This is a slideshow that you can see… With your eyes… This is my adventure in a brand new city while I went to see one of my favorite bands ever. This is something totally different, but the usual schedule will presume with my three times a week dump of reviews/showcases. Thanks for listening, reading, watching me, and growing with me you rats.
P.S. – Shout out to Coolio, Lee said you’re weak and got jumped by juggalos. Also thanks to the kids that I hung out with before the show, you guys made my experience in Philly even tighter… TRASH TALK COLLECTIVE…ANTWON…HEIR DASH…BLACKXNOISE… IT WAS TIGHT AND ANYONE WHO DIDN’T GO MISSED OUT BIG TIME.
Mad Season, the prolific super group consisting of Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, Barrett Martin from Screaming Trees, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and John Baker Saunders from The Walkabouts. Together, Mad Season combined their grunge roots and Seattle style to collaborate on a piece of American rock and roll history.
Using Staley’s iconic voice, McCready’s slithering style on guitar, Baker’s smooth bass lines, and Martin’s rapid drum work, the match was seemingly made in heaven. Mad Season began as an underground style of work, and McCready despite not having any songs prepared, scheduled a show for Mad Season at the Crocodile Café. Most surprisingly, the show was a huge success and one of the 12 tracks would emerge from this show, “Artificial Red” would appear on the album as a lead into one of the slower tracks of Above.
Above opens with “Wake Up,” a slow crawl of a track that eventually builds up into a full scale emotional battle between Staley and the instrumentalists. Baker starts the track off with a bass line that continues to buzz through the entirety of the track, this bass line and Staley also end the track and it feels almost melancholy. The entire song, even at its most climatic point has such a dark overtone and Staley’s lyrics nearly overshadow the rest of the track.
Staley calmly explains, “For all the times you let them bleed you,” and with additional lyrics contributing “Slow suicide is no way to go,” and “The cracks and lines from where you gave up,” are going to paint these extremely bleak images in a person’s head. Staley’s lyrics where almost always full of self-deprecation or misery, in Mad Season, Staley continues on this theme and this works in complement to the instrumentals.
“Wake Up” is an extremely slow and melodic constructing track. The opening is this somber walk with the bass and guitar playing eerily, to the point where it is near silent. Then as Martin’s percussion and Staley come in, the track eagerly picks up speed before coming back to the daunting sounds it first presented.
Following is the track “X-Ray Mind.” This song speeds up the momentum on the record, beginning with a gradual drum roll that launches into a full-out electric guitar and bass melody that work in tandem with Layne’s voice. “X-Ray Mind” is the first track that resembles more of the “Pearl Jam mixed with Alice in Chains” sound that Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described so well. The use of the powerful percussion work from Martin and Staley’s voice represent the Alice in Chains aspect, while McCready’s flashy guitar work and Baker’s smooth bass line’s better represent the Pearl Jam side of things.
Trailing right behind is “River Of Deceit,” one of the bigger commercially released tracks off of Above. This track focuses more on McCready’s guitar work as the bigger, more fleshed-out sound. Mad Season seems to focus themselves more around his guitar, almost building off of it, rather than competing with it. Staley’s voice is still a pivotal point on this track and for the rest of Above, but this is a specific track where another band member takes the ropes and allows the other instrumentalists to take a backseat.
“River Of Deceit” features a melodic style of approach where rather than going for the classic rock style, this takes more a relaxed method. The sound is accompanied by these great chords that continue through most of the track, laying the ground work for the other instrumentalists to follow behind. Baker plays a slightly different groove than McCready and they again complement each other rather than compete against each other. This whole track feels like a balance, rather than trying to challenge, they simply build each other up.
Next is the track “I’m Above,” a slow rock song that uses vocals from Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees. Together both Lanegan and Staley go on a back and forth near conversation that works as a wonderful complement to the already outstanding backing instruments. The track then picks up power with Martin playing a volley of snare hits and launching into one of the quicker segment of the track with Lanegan and Stanley shouting “I’m Above, over you I’m standing above.”
This is one of the few tracks where Lanegan provides backing vocals for Mad Season, and the contrast between his gruffer style of singing and Staley’s higher melodic style of singing is the perfect parallel that together just performs outstandingly well. They are the focal point of the track, bringing in tranquility, and despair simultaneously.
The track “Artificial Red” follows and is one of the more lumbering songs on Above. It is still impactful, giving off a powerful impression from the blues style of guitar and the pounding drums that Martin is so well known for. Baker plays this shambling bass line that never picks up too much even when the rest of Mad Season is moving much faster.
Baker takes a chilled approached to his bass work, and it is a significant piece of every track. The sections where his bass shines through can live on their own within the tracks and are great additions every single time. “Artificial Red” is more a blues ensemble than a rock and roll track.
“Lifeless Dead” follows and features Staley on rhythm guitar. This is one of the more upbeat songs on Above, features harmonies and melodies between the instruments and vocal performance by Staley. Even as the tracks title suggests, “Lifeless Dead” is actually one of the livelier tracks, it adapts a new persona for Mad Season instead of the usual slower style of play that most of Above is accustom to.
Hearing the full band kick into overdrive, allowing Staley to gracefully shout over the wonderful arrangements of Martin’s drum fills and crashing cymbal work, to McCready’s impressive solo, the entire song is an excellent ride.
Carrying off of “Lifeless Dead’s” momentum, “I Don’t Know Anything” is a gritty guitar focused track that runs parallel to Staley’s bleak style of writing. Together, the two complement each other so well and create such great chemistry. Baker and Martin are also strong presences with Martin giving great percussive hits on what sounds like sheets of metal over McCready’s guitar solo, and Baker delivering a downright dirty bass rhythm throughout the track.
Mad Season takes a slower approach to most of their tracks on Above, but this is done stylistically as a progressive movement. The slower approach still keeps the same level of intensity and sounds like a darker version of Alice in Chains or a more experimental Pearl Jam. The way these artists collaborated together and formed one higher entity is just outstanding.
Mark Lanegan then returns to display another great complementary piece with Staley as the two work together to form “Long Gone Day.” This uses different ethnic percussion instruments from Martin like bongo’s and what sounds like rain sticks or maracas. This track also features an amazing saxophone from Eric Walton, better known as Sherik. His saxophone is one of the highlights of the track as it begins subtly until finally taking over the entire song. It comes in section, but seems to paint the entire mood of the track, almost changing the genre of Above entirely. There are also what sounds like a marimba being used as a backing instrument and it gives this desert rock vibe off, the entire track is a multi-genre, multi-layered masterpiece.
The lyrics of “Long Gone Day” are also shining points as Staley and Lanegan deliver some chilling lines describing “So much blood I’m starting to drown,” and “I fear again, like then, I’ve lost my way. And shout to God to bring my sunny day.” Both incredibly strong lyricists like Lanegan and Staley were able to create these morose scenarios that continue to echo even 21 years later.
“November Hotel” follows and this is the longest track on Above. The long run time adds to the tension that is presented at the song’s beginning, to the then blasting instruments that kick in around halfway through the track. It starts with McCready’s shallow and light hearted guitar to Martin very slowly launching the percussion into a pounding assault which the rest of the band seamlessly follows into. The gradual build up makes the track’s frantic ending even more worthwhile, and even as Above does not always feel guided or set on an objective, it feels like an outstanding jam album that can be repeated over and over again.
The sound focuses more on being experimental and using more resources than a usual release by any of the members’ former bands. The very noisy guitar that McCready plays with on “November Hotel” is a perfect example of just how experimental the band become as time progressed. Interestingly enough, even as the music was recorded in just about seven days, it was still an immense exploratory piece at best.
Following is “All Alone,” a track that uses more of McCready’s dreamscape guitar work, and Martin’s bongos again. The track also features Staley delivering a reverbed spacious approach to the vocals that keeps the theme of the experimental aspect. “All Alone” is a much different track than the rest of Above, but this is most certainly not a bad thing. The constant experimentation keeps the record feeling fresh and no one sound ever feeling like it is repeated. “All Alone” is the final track on Mad Season, and when the silence creeps back in on the listener, Above begs to be played again.
Woods is an American Folk Rock Band that has an impressive and engrossing résumé spanning over the course of nine different albums, and two studio records. Woods is from Brooklyn and is now formed with singer and guitar-player Jeremy Earl, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jarvis Taveniere, and the drummer Aaron Neveu.
Their newest album City Sun Eater in the River of Light is the “Woods you recognize,” but this time they are taking a fresh twist on their musical entry. The group is now experimenting with different types of Ethiopian Jazz, and using lots of primal sounding background drums, with popping horns, and a chilled approach to the vocals that represents a desert drive going nowhere. That is not to say that the album is without direction, but the echoed and near wondrous vocals leaves a six in the morning feel. There are songs on this album that sound tired, but not in a bad way. It captures the freedom of the open road and allows the listener to be put into a whole new horizon.
Woods does an amazing job with the production, City Sun Eater in the River of Light has this whole connotation on the drums, they bring so much to the table with the quick and lucid fills. It was actually most surprising to see the use of maracas and dreamscape sounding guitar that left me wondering, “How did he make that sound like this?” City Sun Eater in the River of Light is musically and fundamentally an astounding album.
