Chapel Hill band Wembley mixes up a rousing blend of classically trained indie pop on its second EP, You Are Invisible. The band is composed of four musicians whose skills, when combined, create a synchronized effort that translates into four stimulating tracks.
On its debut EP, o0O0o0O0o, Oberhofer ties a strong knot with synth-pop and secures a promising future for a full-length debut. The band sets its sights on the horizon, outfitted with a colorful pop palette, its sails attuned for deeper seas.
The King of Limbs is a raft afloat in a sea of homogenous vessels, inflated with hot air, reserved tunes, and a ballooned egoism — devoid of any real mass and asking to be popped.
“My music used to get bad reception like Cricket phones/ Now there are bars everywhere like AT&T, homes,” raps Lex Jordan on “Tomorrow Comes,” the first song on Lexicon’s latest album.
With acts like The Love Language and Megafaun, the area’s music scene has been breaching the national spotlight as of late, and it does not seem to be slowing. Cassingles Vol. 1 compiles the best of what’s next out of the state, featuring Embarrassing Fruits, Birds of Avalon, Yardwork, Lonnie Walker, Gross Ghost, Whatever Brains and more.
“Honesty with a groove” — Gilbert Neal describes his brand of contemporary, funkified acoustic rhythm and blues with this vague statement, drawing on appeal rather than truth.
Akron/Family is delivering the first radically diverse folk album of the year with the release of S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT_. This album balances innumerable influences from across the globe with the band’s folk-rock roots and odd personality.
The sun is rising on the Decemberists again after several albums of sensational Broadway plots and operatic arrangements. Half a decade later, the sun has reached its peak with The King Is Dead. The album is full of happy-go-lucky indie folk-rock without all the unnecessary clutter and tediousness that goes along with telling a complicated story.
If Gregg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk) were to write his own music, it would sound a little something like Zoon Van Snook and its latest scatterbrained electro-ambient smorgasbord. The obscure (Falling From) The Nutty Tree will entrance audiophiles but send the public running for Advil.
3 Stars Seattle group Seapony has a solid foundation and uses simple arrangements to create Go With Me, an album stuffed with concise, conventional surf pop. In late 2010 Seapony posted a handful of demos online and instantly began to attract fans and acclaim. UK label Double Denim heard “Dreaming” and released it as a 7-inch; since then, the band has signed a record deal with Hardly Art Records and opened shows for burgeoning bands including local hotshots The Love Language. But for the most part, the hype that preceded the album isn’t necessarily warranted by what it actually delivers.
Schoolboy Q – Setbacks Well if your stuff isn’t selling on iTunes, give it away. That is what Schoolboy Q has done with his latest album, Setbacks, which is now in mixtape format. This dude sounds mad. He puts more emotion into the songs than the bitches he raps about in his songs. The guys drops names more than a 15-year-old girl in the locker room, Shady this, Dre that, Obama here, Steve Nash there. It doesn’t get old, but I’m trying to hear about his opinions on drugs, bling, money, and women, which eventually come. The guys is relatively new to the big-time mixtape game and only has a few of the unheard guests, which don’t add much, except an annoying hook on “Whats the Word.” I’ll give the guy props, he spits truth and doesn’t humble himself on “Druggy’s Wit Hoes.”
CurT@!N$ – Killer Tape (Tagless) CurT@!N$ makes Ke$ha look like an English major with ampersands, exclamation points, and half uppercase, half lowercase lettering all just to spell out his name. His “Killer Tape” was released to a fair amount of hype towards the end of December, maybe because he flipped sick beats by established rappers the day they leaked and released his freestyle the next day. CurT@!N$ takes more of an album approach to “Killer Tape,” saving the sick beats for his consumption, and selectively featuring the recently Dr. Dre touted Kendrick Lamar. The dude’s flow is ludicrous; he brings the energy on every track similar to the ATL-afro stoner Ludacris back in the day when he was rapping about fantasies. He is calling out big time rappers such as Kanye West, N.E.R.D. and Cee-Lo Green (just to name a few recognizable beats).
*2.5 Stars Ambient/Rock* Chillwave or shoegaze? Young Prisms decides to take the middle road when paving the way towards their debut album — chillgaze.
Lexicon – Almost There Here’s a project from a fellow Tar Heel. Lexicon, a.k.a. Lex Jordan, a current junior at UNC, released his latest mixtape “Almost There” right before Thanksgiving break. The six-song EP is a prelude to his album dropping later this week. Lil B – Evil Red Flame This spoken-word/hardly-rappin’ artist starts out by apologizing to Kanye West by crediting him a genius. What a plug. He previously threatened on Twitter to beat up West if they met in person and he didn’t collaborate with Lil B. If you have never heard of this cat, I’m surprised — he is the self-proclaimed “Based God”. Trump Gees – Watching Me Closely For the big-name features that Trump Gees have enlisted on “Watching Me Closely,” he certainly doesn’t live up to the hype. Curren$y has put out two of the best rap albums in 2010, Gucci Mane is Gucci Mane, and Freeway is an established name in the rap game. Trump Gees really brings it when he throws down a verse, but doesn’t capitalize on the beats he should be.
The Fooligans Love Songs For The Apocalypse 3 Stars The Fooligans are the little engine that could of the Triangle. The band isn’t polished and it doesn’t have the best sounding material, but brute talent and a raw rock ‘n’ roll sound keep the band trucking up the mountain. Love Songs For the Apocalypse can attest to The Fooligans’ determination.
