What Would Julian Rafael Hassan Roden Do?


"Tour4Ever" EP Review [@Netherfriends]


Netherfriends, Netherfriends, Netherfriends, where do I even begin? This overtly Jewy, comical free bird is living his dream by hanging out with cool people across the nation as he Tours 4 Ever never settling into a permanent home. He spends the bulk of his days being high in Target, watching Seinfeld, or trolling the internet with his own personal unparalleled dry humor. That’s all besides the music, which this Chicagoan (at heart) is devilishly well versed and great at. Lend it to his taste, his ear for music, or pure natural talent, Netherfriends couldn’t put out something bad if he tried. Trust me, he tries to put out bad work with his horrifically crude Lady Friends portraits and even those end up coming out grand and Artful. This guy is Art. He lives Art and in that respect he has my utmost respect. TOUR4EVER is the audio culmination of this lifestyle.

Around this time last year I had not a clue who Netherfriends was. I was oblivious. I just knew him as some white boy who had some decent skills on the boards and some hip hop esc. act as he was transitioning from the Chicago rock scene which he found boring and lacking of a real community. We were at the old New Deal Crew headquarters in Logan Square (then referred to as “The Mansion”) when he and I first met. He was scheduled to perform at the NewDealPalooza (biggest and best house party of Chicago in 2014) when we actually just ended up smoking weed and drinking Pabst. No biggie, though I was antsy to see what this guy actually sounded like. I had no clue he was better than 95% of all the emerging Chicago Artist.

I dove right into his “P3ACE” (pronounced “Three Peace”) project and accompanying 5 part visual series for the project then noting his star potential very early. I hadn’t seen him live (still haven’t), but I caught a set he did on WGN and watched the general response to his differentness and style across the net. People can’t get enough of Netherfriends and neither could I. After that I was hooked. We need this type of Artist to have a greater representation as it will only allow for better inspiration for other Artist and thus creating a push of better music without capital gain in mind.

Hence the reason he’s being reviewed on my site. TOUR4EVER is AMBIENCE. A very fine mixture of feminine jazz vocals, guest rap verses from some of the most lyrically inclined Chicagoans, and his ethereal/effervescent production/vocals makes this project stand apart from all the mediocrity the city normally produces. He is an actual musician in the sense of him cultivating this sound that he and only he can dominate because it’s solely original and has soul.

Starting the project roll out with a single and accompanying music video (a very fucking creative music video might I add), Netherfriends first released “Short Bangs” Ft. Monster Mike directly alongside a chopped version of the song which also made the project as an outro. A story of an Artist on the road, never in one place long enough to settle for love, Short Bangs resonates with all serious Artist who place the craft ahead of romance. We all need love, but some including Netherfriends know exactly how much he needs to keep him going on this lonely road.

Monster Mike ain’t the only one who killed their guest spot though. Henny B makes some sun fire level summer heat on “Brain Damage” with her song and rap combination: a major flex of versatility from the FemCee. Bruce Banye weaves through a quick and equally clever verse on “Flood Insurance”. Netherfriends even scored a Trumpet feature from Will Miller of The O’Mys (a soulful band emerging from Chicago’s Rap/Art scene) for a track with Angel Katz “Dancing”. Angel Katz proves to equally flex her versatility on this very same project not only as a FemCee, but having crafted the album Art for TOUR4EVER in collaboration with Eli Cook (We’ll get to this next). Rounding things out, “The Loveless Man” is yet another multifaceted conjunction of Artist including Cater Lang on the Bass Guitar, Carl (or one of those Hurt Everybody niggas) with a nice assist to the Friends of Nether, all glued together with a tranquil serenade from Bernie Levv.

This piece of work will fit nicely into your weekly rotation of music if you know how to chill the fuck out. The very Van Gogh like depiction of Netherfriends sets the tone of this EP. It’s vague, it’s mysterious, and even more so skillfully produced. Once you hear it I want you to know that this is an Artist that can do nothing but create Art. It’s what he was born to do. So he should be able to bless you with his contributions to the world and be compensated at least adequately enough to continue his life’s various shenanigans. Don’t you want to smoke infinite weed, go to Target and finish up your day with a complete Seinfeld collection… on BLU-RAY? Lord knows I do. And Netherfriends deserves to.

Julian Roden