Whenever you discover a new artist, there’s usually that one track that sticks. Maybe it’s an especially catchy hook or maybe the drums hit at just the right time in just the right places to make you want to delve deeper into that artist’s discography. Any of the six songs on Billy Lemos’ second EP, ‘Awkward’, has the potential to be that track.
The 19-year-old producer out of Iowa turns over an array of homegrown, ridiculously addictive melodies drowned in chippy lo-fi production that’s as cohesive as it is versatile. Lemos makes music that feels like it comes from an intimate space, and the journey from his mind to a listener’s ear doesn’t feel too far. It’s that direct connection that makes ‘Awkward’ stand out as something raw and unprocessed, while also sounding more polished than his earlier releases.
‘Awkward’ also offers an introduction to a wide range of talented voices whom you may or may not have heard before. Regular collaborator VICTOR! appears on the first track, melding his own self-produced sound with Lemos’ seamlessly on “Burb”, and Kopano lends her soulful poetry to bring the sunshine on “Rain”. There are plenty more artists to be discovered on this EP, and Lemos tailors his production style to fit whoever he’s working with to formulate something fresh each time.
At multiple points on this project, it feels like Billy Lemos is just having fun with it. He ends songs or transitions into a second movement as he pleases, moving on to something else before it gets repetitive. He could be working with fuzzy guitar riffs, crafting a soulful slow-jam or cooking up something with more bounce. Whether he’s flipping tracks from other projects like he does on “Stuck” (which samples Family Reunion’s “OMG”) or working completely from scratch, ‘Awkward’ serves as a testament to the young producer’s ear for viral beats.
Just when you get caught in the daze, the EP’s over before you know it. Don’t worry, though, you can always hit play on ‘Awkward’ again and again—and you’ll probably want to by the time you’re done listening.