Directed by iNightLyfe in association with EyeTheCity. // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
The night sulks as they leap at your neck in the shadowed dusk, graveyard smoke and slick black hair comes flying in a rage as The Cramps move in with their second studio album, Psychedelic Jungle.
A mix of half cover tracks and half original compositions, Psychedelic Jungleis a sunset drive through the desert night. It is the Californian cowboy story Led by Lux Interior, Poison Ivy Rorschach, Kid Congo Powers, and Nick Knox making up the instrumentation and vocalization of the band. The group felt more like the villains of rock n’ roll who could take the step from the 50’s and 60’s pop culture, shaping something new and deadly.
The band opens with a cover of “Green Fuz” by none other than Green Fuzz. It is a jumping tune with a rifling guitar that shifts and works within different lead sections without following a specific pattern of operation. Opening the flood gates with the care-free style, The Cramps are uplifting and inviting within the first minutes of Psychedelic Jungle.The percussion swinging and Lux Interior being able to form his sly, but sultry sense of style behind his actual delivery is inspiring. The listener is constantly falling into these different emotional bouts of high flying love, then into the pits of despair as The Cramps shift into these different breeds of animal.
Shown on the clicking “Rockin’ Bones”, the guitar is a western whirl with that twang and stagger. It feels so tough, anchored, but easy to swallow as The Cramps has this approachable nature behind their sound. There is never a sense of overpowering nature or abrasive grasp behind their rattlesnake ways of slithering into position and attacking. “Rockin’ Bones” acts more as an interlude which leads The Cramps into the darkness fueled jump of “Voodoo Idol”. Another track that relies on that desert feel, but provides a foundation behind the snap of the snare that grabs the head and forces the listener to move along in a stiff movement.
“Primitive” captures these Californian-esque vampire touch that subtly slides in with the rhymes of “Primitive, that’s how I live. Primitive, I’ll take what you give.” Interior moves well in front of the guitar work of Kid Congo Powers and Poison Ivy Rorschach who together act as a multi-headed machine that feeds into the instrumentation. The Cramps have a distinct style of working around that guitar work and forming a sense of entertaining, but mostly lighting flashes of classiness as well.
There is a strange balance behind their music that makes Primitive Jungle an intriguing album from start to finish. It is a controlled animal that is stuffed into a cage and ready to break free at any moment. They lie and wait for the sun to fall, then The Cramps come out at night.
It was the name originally that brought Sweet Reaper into the limelight, but the music that made a fair stance with their 2017 release, Street Sweeper. With its wave-heavy punk music, the surfing guitars that coast between the ins-and-outs of California, and the focus on creating memorable, but often quick leaps into the ocean of sound.
Sweet Reaper is a conglomerate effort of Seth Pettersen on vocals and guitar, Danny Gomez on the bass guitar and vocals, bringing Sasha Green up behind as the percussionist. Moving the band from track to track feels as a coast, with little makings of a frame behind the loose, buzzed rock set. The style stays consistent and never takes any large veer to anything in the distance with Street Sweeper. But consistency in a sense, is a positive note as Sweet Reaper feels approachable throughout Street Sweeperwithout becoming too experimental or abstract in the work.
Opening with the energetic “Rock Alone”, the band forms an abrasive, but never aggressive style that reflects within the chorus and bars coming from Pettersen. There are these moments of invitation that Sweet Reaper takes as the band moves throughout the record to form a consistent grasp of friendliness. This can create a feel-good sense behind the band on Sweet Reaperwhile slightly limiting the band to never pull any punches or hold any true surprises behind their sound.
Even with the later tracks, there is this flow of similar sound throughout the record that feels as though it suddenly needs that edge and cutting style to create a break in the consistent action of Street Sweeper. “No Kontrol” is similar to “Late Night”, which is almost similar to “Don’t Care”. It is an unfortunate deterrent on the record that could have been instead shortened down to create more of an “EP” style with more weight behind it. On the Thirty-Seven-Minute journey, there is not much that inspires or feels any different than the first ten-minutes.
That is not to say that the music is bad or in any way not energetic, it just does not feel engaged with any sort of variety. Making the band feel unfortunately bland on one of the more promising record labels of today. Burger Records has a stance on some of the heavy-hitters of independent styled music. With Sweet Reaper however, there is a lacking element to the music and it leaves something to be desired at the dinner table.
Predictable, but not horrid, Street Sweeper has these shining moments where the band consistently works well together and creates some uplifting moments. A perfect example is “Holidaze” where the melancholy emotional output from Pettersen is enjoyable as he explains, “Laying in my bed, a bullet in my head… stay away, away, away from me.” It is that perfect mix despair and upbeat attitude on the musical aspect that glimmers through on Street Sweeper.
There is just ultimately not enough of these moments to create a standout release and it gets pushed beneath the waves of the crashing musical sea. The band is tight, has lots of potential, but feels bland by the fourth or fifth track as all the cards are eventually laid out on the table.
BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER
TODAY’S GONNA BE MINE WORKED TIRELESSLY THROUGHOUT THE FISCAL PERIOD THIS PAST YEAR…
AND TO SHOWCASE OUR GRATITUDE TO OUR GREAT EMPLOYEES AND CO-WORKERS…
WE DECIDED TO THROW ANOTHER OFFICE PARTY WITH MUSICAL GUESTS, ARTISTS, MUSIC, CLOTHING, FOOD, DRINKS, AND MORE…
COME EXPERIENCE WHY TODAY – IS GOING TO BE OURS!
RSVP HERE!!! – TGBM OFFICE PARTY II
“Joey Bad and Chuck Strangers, leaving niggas endangered” was something that struck a personal chord in the youth of not just New York, but of an entire country that saw the potential that Pro Era had back in 2012. Through the years, Pro Era has evolved and become a world war phenomenon that reflected the standard of production and lyrics that made the likes of Wu-Tang and The Alchemist a common name in hip-hop. So as Chuck Strangers jumps out from the shadows in a surprise attack on his debut project Consumers Park, stepping the listener back into that timeframe where Pro Era reigned as one of the only names in music.
Strangers contains a spark in his music that is had to master, but impossible to replicate as his own personal style twinges those lines of classy and rough cut. It is reflected through his instrumentals and ability to open the spacious piano and snares that feel more as a symphony of sound that an MPC with unlimited range. Consumers Park has these glory moments where Chuck Stranger can turn down the instrumental however, and make the lyrics and voice become the foreground which is where Strangers continues to impress. Taking a track like “Style Wars” where Strangers and Joey Bada$$ take shots at the materialization of hip-hop as a movement and how it has shifted away from their craft’s style. Strangers explains, “Most my heroes ain’t balling, they falling. Step behind with the law, can you counteract the allure and still score? But what’s the higher level if your shit ain’t real, but my niggas be like playing they selves to have mass appeal.”
The production behind the two is a guitar-ridden and piano driving piece that uses these snaps of snare that feel smooth and almost relaxed to a certain aspect. There is no sting behind the inviting instrumental which almost coincides within what the two lyricists are describing. It continues that sense of tone as Strangers moves into “The Evening” which is the standout track on Consumers Park that has this booming beat, a pushing cymbal, and the guitar solos that reflect a real skill behind Strangers. He kills it through this instrumental and the way that he twists the lyrics to fit this headstrong and memorable cut. The package gets wrapped in a multi-layered level of movement that showcases the perfect balance of rough and inviting.
Consumers Park is a substantial stand out for the rhyming MC who can produce as well as he can rap. A rare breed in hip-hop, but a double threat is what makes Strangers feel constantly fresh and consistent.
There is something magical about that standard of classic 90’s hip-hop that felt as a golden era in innovation through sound. The movement of black power and awareness was starting to become more prevalent and a foreground element of sound. With The Pharcyde, the group consisting of Fatlip, SlimKid 3, Imani, Bootie Brown, J-Swift, L.A. Jay, Buckwheat, and Quinton on some aspect of producing or lyrical spitting.
The album which goes by the name Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, by The Pharcyde, is a light hearted journey that was born into a gangsta rap era of hip-hop that switched the emotion behind direction and traded punches for jokes. At the time, The Pharcyde became this movement that felt in relation to something that would make you dance before it made you laugh out loud, but they essentially went hand in hand. The opening, “4 Better Or 4 Worse (Interlude)” is actually an interlude that leads a smooth jazz progression into “Oh Shit”, The Pharcyde’s first lyrical track.
The beat is recognizable for its instant booming bass and record scratches that reflect this nostalgia factor, tapping into the innocent early style of hip-hop. This is then where The Pharcyde switches the script as most of their topics include “brown-eyed bombshells”, “moms”, and “sex appeal”. The location of the record is important to showcase a contrast within the sound of The Pharcyde and other Los Angeles groups at the time. From NWA to The Pharcyde, there was something similar to their content, but in entirely different approaches.
Lyrically, The Pharcyde is care free, but their production is the real sense of what makes their music stand out in a crowd of different sounds. Putting the whole message together is the catalyst of making The Pharcyde feel iconic, especially with a track like “I’m That Type Of Nigga” where the percussion and the lyrical ability shift together to work within each other. Their selection is some of the more innovative in hip-hop as sampling was relied heavily on to form the backbones of these influential beats and grooves.
The synth keys are what makes The Pharcyde feel incredibly fresh though, making “Passin’ Me By” a bundle of flowers when compared to some of the music of the surrounding era. Especially when reaching the chorus that screams, “She keeps on passing me by” where the vocals are almost drained and feel incredibly natural. Which moves The Pharcyde into the final stages of the 16-track saga of that moves that golden-era sound into the modern day movement.