Given the number of words our fellow journos dedicated to Drakethis, Drakethat this month, one might get the impression it was Rap Game Nap Time in September. Rather than monitor blogger peers to dogear trends to bandwagon, we did our usual—we let our taste guide us through the muck. Our September list reads like one big ICYMIBYRSSFWCBD (In Case You Missed It Because Your RSS Feed Was Clogged By Drake), and hopefully it will continue to be that way until the second installment of Taking Care of Drake arrives, our one and only dalliance in the art of Drake pandering. Until then, you have us to turn to in times of despair, and when you're looking to cleanse your palette, look no further. We got you, b.
The Best Album of September 2013
The group’s debut, Bastards Of The Party, explores the frustrations and reactions that come with being from Queens in a metropolis that treats Brooklyn as the epicenter of culture. It rekindles the Infamous of Queens with World’s Fair in the role of party crashers refusing to allow guff directed towards their locale.
From the opening skit, pre-gaming ends and the album settles into two stories. The first story is about the night in particular, glamorizing World's Fair as a posse of the Beastie Boys circa the “Fight For Your Right To Party” caliber. The second story is about a brotherhood that formed in Queens with the Unisphere on a crest, patched to shoulders that carry a chip. B.O.T.P. is ripe with chant-worthy hooks that aim to raise hell, but focus on the verses of COTN, Prince SAMO, Jeff Donna, and Cody B. Ware and it's a crew of friends who feel they have something to prove.
The Best Music of September 2013 (in no particular order):
It’s easy to write the same tune to Potty Mouth’s debut full-length, Hell Bent. The tune would go something like this: four babes find each other, jam together, and are now the poster children for modern feminism and write songs for women, by women—because universalism isn’t afforded to an all-girl band. But while some riot grrrl, Bikini Kill-style comparisons and Liz Phair references make sense (and they could be kissing cousins with Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis), the girls of Potty Mouth are playing in the same sandbox as Parquet Courts and the rest of today’s punk rockers who lean toward a friendlier chorus and shouldn’t be relegated to a girls-only club.
Somewhere in the world, there is someone who still has the Smokers Delight album in heavy rotation. That release along with Carboot Soul solidified a musical career for George Evelyn, best known to most as Nightmares On Wax. His latest album suggests that not much has changed, which is a welcome relief in a world of constant flux. Feelin' Good positions Evelyn as the reassuring big brother on the scene, convincing listeners through his eternally chill vibes and steadfast optimism that everything's going to be okay.
Sleepies close their recently released More Humans tape with the PiL cover, "Annalisa". Recorded at Silent Barn with Nick Sylvester, the a-side is three Sleepies originals that act as definable jams, the sort of three-song run that merits destroying the fabric of "Annalisa" on the b-side just for the ever-loving fuck-all of it. Sleepies praise the almighty Jah on their cover of PiL's "Annalisa" by cranking the bass so that even when the shredding white roar of the guitars tries to compete, it exists in mercy to the rhythm section.
If Armand Hammer's Half Measures is the prelude mixtape to the official record, then Race Music is potentially in the running for Rap Album Of The Year.
Armand Hammer is the collaborative project of billy woods and Elucid. Both artists have been productive in 2013. woods released Dour Candy, produced entirely by Blockhead, in July and Elucid linked up with A.M. Breakups to form Cult Favorite, releasing For Madmen Only in March. As Armand Hammer the duo mesh their respective bodies of work into a grim vision of New York rap, setting up shop on the darkside of Black Moon.
We can never forget sole declaring the white man is the fucking devil (it's one of favorite sole moments, honestly), but as quotable as the Anticon founder, turned self-release machine can be, the production on whitenoise: nomoredystopias breathes fine on instrumental merit. The danger rap of whitenoise is a sensory overload of terror-transmissions against glimmers of hope, suffocated and claustrophobic – it is facing atrocities head on and processing them through Akai MPC compositions.
We've long-thought Mux Mool needs to be collaborating with rap artists, a notion that first entered our minds upon seeing Jonwayne join Mux Mool during our 2012 SXSW Imposition, but we never considered Anti-Pop Consortium's Beans as one of the potential contenders for breaking open the flood gates.Together as Knifefight, Mux Mool and Beans craft a danger funk that orchestrates a balance between their experimentation of Anti-Pop Consortium and the Ghostly vibes of Planet High School.
Drop Out Vol. 1 is a series of twelve tracks (some early Tascam demos, some re-releases) by the band that sound like 13th Floor Elevators and also The Avalanches and also The Doors weirdly and also what it might feel like to skateboard down the highest hill in San Francisco.
Yuppies’ tracks flow seamlessly into one another. It’s a clue that they were honed live, or in rigorous rehearsal sessions that bled songs together with segues to counter the tedium of practice. There are chops learned in a bedroom through ascetic commitment to an instrument, and there are chops hardened through constant gigging and loud rehearsals. Yuppies brings the latter to mind.
Remy warbles through “Overtime” with a sound that is probably most akin to dropping a doo-wop 45 into a bathtub, but she suds it up with an open-eyed anger that haunts the harmonies. “28 Days” just made all women everywhere smile with its slap-happy, sunny-sounding take on our moon cycles accompanied by a can’t-miss, homegrown video, while “Incidental Boogie” goes way dark on the dance floor, more akin to a bad-mood Blondie than the unexpected Winehouse-goes-sonically-wild of the first two singles.