By: Philip Moreno
Summer 2013 has seen its share of big name new releases. Jay Z’s new album came out of nowhere (or a Samsung phone), Hook-master princess Skyler Grey finally came out with her own album, and a new metal group was formed from the ashes of ISYS and recruited Chino from the Deftones to form Palms. So much new music so little time for long reviews. Here are my quick takes on the past couple of weeks of new music.
Fans of slower Deftones songs like “Sextape” will defiantly feel at home here. When three members of the now defunct band ISYS realized that living in LA together and not making music made no sense, they approached friend Chino Moreno to help start a new project. This new 6 song EP is the result. Its not as heavy as the Deftones, but the slow build to the songs help show the direction that the band wants to take. I hope this is more than just a one off project and they put out more music, six songs is a great appetizer, but the main course would be awesome!
By now, if your into the rap scene at all, you have probably heard the “Versace” remix featuring Drake. Well, the original is on this new mix tape by young rap team Migos. The tape is full of great ideas that I hope get fleshed out into great songs. The talent is here, and with guests like Trinidad James and Gucci Man, the rap world know these guys are going to be big. I have a feeling some song stealing guest spots are coming this fall for Migos…
A great album to relax on the beach to. Fans of the band will not be disappointed. The production is perfect. Songs like “Fool Proof” and “Idol” show real writing and recording chops. These guys just keep getting better and better. Hopefully a stop in West Michigan comes on the next round of touring.
After singing hooks for Eminem and Dr Dre. Skylar Grey finally gets her own album to express herself. Her song writing is very organic, the voice is pop powerful but vulnerable at the same time. “Tower “(Don’t look Down)” is a great example of her voice and writing skills. While “Pulse” has a subtle Alanis Morrisette vibe. Skylar Grey is an artist with a lot to say, so I hope she gets the chance to say it.
The build up to this album was fast and furious. Following a surprise album announcement during halftime of an NBA finals game in June to now, Jay Z has let all sorts of details of the album leak out. From lyrics to collaborators he has been totally transparent with what he is trying to do, stay the G.O.A.T. Does he do it? Well sort off. The album tends to be a little lazy lyrically but the production is brilliant. With beat-masters like Timberland, Pharrell and Swizz Beatz its hard to miss. Yet, listening to the album as a whole the music starts to labor toward the end. However songs like “Tom Ford” and “Oceans” make this a album to pick up if your a fan. If not, and you want a place to start in the Jay Z catalog I suggest going back to “The Blueprint” or “Reasonable Doubt”
Want to dance, but hate house music? Have you ever wished to dance to the sound of world music and jazz sax? Well have I got a treat for you. This album was a complete surprise to me. I fell in love with sound immediately. Its catchy rhythms reminded me at times of Gogol Bordello. Sax lovers will have this album on repeat, smart DJ’s will sample the hell out of it. I have just been putting it on and getting down to it. Great summer party music. Few words to distract, but plenty of rhythm to shake to.
West coast rap fans are getting a mini renaissance right now. Ice Cube has been killing it live right now on the Kings of the Mic tour, and last year we got the Dr Dre produced West Coast To The Core debut by Kendrick Lamar. Now comes the next man vying for the WC throne; Freddie Gibbs weaves stories over beats that remind the listener of the best of gangsta rap. This album is a throwback to the mid 90’s west coast rap boom. I highly recommend this to anyone tired of the same 3-4 voices we are hearing in modern rap today. There are no big name guests, just young men trying to capture their spot in the game.
A new group from members of the At the Drive in and Mars Volta, Bosnian Rainbows are more of a conventional band. Gone are the long wondering open ended songs from before. This new band is tight and almost low key in sound. Songs like “Eye fell in Love” have a very Placebo like feel. A different direction for sure, yet it maybe just the direction these artists have to go.