Weekly Capsule Reviews – 08/05/2016


This week: Aesop Rock, Death Grips, We Are Scientists, ANOHNI, Brian Eno, J Dilla

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (29/04/2016 – Rhymesayers Entertainment)

The beats and Rock’s voice carry this opaque, postmodern word-maze to its full potential. His cadence and delivery have character even if the content baffles and flusters. But some of his ramblings are there to easily understand – “Used to draw/Hard to admit that I used to draw/Portraiture in human form/Doodle of a two-headed unicorn, it was soothing”. This is easily linked to his childhood and maybe the days he misses or the days he still finds himself in. Either way his bars are sentimental, puerility personified (the good type), and honest. “Dorks” is one of the finest rebuttals to wannabe street-corner dwellers with their pants around their ankles – “You fuckin’ dorks ain’t the source of the art/You can’t be cooler than the corners where you source all your parts”. (8/10) [Dorney’s Top Records of 2016: #18]

Death Grips – Bottomless Pit (06/05/2016 – Third Worlds/Harvest Records)

MC Ride is rigidly sticking to his incoherent “cryptic” lyricism and projections. What I’ve always liked about Death Grips is they don’t sacrifice or neglect some sort of a sound to favour their innate silliness and bottled rage. The ragged and rigid grooves match that of Ride’s, but you always unconsciously hear Zach Hill’s percussion – it’s musical, sensible, and most importantly it attempts to bring rhythm and calm to the chaos. What I love most about their endeavours is they give bad people good ideas, and isn’t that what music is all about? Or in my case, giving crits ideas of themselves. That’s why I listen. (8/10) [Dorney’s Top Records of 2016: #16]

We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer (22/04/2016 – 100% Records)

Like most “indie” stuff I wasn’t madly drawn into the prospect of “analysing” this. Yet the opener, and a little more after that, had me bopping my head. Short and sweet, that helps, but definitely one of the more enjoyable “alt” listens of 2016 thus far. Keith Murray sounds more grown up than Jimmy Eat World even if he doesn’t want to be. The riffs are sparkly and smooth with a touch of nostalgia less the cringe. For the most part. (7/10)

ANOHNI – HOPELESSNESS (06/05/2016 – Secretly Canadian/Rough Trade Records/Hostess Entertainment)

I was disappointed to discover quite quickly this had more to do with Antony Hegarty’s soul vocals (I mean that) than the production that sounds like it should precede it. The experimental electronics are beautiful and serene and you better believe Hegarty’s voice is, too. Yet the whirling, mid-range, semi-falsettos are almost trying to outshine the production. Both work on their own, maybe not together. “4 DEGREES” is spiritually uplifting in the midst of environmental disaster alongside that percussion and artificial horn section, but I needed more. Pity. (6/10)

Brian Eno – The Ship (29/04/2016 – Warp Records)

Ah, Eno, you pesky little sod! Once again we’re purged with another journey through the abyss of electronic modernity, an arid universe, and arty-farty vocal props. His voice did tickle my fancy with the finale, I will admit. (6/10)

J Dilla – Jay Dee a.k.a. J Dilla ‘The King of Beats’, Vol. 2: Lost Scrolls (15/02/2016 – Yancey Media Group LLC/Official Ma Dukes) – (Compilation)

I’m looking forward to The Diary when I get my ears on it. Many releases are flung our way from one of hip-hop’s great lost sons. I’m sure these were/would be great with words on them. I can only be honest, however. (5/10)

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