The coronavirus is cramping everyone’s style. It’s probably safe to assume that at this point that everyone in America has been impacted by COVID-19: you’ve either been furloughed from employment, had classes canceled or have just found yourself stuck in the house a little too long. Because of social distancing, bands all over the country are canceling shows, tours and events to keep people in their community safe — Lincoln is no exception.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a playlist of songs from local artists who had April events canceled.
“California Bound” by Head Change
“California Bound” sounds like summer. From its crunchy electric guitar that builds the foundation of the track to Derek Weller’s vocal delivery, bathed in smooth and sultry reverberation, the whole thing feels like kicking back on a beach with a cold drink in hand. Head Change was set to perform at Bodega’s Alley this month, but fortunately this playful vacation anthem sounds just as serene through a pair of headphones.
“Something New” by Ro Hempel
Ro Hempel is a Lincoln quintet with a myriad of musical inspirations, but reggae is the most evident in the song “Something New.” The punching electric guitar, coupled with a reggae steel drum that pops in and out sets the laid-back tone of the song and a grooving saxophone glides in and out during the song's easy riding chorus. Ro Hempel had its show at Bodega’s canceled this month, but this old gem will keep fans and newcomers dialed in until the next performance.
“The Drive” by Radiant Bones
I first heard “The Drive” in 2019 on the local station 89.7 The River. HoneyBee DeBose, the lead singer of Radiant Bones, delivers soul-inspired, powerhouse vocals that stuck in my head for days afterward. “The Drive” is a head-banging hard rock anthem that tackles intimate topics as it tells the story of a relationship gone wrong. Radiant Bones was set to perform at Bodega’s this month, but have already secured a show at Omaha’s The Waiting Room Lounge in May.
“North$ide Wave” by Scky Rei
“North$ide Wave” is a hypnotic hip-hop canticle complete with all the makings of a radio-ready smash hit — a bumbly, synth-heavy instrumental, a pounding bass, braggadocious verses and even a beat change into a vocal outro. Similarly to Tyler The Creator and Vince Staples, Scky Rei preaches intimate lyrics that make his layered choruses and lyrics loud and boisterous. Scky Rei was set to perform at the Bourbon Theatre in April.
“Killing Floor” by The Credentials
On no other track does The Credentials’ tried-and-true grunge formula work better than “Killing Floor.” The electric guitars are jagged and abrupt, the drums are violent and heightened and frontman Everest Sturdevant’s aria is filthy. The group’s sound is reminiscent of godfathers of grunge like Green Day and Nirvana, as well as alternative hip-hop pioneers Beastie Boys. The Credentials’ debut album release show at the Bourbon Theatre was canceled, but fans can still expect the album on April 24.
“Prom Night ‘55” by Mad Dog and the 20/20s
Mad Dog and the 20/20s are a pop and rock-infused group that seem to draw on the Seattle jazz scene’s heavy use of brass and horn instrumentation. Additionally, the group uses traditional rock instruments. Quick and choppy electric guitar, repetitive, stripped-down drum patterns and rushed vocals paired with brass instruments like the triumphant trumpets add a breath of fresh air to “Prom Night ‘55.” The song creates raw energy perfect for a boring day at home. Mad Dog and the 20/20s had its April show at Duffy’s Tavern canceled, but “Prom Night ‘55” is a perfect place to start for any would-be fans.
“All My Politicians Are Reality TV Stars” by Ghost Town Radio
“All My Politicians Are Reality TV Stars” is a striking statement about the overall synthetic nature of politics. It specifically points fingers at President Donald Trump but also brings up the fact that most politicians on either side of the aisle aren’t much different and prioritize getting reelected over true systemic change. Beyond the timely commentary this song provides, it’s an exceptional rock song. The distorted vocals vary in intensity as the electric guitar shreds alongside a pounding drum kit that acts as the song's guiding force. Ghost Town Radio is best described as the intensity of “Check Your Head” era Beastie Boys cranked to 11, and “All My Politicians Are Reality TV Stars” is Ghost Town Radio pushed to 12. Ghost Town Radio was preparing for a show at Duffy’s Tavern later in April.
“Ginger Jesus” by Virgin Mary Pistol Grip
Virgin Mary Pistol Grip is a much slower take on rock music. The band’s use of acoustic guitars, electric synthesizers and echoed, whispered vocals are an injection of originality. “Ginger Jesus” makes use of these elements and pairs it with thought-provoking lyrics about religion and confusion. Virgin Mary Pistol Grip was set to perform this month at 1867 Bar, but opted to do a weekly live-streamed concert on the group’s Facebook.
“Simp City” by Powerful Science
Powerful Science is one of Lincoln’s most eccentric techno groups, and its album “Memesterpiece” is just as absurd as its title would suggest. However, “Simp City” is a ridiculously simple and stripped-down techno soundscape that is exotic and funky from start to finish. Powerful Science had to cancel its 1867 Bar show this month, but its entire discography is available online for listening.