Hip hop is becoming a genre that almost demands at least a one-project-per-year pace just to stay relevant. For an artist like Ka, who wrote, rapped, produced, and shot his own videos for each tightly woven track on his 2012 sophomore album Grief Pedigree, it’s hard to imagine he would be able to repeat himself just over a year later. While one song is a small sample size, his intricate, streetwise wordplay and hypnotic, minimalist production are both better than ever on “Our Father,” the first single/video from his recently announced follow up album The Night’s Gambit. Here’s hoping he can stay this prolific for a few years, but even if he can’t, I’ll be willing to wait for any music he feels like releasing. Pick up The Night’s Gambit on when it drops on July 13, and grab Grief Pedigree now if you have been sleeping.
Written by John Bugbee
Thought on Tracks favorite billy woods hasn’t made much noise in 2013, but that’s all about to change. Fresh off releasing my album of the year from 2012 History Will Absolve Me, woods is set to release a follow-up album July 2nd, entitled Dour Candy and fully produced by Blockhead (just like Illogic’s recently reviewed album Capture The Sun). If the first single “Tinseltown” is any indication, Dour Candy should be one of the best hip hop albums of 2013, just like History Will Absolve Me was the year before. As an Indiana resident, I could especially appreciate billy’s wordplay in this outstanding section:
“That’s why conventional wisdom don’t do nothing for me/ Marvin Harrison passed the iron to Dungy/ The quiet ones be the shooters/ He who dares wins and down here we the losers/ They robbed that white boy, cuz this ain’t Hoosiers/”
Not only does he have a clever line about Colts legend Marvin Harrison’s run-in with the law, but then he goes on to drop a Hoosiers reference the very next line. My favorite rapper dropping back to back Indiana references, it doesn’t get much better than that. Check out “Tinseltown” below and pick up the limited edition colored vinyl for Dour Candy due to drop in July over at Backwoodz Studioz.
Sonny Smith has bounced back from the post-divorce listlessness of Longtime Companion. He has returned from the wandering, dissociative identity disorder of 100 Records: Vol. 3. On Antenna to the Afterworld, due to drop June 11 on Polyvinyl, Smith is back to what he does best: lending his perceptive, singular voice to understated rock tunes with his posse The Sunsets. He’s scarred, bleary-eyed and the opposite sex is only beginning to come back into focus.
The future is uncertain on the propulsive, guitar-driven “Palmreader.” In the video found below, Smith plays the role of box office attendant / director of a short, black-and-white film that centers around a gory, B-movie death match. The video serves as an odd accompaniment to an otherwise gentle rocker. Maybe it speaks to the precarious nature of Smith’s ambiguous destiny as he re-enters bachelorhood. Or maybe he’s just a guy with a sense of humor and an appreciation for cheap special effects. Watch the video below and pre-order your copy of Antenna to the Afterworld.
Indianapolis readers can catch Sonny & The Sunsets at Radio Radio on Wednesday, June 19. Grab tickets from MOKB Presents. Fellow Californians Little Wings and Bloomington’s Mike Adams at His Honest Weight will be on hand to lend support.