Angst, Sam Austins

By Daniel Winogradoff, Albums Editor

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SCORE: 7.5

As of 10:07 a.m. on November 14, 2017, Detroit native Sam Austins only has 901 followers on SoundCloud. That is nearly 124 thousand less than Lil Xan, 680 thousand less than Lil Pump and 1.4 million less than Xxxtentacion. Unfortunately for those three rappers, Sam Austins deserves to have a larger fanbase than all of them (perhaps a number that exceeds the combination of their SoundCloud listeners).

In the wake of his July collaboration with producer Take A Daytrip in the Pigeons and Planes-hailed “FIJI,” low-key “artist development hub” and historic Detroit church-turned-studio compound Assemble Sound found their superstar in Sam Austins, after the release of his latest EP, ANGST.

Penned as “an anxious fuck” in his biography, Austins’ worrisome nature runs rampant throughout the project. The sensational intro “Swim” shows his reluctant monogamy, as influenced by drugs, his ego and, of course, his anxiety. Behind nerve-racking synths that scale the heights and depths of his musical canvas and scratching 808 drums, Austins sings “I’m stuck on a road trip/ I just found my solstice/ Little things I notice…keep my baby focused.” On the title track, a mesmerizing and drowsy choir opens to a Kanye-inspired beat with Austins’ cooped words tip-toeing from earbud to earbud.

At times his writing appears forced and gauche, but in other incidences, he is able to create surprisingly-deft lyrics about escapism and coping mechanisms. “Video Games” is apprehensive and breaching at heart, however, soft and premature-metaphors seem to disconnect from the rest of the body of work. Nevertheless, passion, anger and screaming guitars at the tail-end of the track create some of the most powerful and hauntingly beautiful tensions of 2017. “Youngin’” and “Sonoma” sonically-embrace the liveliness of being young with playful sounds and lush patterns. His singing voice takes shape of liquid gold on both tracks, with lovely-sang hooks and delicately-layered vocals luring listeners to him like he’s a guilty pleasure.

ANGST is the best project Austins has put out so far. This stand-out piece is retroflexed for someone who needs to release tension in a time where moving forward is the main objective. Austins has the demeanor, image and talent to reach fancy heights, but unfortunately, youth is one of his biggest obstacles left. In due time, Austins will get his time to rep Detroit as a widely-known name.

As of 10:52 a.m. on November 14, 2017, Austins has 902 followers.

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