Chicago-based group Growing Concerns Poetry Collective are pleased to announce their new album, BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES, out October 16th. Growing Concerns comprises rapper, poet, curator, and actor Mykele Deville, poet, actor, filmmaker, and educator McKenzie Chinn, and interdisciplinary artist, musician and educator Jeffrey Michael Austin. Following their 2017 debut WE HERE: Thank You for Noticing, BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES is rooted deeply in the contemporary Black American experience. Written and composed between 2017 and 2019, the album invites listeners on an emotional, expansive, no-holds-barred journey through both the shadowed valleys and hopeful peaks of our current moment. Influenced by Afrofuturism and the recent experimental work of artists like Solange and Frank Ocean, BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES finds the common place between the personal and political as it explores the depth of social chaos while conjuring visions of collective transcendence.
Lead single “Shout Across Mountains” and its joyous refrain “we full-voice people!” open BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES by celebrating not only the fullness of Black cultural sound, but the fullness of Black culture itself, even in the face of new hostilities. The accompanying video, directed by Talia Koylass, features footage from protests sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a host of Black Americans killed at the hands of police and white supremacists. Video clips of band members are woven throughout. “We are living through a moment in history,” says Chinn. “The stakes feel higher than they’ve been in our lifetime, and generations ahead of us will want to know what choices we made and what we fought for. They’ll want to know what we cared about and if we spoke up. This is the answer we’ll be able to give them.”
In “Come To Me Open,” band members Deville, Chinn, and Austin each preside over one of the song’s three “movements” in a sensual exploration of modern love shaped by diaspora. Deeper in the album, Chinn’s “First You Need a Body” exalts the magic of Black feminine sexuality, while Deville’s “Breaking” calls out the numbing impact of a social media-driven 24-hour news cycle fueled by incessant trauma. Chinn and Deville’s voices rejoin one another in “Some Dawn,” the album’s final track, which uses Chicago and it’s long history to imagine a world where peace can finally thrive on the other side of justice.
True to their form, Growing Concerns leans into their signature marriage of music, soundscape, hip-hop, and poetry in a new album that harnesses anguish, celebration, protest, love, and radical vision to light a torch as we traverse a sea of darkness, not alone, but together.
BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES Tracklist:01. Shout Across Mountains
02. Proximity (Prelude)
03. Come To Me Open
04. Ancestry Pt II
06. Interlude (And What)
07. First You Need A Body
09. California Matter Conspiracy
10. Young Troop
11. Peace After Revolution
13. Five Fifths
14. Some Dawn