Woods brings a calmer tone that paints an image of a sunset drive or a relaxing night in the desert. City Sun Eater in the River of Light is really an album about relaxation and the peace in life. The mixture of outstanding musical sound gives way to dreamy guitar, sleepy vocals, and tight percussion that brings the mind toward a night at the beach in California, with the waves gathering up, and the sun just beginning to rise as well.
This is a much shorter showcase and Wednesday will most likely also be much shorter as I am leaving to go see Trash Talk, Black Noise and, Antwon play in Philadelphia. I will most likely post some pictures and this will be my first “blog” style post that isn’t just a discussion on music… But it is still a musical topic so I figured this would be a great platform to post it on anyway.
I will only be gone for a day or so… but expect some more bullshit on Friday about an album I have been pushing back for a few weeks now. Also it might be a double review again… I’m the hardest working person you know, and no one cares yada yada yada… Anyway wish me luck and I hope I don’t get stabbed in my face, hope all is well and I sold all my t-shirts so thank you. Yes, even the person who took my shirt and spit on it… thank you <3 I’m leaving now… Also Halloween is Monday… The same day you will read this… I might even listen to Riff-Raff for friday… Who knows! it’s a crazy swamp we live in, but I doubt it.. Peace in the Middle East, Love you, and goodnight <3
The Black Void, a vast array of nothingness that continuously spans over centuries of time. The Void that stares back at you, the Void that sees through the soul and pierces into the deepest sector of your psyche. Adrian Younge is ready to explore the pits of the human body, the emotions, the failure, and ultimately the complication that is human beings.
The Electronique Void is a primarily synthetic work of art that challenges the thinking’s of man. The opening track, “Black Noise Interlude” begins with a rippling synth and a dominant voice describing St. Elmo’s Fire, the power of electricity and magnetism, and “Tesla’s warning to Edison, entailing “Beware the Black Noise.” The “Black Noise” is often referred to as silent noise. opposite to white noise, it allows the listener to hear nothing and eventually fall into a descent of madness.
The following track, “The Night” is a crunchy sounding synth ballad that acts as a tribute to the glory days of the 80’s. It has no lyrics, and The Electonique Void focuses primarily on the music of Younge. “The Night” is a creeping track, that follows a minimalistic approach to the percussion. The simple 1-2 step between the bass and the snare hits keeps a steady near hypnotic march. The synths that then follow behind and add almost horror-like elements to an already eerie track was outstanding. It feels like this track could reside in an old Hammer Horror film, with the gothic scenery and the way the synths keep a slow but rising tone.
“Fly Away” is the next track and it is seamlessly blended from “The Night.” “Fly Away” has more of an uplifting tone and the center of focus is still on the synth leads that take the place of horns and different stringed instruments. The way Younge used synthesizers to control the tracks and constantly changes up the sound from track to track was a substantial way to keep The Electronique Void feelings fresh and unpredictable at every turn.
“Systems” follows and this is in similar sound to the previous track “The Night.” This synthetic crawl of a track uses a rattling hi-hat, riveting synth work, and ultimately, a warping overlay that continues to echo throughout the track. Younge then finishes the track by letting the sound fade from every instrument and then launching into the next song.
“The Concept of Love” begins with what sounds like warped static before eventually becoming an assault of bass and ear-piercing synths. The white noise continues through most of the track, fading in-between the track’s foreground and background. “The Concept of Love” goes through several stages where the track feels lucid through the whole near 6 minutes. It traverses ear piercing instrumentals, to a bass focused section, before finally coming to a close with a strange near Morse code style of bouncing synths before succumbing to silence.
The Electronique Void then comes to “Voltage Controlled Orgasms,” a track that uses a boom-bap, near disco style of instrumental. The only difference here is that the instruments are much more artificial sounding, and the track contains these rising synths that build to the anticipation of the climatic ending. The ending of this track is a frantic wail of machines that cascades and has this great amount of flow about it. The instruments slowly fade out into silence, leading into “Linguistics.”
“Linguistics” is a rather short track that uses the same spoken narrator from “Black Noise Interlude.” Both tracks are the shortest works on The Electronique Void, only lasting 45 seconds each, but they still add an additional element to the record as well. They act as breathe to the tracks, instead of being simply filler on the release, they make each song stand out that much more.
The track that follows, “Black Noise” is a rather familiar sounding track that uses similar elements of “Systems” and “The Night.” While “Black Noise” is related, it still has elements that differentiate the track from its predecessors. The use of vocalization and a more authentic sounding drum kits allows for the track to feel more human-esque. The random lightning bolts of synth chords that flash in the background, and the warped sounding synths again add to the tracks mood, making it feel like more of a journey than an actual song.
“Patterns” is then segued into and the flow is instantly slowed down to a near halt. “Patterns” starts with a low tuned frequency bass that resembles an 808. The narrator returns and acts as the primary moving force behind the track. “Patterns” resembles something along the lines of Clipping.’s Splendor and Misery with these gigantic, synthetic space sounding instrumentals that reign through background. Rather than focusing on the vocalization like Clipping., Adrian Younge makes the instruments the star of his show. The track then falls into this second half where it becomes rather minimalistic and eventually like the other tracks, fades into a crushed silence.
The last track “Suicidal Love” uses a snare beat and a rising bass line that slowly changes pitch and becomes this high pitched machine that echoes through the track. It then launches into a beautiful instrumental that uses imitation horns and these subtle sirens that give the rest of the track more depth and an additional layer to the track. The narrator returns and ends the track with the quote “Everything and Nothing exactly at the same time.” The reoccurring silence comes back, and Younge leaves the listener back in the Darkness.
Trash Talk, The Sacramento Hardcore Punk band is back and as rugged as ever. The destructive four-piece movement brings Tangle EP to the table, a follow up to their 2014 release No Peace.
Tangle EP is a quick 11-minute, 5 track EP that combines Trash Talk’s iconic hardcore sound that so many remember, and some new elements that keeps every release feeling fresh and unique. As Tangle EP kicks off into the thrash fest of a first track, “Disconnected” is an instant hardcore anthem. The guitar screech that starts the track off, to the then explosive opening where the full line of instruments and vocals come in with a wall of sound, instantly sets the mood for Tangle EP. Every track is a bombastic ride through these breakneck guitar riffs and drum rolls that continually shake the listener.
“Disconnected” is a great opener to the EP, and it allows the band to get in and become abrasive with the audience. It pulls no punches in a literal sense, and is one of Trash Talk’s better produced sounding tracks and EP’s overall. The band continues to evolve and change, while still keeping a consistent level of tenacity and strength that is always present in every release. As “Disconnected” kicks off, it changes up into a “chorus” where vocalist Lee Spielman can take control and let the rest of the band take a backseat.
This is not the case on all tracks however as Spielman actually tends to ride shotgun when compared to the instrumentalists and even other vocalist, Spencer Pollard. Pollard seems to be used much more frequently than in past releases and while he was still a monumental part of Trash Talk’s puzzle, he seems to be more at the forefront with Tangle EP.
The following track “Mr. Nobody” starts with drum rolls from Joey Castillo and it is a fantastic way to get the action started. “Mr. Nobody” feels similar to “Disconnected” as they are both frantic, head-banging, movement focused tracks that have choruses where the entire band joins in to shout the lyrics. It has these great lyrics stating “Nobody cares or knows what we do in secret.” Trash Talk has always had interesting lyrics and have always discussed society and its roles on daily life, “Mr. Nobody” is no different and has an outstanding flow into the next track.
“Constrictor” feels like a classic hardcore-punk song in the making. It uses Castillo and Garrett Stevenson on guitar to have these conflicting solo works. The percussion has a great amount of weight attached to it, the drums are tuned lower and the crashing cymbals continue to rattle the Earth.
Stevenson uses his guitar to cascade these chords and riffs around. Almost like a leader in the track, he commands the rest of the band with his solo breakdowns and directs the track into the second half. This is where Trash Talk slows down the action and lets Spielman take the center of the attention. Spielman gives everything his voice can project in this breakdown, shouting “All I know is everything, Can’t tell me anything at all.” The track then launches back into its previous riffs and pounding percussion before finally coming to a silence.
The following track “Feen” is a quick Minor-Threat esc sounding track that only lasts a single minute, but brings enough power and brawn to survive on its own. This is the most aggressive of all the tracks on Tangle EP and the short run time adds to its abrasiveness. It gets in, destroys the set, and then leaves the ashes for the next track, “Soothe Sayer”
“Soothe Sayer” is another track that begins with flames, the guitar and percussion really carries this song and using Pollard and Spielman on vocals lets this track become even more aggressive. “Soothe Sayer” is a person who was able to see or witness the future, and this track is a look into the future of Trash Talk and how their sound will continually resonate within the punk community. As the heavy-hitters, the aggressive artists, and the powerful punks, Trash Talk lives on as a testament to just how much fun 11 minutes can really be.
Choking Victim is the New York hardcore punk/ska band that took a less serious approach to their lyrical style, but an intense approach to their music. Their music combines all the quick and rapid movements of hardcore music, the gentle swinging Caribbean sounds of reggae music, and a blast from one of the most Anti-American sounding group of youths. Together, Choking Victim explains the power struggle in America, the foreign policy of America, and how the population is really a choking victim at ropes end.
