If you enjoy playlists based on vibe rather than genre, then the new EP from local artist Shopjail will scratch that itch. Jumping through hip hop beats, pop-punk melodies, and electronic music, LARCENY is both a solo project and a collaborative effort, featuring many artists who are friends and inspiration to Samuel Krebs, the mind behind Shopjail.
Krebs has been a member of various Brooklyn bands including Killafün, as well as a stint in Nevva playing bass. Shopjail as a solo project rose out of lockdown, with Krebs releasing the first mixtape under the name in 2022 (PROSPER).
LARCENY starts out with “ONE EYE KOMODO,” featuring a beat provided by NYC (formerly South Florida) based producer Charmonthebeat and a verse from MC JimmyIII (who is also NYC based but hails from the Chattanooga, TN scene.) Backing the verse is a screwy, gritty dark bassy synth line. It’s almost whiplash when the second track kicks in, as “OK” is a much poppier song, with an anthemic chorus (“I just want to feel OK“) and a verse from comedy-writer and musician Booshell (Matt Buechele, who Krebs tells me is “lowkey TikTok famous,” though I’ll have to take his word for it since I don’t Tik the Tok yet).
“ACHES” feels like a mix of the first two tracks, with an upbeat verse and slowed down interstitial. The lyrics are relatable (“these old bones they don’t jangle like they used to… they just ache now when I awake“) and are drawn from poet Matt Stromberg, of whom Krebs says “he’s a poet from where I’m from in Pittsburgh. He put out some work recently, and I was immediately drawn to the words in “ACHES.” I could talk about that at great length. He gave me permission to write a song about it, and that’s where “ACHES” kinda came from.”
The EP then takes a turn into a gentler sound, with the ballad-esque “2LATE.” There’s a late-90’s/early 00’s feel here. Local singer CHARMAINIA (aka Charmaine, who also plays drums in Nevva and Cult of Chunk) is featured on this track, and her strong vocals make for a compelling duet. After an instrumental with vocal samples (“EGO DEATH”), “PROBLEM” is another anthemic song, although darker in tone than “OK.” “PARTY’S OVER” is a dancey bop and a fitting ending track.
It sounds like Krebs had a lot of fun making LARCENY, which was mixed and mastered by Owen Traynor of Hazing Over. Krebs said he “loved what they were doing with the engineering on their own stuff. I wanted the pop tracks I was making to get that harder edge that I wasn’t getting from other pop/hip-hop producers & engineers I was meeting with.” The album is self-released, and while Shopjail doesn’t have any shows upcoming, you can check out a live show demo here on Vimeo (Krebs is a cinematographer, and shot the “To Us” video for CHARMAINIA, which we loved at FTA.)