I highlighted a song and video from Columbus, OH rapper Illogic and his new producer Blockhead a few weeks back on Thought On Tracks. The song was a leak from their new EP Preparing For Capture, which is everything I could have hoped for in an introductory EP. I was a little worried that the EP would be a random collection of songs that didn’t make the cut for their upcoming full length album, but that is not the case. Similar themes run throughout Illogic’s rhymes as he tells tales of trial and error, growth, and cause and effect.
Blockhead’s shifting beats are great throughout and allow Illogic to be creative as he wants to be with his rhyme schemes and song structures. The final song “HERstory” is a standout song on which Illogic spins a story of generational family self-destruction over a chameleon of a beat from Blockhead. On “Nails” Illogic and Rob Sonic trade impressive stream of conscience verses and “Teach Me To Learn” sees Illogic in vintage form over a psychedelic, trumpet blaring banger from Blockhead. Illogic and Blockhead are two veteran musicians at the peak of their powers that seem to be building towards something really substantial, get on board now. You can stream the EP below, but it’s also available for free download. If you like it, grab a physical copy with two bonus tracks and poster for 7.99.
Written by John Bugbee
So much for the sophomore slump here. Gallery, the sophomore release from Seattle’s Craft Spells, may just be even better than their first release Idle Labor this past year. While the band stays true to the dream pop sound that fastened hits like “After the Moment” and “Party Talk”, this EP brings that same style to a more polished beat and cohesiveness. On Idle Labor, the guitar at times felt as though it was leading the beat and pushing songs forward. The group has picked up a drum machine that makes all the difference. There’s a freshness, or maybe that the sound feels more alive, that I just can’t seem to shake from thinking about as I spin through the six tracks over and over again. My personal favorite song is the infectiously fun “Leave My Shadow”. Packing some serious 80’s vibes, the song features the best of Idle Labor’s uniqueness with the present sound of the group on this EP.
Stream the album below and if you like what you hear, you can pick it up at your local record store today with a pressing from Captured Tracks.
Written by Greg Dahman
The first time I saw David “Moose” Adamson perform under his new moniker DMA was at a release party for his Drem Beb cassette at Earth House last summer. I remember feeling pissed off. The mix was rough, the vocals inaudible and the beats were not developed – at least for a live setting. DMA came off as pretentious. The performance felt like a big “fuck you” to everyone in attendance. As if he was saying, “This is what I’m up to now, and I don’t give a shit whether you like it.”
Neither then nor now, would I qualify as an expert on electronic music, by any stretch of the imagination. However, I have seen and heard enough to know that this was an artist still figuring out his sound.
Earlier that year, I stood in the same location and watched DMA and his former band JOOKABOX tear the roof off of Earth House during their farewell show. It was a bittersweet party. The feeling was something like watching an athlete retire in their prime. Though JOOKABOX’s members likely had legitimate and worthwhile reasons to part ways, that performance left anyone within earshot certain that they could still rock a room with the best of Indy’s musicians.
Fast forward to last week, when DMA dropped his sophomore solo release The Boardwalk. The six-track EP finds Adamson still tinkering with the same experimental electronic medium – a genre he has dubbed “crust funk.” However, this time around the material is less abrasive. The vocals, though sparse, resonate as more stream of consciousness than lyrical, but they are coherent and interesting. The title track builds on a beat that appears inspired by the consistent beep of an electrocardiogram, with vocals entering two-thirds of the way through.
“I’m standing in the Holy Spirit parking lot, next to Amy’s old blue car which I have borrowed from her. A black woman comes up to me and tells me I need to have the battery(?) replaced. She is a car psychic. I say okay, but give some reason not to do it right now. I have somehow come to this parking lot after leaving a confusing vacation resort with clear blue pools of water and nice families that are afraid of me. When I came at the resort, people were gathering to rage. But I was cruising through the darkened areas of The Boardwalk.”
This is not a release I would pass off to any lighthearted listener. The Boardwalk is built for adventurous ears with an appetite for experimentation. Nevertheless, the production has improved and the sound is more accessible. I am particularly taken with the closing track “It’s Funny.” Here, the melody is built around looping vocals of “Oohs”, a lighthearted whistle and a sporadic bass drum. The track fades out, sending the listener off in the same dreamlike state that the release maintains throughout. The Boardwalk is a definite mind fuck, but an enjoyable one. Now I want to see if DMA can pull it off live. Listen to the title track below.
Written by Rob Peoni