No Gods / No Managers begins with “500 Channels,” a track that blends ripping bass lines and an urgent tempo. Choking Victim is able to fly through the chorus, riffs, and grooves with seamless ease. Their whole attitude and anger toward “Never being bullied into a corner,” and being able to
“Live above the fucking law,” gives off this outstanding message of anarchy and opposing everything that you are taught. Choking Victim also displays some more of the comedic lyrics that the band was known for, “And when there is no hope, I smoke some crack, I’ll shoot some dope.” It takes several listens to really take in everything that Scott “STZA” Sturgeon is practically shouting over the rest of the band.
The following track “In Hell,” is a rapid fire rush that sounds more like a punk song than anything. The percussion played by Skwert is a cranked up offensive of drum rolls and crashing cymbals. “In Hell” takes no breaks from the action and the entire track has this rushed feeling. This could also be said for the majority of the near 42-minute ska adventure.
“Crack Rock Steady” trails behind and is one of the more “radio-friendly” sounding tracks with an almost faster reggae instrumental and what resembles kettle drums. The rest of the track is a feel-good journey with lyrics like “Are you ready to stop the rotten blue menace? Let’s go kill us a cop,” and “It doesn’t matter the color of your skin. As long as you are not scandalous, commit no sin to me, or my tribe.” No Gods / No Managers is more of a discussion on grouping together to realize the injustice in the world and grouping together to come to one common goal.
Choking Victim’s goal could be laid inside the track “Suicide (A Better Way).” The track opens with a slick bassline before launching into another sprint of an instrumental with cascading guitar from both STZA and Erza Kire, vocals and screams from bass player Shayne Webb, and Skwert’s agitated drum fills. The track feels like a lightning bolt full of energy and perfectly leads into the next track, “In My Grave.”
This track again follows the quick ska style but eventually launches into these single instrument breakdowns where the individual instrumentalists can really breakthrough and shine. Skwert begins the first breakdown and he seems to play the drums like a lead instrument. He keeps the flow of the track and is able to keep everything progressively engaging and interesting for the listener. Choking Victim uses his talent as a way to push the tempo and keep the instrumentals feeling powerful and primarily rushed.
The following track is “Fucked Reality” which discusses such topics as “Jesus on the Cross, there are no idols, no heroes in a world of death, and no winners in this fucked reality.” STZA has such a substantial voice and while his lyrics are in much of the time a joking manner, he still has a point in his message. Choking Victim stands behind this anti-government and anti-religion platform and the intermissions from Political Scientist, Economist, and Historian, Michael Parenti only furthers their message through another person’s support.
Parenti starts “Money” off with a topic discussion of “The function of Police,” and how they are working for “social control” and “property protection” rather than protection of the people. Choking Victim then launches into one of their fastest and most aggressive songs on No Gods / No Managers. Every second of this song is a thrash metal mosh-pit that finally slows down to let the next track flood into frame.
“Hate Yer State” openings with yet another sample, this time coming from Choking Victim themselves explaining, “You think your alive motherfucker. You’re just the walking fucking dead, you’re fucking sheep, stepping on my back to stay alive. West coast, East Coast, your all bunch of fucking fools. You and the rest of this greedy fucking world. Kill yourself, stay in school, say no to drugs and oh yeah hail Satan…Goodnight boys and girls… pleasant dreams.” This is a sample only found on the CD release of No Gods / No Managers, the 7” explains “Sometimes I get so straight edge. I sit in a room and cry. A real dark room man… Feelings and shit man. Getting hurt. Then I masturbate and everything’s so much fucking better.” The track then launches into this assault of drum rolls and guitar riffs before finally coming into a more-ska like sound. STZA screams about being the “Choking Victim” in American society, and all the repercussions faced by the American citizens.
The following track, “Fuck America” begins with Parenti again talking of American foreign policy, and how the American citizens are the victims and not the victimizers. The track opens with growling vocals and riffs that sound something similar to a Suicidal Tendencies track. There is also these sections of bouncing ska music that keeps the track feeling varied and fresh, once the chorus kicks in however, the track’s tone completely changes. The lines “Fuck America” are chanted and the track seamlessly starts into “War Story.”
“War Story” is this glorious near ballad sounding track at its first half, but then slowly picks up into this punk rock hype-fest. The guitars slowly change from speedy punk riffs to a twinkling key change, and the rest of the band lets the guitar lead primarily. There is still a heavy presence of Skwert and his wick drumming skills, and the finale of the track has a screaming match before launching into the very melodic and cheerful track “Five-Finger Discount.”
This track starts with this slick bass line before launching into the core of the track. When the whole band kicks in to sing the chorus it is actually quite outstanding and makes you forget that it is a track all about shoplifting, “I want to see, what’s on sale, what’s for free.” The track is more of a party-rock song and sounds nothing like Choking Victim until the tracks end where the vocals and drums become much darker and more aggressive.
The next track then follows Parenti’s opinion on the Free Market System, and how many other countries are “invaded to send a message.” “Praise To The Sinners” features a flamenco guitar played by Tommy Trujillo, who is able to make an interesting change to the primarily electric sound of Choking Victim. This track only acts as an interlude to “Living The Laws” which is the final track on No Gods / No Managers.
“Living The Laws” is the most hardcore sounding track on all of No Gods / No Mangers and uses more growl like vocals rather than the usual singing from STZA. There are some sweet bass lines from Webb and the whole track then dissolves into this small breakdown where the vocals are silenced and it almost sounds like a sample. It was one of the highlights of “Living The Laws” as it allows the track to take a step back and reconfigure from the destruction that plagues most of Choking Victim’s sound. The lyrics are still as daunting as ever “Beside myself, I’m all alone… The lights are on, but no one’s home. There is also a bonus to the end of this track where a quote from the movie Mother Night is played stating, “They say a hanging man hears glorious music, I wonder what it sounds like.”
There is also another bonus tied to the track “Living The Laws,” a ska and slowed version of “Crack Rock Steady.” The track is a nice mix to the mostly metal and punk sound of Choking Victim. The band parted ways the day of the recording of No Gods / No Managers, they had recorded enough material to make one complete album, and unfortunately it was the last of Choking Victim’s run. Past members went on to form Leftöver Crack, leaving Choking Victim to live on through time as a testament to the American Government and to punk music everywhere.
Bones’ last album, PaidProgramming2 was released only just a little under 3 months ago, and now Bones is already back with yet another release. The hardest working artist in rap music, Bones’ newest project has a much shorter run-time than previous pieces, but is still stronger than ever.
GoodForNothing opens with one of Bones’ classic eerie style tracks that has started off so many projects before, but this time, “JustLikeTheOldMan” is a much shorter track only spanning 26 seconds before jumping right into the meat of the tape with the track “CutToTheChase.”
A frantic and entirely bass focused track that involves Bones shouting a chorus of “Motherfuck talking bitch, what the fuck you want.” In Bones previous fashion, he does not want to talk business or any plans with anyone outside of SESHHOLLOWWATERBOYZ. This has always been a relevant topic of the “TEENWITCH” as Bones tends to stay out of the spotlight and would rather stick to the shadows. GoodForNothing is the perfect example as most of the tracks on this release focus more on the relaxed side of Bones. A side that almost never takes the forefront of his releases.
Tracks like “UseYourInsideVoice” and even the following track “Sterilized” has a much bigger focus of attention on Bones’ singing. This, while in past releases has been popular through a chorus or even a few tracks breaking down the action, but GoodForNothing is almost strictly singing or a softer spoken style of rap. This only adds to the diversity that Bones delivers with each tape as Useless, Skinny, Garbage, and countless other releases had a bigger focus on Bones rapping and spitting more bars, this release is a totally different package.
That is not to say the change isn’t welcome, I prefer the constant mix up style as it does not ever back Bones into a corner. The audience that he has is so accepting of both styles and he is able to always adapt and continue to make new releases for the fans that will always support him. There are still rap tracks on GoodForNothing, and while I do not believe they are the strongest tracks Bones has released, they are still enjoyable and catchy.
The track “CoordinatesAcquired” is extremely catchy and the beat is still a creep and near-somber dance through this rattling hi-hat and low toned bass that Bones had made so popular. Bones’ verse is rather monotone and it feels almost like a lack of energy in the track, not that this is a terrible thing. The track feels very sleepy and the chorus “This is the part where you feel like nothing,” which then uses a synthetic voice to then rephrase “Nothing” was honestly interesting. It added this little quotable bar and allowed Bones to have more emphasis with his verse.
The following track “Owen” features a slower piano build up before launching into one of the harder hitting track of GoodForNothing. “Owen” features this powerful booming bass line that was almost reminiscing of the track “RestInPeace” which also involved a destructive bass. It feels like the entire track is being rattled by the instrumentation and while “Owen” is one of the shorter tracks only spanning 1:28, it is still the loudest and burliest of GoodForNothing.
“Roadkill” follows and is another show at the calmer side of Bones. The gentle piano and the more tranquil instrumentation that plays while Bones raps in such a way that it feels almost effortless, is once again outstanding. Bones delivers a great line about “If you don’t believe in me, hope you stay tuned to see. The cosmos working I’m the nothing that is everything.” Bones lets the peaceful instrumentation play out until falling into the next track which speeds GoodForNothing back up into where Bones thrives.
“MailTime” is a sinister sounding track where all the attention is on Bones verse. The beat provides a great background to what sounds like a horror-story of a track. This has been Bones style and he attacks the Bones imitators saying one of his best lines on GoodForNothing, “Everybody dressing up and doing all their best impressions, oh so many Bones imitations I’mma start a convention.” Once again Bones proves that he is the king of the underground rap-world, and with a style so unique it is impossible not to have imitators that just want to hop onto Bones style. With “MailTime,” Bones tells them to hop off and “Take your 2nd rank.”
