Today’s find comes courtesy of Atlanta, GA’s Sequoyah Murray, a 2018 graduate of the Red Bull Music Academy, a program that has nurtured notable artists like Nina Kraviz and Flying Lotus, among others. “Penalties of Love” is a single from Murray’s upcoming September release Before You Begin (Thrill Jockey), and damn if it isn’t a difficult song to describe. Revered avant garde cellist and singer Arthur Russell is highlighted as an influence on Murray’s Bandcamp page, and I can see the resemblance, as both often dip into their deep, warm baritones when singing. The cavernous echoes placed on the vocals and on the backing instruments (the song features an awesome drum part, by the way) remind me of the 80’s, but the futuristic take on a retro sound can be compared to some of Dev Hynes’s work as Blood Orange. In a way, Murray’s dramatic, melancholically romantic performance has the same effect on the listener (or on me, at least) as Josiah Wise’s vocals do with experimental R&B project serpentwithfeet, the tightly coiled (no pun intended) instrumentals and melismatic, sometimes operatic high notes of the latter being replaced here by warmly maximalist compositions and soulful lows. I’ve spent this whole time talking about comps, which ultimately don’t matter, because “Penalties of Love” is awesome on its own.There’s a lot of passion contained within its 4 minutes, and it’s catchy as hell on top of all that. Definitely an artist to watch.
More from Sequoyah Murray: https://sequoyahmurray.bandcamp.com/
More from Thrill Jockey: https://thrilljockeyrecords.bandcamp.com/