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MD Disc: HOMESHAKE Pivots Entirely From Retro Funk to Grungy Emo

HOMESHAKE has gone from lo-fi, indie darling to mastery of emo, funk and R&B.
A still of producer & singer HOMESHAKE. Taken from his Instagram account, @pitersugar.

The career of HOMESHAKE presents an interesting question. In a market as saturated as lo-fi, is there a way to successfully execute such a specific genre and still stand out? With the sound that HOMESHAKE majored in towards the start of his career slipping from the industry-wide chokehold it once had, where the Montreal multi-hyphenate has gone since gives us a ton of answers. Here’s everything you need to know about HOMESHAKE with his latest album just a few weeks away.

Fresh Air And Early Work Establish An Indie Star

Part of the HOMESHAKE story is timing; his 2017 project, Fresh Air, arguably his best and likely his most popular, arrived at the apex of both retro funk & lo-fi stylings. A track like “Every Single Thing” is instrumentally reminiscent of what someone like Kali Uchis was majoring in at the time, while the vulnerable emotional quality and vocal styles are adjacent to former bandmate Mac Demarco. However, your music being similar to other popular acts or serendipitous trendiness certainly isn’t enough to bring someone the success HOMESHAKE has enjoyed.

Since that project,  he’s been uber-consistent and ever-evolving, dropping five projects in the seven-year span since Fresh Air. While his growth over that period is better discovered via a full deep dive rather than a quick summary, contrasting an airy, sun-bleached track like 2019’s “Like Mariah” to his more recent output gives you a rough sketch. You jump to 2024, and his March album, CD Wallet, is almost unrecognizable in the best of ways. Grungy, noxious guitar lines inform the emo-like turn of that project, having much more in common with the rough-around-the-edges sound of 2000s emo than what his retro funk contemporaries have gone on to explore. 

A still of producer & singer Homeshake. Taken from his Instagram account, @pitersugar.
Taken from his @pitersugar.

Where Will Horsie, HOMESHAKE’s Upcoming Album, Go?

Which brings us to Horsie, HOMESHAKE’s upcoming album and his second release in 2024. At least in the early goings, it seems like his two records this year are two sides of the same coin. Where CD Wallet explores feelings of distance and loneliness in noisy, abrasive fashion, Horsie is a return to early career formulas: methodical drum lines and hypnotic instrumentation delving into those same concepts in more reflective fashion. “Simple” proves that trying to undo the progress HOMESHAKE has made over the past near-decade is no simple task, though. Wailing, reflective guitar lines and Tears For Fears-esque piano chords cut through a melancholy smattering of drums and pads, far elevating the song beyond anything summed up as “lo-fi.” 

It seems just as likely that Horsie continues the foundation of the singles we’ve heard so far as it taking a further left turn. Either way, HOMESHAKE’s career so far is a perfect example of the dangers of letting your sound get complacent, and the highs you can reach if you avoid that fate. You can find all HOMESHAKE music on all streaming platforms

Elsewhere in our coverage, NxWorries’ Why Lawd gives Anderson .Paak fans what they’ve been wishing for over the past seven years.

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