Bones then leads GoodForNothing back into another track that uses his singing as the forefront, but casually launches into a total 180 where Bones raps in his slick monotone voice. The instrumental on this track is instead more focused on the synth and just as quickly as it begins, the track ends leaving “TheShadowOfTheThingsThatMayBe” to wrap up GoodForNothing.
TheShadowOfTheThingsThatMayBe” as the ending track was a fantastic finale to GoodForNothing as it keeps the current theme of a lighter sound where the tracks are not quite as crushing as past releases. GoodForNothing is overall a great project and while not as lengthy or as hard-hitting as Bones previous work, the singing tracks are the real star of the show here. This was a substantial meal to hold us over as Bones continues to work towards his next feature releases which will no doubt be incredibly soon.
Marked For Death is the intense triumph of a record that has the feel of a thousand pounds through each track. Emma Ruth Rundle is the singer/songwriter for not just her two solo works, but also for the bands Red Sparowes, Nocturnes, and Marriages. Rundle combines ambient, indie, and near concerto music all wrapped into one intense package.
Marked For Death begins with the self-titled track “Marked For Death.” The immensely slow build up between the soft-spoken vocals from Rundle and the guitar work create this wonderful balance until the percussion and the rest of the instrumentation comes crashing in with a wall of sound. It is a drastic and constant change between the tracks instrumentalists and Rundle working off of each other to create a tranquil environment to then pounding and much louder use of space. Emma Ruth Rundle is obviously going to be the centerfold of the tracks presented on Marked For Death, but that is not to say that the instrumentation is lacking behind her. They work in tandem, and while Rundle is the center of the attention, the instrumentation is still able to back her up in such a way that they can complement each other.
Rundle then proceeds with the following track, “Protection.” The percussion leads the track into the almost drained sounding guitar that plays behind Rundle’s downright gorgeous voice. With a vocal performance that reminds the listener of something like Björk, Rundle is able to produce some meaningful lines about being “I am worthless in your arms, but you offer this protection no one else has given me.” The end of the track then falls into this large noise-fest with the guitars blaring, the drums pounding, and Rundle taking a back seat to let the instruments destroy the rest of the track.
“Medusa” then follows and this is one of the more up-beat tracks on Marked For Death. The way Rundle presents her vocals and continues to shine through even as the strings and percussion behind her continue to make make for great background noise. Emma Ruth Rundle then uses reverberation on her voice to give the effect of background vocals being used. The reverb is slight, but just enough to give Rundle’s vocal performance enough layering and depth to the rest of the track. The final minute of the track is a primarily instrumental jam-session that uses what sounds like synth leads to give some more ambiance to the backing of the instrumentation before finally succumbing to silence.
Following is the track “Hand Of God,” which focuses with a slow electric guitar build up that almost lingers on the verge of blowing out the rest of the track with its powerful bass chords. Rundle then jumps in and the entire track is much slower than the other previous tracks on Marked For Death. In a way this track segues into a more bravado style with the instruments and Rundle’s voice going for a more-straight forward approach.
Marked For Death sounds similar to if The Smiths tried their hand at Drone Music. The very ambience heavy album from Emma Ruth Rundle is outstanding, featuring some depth and real fleshed-out ideas on each and every track. They transition near perfectly and it feels as though the album was recorded all in one single session rather than individual recordings.
Tracks like “Heaven” and “So, Come” are an example of this transition or segue in which the album moves without taking more than a few seconds to break. Rundle’s vocal performance stays about the same through-out Marked For Death and her voice is truly the star of this album. The instrumentals backing her are still great, but the resonating factor is most definitely Rundle’s vocal performance.
The next track, “Furious Angel” immediately begins with Rundle and the guitar setting the tone for the rest of the song. “Furious Angel” and Marked For Death as a whole feels rather daunting and somber. There are uplifting points in the record, but for most of the time spent on it, there is primarily a focus on these slow, and near sludge sounding tracks. They move gracefully but at the same time they are much more sedated.
The final track, “Real Big Sky” features a what sounds like a dirty, broken, mistuned guitar starting off the action of the track. Rundle brings her beautiful voice into the frame and there is this contrast in the track. It feels like Rundle and the instrumentation are always battling each other, Rundle brings some incredible vocal performances that were downright beautiful, while the instruments are grungier and filthy sounding. This constant comparison and duality is the strongest point on Marked For Death, and it allows for one of the most powerful combinations in music.
So…. This is going to be yet another run-down of whats happening as it has been about a month since I wrote the first personal post. Well starting off we now have hit
Surprisingly enough I have had some new subscribers and I would like to once again thank the people that support and follow my site, it means the world to me and while it is the corniest thing I could possibly say, it is the absolute truth. Thank you to everyone, even the people that hate on me as it only motivates me to continue to do what I have an absolute passion for.
AN UPDATE ON SHIRTS/CARDS/STICKERS/MERCH
I have now received my t-shirts and they can be purchased from me in person or through an email contact. I am working on getting the store set up so people can receive stickers and business cards at their pleasure, or grab a t-shirt if you really love me. Thanks to the people who bought them so far, it is very kind of you and don’t feel bad if I don’t have your size, I will order more in the future. As of now all I have is L and XL which most people could fit into.
Anyway, thanks again fools for supporting me and checking out my trash. A college essay about Acid Bath (One of my personal favorite records) is going up tonight. Bonus points if you know anything I am talking about in my article.
Thanks, and I love you
Matthew Ryan Miramontes “Bic Boy”
MISTA THUG ISOLATION, the massive 20-track mixtape from Virginian Rapper Lil Ugly Mane struck fear into listeners’ hearts, and power into pimps’ hands. The way Lil Ugly Mane combined noise, hip-hop, jazz, and some slick rhymes over some of the most engaging and progressive beats to date is something of purely black magic.
Lil Ugly Mane starts MISTA THUG ISOLATION off with a purely atmospheric/noise track that uses these loud buzzes, static crackles, and what sound like spaceships to set the tone for the rest of the journey on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The “journey” will be a long, slightly confusing, but ultimately impressive display on both the lyrical and musical fronts. Not only can Lil Ugly mane destroy the production aspect and proves this on his 20 other rap projects, and one single noise/ ”black metal” project simply called “SLEEP UNTIL IT HURTS YOU.” While Lil Ugly Mane A.K.A. Shawn Kemp is primarily a well-rounded musician, Mista Thug Isolation relies on primarily shock value rhymes and a grimmer style of beats.
The kick-off track on MISTA THUG ISOLATION, “SERIOUS SHIT” combines the flowing motion of The Don Randell Ian Carr Quintet samples, and the eloquence of Three 6 Mafia. The combination sounds strange, but these strange sample mixes and blends are what gives Mista Thug Isolation so much strength. Ugly Mane delivers some interesting contradictory lines throughout the track, but most famous his opening bar, “I’mma slit my wrists no tourniquet, I’m Murderous.” Then proceeds to go on a lyrical spree about how “My crib got more burners than furnishing, got a lot of haters not concerned with it. The Earth revolve around making money, Copernicus.” Within one single bar, Ugly Mane is able to put forward some quick rhyme schemes and overall some intelligent quotable lines.
MISTA THUG ISOLATION continues on to “MANIAC DRUG DEALER III” which is one of the tracks that features this impressive beat change up that destroys the previous mood set by “SERIOUS SHIT.” This track has this paranoid feel with the constant sirens blaring and Ugly Mane describing “I don’t ride with no suckers, I don’t ride with no buster.” This lyric can go into relation with Ugly Mane’s other track “POLO RIGHT (SUICIDE ALPS FOREVER RE-EDIT)” off his tape Three Sided Tape: Volume One, where Ugly explains “Ain’t no snitch in my squad, Ain’t no bitch in my blood.”
Lil Ugly Mane then continues with the track “RADIATION (LUNG POLLUTION)” which features Supa Sortahuman and yet another beat transition when Ugly’s verse comes into the picture. The polar opposites of the verses where Supa Sortahuman explains his own personal support of “Kicking it with Mary Jane,” to where Lil Ugly Mane talks more into how no one is “Smoking, Drinking, Fucking, or Nothing on his (Ugly Mane’s) level.” Ugly Mane then ends the verse with a quirky bar about how potent his “Shit” really is.
“SLICK RICK” then follows and this track is more of a callback to the classic track from Slick Rick simply entitled “Treat Her Like A Prostitute.” The way Ugly Mane further expresses how he lives by this and how his moral is “Never fall in love because a bitch is a bitch.” Lil Ugly Mane follows the saga of MISTA THUG ISOLATION with the instant classic “WISHMASTER.”
This is easily one of the hardest hitting tracks on all fronts. From the crushing instrumental of orchestral strings that blast, to the vocal sample from the song “Don’t You Wish You Could Be There?” by Crackin’. The vocal continues to ask “Don’t you wish you could be me?” as Ugly delivers one of his best verses on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The entire track features lines where Ugly Mane delivers some dominant, quotable lines about “Catching me on the news, being interviewed, wearing your jewels,” and “I keep it so filthy that the mic septic.”
