Album Review: Big Grams, ‘Big Grams EP’

Big Grams Big Grams EP
(Epic Records – September 25, 2015)
(Hip Hop, Rap, Electronic)
Review by Brandon Foster

“I was never just a rapper; the music on the radio, those are just rappers. My last record was being called ‘indie,’ and I didn’t even know what the f— indie was. But then, I was doing all the festivals and was like, ‘Shit, if this is indie, then that’s where I want to be.’”- Big Boi

It has been almost 10 years since OutKast dropped an album. Other than a few appearances on tracks from Andre 3000, Big Boi is carrying the OutKast flag by himself. Releasing one of the best albums of the decade in Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty and the super underrated follow up Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Daddy Fat Sax is nothing short of impressive as a solo artist. Continue reading

Advertisements

Album Review: Jay Rock, “90059”

Jay Rock 90059
(Top Dawg Entertainment – September 11, 2015)
(Hip Hop, Rap)
Review by Brandon Foster

Black Hippy member Jay Rock (group also includes Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul) has not come out with any solo material since 2011 when he dropped his super slept on and underrated project Follow Me Home. In 2011, Rock was the only Black Hippy member with an official record deal. He was signed to underground mogul and world class emcee Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label. While Rock has not released an album in 4 years, he stays busy by being Black Hippy’s official guest verse specialist and killer while we are at it. Continue reading

Album Review: Stolen Jars, “Kept”

Stolen Jars Kept
(Self – August 28, 2015)
(Indie Pop, Math)
Review by Kalyn Oyer

 

Stolen Jars coalesces a complex accumulation of sounds, step-by-step, driven by stacked layers of some of the best repetitive guitar riffs I’ve heard. These rhythmic stratums serve as the core of Stolen Jars’ sound, allowing the exaggerated ability to inhale and exhale with the emotional ebbs and flows of each track. The sound can both explode and retract by cutting in and out of looped tracks. A carefully constructed repetition is the elemental lyrical and sonic glue, while the duo of Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund on vocals blends into a soothing tension. Angelic harmonies float across angsty boundaries and sink into an ultimate, relieved bliss. Continue reading

Album Review: Thunderbitch, Self Titled

Thunderbitch Thunderbitch
(Self – August 29, 2015)
(Rock)
Review by Will Flourance

Thunderbitch is a self-titled surprise release from Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. With only two major label records prior in under 4 years, Howard and her bandmates have reached considerable acclaim and enough high profile recognition that Howard herself even shared the stage with Sir Paul McCartney at this year’s Lollapalooza. The exhilarating surge of stardom would leave most in shambles, ravaged by relentless touring and the exhaustive, fiery heat of the spotlight. Yet somehow, amidst the gauntlet of fame, Howard still finds time to hammer out a battle axe of a record in her creative forge. Thunderbitch is a raucous and fist-clenching romp through Howard’s hot-off-the-skillet specialties. This record dropped with guns blazing just when recent entries in her repertoire had indicated a more refined brand of rock for the more populous palate. With its no-nonsense bat-swinging and Jerry Lee Lewis chug alongs, this mode finds Brittany revving the loud pipes on her brand new hog. We always knew she could beat her way through a crowd, but now she’s doing it with a swinging chain a handful of brass knuckle. Continue reading

Album Review: Mauno, “Rough Master”

Mauno Rough Master
(Self – August 19, 2015)
(Indie Rock, Experimental, Folk)
Review by Rob Leonard

 

Mauno is a masculine name of Finnish origin meaning ‘great’. Whether or not this is the intention behind Halifax’s Mauno or not, the label rings true. Fronted by Nick Everett, a busy musician with previous folk leanings in the realm of Andrew Bird, Mauno pushes forward with interestingly arranged, guitar driven indie rock – somewhat of an endangered species until Real Estate’s Days, released in 2011.  The beauty of Rough Master is in it’s no thrills, no antics approach. Continue reading

Album Review: Advance Base, “Nephew in the Wild”

Advance Base Nephew in the Wild
(Orindal Records – August 21, 2015)
(Indie Pop, Bedroom Pop)
Review by Rob Bockman

 

There’s nothing less useful than the qualifier “underrated,” since it requires establishment of metrics, sources, and definitions straight off the bat; still, Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Advance Base) doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough in the Best American Pop Contemporary Songwriters pantheon. Nephew in the Wild, his second album under the Advance Base name, is another argument for his inclusion. Continue reading