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Hometown Highlights: Zelus, The Fog, Dettsa + more

Kansas City has been pumping out music like crazy the last couple weeks. There's been so much good shit released that we had to push up the release of this article and include almost double the amount of songs as usual! It's time to say goodbye to one of the town's best songwriters, but hello to a handful of new talents and get reacquainted with a few familiar faces. Genres represented this week include bedroom pop, hip-hop, punk rock, metalcore, garage rock, and a fly-as-hell instrumental cut. Time to dig in.

Eric Griffin Jr. - "Easily"
I'm not one to get mad at my city too often, Kansas City is an awesome place full of friendly people, but you guys truly messed up here. Eric Griffin Jr. is moving back to his home state of North Carolina in the next month. Kansas City's scene showed him nowhere near enough love during his time here. Griffin performed this song at January's Shuttlecock showcase and just released the recorded version  last week. The bluesy bedroom pop master is as subtle and poignant as ever on "Easily" and it sure is a track to leave on. Be sure to like him on Facebook for updates so you can pretend you knew him while he was here!

Zelus - "Softline"
Zelus is a Kansas City beatmaker. "Softline" is a short track featured on Australian label O-Nei-Ric Tapes' recent compilation "Sub Saikei Selection." Clocking in at only 1:39, "Softline" is a wavy mix of throwback pop samples and chopped up vocal bits that would fit right in on a late night [Adult Swim] break.

Narc Parade - "Ned / Good Cops"
Narc Parade released their demo back in April, but have quickly returned with a "Stone Cold Cassingle" for you to rock to. "Ned" is a speedy punk song about PCP and "Good Cops" is a vitriolic, pounding ode to the boys in blue. "No cop's a good cop/A good cop's a dead cop" goes the chorus and while it doesn't win any points for originality, you can bet that a room full of punks will go nuts for it. See the band play at the second Shuttlecock Music Showcase in July!

Donnell and Farian - "Lets Go"
Two teenage Kansas City friends who have both recently been featured on Hometown Highlights have teamed up again. Their last collaboration, "Houdini," was a magic-themed minimalist banger that featured Farian dropping bar after clever bar while Donnell handled production. This radio-ready R&B track features Donnell behind the boards, on a verse, and singing the hook with Farian popping in for a guest verse. Many lesser known artists going for The Weeknd or Drake-style R&B fail miserably, but Donnell makes an impeccable showing on "Lets Go." You'll be singing along before it's over.

Barrel Maker x West Peaks - "Rusty Pontiac"
Barrel Maker stays busy. The Kansas City emcee has teamed up with another Intelligent Sound producer, West Peaks. Maker's 2015 EP with LION was well received locally, but if you ask me, a full collaborative release with Peaks could garner even more attention. "Rusty Pontiac" shows the duo staying true to their sounds while pushing harder than ever before.

Dettsa - "Babylon"
Ego is a gnarly thing. Following a sample of Birdman's off-the-wall Breakfast Club rant, Kansas City rapper Dettsa repeats several times, "I still think I'm a god." "Babylon" chronicles Dettsa's many sources of anger and channels them into five minutes of pissed off hip-hop divinity. The song is five minutes long, but includes more solid verses than many rappers have released all year. Bam Keith also outdoes himself with the track's stormy, dynamic instrumentals.

Cleanse - "Broken"
Cleanse is a new Kansas City metalcore band formerly known as Aggregation. Before I'm accused of writing about awful Warped Tour metal, let me explain to you that Cleanse plays metalcore the way it was meant to be; for the 90's-loving purists of the genre. The bass grooves, thumping two-step rhythms, and throaty shouting of misanthropic lyrics are all here. Get down to it.

Iddy Vice - "Brixton Ave"
Although he had released music in the past, Iddy Vice elected to wipe his slate clean for 2016. "Brixton Ave" is now only the second song available on his SoundCloud page. The Kansas City rapper has adopted a style similar to Skepta and the British grime sound, even alluding to London on this track. Whether or not Vice continues delivering rapid-fire verses over dark club beats, he has definitely made his case as a talented rhymer and an upcoming voice to look out for.

The Fog - "Motorbike"
It seems as though Kansas City sludge pop trio The Fog has quietly entered the "indefinite hiatus" they announced back in January, but that didn't stop High Dive Records from releasing two of their previously unheard tracks. "Motorbike" is the catchy b-side on this digital single and will make any fan of the band yearn for their return. (Check out Ian Teeple in his new bands Powers & Light and Warm Bodies while you wait for that to happen).

Rory Fresco (ft. G-Eazy) - "Lowkey"
Hopefully by now, most Kansas City hip-hop heads are familiar with Rory Fresco. We were the first to interview the rapper/producer back in December. He was signed to Epic Records in March following the viral success of his song "Lowkey." Fresco has only released one new song since that time, but returned today with an updated version of "Lowkey" that features a guest verse from G-Eazy.

Check out past Hometown Highlights updates here.

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