The following track is an instrumental piece titled “ALONE AND SUFFERING (INTERLUDE).” The track features one of the more graceful sections of MISTA THUG ISOLATION where the piano, percussion, and the vocalization all come together in harmony to create a more peaceful atmosphere. The beat drop in this track where the piano slowly fades into the foreground and then jumps right into the rest of the instrumental was outstanding. “ALONE AND SUFFERING (INTERLUDE)” adds more of a push to the heavier tracks on MISTA THUG ISOLATION, giving them more impact.
Lil Ugly Mane then goes back into his peculiar rap style with another instant classic, “BITCH I’M LUGUBRIOUS.” This track has one of the best choruses in a rap song, and the entire track is so quotable that I would have to say that it is the best track on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. “Bitch I’m morose and lugubrious, I’mma let the Uzi spit, turn his face into gooey shit,” continues to echo through the track and Ugly yet again shows his lyrical strength. Bars like “You actin’ like I’m new to this, I been sick since the uterus,” and “Grabbing the Ruger and cocking it back, psycho mentality, kill ‘n attack, sippin’ on Alize, counting the stacks, half of my salary, nothing but crack.” Ugly Mane speeds his rhyming tempo and flow up through this section of the track, making his words feel like they are being fired through a machine. Ugly Mane then shows no signs of slowing down with the following track being “CUP FULLA BEETLEJUICE”
“CUP FULLA BEETLEJUICE” has this ghostly sounding vocalization that continues through-out the track that screams behind the beat. It adds an entirely new level of depth to the track and brings the focus more on Ugly’s verse. The chorus is the real shine of the track where Ugly proclaims “It’s hard to worry about these suckers when you stacking up this dough.”
The next track opens with the sounds of an air horn and a classic 80’s style beat. “BREEZEM OUT” relies on this air horn throughout the track as a way to add emphasis to Ugly’s punchlines. Lil Ugly Mane explains throughout this track that “Haters always gonna be up in your face, but that’s a part of the chase.” This track feels as though it is a shout out to all the people who called Lil Ugly Mane’s music a gimmicky mess. While most of his tracks are straight hip-hop and he is immensely talented, it is all a façade and just simply done for the fun of rhyming. There are several tracks where Lil Ugly Mane explains how rhyming was just a means of passing the time and he never expected MISTA THUG ISOLATION to become as big as it did.
One of the following tracks “MONA LISA OVERDRIVE” is what Ugly Mane calls a song for “The Ladies.” This track is however all about taking the ladies to a “Far away land I (Ugly Mane) calls the erogenous zone.” The track is a love song in the most gangster way possible, Ugly Mane then gets “Back to his business” with the following track “TWISTIN” with a feature from Denzel Curry.
“TWISTIN” is another track that just feels like an instant classic from the first time it is heard. The way Ugly Mane lets Denzel Curry start the track off with a slick verse repping RVIDXR KLVN (Raider Clan) and how he is the best thing coming straight out of Carol City, Florida. Lil Ugly Mane then overshadows Curry by explaining his up-rising in the rap-world to one of Ugly’s best closing lines throughout his career where he explains “We keep it more than underground, we in a dungeon.”
MISTA THUG ISOLATION then finally comes to “NO SLACK IN MY MACK” which is yet another song displaying Ugly’s strength and audacity in lyricism. He keeps it grimy, explaining that he is “Steady keep the product moving like a conveyer belt,” and “Got guns, bread, because their ain’t no slack in my Mack.” This track has seen several transformations where it was originally much different sounding than what was displayed on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The original version is a much darker sounding creep of a track that is honestly outstanding, but did not fit the theme of MISTA THUG ISOLATION as much as the current version.
“LEAN GOT ME FUCKED UP” is one of the next tracks that features a hard-hitting 808 bass line, a great synth lead that sounds like a horror movie’s dream, and Ugly’s best verse on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The entire verse is just outstanding and is a perfect recommendation to anyone who has never listened to Ugly Mane’s music previously. The way Ugly explains “I’mma project ghost, I’mma hood apparition,” to the “Explaining what murder mean.” Lil Ugly Mane delivers his hardest hitting set of bars on the entirety of MISTA THUG ISOLATION.
Finally, MISTA THUG ISOLATION comes to the finale of a track, “THROW DEM GUNZ.” This is an all-star of a song that features Ugly’s favorite instrumental he has ever produced to date, another outstanding verse, and the perfect send-off into the bonus/secret tracks. Ugly Mane is describing his hustle of selling to get by in life, and how that has changed the lives around him. He explains how he is “Standing in the rain feeling bad about the mommas losing jobs over the rocks that I (Ugly Mane) be passing out, but that’s the way it be on the block.” This is the first breakthrough of sympathetic emotion showed from Ugly Mane in all of MISTA THUG ISOLATION, showing that even the coldest of Killers still have a heart.
The bonus tracks, “LAST BREATH (OUTRODUCTION),” “BONUS: BITCH I’M LUGUBRIOUS (COLD SHOULDER EDIT),” AND “BONUS: SEND EM 2 THA ESSESNCE,” are nothing outrageously exciting, excluding “SEND EM 2 THA ESSENCE.” This was a track where Ugly Mane gives another full verse and fully explains his reasoning for not wanting to rhyme for money, fame, or the spotlight. Ugly describes “Oh you out for notoriety? You rappers so precious, send they ass a message when I send em to the essence.” This just further captures what Ugly Mane is all about, bringing dope music to the hopeless, and looking fly doing it.
Naked Lunch EP is the newest release from Pittsburgh lo-fi looper and hip-hop artist, Mt. Marcy. Marcy cleverly combines all the essential items of lo-fi hip-hop into one 15-minute package that while keeping a short run-time, is still able to bring some chill instrumentals into the equation.
Naked Lunch EP has no lyrics being rapped/sung over any of the beats, this means that Mt. Marcy would have to bring the production factor into an all-time high to keep the listener interested. The beats on this project keep a steady, relaxed flow that occasionally travels into the waters of blending different samples of vocals or spoken word to add background layering.
The first tracks on the tape “Greem [intro],” “Dilla_Redux,” and “We Are Simply Sums” all center around the classic style of hip-hop with very key-centric sounding tracks that use the percussion more as a track progressing tool than its own entity. The percussion takes a backseat on most of this mix, allowing the foreground to be run by the keys and the various sounds and samples.
The track, “We Are Simply Sums” has this interesting use of the “Uhh” grunt made famous by Rick Ross. This little vocal cue adds another layering to the track even if it feels so simple. The instrumental that carries the track is an uplifting sequence of piano keys being played in what sounds almost like a free-form style. These keys overpower the rest of the track and steal the limelight away from the rest of the instruments which, was not necessarily a downfall.
The keyed instruments; piano, synthesizer, and organ completely make each track feel unique. In the song “Blush,” the soft chords being played over what sounds like water droplets makes for an overall smoother approach. The following track “Last Night I Cried In The Shower” could have been possibly foreshadowed by “Blush,” but it does not feel this way as both tracks have much different emotions to them. “Last Night I Cried In The Shower” feels more disjointed, allowing many different instruments to come together and create this loose styled beat. The vocalization has this woman repeating a phrase that seems to be overshadowed by the instrumental, but this is one of the few cases of vocalization in all of Naked Lunch EP.
Mt. Marcy’s Naked Lunch EP sounds similar to other lo-fi hip-hop releases, but what sets it apart from the rest is the more minimal style of approach to each song. The tracks feel very simple, but then when a song like “Figs” comes into frame and the use of warping records and loops begin, it is not difficult to see how much time and effort was put into Naked Lunch EP. “Figs” was actually one of the better produced tracks that I had heard coming from any lo-fi artist. It was not only intriguing to hear the constant warping, but also as the instrumental feels complex, it is not overly so.
“Honey [interlude]” and “Eden” follow and both of these tracks feel similar in the way the instruments were used. While the pacing is entirely different from one another, both the use of the organ on “Eden” and the piano on “Honey [interlude]” stay in the center of attention. The rest of the track relies on the keys movements to better provide the background instrumentation. This was the reoccurring theme throughout Naked Lunch EP. The keyed instruments rule the center stage on the tracks, allowing almost every song to follow behind the key’s command.
The track “Tangier//Interzone” follows what sounds like this dreamscape style of an instrumental with a delayed guitar strumming out background noise behind this boom-bap style of percussion beat. This was a totally different approach to any track on Naked Lunch EP and it stands out among the crowd because of this. The track is able to capitalize on the use of the percussion while the stringed instruments take a backseat.
The last three tracks “Noora Pt.2,” “Whispuuur,” and “Noora Pt.1” all focus back on the keyed instruments and the track “Noora Pt.2” while short, sounds more like a Samiyam beat. Samiyam also keeps his head in the general area of lo-fi hip-hop and both Samiyam and Mt. Marcy share an interest in creating these outstanding short-styled tracks that leave you begging for more.
“Whispuuur” is one of, if not the strongest track on the entire EP. It uses this hi-hat opening and closing, then changes in and out of tempos as well. The track starts slower, then speeds up, then finally slows back down to let the beat breathe before coming to the final track.
“Noora Pt.1” is the grand finale of Naked Lunch EP and it feels as though it is a slow, somber walk through the late nights of a city setting. The piano bounces up and down the keys rather slowly, and the percussion is nothing more than just a simple click beat that only adds to the atmosphere of the track. Finally, just as soon as it began, “Noora Pt.1” ends with the click of what sounds like a tape recorder, only leaving the remaining silence to fill the void.