Well it’s hard to follow Lil Wayne, especially when talking about rap, because he’s that far ahead. But a rising group of teenagers from Los Angeles that call themselves Odd Future have made a left-field entrance into the rap game. This collective of 10 rappers doesn’t care about people’s opinions. They hate on the blogs that don’t show them love (2DopeBoyz and Nah Right) and thank the blogs that show them support, namely Fader Magazine’s music blog. A good reason to keep an eye out for these fellas is the fact that music criticism God Pitchfork has given them thumbs up, which is basically a free ride to stardom. Odd Future also goes by the acronym OFWGKTA, standing for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. If you aren’t skeptical already, the group ranges in age from 16-19, lacks any ounce of discretion, and won’t let any rap precedent stop them from rapping over whatever beat they feel. Apparently Odd Future goes deeper than the music and is a real gang, though it’s hard to dig up information like that online. We’ll leave that discussion for another time. The group is always tweeting at each other about random Youtube videos (a good read for a big lecture class, as are their blogs). Most of the members have a blog that they either post on too frequently or haven’t updated in two months, but there are a lot of pictures of girls, 90’s rap videos, cursing and new types of swag. The collective frequently drops mixtapes and songs, even if it isn’t the best rapping out there. Constant output and outlandish lyrics will keep you on your toes for what Odd Future has next. Check out information on Odd Future shows, upcoming mixtapes, and links to a plethora of downloads at their Tumblr.
Eight months ago one of music’s most influential rappers was incarcerated on a felony count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The, now, 28-year-old Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (aka Lil Wayne) is being released four months prior to the ending of his one year sentencing for the 2007 arrest. Since his jailing on Feburary 9th, he has had a number one single (“Right Above It (Feat. Drake)”) and released an album, “I Am Not A Human Being,” which debuted at #1 on the billboard charts. He was busy cooking up ways to keep his name in the music world while behind bars, and he was quite successful. Tuesday on Pittsburgh’s 96.1 Kiss FM Morning Freak Show, former President Bill Clinton had some thoughts not only on getting the vote out but the one and only Lil Wayne’s release from prison. “You know, I think a lot of these people, they don’t get successful in that — just like in any other area of life — by being really dumb,” said Clinton. “They’re really smart. But a lot of them had tough lives, and they almost think it’s cool to get in trouble every now and then, or they don’t know how to stay out. But what I hope will happen is that he has a good life now.” So, now that we’ve talked a little bit about Weezy’s recent mix-up with the law, let’s talk about his music. He’s one of the first rappers who made the mixtape popular. He gave away his songs for free. And not just any songs — some of the best rap out there. In 2007 there was a wave of Lil Wayne that started with off my high school years and didn’t crash until the end of Senior year. I partook in this Lil Wayne craze, and looking back, I don’t regret it, because he was legit back in high school. Since then, however, he has become a mainstream tool that guarantees success if he drops a verse in a song. This is what has recently made me feel nostalgic (and sad) when he collaborates with Weezer or fails at creating a rock album. Here is a run-through of Weezy’s top mixtapes and albums. If this brings you back to hanging out in the high school parking lot or bumpin’ while rolling around the local movie theatre, you’re welcome.
This week’s Hump Day Bump Day is slightly abbreviated, but here’s a set of Halloween tunes for the weekend. Happy Halloweening! Yae – SteezD Out: Nose Candy Professors like to team up and figure out the best way to have the weeks around Halloween full of Library visits instead of costume planning. In honor of professors, Hump Day isn’t as banging as usual. Today we have a Baltimore rapper Yae and his October 22nd released mixtape SteezD Out: Nose Candy. The drug references go past the cocaine suggestions in the artist’s and mixtape’s name. Despite the name, the mixtape is largely devoted to a greener leaf. “Nurse Mary” is a clever reference to the herbal remedy powers of marijuana disguised as a nurse that is checking out the patient. Yae is one of the first rappers to take on Flying Lotus, an electronic producer known for eclectic and unsystematic beats. He does a mighty fine job on “Show Bars,” switching up his flow as Flying Lotus does, an impressive progression through the song. “Choppa Style” is a remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa.” It doesn’t sample the song but the rhythms mirror the song, and the lyrics are similar to the 90s classic. Overall this is a solid product from a relatively unknown rapper. His on-beat flows and off-beat instrumentals combine on SteezD Out: Nose Candy to produce a high that leaves you addicted.
Aspektz & Kenny Powers – Miller High Life x HBO x True Thorobredz -7th Inning Stretch If you’re a fan of the stuck-up baseball player Kenny Powers (from HBO’s Eastbound and Down) and fresh flowing rapping, this is the mixtape for you. Any mixtape that claims an actor as a subject is a bold move, but the monologues they incorporate into the songs are snotty and meld smoothly with the songs’ topics. Aspektz pistol whips these dope beats with above average rhymes in his impersonation of the washed up baseball star Powers.“7th Inning Stretch” is largely created from classic-rock samples, heavy on Led Zeppelin and light on seductive choruses. Luckily the producers don’t try to auto tune Powers’ ridiculous rants and leave them for intros and endings of songs, not interfering with the rapping. Aspektz obviously has some skills, judging from some of the big-name sponsors backing this mixtape. He delves into the normal subjects — drugs, women and money — but still leaves you wanting more after the six song mixtape.