100k streams on “Phantom Limb,” a self-produced track, and a collaborative performance with AMPD and NuVegan Cafe, Escobar is making waves across the music world.
Adding to the excitement is Escobar’s cello prowess — they played throughout childhood but put it down in their teenage years. Escobar played the cello section on “Phantom Limb” and says the instrument is all over the upcoming project.
As they continue to combine the classical with the new and innovative, Knyves Escobar’s debut album should be one of the most exciting of the year.
Tune In: Best Drops of the Past Few Weeks
Kiefer ~ When There’s Love Around
Marking his second project of the year, Kiefer returns with a jazzy, instrumentally-dense album. When There’s Love Around succinctly captures feelings of friendship and familial love, with a series of soothing, engaging arrangements.
DAISY WORLD ~ SUNDOWN / SIX TWO
Her first personal release on streaming services, this double is evocative and impressive, giving listeners the feeling that plenty more is on the way. Check out her collaborations with Tyler, the Creator, Steve Lacy, and Matt Martians for more of an idea of what DAISY WORLD is all about.
Khruangbin ~ Mordechai Remixes
Adding a danceable twist to Mordechai’s originally mellow feelings, this remix album gives fans a fresh take on one of the best albums of 2020.
Tinashe ~ 333
Tinashe’s signature poppy sound is aplenty on this album, making for another strong installment in an already-impressive discography.