I’m not exaggerating when I say that March has been the most insane month for music in quite some time, with regards to mainstream fan attention and pleasant underground surprises. With releases from Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, Earl Sweatshirt, Jam City, Action Bronson, Death Grips, Modest Mouse etc. increasing the engagement with the music cycle, my fellow writers and I have been doing what we usually do, which for me involves a lot of coffee and my headphones. Like any other month, I’m presenting some albums that have slipped through the cracks: works that range from decent to exceptional, not getting a full review, but still worth mention by the site. Truthfully, the entire staff could have written an Odds + Ends column this month and we would not have gotten to everything. I myself have taken on six works, five of which are from this month and one being a thrilling hip-hop album that was released at the end of January. It’s all hip-hop and electronic from my end this time around, so in other words, it’s what you would expect.
March Odds and Ends:
Gary, Indiana native says she could be prolific if her style of footwork was throwing drums behind samples. As a fan of artists showing what they’re about than telling us, “Erotic Heat” from 2011’s footwork comp, Bangs & Works Vol. 2, was a breath of fresh air. Dark Energy follows up on that with an album, to speak in shoegaze terms, is the Pygmalion to DJ Rashad’s Loveless–a masterclass deconstruction of the style in which she works, which will surely be one of the best electronic works of the year, despite not being the one full-length often associated as the preeminent classic of this niche genre.
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After a delay, a death, and a departure: this album is finally here. The release has proven to be more of a triumph than the music, which even at its worst (critical punching bags Insane Clown Posse shows up), it never lets its foot off the pedal. The runtime is troublesome, but it’s relieving that DJ Paul, one of hip-hop’s all-time good guys, pushes forward and has plans to continue doing so. Rest in peace, Lord Infamous.
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Lotic’s last oddball collection, last year’s excellent Damsel In Distress, earned him a spot on Tri Angle’s roster. Almost immediately, the Texpat has rewarded the label with an EP of disjointed club music. The highlights here aren’t so obvious as Damsel In Distress‘s reconstruction of Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love”, which he lists “The Queen” and “barking stans” as features. Heterocetera is better music to write to, where its predecessor puts an end to all activity.
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At a lean 10 tracks, highlights like “No Compadre” and “March Madness” stand out, but his third mixtape in six months follows the law of diminishing returns. A flawless mix is to be cobbled from Monster, Beast Mode, and this tribute to his DJ, who was incarcerated in a Saudi prison. Fellow B.G.M. writers, this is a pitch that you should take.
Amidst the talk of scenes in Chicago’s rap scene (drill, bop etc.), Chicago’s alternative rappers have not been looked at from the outside in as a tight knit scene, which it may very well be. A lot of these rappers know each other and listen to each other, and while they don’t knock the thriving drill scene as a smug fan or two might hope, there is the temptation to posit them as a counterpoint. You know the names I’m referring to, and Englewood’s Vic Spencer has worked with virtually all of them. Sean Price (who shows up on “Jungle Gym”) is a name that comes up in regards to Spencer’s music, and it’s a figure that could afford to be more visible on a national level: a voice confrontational enough to tell the kid from Oak Park to drop the tough guy act and detailed enough to tell stories that are too vivid to be fabricated.
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Reigning B.G.M. Album of the Year recipient Freddie Gibbs is back with three hard tracks that sound closer to the sound of 2013’s ESGN than his work with Madlib. Bandwagoners will be relieved to find Gibbs’ no nonsense attitude intact. Simply put, the man is the the zone and anyone whose familiarity with the Gary native didn’t start last year won’t be surprised.
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-Next week, Sicko Mobb drops the sequel to their 2013 bop masterwork Super Saiyan Vol. 1.
-Unsurprisingly, this Tobias Jesso Jr. hype is just that to me. I don’t get this 70s singer-songwriter narrative we’re being fed this year. It should be noted that the girls are outdoing the guys by a wide margin this year (save for Sufjan). Go check out Lady Lamb The Beekeeper’s After , Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, and the self-titled Natalie Prass album (Editors Note: Marika Hackman’s latest album is great). The new Ryley Walker album is crap, too. You read it here first.