MM…FOOD is just one, of what seems like hundreds of different releases from London born, Brooklyn rapper MF DOOM. MF DOOM has a unique style that is immensely different from any other artists, combining both musical talent and engaging story-telling techniques; DOOM is able to shake microphones and crowds alike.
MM…FOOD begins with “Beef Rap,” which features an introduction to MF DOOM’s unique style, both lyrically and musically. DOOM uses different skits in his tracks to illustrate a relatable story that samples old movies, songs, and most notably comic book television shows. The way DOOM seamlessly blends these skits and samples into his tracks and verses makes for one of the most interesting and involving ways to listen to music to date. “Beef Rap” after the skit finishes, launches into a near-cinematic level of instrumental. The percussion, the random sound effects, and the utterly rambunctious use of horns that reigns through the track makes for one of the most memorable beats from DOOM.
DOOM is also lyrically on a different level, light years ahead of most of the rappers around him. His flow, bars, and style is one of a kind, making is music feel as more than just music. DOOM makes every single release feel like watching Saturday morning cartoons where everything is done with bravado and the Villain always wins.
Following “Beef Rap” is the track “Hoe Cakes.” This track again features an overall interesting level of production and this can be said for all the songs on MM…FOOD. The boom-bap beat that is presented is almost reminiscing of the Golden-Era sound of Hip-Hop. The piano chords almost reinforce this idea, and the constant drum rolls while busy, never overpower the rest of the beat or MF DOOM himself. Each track has DOOM at the forefront and while he avoids the limelight in certain tracks, the beats still stand on their own almost like another performer to DOOM. The track then comes to a close following with a skit that focuses on DOOM’s return to New York, and how he plans to take over the rest of the world through threats and terrorism.
The skits tie the entire projects from MF DOOM together and create an additional layer of experimentation to different songs, allowing DOOM to tell a story through not just his lyrics. Tracks like “Potholderz” and the world-famous “One Beer” which features a Madlib beat, focuses more on the traditional style of hip-hop with lyrics and beats. “Potholderz” features Count Bass D who starts and finishes the track, starting this back and forth exchange between both Bass D and DOOM. The instrumental behind the lyricists focuses more on what sounds like strings and another boom-bap style beat that flows right into the following track.
“One Beer” is the iconic track with the background beat from Madlib that lets DOOM have complete control and free-range over the track. The beat is a loose but outstanding drum roll and a jump into a more funk style interlude. The entire track also features this chorus that could have made the entire beat survive by itself, but DOOM destroys this track and then instantly launches into back to back skits that again describe his decision to take over the world, gaining power from the different countries one by one.
Following is the track “Deep Fried Frenz” which relates to DOOM’s struggle with real life problems. DOOM can not only switch up his style from a cartoon style of rap to the then serious style where DOOM follows more personal issues. “Deep Fried Frenz” has great lines from DOOM where he reads the definition of friends from the dictionary, and describes “Never let(ting) your so called mans know your plans.” DOOM also describes his relationship with women in his life, describing the “friends with benefits” and the “no-rings” style of girls that DOOM knows all too well. The track then segues into a fascinating skit that describes “DOOM’s disfigured face” and the reason DOOM wears the mask.
The four following instrumental tracks “Poo-Putt Platter,” “Filet-O-Rapper,” “Gumbo” and “Fig Leaf Bi-Carbonate” feature an intriguing use of different skits that describe soul-food, loosing limbs to “flying monkey men,” and edible wrappers that is parallel to DOOM’s comment on the edible and easy to kill rappers in the music industry. DOOM uses four different beats in such a short time that it is almost difficult to realize that one track had ended and another begun. The way the seamless style continues through MM…FOOD keeps the story of DOOM at a steady pace and never seems to take a break from the rhymes or adventures of The Metal Faced Villain.
“Kon Karne” follows and this has more of a classy style of instrumental with a great piano riff that battles this lazer-like synthesizers and follows DOOM breaking down some more lyrical bars that again focus on the other “musicians” in the rap genre, “Clack Clack pardon me whack rap Kon Karne.” He then dedicates “this mix” to his late brother, DJ Subroc the “Hip-Hop Hendrix,” and as the beat then fades, one of the best tracks on MM…FOOD comes into frame.
“Guinnesses” features not a single word from our Masked Villain, but instead lets Angelika take control of this track, leaving the production aspect to DOOM. This was an interesting way to go about the track as the verses here from Angelika and the hook from 4ize are perfect. The way that Angelika describes past relationships and the way 4ize is able to combine both the use of physical and mental ailments to create a story, “War wound, purple heart, love veteran, Morphine, Pain Killers, Drugs and Medicine.” The track then fades into the last of the closing songs.
“Kon Queso” then follows and it features this 70’s style synth lead, piano eighth notes, and this rumbling bass line that echoes through the entire track. The entire track feels like stepping back in time or onto the set of “The Warriors” movie from 1979. Following is “Rap Snitch Knishes” which features Mr. Fantastik who follows this back and forth conversation between DOOM and Fantastik himself. The chemistry the two share, and the delivery from both on their verses really put this exciting emotion into the track. The chorus, “Rap Snitches telling all they business, sit in the court and be their own star witness” then flows into DOOM’s verse which focuses on everything from The Middle East to Tears for Fears. DOOM keeps his verse short, but straight to the point and creates one of the best instrumentals in the process. It uses guitar wails and some interesting tom hits mixed in with a near disco clap beat on percussion.
A maniacal laugh then flows into the next track, “Vomitspit,” which focuses on how people beg DOOM for verse of what he calls simply, Vomit Spit. There are some great lines about how “The mask is like Jason, they told the place to not let the basket type case in. He could be some of wacko, waiting for a chance to heat the pipes like a crack ho.” DOOM then moves onto the finale of MM…FOOD.
“Cookies” has this creeping beat that uses what sounds like a detective movie style bass line. The track features DOOM rattling off verses about “splitting your wishbone” for the females and “Wheat thins, Saltines, and Triscuits.” The track then explodes from a quick drum roll and fill to then going right back into DOOM’s verse. He ends the track by launching into a final skit that describes DOOM downfall and ultimate defeat. Unfortunately, in this case the villain does not always win, but there is always hope in the future for our favorite Metal Faced Super-Villain.
Trash Talk’s Eyes and Nines is an explosive tour through the fiery depths of hell. The journey is a blasting roller-coaster that slows down to catch its breath only for a moment, before return back into the frenzied mosh-pits that Trash Talk has been made popular for.
Eyes and Nines begins with “Vultures,” a track that features a gentle drum build up, then bursts into an all out war between the instruments. The guitars battle against the drums and Lee Spielman’s voice is always one of the pivotal pieces to the puzzle, completing and drawing each track together. The way that Garrett Stevenson rips the guitar to shreds, the way Spencer Pollard annihilates the bass and backs up Spielman on vocals, and how Sam Bosson smashes on the drums makes for a killer combination.
The entirety of Eyes and Nines’ tracks are primarily under 2-3 minutes with the exception of “Hash Wednesday,” but they all prove their point and leave their mark on the listener. The pounding waves that come from Trash Talk’s great use of emotion to convey and display their music in such a way that makes you want to move. It encourages jumping off of things around the room, it encourages anarchy, and best of all, it encourages just how downright entertaining music can be.
The tracks like “Flesh & Blood” and “Explode” are ultimately fuel to the fire that is Eyes and Nines. Trash Talk uses a slick guitar breakdown in “Flesh & Blood” to give the rest of the band a second to compile themselves before launching into one of the heavier second halves of the track. “Flesh & Blood” then perfectly jumps head first into “Explode” which begins with these blasting beats on the drums from Bosson, Spielman and Pollard yelling everything they have, and Stevenson again bringing furious riffs and grooves. “Explode” also features a breakdown, but it is short-lived and eventually launches right back into the action. The track finally comes to a close with the band exclaiming, “No one can save you now.”
This perfectly Segues into the next track, “Hash Wednesday” which is the longest and slowest track on Eyes & Nines. The track opens with what sounds like a preacher declaring that, “A person with no values, and no faith in god, and a nation with no values other than their own values are rubbish,” which then leads into this sludge-fest of an instrumental that echoes throughout the entirety of the track. The way that Trash Talk uses this anti-preacher opening relates back to the track “Explode” and its final lines.
Eyes and Nines constantly deals with the topic of mankind and its downfalls. The following track “Envy” describes “These ain’t your father’s battles this is more, Holy wars on foreign shores blitzkrieg cliques on world tours.” Trash Talk’s unique sound combines rage, pain, and aggression all into one package, the same could be said for the topics they discuss in their tracks. Topics like war, an unreachable goal of peace, and complete destruction of mankind always reign through in their message, which only adds to each release.
The tracks that follow, “I Do,” “Trudge,” and “On A Fix” are the fastest tracks on the entire album. As soon as these tracks begin blaring and destroying the surroundings, they end in a blaze of glory. “I Do” is a 39-second masterpiece that obliterates the ears, the track then transitions without skipping a beat into “Trudge.” “Trudge” continues to follow the destructive nature that Trash Talk does so well, but then falls into this pit of a breakdown that really is not much of a breakdown at all. Trash Talk actually seems to pick up intensity through this slow down, and it makes the entire track come together into one giant bomb that destroys everything around it.
