Bottomless Pit ALBUM REVIEW

Bottomless Pit Score

Death Grips is not a cool band. Whatever vogue abstruseness they cultivated after their first mixtape quickly vanished as they played dom to their fans and their press. Soured attitudes – and a fanbase that consumes their material as fervently as they speculate details regarding the band – has led to them occupying a somewhat impenetrable position in popular music. The antics and cryptic nature pushed away speculative listeners before the obtuse, genre-neutralizing music ever could. But following their break up note, the coda album Jenny Death, and the 2015 tour, the musical landscape that they hastily rushed into had changed. The modish way to deliver an album was the same that Death Grips had used to eviscerate their reputation: keep the listener in the dark with details until the release date. The Life of Pablo. A Moon Shaped Pool. The Colour in Anything. Lemonade and Beyoncé’s self-titled album. The particulars for each record came at a moment by moment basis until they appeared, accompanied by a radio show introduction, a short film, or a Madison Square Garden live stream. These two arcs, the one where popular music is consumed and how Death Grips interact with popular music seem to be intersecting. What Death Grips did to maintain authority offers no authority and offers no mystic enticement with the consumer when the consumer is accustomed to this. So what do they do? Unveil the most tame album cycle to date: an announcement, an EP, an artwork and track-list reveal, snippets and then a release. To summarize: Death Grips’ modus operandi is to not be cool.  Continue reading “Bottomless Pit ALBUM REVIEW”

Collect ALBUM REVIEW

Collect Score

Collect calls are dying, a bygone of the era of fax machines and telephone booths; something your parents dealt with that faded against the digital age; the social and communication equivalent of balancing your checkbook. Somewhere out there are people with a romanticized view of all of these outdated technologies, clinging to a simpler world that, to them, moves too fast, leaving them far, far behind. Somewhere out there, too, are people that have moved beyond what they once clung to, overcompensating with a flawed understanding of the now. In a way, 18+ paradoxically represent both of these schools of thought regarding the then and the nowContinue reading “Collect ALBUM REVIEW”

Danny Brown – “When It Rain” TRACK REVIEW

When It Rain Track Card

Has there been an artist who combines the pre-post-apocalyptic nature of Detroit with the bygone musical influences that the indie kids of the 2000’s loved to say they loved? The answer is an unmistakable “yes”; his name is Danny Brown, and he’s the most unique voice of hip-hop of the 2010’s. In terms of his lyrical prowess, love show escapades, and persona, he checks every box that makes him marketable to the mainstream. But in terms of purity, Danny Brown has done everything in his power to carve his own lane without losing an ounce of oneness with his identity. Let’s be honest, very few modern rappers (or even rock bands) claim to love Outkast as much as they love Joy Division, or Radiohead as much as they do Dizzee Rascal; but even fewer wear those influences as a part of their sonic identity. And for the past six years, Danny Brown has seemed to be struggling to fit every twisted idea into a context that makes sense to his audience. Yet after two albums with his trademarked tonal shift, one single has encapsulated the soul of his music.  Continue reading “Danny Brown – “When It Rain” TRACK REVIEW”

The Impossible Kid ALBUM REVIEW

The Impossible Kid Score

The Definitive Jux record label was a beacon of light in the alternative and underground hip-hop scene of the 2000’s. Aesop Rock was the most notable rapper on the label, frequently collaborating with many other artists on the label. However, cofounder and CEO of this label, Jamie Meline, known better by his stage name, El-P, announced the hiatus of the label in 2010. In the Def Jux glory days, Aesop Rock was featured on a majority of the records released by fellow “Jukies.” But following the end of Def Jux, Aesop veered towards more personal projects. 2012’s Skeleton marked the first record Aesop solely produced himself, with marginal success to be had from it. The features on that record were kept to a minimum, with no other rappers contributing any verses. Aesop goes back to this design model on his latest record, The Impossible Kid, giving new life to an old idea.  Continue reading “The Impossible Kid ALBUM REVIEW”

Love Streams ALBUM REVIEW

Love Streams Score

Back in 2013 Tim Hecker released his seventh solo album Virgins. Prior to this, his albums had always contained small doses of drone, noise and ambient music. His output was always something of quality, although it was often abstract enough that it remained underground. Virgins was different. From the opening track, “Prism”, it was loud, harsh and overwhelming. Focusing almost exclusively on live instruments rather than electronics, the pianos were copiously layered and melodies stretched on for multiple songs. Even the static played an important part in the melody rather than just assisting the atmosphere. It was his most epic and grandiose album thus far and garnered well-deserved universal acclaim. Yet it presented a problem for future projects. Once you have constructed an album of such grandness, where do you go next? Continue reading “Love Streams ALBUM REVIEW”