Spencer. Is Holding It Down For Alt R&B: A Music Review


Spotify is filled with music gems that, if you’re lucky, will pop up in your playlist recommendations without you having to search for them. This is exactly how I found Alt/Indie R&B singer Spencer., with a period.  

Spencer.’s 2020 single Hold It Down was how I was introduced to the Rochester, NY raised singer-songwriter, and ever since I auditorily met him I have been a fan. His calming voice, guitar riffs, love-struck lyrics and Lo-Fi hip hop beats adds an edge to his music, taking listeners on a ride with each lovesick song. 

The structure of the instrumentation in his music is simple, and sometimes gritty, encompassing a level of grunginess that isn’t typically present in R&B music. Spencer.’s willingness to experiment with different sounds—like sampling the legendary grunge band Nirvana and dream pop star Grimes—can be attributed to his appreciation for musicianship. 

As a musician himself, trumpeter and guitarist, Spencer. is able to efficiently utilize his influences in his music and still maintain his originality. Although the self-proclaimed “beat nerd” identifies as a producer first, according to Rochester First, his voice is just as alluring and hypnotic as his music production. 

Since 2016 Spencer. has been making quality music, beginning with his lyric-free 2016 EP STARCASTER, bringing new energy with each music release. Showing off his growth from 2016 with his 2018 EP VISCERAL LOVE, Spencer. breaks out of the producer-only role and delivers an indie R&B masterpiece. 

Spencer.’s 2018 EP VISCERAL LOVE begins with Better Things, a song that has a typical 90’s boom bap hip hop beat before melting into a slowed acoustic version of Nirvana’s Lithium. The intro beat intertwined seamlessly under Spencer.’s voice, reflecting Spencer.’s apathetic yet hopeful feelings about love in Better Things—mirroring Kurt Cobain’s lyrical approach in Lithium.

The rest of the VISCERAL LOVE EP is dreamy, progressively getting more romantic and psychedelic soulish with the inclusion of Spencer.’s guitar solo at the end of Open Wide. The production of Open Wide also has elements of Andre 3000’s She Lives in my Lap, including a lyrical sample of Andre 3000’s song in Spencer.’s chorus.

Spencer. followed his 2018 VISCERAL LOVE EP up with his Want U Back EP in September of that same year, coming back with 3 more singles that exhibited more of his vocal range. Although the music production was similar to the style of the VISCERAL LOVE EP,  the Want U Back EP’s singles Want U Back and bbybbybby had a lighter feel. 

The harp-like guitar complimented Spencer.’s vocal harmonies on Want U Back just as powerfully as the drum-kick beat on the last song of the EP Heat of Summer did. Since 2019 Spencer. has only released singles, each one contrasting from the last. 

Hold It Down, Maybe and Automatic is more Alt- R&B ,reminiscent of artists like Steve Lacy and Frank Ocean, while singles like 2much express his Alt/Rock/Indie side. Similar to Alt-Rock artists like Chris Martin from Coldplay, Foster The People and Sixpence None The Richer. 

While Spencer.’s singles has been keeping fans hooked, especially his newest single Lonely As I Ever Was, in September he will be keeping fans hooked with his new project Are U Down? Are U Down? will be Spencer.’s first full album, and is dropping Sept. 10 so save the date!

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