“On A Fix” is a chaotic frenzy of smashing percussion, howling vocals and guitars that blaze through the fret board. The track then again, perfectly transitions into the final song, “Eyes & Nines.” This was the climatic end to one of the loudest albums known to man. The bass line that opens the track, to the then deafening drums and vocals from both Spielman and Pollard backing each other up. The entire track just feels like a powerhouse from Trash Talk and it is the perfect send off into the immensely bright future for hardcore music, but the bleak future for mankind.
Clipping., the inconceivable spoken-word, minimalist electronic, but still innovative group from Los Angeles tries their hand at an album full of concepts of the unknown, dystopia, and the “Afrofuturism.”
Splendor and Misery is an interesting breed of an album, the minimalist approach to the instrumentation allows for the vocalization from Daveed Diggs to shine through and become the monumental point of Clipping.’s music. The concept of Splendor and Misery follows “the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship’s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels” (Taken from Clipping.’s BandCamp page).
The concept leads the background instrumentation into strange bouncing percussion and the use of different beeping and blips which makes the entire album feel like an outer space journey. The first tracks “Long Way Away (Intro),” and “The Breach” follows this use of a near church-like chorus that discusses “follow(ing) the stars when the sun goes to bed, till everything I’ve ever known is long dead.” The lyrics constantly reflect this Slave uprising story and each track flows so well, that it honestly feels like listening to one long audiobook that varies on speed and atmospheric sounds used.
“The Breach” is a full speed blast of lyrics from Diggs to the point where it is outstanding the way he keeps the pace and is near impossible to understand exactly what he says even through multiple listens. The following track “All Black” is the first attempt at what sounds more like a Clipping. track. It is still following the use of spoken word, but the layering that follows Diggs’ voice still keeps the track feeling intense and claustrophobic.
The entirety of Splendor and Misery follows this very restless and overall claustrophobic style. Each track feels so tight, but also feels like a journey through the vast darkness that is space. It is an album of constant switching emotion from the split-personality of “Wake Up” to the use of more chorus sounding tones on “Long Way Away.”
Clipping. did a great job of using constant radio static, alarms, pounding metallic percussion, and the use of space to create this near-cinematic level story that relies on the use of atmosphere to illustrate this gigantic, hulking machine floating through outer space.
The track “Air ‘Em Out” is the first track that actually feels like a complete track with multiple verses, a chorus, and varying levels of instrumentation. Diggs still controls the entire track and the music just feels like it is there to give his lyrics more impact, Splendor and Misery could have been released without any instrumentation and it still would have been able to survive on just vocalization alone.
The following track “Break The Glass” goes back into the use of atmospheric sounds and drowning noises to create the beat. There is this constant use of steam, machine creaks, and what sounds like drums made out of steel beams to illustrate a fully working beast of iron and different metals.
Following is “Story 5” which again switches to the use of choruses to give more insight into perhaps what were songs being sung by the slaves before the uprising. These tracks mix up the action from the intense metallic assaults of the ship, to the then authentic and honestly beautiful voices from multiple singers. They work together to complement each other and the following track “Baby Don’t Sleep” goes right back into the synthetic sounds of a large ship with Diggs rattling off some quick verses.
The final track of Splendor and Misery is the cheeriest track on the entire album and while I personally like the track, I feel like the instrumentation is of a different style than the rest of the album. “A Better Place” as the track’s title suggest follows this use of what sounds like an organ that plays over a rapidly tapping boom-bap beat with a nice little bass drum roll fill in-between the tracks chorus and verses. The track then fades into the loud radio static heard so many times before, then straight into nothing, just silence.
The constant style change keeps Splendor and Misery interesting enough to work not as a musical album, but more as a complex art project of spoken word and atmospheric sounds. It feels like listening to an audio book rather than a record, but is still able to tell a complex story that is still interesting to hear over and over again.
Bleach, the reason for the grunge music scene becoming a national phenomenon and the reason Nirvana would soon be launched into superstardom. Bleach was an album that combined animalistic aggression and an intriguing use of creativity to spawn one of the best punk rock records of not just its time, but in history.
The humble beginning of the track “Blew,” that a simple, but memorable bass line to lead the rest of Nirvana into the upward spiral that would be Bleach. “Blew” has metallic guitars that blast over the rest of the instruments, pounding drums, and vocals that lay down a ballistic attack over the listener’s ears. Rather than focusing on a more melodic style of music, Nirvana worked hand in hand with a careless attitude, but a serious outlook on making outstanding music.
The whole of Bleach follows a very strict pattern of mostly dark and sludgy sounding songs that destroyed speakers, shook up crowds, and gave people a reason to love punk again. “Floyd The Barber” follows and this again is an auditory assault. The near tribal drums from Chad Channing, the schizophrenic lyrics of Kurt Cobain, and the flowing bass from Krist Novoselic creates such a contrast between the next following song, “About A Girl.”
“About A Girl” keeps the pace of a Nirvana track, but instead decides to use more uplifting chords, less impactful drums, and ultimately a more lighthearted approach than the other tracks on Bleach. Surprisingly, “About A Girl” is still one of the more instrumentally jamming songs, and Kurt’s lyrics, “I can’t see you every night for free,” rephrase throughout the track, using harmonies from Novoselic and eventually fade into the more classic grunge sound Nirvana was known for.
“Wont you believe it, it’s just my luck” is nearly the only lyrics shouted from Cobain on the track “School,” but they coincide so well with the frantic guitar work. “School” is a track that emotionally feels so entertaining and this is primarily do to the way that Channing moves up and down the toms, using different fills and cymbals to battle the frantic guitar work.
The raw emotion that Nirvana portrays in each and every track on Bleach was so reinvigorating even now, 27 years later. I feel that as time progresses, Nirvana’s sound stays eternal and will never go out of style. At the time of Nirvana’s releases, they were looked at for the way they blazed trails, cared even less about public opinion, and generally wanted to just “stir shit.” Now nearly three decades after their first release, Nirvana is still looked at for their raw instinct that guided so many different musicians to find music as therapy and an expressive device.
Bleach continues with “Love Buzz” and “Paper Cuts.” Both tracks are different in style, but follow the same general principle. The thing that stands out on both tracks is Cobain’s voice and the strain in “Paper Cuts.” Kurt Cobain puts so much emotion into the lyrics of the two tracks, but the screeching on “Paper Cuts” is still just so memorable and when mixed with the instrumentation, it is a perfect combination.
The following track “Negative Creep” is easily the strongest and most abrasive of all the tracks on Bleach. The way the drums pound out sixteenth notes on the bass drum, the way Novoselic destroys the bass, and the way that Cobain just abuses the microphone. The shouting, the forceful guitar, and the whole attitude of the song just paints such a vivid image of true “Animal Rage.”
Bleach then follows with “Scoff,” an easy-going classic punk song that has a substantial breakdown that flip-flops between a detached amount of instrumentation and some head-banging bridges between the chorus and meat of the track.
“Swap Meet” then follows and this is again one of the heavier tracks on Bleach. The entirety of Bleach really takes no breaks from the destructive nature of grunge music. “About A Girl” is the only track that simply follows a totally different format than all of the other tracks. The way that “Swap Meet” follows this sporadic and always changing guitar riffs and solos, makes requests for some powerful background instrumentation from Channing and Novoselic which they fully deliver.
The following, “Mr. Moustache” is where Novoselic shines through and makes this track all about the bass line. The entire track revolves around the bass line and Cobain’s vocal performance. “Mr. Moustache” is a hundred-mile per hour drive into an ending that feels like hitting a brick wall. The entire band slows down into what feels like a near crawl, from the speedy and recklessness of the track’s opening, to the very bitter end, “Mr. Moustache” is one of the more musically challenging pieces on Bleach.
As Bleach slowly, or actually speedily comes to a close, the final tracks start to focus more and more on the bass and its importance to each track. “Sifting” has another stellar bass line that conspires with the guitar and becomes this flesh-out powerhouse of a track. The drums, bass, and guitar are the stars of most of Bleach, and while Cobain’s lyrics are interesting, Cobain ultimately decided he was not really interested on lyrics with Bleach. In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Cobain described his emotions toward the lyric’s of Bleach as, “(I) didn’t give a flying fuck what the lyrics were about,” claiming that around 80% were made up the night before recording. The music came first with Bleach, and it is clear in Nirvana’s later releases that Cobain would start to take writing lyrics with a more serious tone and approach.
The last two tracks “Big Cheese” and “Downer” are of a quicker pace, following the theme of getting in and destroying the stage before anyone could understand what just happened. “Downer” opens with one of the faster styles to the point where it feels almost sloppy, this feels like a call to the punk rocks songs and Bleach seems to tightrope between hard rock and punk music through the entirety of its length.
Bleach created an outbreak of a new genre, a genre called grunge that echoed into society for the rest of punk rock and hard rock’s days. Not Only was Nirvana successful in releasing a substantial debut record, but successful in starting a wave of new generations breaking down the musical walls.
Tyler, the Creator is the bombastic, energetic, and overall mastermind behind three critically acclaimed studio albums. Tyler’s first release being a mixtape under the name Bastard, which would eventually launch Tyler and his group, OF, into superstardom. What seemed like kids getting together to make music, eventually turned into one of the greatest moments of hip-hop history. Watching the evolution of Tyler, the Creator change not just mentally, but also musically was an adventure that I was more than happy to be a part of.
