John Barrett is a one man army. Writing and recording as Bass Drum Of Death, Barrett’s sound channels the familiar garage-fuzz sound that plenty of bands glean in an attempt to head south by route of south west. Truthfully, these “garage” bands baffle me. They’re formulaic but somehow captivating, because they’re unwilling to learn new tricks. Thankfully, BDOD plays like you paid to get in, and that’s refreshing.
Bass Drum Of Death picks up where 2011’s GB City trailed off. It ratchets up the distortion, but kicks out a sand and sun vibe you might not expect. Sure, Mississippi might have a few gulf beaches, but who wants to see them? The energy is urgent but doesn’t feel forced. The tempo of “Shattered Me” is infectious, while “White Fright” would make Jack and Meg proud. I get the feeling Barrett’s middle finger is aimed mostly at the sky, amidst balancing a four-footer and a television remote.
Bare bones as it gets for a guitar and few drums, BDOD manages to fill you up. Their self-titled 2013 release is on iTunes or likely in the racks of your local shop. It’s built for summer spins, bottle and bong not included. Go spend a few dollars, you cheap fucks.
El-P and Killer Mike want you to put your hands in the air. You can wave them side to side, but they’re not trying to rock the crowd…they’re trying to snatch your chain. Run The Jewels is a collaboration that’s been in the works since El produced Mike’s R.A.P. Music record last year. The chemistry on R.A.P. Music was vibrant. Violent. Imminent. This time out, the grime is at an all time high, and the science of sound is through the roof.
El’s sonic slant is bordering on futuristic, but it never gets far enough from Co. Flow that you forget where he came from. On the flip side, Mike seems comfortable on any beat you serve him. It just so happens he’s become the Snoop to El Producto’s Dre, complimenting each other amidst a maze of thick bass and more computer blips and beeps that a dial-up modem. An email trade at http://www.foolsgoldrecs.com gets you this monster for free. Do it.
Nerds like me can head to the Fools Gold merch store and cop the limited colored vinyl.
Queens Of The Stone Age make the sort of racket tailor made for a Rob Zombie film. The sleaze in Josh Homme’s riffs are the same type of slasher cool Zombie creates for the big screen. Queens Of The Stone Age’s sixth studio record, Like Clockwork, creeps just in time to jar you from the folk-revivalist slumber Marcus Mumford lulled you into. If you’re into Coldplay in Civil War costumes, I ain’t mad at you; but today calls for something with a bit more balls.
Like Clockwork is just sludgy enough for the dabber stuck to his sofa, but for the rest of us, the cacophony balances between riotous buzzing and hushed balladry. The album opens with “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”, which sends you squirming. You’re walking over the killer’s shoulder like you caught the first thirty seconds of SVU. “The Vampyre Of Time And Memory” sounds like it would be on repeat while Patrick Bateman does his morning situps.
The formula’s been working for Homme and company throughout their six record run, so why retool? This time around there’s a little help from Elton John, and longtime collaborators Dave Grohl, Nick Oliveri, and Mark Lanegan. The guests add a grimy touch to a sarcastically slick record. Like Clockwork is one you play from front to back, and then again when the night gets too late to worry about the neighbors. Have fun sickos.
As promised, today I bring you musical cinema from the one and only Macrophonic MC. This man has flows for days, and by the looks of this fantastic clip, he’s got the skills to throw his hands as easily as he doubles and triples up his metaphors. “Who Want This” is from the Commusication full length which dropped earlier this year. As fun as the video is, what’s entirely undeniable is Macrophonic’s knack for piling on the technical prowess. He’s as comfortable delivering bar after bar as he is dodging haymakers and knocking out menacing thugs. It’s the perfect blend of hip hop, martial arts, and comedy. Trust me, the video will answer all of your questions. Remember, if done right…none can defend. Check him out on twitter @MacrophonicMC.
J. Cole’s cross to bear is his association with Jay Z, who many argue is the best to ever do it. Signed as the first MC to Jay’s Roc Nation label, Cole had monumental expectations dumped on his shoulders while preparing his 2011 debut, Sideline Story. It was a strong first attempt and eventually birthed a hit with “Work Out”, but the record felt scattered. Was Cole trying to go the route of the power single, or would he rather be content to churn out thinkers? And where would the label stand during all this soul searching?
Cole’s proper follow up, Born Sinner, hits stores and web retailers this Tuesday. Never mind that it leaked a week ago. This time around he’s taking head shots, and people aren’t going to know what hit them. While choosing a release date to rival a legend in Kanye West (Yeezus leaked two days ago), and Mac Miller (a young man who is just figuring out the trajectory of his career) might not have been the best decision in terms of numbers, Cole’s body of work will speak for itself.
Kanye’s influence is all over Born Sinner. Cole is handling the bulk of the production duties himself, varying tempo’s, and working in clever samples right and left from Biggie’s “Juicy” to Tribe’s “Electric Relaxation”. Cole seems concerned with the album as a complete project, playing on a theme which explores the shift between the darker and lighter sides of life. It’s ambitious, loud, and carefully crafted. Cole is making the type of music I grew up hearing. It sounds like hip hop with a purpose, leaving the boasting and name dropping to gather dust. Born Sinner is a soulful and aggressive record from a man who just might be in line to capture that crown his label boss has been wearing for years.
Support the arts and buy the record on Tuesday, even if you’ve already grabbed the leak.
Once the chef for the New York Mets in his hometown of Flushing Queens, then bedridden with a broken leg, the oddball wordsmith known as Action Bronson is making serious noise in the fickle industry of mainstream hip hop. Signed to Vice/Warner Brothers records and pumping out free projects by the handful, Action is smoking his body weight in backwoods and poised to be the very biggest (no pun intended) MC in the game.
He’s worked with Statik Selektah on Well Done, the Alchemist on Rare Chandeliers, and Brooklyn’s Party Supplies on Blue Chips, all while managing to have no commercial sales or singles under his belt. Seems as if he’s finally come to his senses with the release of Saab Stories , the long-awaited EP with Harry Fraud, by attaching a modest price tag. How many quality tapes does one rapper have to drop before realizing the iron is scorching hot, and there’s no time like right now to strike?
Saab Stories is a tricky and addictive amuse-bouche from the portly King of Queens. At a mere seven songs, it ends before you really get a full belly. But the focus is quality over quantity. Fraud is a music man. His production touches down all over the map, from the 90’s throwback of “Strictly 4 My Jeeps”, to “Seven Series Triplets”, a classic reboot of the posse flexing we’ve come to know and love from NYC. Fraud’s laissez faire approach behind the boards is perfect for a wandering MC like Action. There’s no boundaries, just a thick smear of wax and a recording booth. The future is bright, and you’ve been warned.
Brothers, my favorite gang of boot stomping, beer guzzling Brooklyn bikers are back with an outrageous clip for “Whiskey and Loose Women”, from their stellar debut, Volume 1. It’s a wild, unexpected romp through the God fearing south. You’re whistling along one minute, and the next you’re in a land far from the shiny city you call home. The chords are ringing. The keys are banging. The bass is thumping. I fear the devil is among us…and nothing can save ya.
The lead single from Volume 2 is coming Labor Day 2013. Keep watch.