This piece is part of the Greylists series: communities sharing the music that brings them together.
As native New Yorkers, Brandon Weems and Craig Handfield are keeping the sound of the city alive. Taking inspiration from NYC’s nightlife history, their DJ sets, productions, parties and record label aim to bring that funky spirit to the 21st century.
Longtime friends, Weems and Handfield DJ and make music together as musclecars. For the past few years the duo have been turning heads in underground circles through their heady mixes and releases. Their 2020 EP Street Dreams was described as ‘stunning’ by Resident Advisor, blending warm house sounds with psychedelic melodies, jazz guitar and cosmic grooves.
Blending genres is what Weems and Handfield do best and with that in mind, the pair started the Coloring Lessons party in 2018. Growing from Brooklyn’s Mood Ring to a resident party at the infamous Le Bain, their goal was to bring people together and take them back to the golden era of NYC nightlife. While the party and sound is not genre specific, it is heavily focused around house, disco, jazz, and soul, embracing the musical elements of their black and brown ancestors.
In 2020 Coloring Lessons also became a record label. The sound of Coloring Lessons Records is an extension of the party, sharing music created and inspired by people of color while teaching younger generations about the roots of that music. The debut release, Coloring Lessons Volume n°1, is a compilation focused on artists from NYC including productions by Kai Alcé, Levon Vincent, Young Male, Beta Libre, Toribio, Jenifa Mayanja, Kush Jones, and Barbie Bertisch, as well as a banging track by musclecars.
Weems and Handfield have picked a diverse selection of tracks for their Greylist featuring the neo soul sounds of D’Angelo, dub energy of The Revolutionaries, funk and soul of The Blackbyrds, and a beautiful rendition of The Isley Brothers by Groove Theory.
1. “Dreaming About You,” The Blackbyrds
2. “Hello, It’s Me,” Groove Theory
3. “Kunta Kinte Dub,” The Revolutionaries
4. “Really Love,” D’Angelo
5. “Surest Thing Can Change,” Gene Dunlap
6. “Xavi,” Snarky Puppy
You can hear musclecars’ Street Dreams EP and Coloring Lessons Volume n°1 on their respective Bandcamp pages.
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