As Tyler’s mind grew more mature, he began reaching more and more into unknown territory with music. Tyler began rapping about what nearly every teenager thought of, he then progressed into what is now a stream of consciousness. Cherry Bomb is a look into the once provocative mind of Tyler, the Creator, but also a look forward into the future.
Cherry Bomb opens with “DeathCamp,” an extremely abrasive and in your face track that throws the rule book out of the window and just lets Tyler do what Tyler does best. Tyler was always a visionary through his music, allowing other opinions to become invalid, chaos to be made, and for Tyler to have total control over his creations. Cherry Bomb is Tyler, the Creator in his purest form, he puts every card on the table, holds nothing back, and releases his most progressive work to date.
The following tracks “Buffalo” and “Pilot” focus more on the current status of Tyler and what has happened in the years prior to his fame. The way Tyler describes “I’m in first class but I feel like coach” on “Pilot” was an interesting hook and the whole song has this catchy drum beat that echoes through the whole track until finally coming to an almost spoken-word section at the songs closing.
The next track “Run” is mixed in so quickly that it was actually hard to understand that it became a different track. Tyler, the Creator has always been an engaging and involved storyteller, Cherry Bomb is no different. Every track is mixed in so well and there really is no separation or down-time between tracks. There is a constant radio interference that reminds the listener of Golf Radio which is a fictional station that has giveaways to drive-ins, and even sneak peeks of upcoming movie clips.
Tyler, the Creator completely changed up his sound with Cherry Bomb, this is much more frantic than any of his past releases, but I would say that Wolf is the closest in actual sound, chords, and feel to Cherry Bomb. Wolf used horns, eccentric drums, and overall a jazzier approach, Cherry Bomb follows the jazzier style, but instead changes constantly between jazz and destructive hip-hop.
Tracks like “2Seater” and “Cherry Bomb” are perfect examples of this jazz-punk fusion. On “2Seater,” the track is a smoother transition between vocals from Tyler and singing from Syd from The Internet. The two musicians create this interesting blend of genres as Tyler is usually not elegant through his vocals, and Syd is just the opposite. Together they constantly complement each other, but also create a duality.
On the track “Cherry Bomb,” Tyler instead ditches the soft and gentle approach to the songs progression. Instead, Tyler brings a literal assault of bass and snare drum beats, aggressive synth static leads, and vocals that are near screams. Cherry Bomb can feel bi-polar at moments, as the way the mood swings from hostile to friendly, but that is the greatest thing about Cherry Bomb. It feels so natural and unforced.
Other tracks like “The Dark Stains of Darkeese Latifah Part 6-12 (Remix)” has again an intriguing beat and an intense feature from Schoolboy Q. The two tag-team this screeching track that constantly changes key, has this rising arpeggiator click, and one of the loudest mixes of a song to date. The track then transitions into totally different beat and style of verse from Tyler. The entire track just feels like being thrown into a mosh pit, it’s deafening, roaring, and ultimately an interesting way to transition into one of the slower songs on Cherry Bomb.
“Fucking YOUNG/Perfect” is another two-part track. The first half is a gentle singing track delivered by Tyler about a lover that is obviously too young. A classic love story that has a twist from the truly poetic mastermind. The second half is where the song really picks up and becomes outstanding, Kali Uchis delivers the best feature on the entire album. She perfectly closes the song, speaking from the position of the woman that Tyler is attracted to, being able to deliver some soft vocalization that is backed by a downright beautiful score of instruments.
The track “Smuckers” which follows has a great delivery from Tyler, Lil Wayne, and Yeezus himself. The beat has this nearly symphonic transition that features background chorus vocals and a 1970’s sounding ensemble of strings, horns, and percussion.
Finally, the last three tracks “Keep Da O’s,” “Okaga, CA,” and “Yellow” couldn’t have been more different than each other. “Keep Da O’s is a song that produces some of Tyler’s most out of place vocals to date, focusing more on money, chains, and stunting. While “Okaga, CA” and “Yellow (which was an exclusive physical track)” follows the lovelier side of Tyler. Bringing about a hopeful look into the future of Tyler, the Creator.
The whole experience of Cherry Bomb is one I seriously recommend and if you are new to Tyler, the Creator, this is the album to start with. It is Tyler in his purest, artist from. The way Tyler lets his ideas convey and speak for themselves, the musical progression, and very way Cherry Bomb is presented makes for Tyler’s most impressive piece yet.
Get Gone is the soulful debut from Louisiana’s own, Seratones. The group is adapt at “rocking your socks off, bringing the house down, and blowing your mind.” Together Seratones have this great amount of Southern Charm that protrudes and shines through their music.
Get Gone kicks off with “Choking on Your Spit,” a breakneck dash with explosive percussion and blazing guitar grooves. Seratones’ lead vocalist AJ Haynes, has this powerful voice that booms and nearly takes over the entire track. Conner Davis on guitar, Adam Davis on bass, and Jesse Gabriel on the drums, create this immense amount of chemistry that sounds something like The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, and even Creedence Clearwater Revival in one package.
“Headtrip” then follows and the percussion is outstanding in this track. The way Gabriel moves fills up and down the toms, and the way he also alternates from the march like style in the track’s opening, to the volatile, literal head rush of runs from every single drum. The other third of Seratones moves along in a march style, almost letting the drums light the way for the rest of the band.
The following track, “Tide,” slows down the action and allows the listener to take a step back and experience the blissful voice of Haynes. The track then eventually builds up into this use of background vocals from the rest of Seratones that nearly sounds like a church choir. “Tide” is a beautiful track that provides some calmer breakdowns, but still has this edge that sets it apart from other tracks. I kept coming back to this track over and over again just to hear the different layers and all the diverse sounds that Seratones used at their disposal.
“Chandelier” and “Sun” speed the action back up using some excellent complimentary sounds that draw out each instrument into its own entity. Every piece of instrumentation on Get Gone leads in some way, whether the percussion leads the guitars or vice-versa. Every single track has such a great amount of layers that overall create such an extraordinary sound that while feels inspired by others, follows no one else.
The self-titled track, “Get Gone” feels like a trudge through the summer heat. It has almost this western twang to it, but it actually works. “Get Gone” is another track that forces Seratones to switch up their style, always changing and evolving to every track. To say that any song feels similar, would be a disservice to Seratones. The band not only breaks barriers through genre, but breaks barriers of sound as well.
Then Get Gone comes to the track “Kingdom Come” which is again, another sprint of a track. This was easily my favorite song off of Get Gone, everything about “Kingdom Come” feels so incredibly drawn out. Haynes voice, Gabriel’s flashy cymbal work, the way Davis uses different pedals to add weight onto his guitar, and the way Davis hurries the song along with a slick bass groove just creates this masterpiece of a track.
Seratones’ Get Gone has a hit-track at every turn. The way Haynes carries the vocals, both Davis’s carried the rhythm section, and Gabriel’s work on the percussion makes quick work of what sounds like a timeless album. Get Gone not only rocks your socks off, but it restores “your faith in the power of Rock & Roll.”
Big Dreams & Bent Schemes is the breakout EP from Couvo, this up and coming artist try’s his hand with a 9-track cruise of an album that is both moving and energetic.
The opening track, “Saturday Night” fires off with some blaring guitar and a radio style voice that fazes in-between a clear and static style. The vocal change was interesting, bringing a new level of depth to something that other artists would simply overlook. The backing instrumentation becomes cheery, but slowly fades into an interlude that slows the album down.
“Dreamed Out” sounds more symphonic in the way it uses different horns and hordes of people to create this great amount of claustrophobia. Following is the track “Sunday Morning,” which has this simple boom bap drum beat that eventually bursts into a chorus of hi-hat rattles and guitar off-beats eventually fade in. The chorus adds a slight comparison from what sounds like acoustic percussion, to the now modern style of electronic pop.
Big Dreams & Bent Schemes then moves forward into “Wasting Time” which is an overly delighful style track with an organ giving a background groove and the guitar strumming along. Lyrics like “I don’t really know about tomorrow” gives off this easy and care-free feeling, and “Wasting Time” is a well produced track, but just seems to be leaning a little too close to the radio friendly style for me. The singing and the way the instruments are used sounds closer to a song that would be played on college radio or at a festival in the park.
Couvo goes for a more acoustic approach with “When I Grow Up Again.” This track was the most original sounding, not adapting a radio style, or an overly-cheery style. The bass work is also filling and adds some serious depth, then as the rest of the instruments begin to kick in, the track feels outstanding. If Couvo had this same level of depth and feel to each track, I would have no problem recommending this to everyone.
Couvo then changes up the style of the album completely, “All I Need” adopts an almost R&B style. It follows soft-spoken vocals and an even softer guitar that almost silently lets off a few strums and solos throughout the track. Following is “Where Are We Going” which again uses some more acoustic guitars that create a nice, slick, groove. I personally thought this was one of the stronger tracks on the album.
Couvo’s Big Dreams & Bent Schemes is quite the dynamic project. At certain points it is a new age rock album that has this blast of guitar, drums, and shouting vocals with immense levels of power. Then at other points it becomes this slowed down, almost electronic style that uses different levels of instruments and plug-ins. Big Dreams & Bent Schemes is ultimately a story that has been heard before, but Couvo twists it to become his own and hopefully has more in the future.