I just looked it up: I’ve been covering the hip-hop of Amsterdam — aka Bend’s Gabe van Eikeren — since the summer of 2006, both as a solo artist and as part of his groups The Cool Table and Top Shelf. (He even did a short-lived tour blog and NBA Finals previews for Frequency back in the day!)
So it was weird back in February when he put out a new solo album called “Avarice” and I didn’t write a thing about it. I have a good excuse — I was home full-time with a 5-month-old baby — but still … I like what this dude does (increasingly so in recent years), so ignoring it didn’t feel right.
Anyway, I didn’t have to wait long to follow up. Early in July, Amsterdam released “Aurora,” another album of heart-on-sleeve raps that veer back and forth between self-deprecating angst and tongue-in-cheek-ish arrogance. If you only have time for one song, click forward to track 3, “Here & Now,” which features a buzzy, jumbled beat by Khrysis. But I’d suggest listening all the way through.
And here’s “Avarice,” which ain’t old news, y’all. It’s only five months old! Give ‘er a spin.
Speaking of Bend-based rappers, Cloaked Characters’ Jay Tablet — who will perform at The Astro Lounge tomorrow night — just dropped a free seven-track EP ahead of the release of his new solo album “Tablife,” scheduled for August. As is usually the case with JT, the free EP sounds like soundtrack to an after-party where eclectic beats and a mellow vibe are favored. Check it. And then look for more on Tab when “Tablife” drops.