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Five Local Album Releases That Made Our Week

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 31, 2014 3:30PM

Cut Teeth photo by Hilary J Corts, via the band's Facebook page

Let's be honest, it's not often that Chicago's music scene suffers a bad week. Most are good, if not great. The city saw a particularly high number of solid local releases in the final few days of October though. We sure can't account for every single good tune that surfaced in the past few days but these are the albums that really caught our attention.

Arjaye Jeter
Year Of The Villain

2014_10_yearofthevillian.jpg This is one that flew under our radar at first but we're happy it finally took hold. Arjaye Jeter spent more than a year creating and perfecting these new raps so it's no surprise to hear a certain amount of self-assured swagger in his voice. He's at his best when the rhymes come quick. The album opener "Black Son Goku" comes off much more naturally than the slow-vibing follow-up "Weekend In Chicago." Jeter's determination as a budding young MC is best highlighted in "Yeezy Dance" with some heavy-handed first person comparisons to fellow Chicago native Kanye West. We've all seen how far Yeezus's blunt confidence took him though so we can't criticize.

Manic Focus
Cerebral Eclipse

2014_10_cerebraleclipse.jpg Chicago-based producer Manic Focus released his fourth album this week and proved it's still possible to bring elements of jazzy funk and soul into your work in this new era of EDM. Look to the final track, "Life Goes On," for the smoothest grooves. Want to get a little deeper? Earlier this week we published a full album review and interview with Manic Focus.

Cut Teeth
Night Years

2014_10_cutteeth.png The first time Chicagoist listened to Cut Teeth's long-awaited follow-up to 2012's Televandalism it was early in the morning (for us, at least). Let us be the first to tell you that if you're groggy, these ten new tracks will be the kick in the pants you need. Guitar riffs blare like sirens, vocalist Dustin Currier howls over the mix, drum beats flutter in spastic synchronization—and that's just in the first six minutes. Cut Teeth are known for their ferocity but you'll be sorry if you skip the slower tracks like "Rehearsal Dojo" and "Ashtray Sonata" on this full-length.

Young Chop

2014_10_youngchop.jpg Young Chop has been at the core of Chicago's drill music movement since its birth on the South Side, but he's always been the one on the boards, not the mic. His first solo album, bolstered by an array of familiar guest vocalists, is a successful release but it won't do anything to sway your opinions on the genre, however you feel about it. Surprisingly it's the back half of Still that's the strongest thanks to verses from YB and Ty Dolla $ign so start at the end if you're a wary listener.

Angela James
Way Down Deep

2014_10_angelajames.jpg We're kind of cheating with this one. Ms. James' album actually came out last week but she celebrates its release tomorrow night at Constellation. The country jazz singer, with a voice like warm honey, drew us in at first with the pitiful title of her latest single "Drink And Try Not To Cry"—we've all been there—and held us the whole album through.