BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow ALBUM REVIEW

BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow Score

At this point, it should be no surprise that Babyfather’s BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow is the definitive Benchmark album on numerous sites, including this one. Upon its release, it was universally lauded. It was only April 1, but the writing was on Parliament’s walls: BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow was an opus, a statement, a feat. It felt weighty, labored, accomplished. Forty-eight minutes of big ideas handled with complexity, it was a dextrous addition to the canon of art expressing disenchantment with being British and not being American. It launched a thousand thinkpieces, and forced critics to think deeply about music – to the point that it was still generating back-and-forths about its merits, as late as last night, eight days after its release. Commercially speaking, it set first-week streaming records for Hyperdub (note: this is purely speculation; no research was done), meaning that it was being listened to as fervently as it was being debated (which, again, may or may not be much). Continue reading “BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow ALBUM REVIEW”

ScHoolboy Q – “Groovy Tony” TRACK REVIEW

Groovy Tony Benchmark Card

2012 feels like eons ago. The west coast renaissance was in full effect, and the personalities of Top Dawg Entertainment were distinct to an almost exaggerated level. The conspiracy theorist Ab-Soul, the hard-nosed Jay Rock, and the wise poeticism of Kendrick Lamar. They filled their niche potent effects, but there was always one rapper that felt beyond simple characterizations. ScHoolboy Q was a conflicted man from the start; Habits and Contradictions highlighted the distinct duality, Oxymoron blurred those lines. Now with the first single from his upcoming 2016 album, ScHoolboy Q is linking his identities with “Groovy Tony”, a song that stands as one ofhis best in his ten year career. Continue reading “ScHoolboy Q – “Groovy Tony” TRACK REVIEW”

untitled unmastered. ALBUM REVIEW

Untitled Unmastered Score.png

Kendrick Lamar hasn’t rapped like he did on 2013’s “Control”. Since the infamous verse dropped, he’s maintained a somewhat reserved ferocity in terms of lyrical assault, whether on an album or on stage. But to be honest, he hasn’t really needed to. No one has come close to being an adversary to Kendrick, and so the period of relative silence leading up to 2015’s masterful To Pimp A Butterfly only furthered the power and aura Kendrick emanated whenever he appeared. And now, a year after the ubiquity and cultural impact To Pimp A Butterfly instilled, he’s returned with a musical statement that is more implicit in nature, but just as dominant and focused as his previous three albums. Continue reading “untitled unmastered. ALBUM REVIEW”

Tim Hecker – “Black Phase” TRACK REVIEW

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For most of this decade, Tim Hecker has been tinkering with his established sound. 2011’s Ravedeath, 1972 illustrated a much more textured and expansive release, with celestial production endlessly escalating. 2013’s Virgins furthered the noisiness and claustrophobia with rattling percussion vibrating inside tombs of sound. And with Love Streams, Hecker seems to be attempting to fine-tune the elements that made his 2010’s effort so immaculate. Continue reading “Tim Hecker – “Black Phase” TRACK REVIEW”

The Loner(s) / Drive Me Home Please Split EP REVIEW

The Loners:Drive Me Home Please Score

So rare is it that the lo-fi bedroom pop aesthetic isn’t bogged down in one-noted instrumentation and saturated theatricalities. The majority of the Bandcamp indie scene is dominated by artists who use the familiar sound as an excuse for actual innovation and individuality. At some point, the sound of the bedroom loses its potency, exploiting the niche approach as a crutch and an excuse. But when the lo-fi tones couple with genuine inexperience and tenacity for more, it can blossom into something devastating and authentically earned. The bedroom, above all, represents a place of sanctity, a space of emotional isolation free of judgment. There’s nowhere else that you can freely contemplate your insecurities, your darkest thoughts, cast away your barriers, and let it all flow in waves of shameless misery. And on the their latest collaborative effort, The Loner(s) and Drive Me Home Please masterfully explore all that can be encompassed within this harrowingly intimate motif. Continue reading “The Loner(s) / Drive Me Home Please Split EP REVIEW”