1. The Horrors-So Now You Know
A modern day Smiths sounding track, “So know you know” has a rather genial intro and creates an almost ethereal sound-scape during the chorus. I had never heard of this group before listing to this song. They’re based out of the UK and have already come out with a few albums since they formed back in 2005. This is off of their latest one Luminous, and it came out on May 4th.
2. A. G. Cook-
I’m very confident you will either like or completely hate this song. It could probably the theme song for Sonic the Hedgehog given its pace and sporadic nature. Through the craziness (and a few listens), I found a song that has a ton of effects that are put together with excellent execution. You’ll start to notice how well they blend together after the 2nd listen or so. The last minute of the song is my favorite part and is like a reward for sticking it out for having to deal with the really high-pitched vocals throughout most of the song.
3. Prodigy-Firestarter (Death Grips Remix)
“Firestarter” will always be one of Prodigy’s most well known songs. It’s fast and vicious. It ended up being one of my least favorite tracks off their memorable 90’s record “Fat of the Land”. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that I don’t like about that song but I know I’m not big on a song that doesn’t seem to have a redeeming part of it (usually in the chorus) that counteracts all the disturbing and negative sounding vibes that “firestarter” has.
This version by Death Grips is not that much different from the original but it seems to have a more laid-back and less chaotic feel to it; which I appreciate. It’s slightly ironic as Death Grips is no slouch when it comes to producing some abrasive tunes. This would not fit that description, however. The synths are very fluid throughout this version. See what you think.
1. I Break Horses-This Swedish duo is becoming one of my favorite groups very quickly. They are able to produce some of the best beats and rhythms I’ve ever heard. They’re truly a unique group and the following song shows exactly why. It’s called “Faith” and carries a positive message while still containing some chilling lyrics. My favorite of those lyrics “Faith, the only thing you cling on to”. While the lyrics are good, the instrumentals combined with the vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing. It features a layered, pulsating beat at the beginning and continues throughout. The keyboard playing and synths provide for an exceptional listening experience. THEN you throw in Maria Lindén’s vocals and you have something beyond description, at least by me anyway. This group is going to be big…
2. Death Grips-Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching)
I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but their latest release, Government Plates, has received a lot of buzz for the enigmatic group Death Grips. You can listen to it in its entirety here. This track grabbed my attention the most. While many other tracks on this album appear to be all over the place, this one seems to do that while maintaining some semblance of structure. MC Ride’s vicious vocals are the typical in-your-face variety that he’s known for but the rest of the song is quite inviting. The highlight of this song is the dramatic transition from poppy rap song to a chill, trance-like excursion that hits at 1:25. It goes back and forth two times and it makes for a worthwhile listening experience. Check it out for yourself
3. Jagwar Ma-Come and Save Me
This is a fun and exciting new group. They are another group in the class of bands that are able to have a vintage indie sound while using technology to their advantage by mixing in some electronic effects. This song is one of their more old school offerings with the way the delivery of vocals enter to a 60’s band drum beat. The backing vocals are also a strength of this track, I feel. The “Ah’s” during the verses are harmonic and pulled off well. The female who chimes in during the chorus complements that line perfectly. All of their work on their latest album, Howlin, is worth giving a listen. But for now, feel free to get lost in the delightfully campy dreamscape that “Come and Save Me” creates.
One indie group I think is very underrated is Death Grips. Little is known about this enigmatic group but there’s no better introduction to their work than to listen to The Money Store. Their live show set-up consists of three guys who formed their group in Sacramento. They have been hit or miss on tour, cancelling several shows. I can’t say for sure but just from listening to them, I’m pretty sure that seeing them live would be nothing short of…uh, that word again…EPIC!
While long hair may get in your eyes while drumming, it helps heighten the intensity of this photo significantly
1. I’ve Seen Footage-This is the track that initially got me interested in Death Grips. It almost has a Salt ‘n Peppa’s “Push It” feel to it at first (Which is not a good thing!) but it goes a different direction very quickly. This is one of the more cleaner sounding Death Grips songs but there’s still plenty of distortion and mixing of the vocals. They feature some of the best sounding electronic effects and use them in a way that sounds dark and cool rather than awkward and cheesy like the new wave acts of the 80’s. Give it a try, but don’t give up on it right away if you dislike it. It comes off as abrasive at first, but if you give it a few more listens, that will wear off and you’ll be might able to appreciate it.
2. The Fever (Aye, Aye)
No this isn’t a song about scurvy and pirates. It’s an electronic-infused rap song with some, shall we say, darker lyrics. It appears to be some not so pleasant subject matter and I wish I knew what “the fever” was but apparently my street cred is lacking because I’m still lost on what it’s supposed to mean. Fortunately, there’s no need to understand a song’s message in order to enjoy it. It features a building up intro, a catchy bridge, and a chorus that delivers by hitting hard with top-notch vocals and effects (@0:51). The vocal talents of Stefan Burnett, aka “MC ride” are on display fully in this song.
3. Lost Boys. This is probably my favorite song by them so far. The intro has an “off the beaten path in terms of a hip-hop song ” feel to it. The backing female vocalist along with dubbing in MC Ride’s vocals throughout create a district aura on this track. It could accompany a movie scene where some type of heist is going down or any other event that would be tense going into. The lyrics to this track appear to be much easier to interpret. The song just describes some misguided individuals living out their lives in a manner not deemed acceptable by society. Watching an interview of the band. The drummer Zach Hill describes their music as a painful rehashing of all the bad things that have gone on in their lives. Even though the majority of their music does not have positive message, the main purpose of it is to help them connect with all sorts of individuals, especially those who have also spent a portion of their lives suffering through hardship to some degree. It’s hard for me to imagine many other groups that can accomplish this as much as they do.