Posts Tagged ‘Rap’

2013 Michigan music roundup Part 3 of 3

The final part of the Lansingmusic.TV 2013 Michigan music round up is here! Check out part 1 here and part 2 here. Here’s to a great 2014 in Michigan music.

Small Houses “Exactly Where You Wanted to Be” LP

Now a resident of Atlanta, Ga., previously a resident of Philadelphia, Pa. and before that, a resident of many Michigan cities, Jeremy Quentin, aka Small Houses, released a great followup LP to 2011′s North this year. Similar to Frontier Ruckus or Chris Bathgate, Small Houses carries a midwestern ethos wherever he’s located.

From my Central Michigan Life review: ““Oh, Hiding Out” starts the record off with lush guitars, sharp harmonica and unusual anthem-like vocals during the verses. “Saint Louis isn’t gone/No, it’s hidden and waiting in my voice,” he sings with volume and conviction.

Without any drums to be heard on the record, Quentin relies on instruments such as an acoustic guitar, piano and his voice to effectively tell the stories his songs convey.

“Sarah’s Song” is a standout track. With the piano providing the hook, it’s reminiscent of New Jersey, Springsteen-influenced punk band The Gaslight Anthem. It has memorable vocals and powerful piano chords that stick in your head with a heck of a hook.

“You were exactly where you wanted to be,” he sings on “Our Sweet,” a track which has storytelling at its finest.”

Frontier Ruckus “Eternity of Dimming” LP

Metro Detroit’s Frontier Ruckus released the massive and expansive “Eternity of Dimming” 20-song album back in February. They then toured the U.S., Europe, played many a summer festival including Lollapalooza then toured again, this time in the midwest and east coast. Ever the workhorses, they’re already working on a followup LP.

Full of intimately specific lyrics (all 5,500 or so of them), this is a great record if you just want to get lost in a sea of localities, memories and emotions. Songs like “Dealerships” and “Eyelashes” show why this band will continue toward more and more success.

Jahshua Smith “The Final Season” LP

Now living in Washington, D.C., Jahshua Smith, a member of Lansing-based hip hop collective Blat! Pack, released a great hip hop LP called The Final Season in February. With high chart performances on the CMJ hip hop chart, look out for more from him in the future.

From my Central Michigan Life review: “With cameos from a who’s-who of Michigan artists from Joe Hertler (on lead track “Seven Year Itch”) to fellow BLAT! Pack members Philthy, The Amature, Yellowkake and Red Pill, the diversity shown in the featured artists is just as diverse as the production on the tracks themselves. “Seven Year Itch” features Hertler’s soulful crooning on the chorus, while “Carry On/The Ark” features Philthy’s lisp-laden flow.

Smith’s lyrics range from the political to the personal, with a party track thrown in here and there. On “Censored,” he raps about making it to college “but still had to wait for Uncle Sam to split the bill.”

It’s a bit of a stream-of-consciousness, pointed diatribe with a bit of hope tied to it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel here.”

Cavalcade – Dear Entrails LP

After founding vocalist Zak Warren parted ways with the band and recruited Wastelander’s Sean Peters to take on vocal duties, Cavalcade, Lansing’s “weird metal” champions came back in May and June in full force. The band had a busy second half of 2013: They released two albums worth of material (“Dear Entrails, …” and “15 Year Dog Plan“) on their Bandcamp and, later in the year, played the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, Texas and released a 7″ record, their first physical release in half a decade.

If I were to pick an Album of the Year for 2013, this would be it.

Here’s a little bit about their “Dear Entrails, …” record, from my (quite lengthy) LMTV review:

“An album about failure never sounded so successful in its vision. The self-described “weird metal” band have been combining disparate genres like avant, jazz, sludge, doom and even traditional instruments like tuba and saxophone since at least 2006 and here, after releasing their debut album a few years ago, finally show what their twisted vision is capable of.

“Agents of Bolivian”, with a backwards guitar effect in the intro, puts Cavalcade’s sound in an angular, skewed template. Guitar solos that could fit on a modern day thrash inspired-metal record clash with tuba and glockenspiel, although the latter is minimal while the overall tempo here is sludge and doom-inspired but maybe a little bit faster.”

Mr. Fox and the Hounds Self-Titled album review

Lansing hip hop group Mr. Fox and the Hounds put out their debut self-titled EP last week with a show at Mac’s Bar.

Mr. Fox and the Hounds are: Andy Fox (vocals), Aaron Simon (supporting vocals), Matt Waterman (guitar), Alex Rosendall (guitar), Pat Hogan (bass) and David Del Cid (drums).

Here’s a review.

This Lansing/Grand Ledge-based band, who formed last year, combine all sorts of different styles on their debut effort including ska, punk rock, hip hop and even space/progressive rock to mixed results.

Opening song “Lucy” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers-type feel in the verses. Fox’s rapping flow is pretty consistent. The chorus makes the song take a totally different turn with anthemic vocals and more open production style compared to the verses. The vocals on the chorus sound distant and the guitars sound more powerful while during the verses, Fox’s flow is upfront and the guitars are too. The backing vocals add more depth. The production transitions used make the parts of the song feel clunky when listened to as a whole.

“Countdown to Success” features Fox rapping about sophomoric topics like sex, girls and partying. “One, two, three/Where’s the place to be? Four, Five, Six, Let’s drink some fifths with some chicks” are the lyrics to the chorus. I’m gonna say this song, and the atmosphere and idea behind the band, is partying and having fun so I won’t fault them for the content nor the simplicity of the lyrics. Some of his rhymes seem a bit too fast for the drum beat. Former members of the now-defunct band Jason Alarm make up a majority of the members here, so the fast, shredding guitar solo and chugging guitars during the choruses aren’t a surprise.

The song “Demons” has a neat, delayed guitar intro which adds a somber-like atmosphere given the song’s title. “Stuck on a path of self-destruction/I think I’m ’bout to blow/’Cause no one is trustin’ in me’” Fox raps. I want to try and take Fox seriously with this song but it’s kind of hard. The song is about how Fox has dealt with hard times in his life and that listeners “don’t know where I have been, the things that I have seen and all these demons”, as Fox raps in the anthemic and instrumentally powerful chorus. I have never met Andy Fox nor do I know what his life is like. Maybe he has had some rough life experiences, but so has every other rapper. The originality of the lyrics is pretty poor. He does have a great flow though. That’s pretty consistent throughout this entire record.

“Blackout” has standard upstroke guitars common in ska music in the verses with power chords in the choruses. Again, Fox raps about sex, partying and drinking. This song makes me start to realize something about this band: it reminds me of guitarist Waterman’s just-for-fun side project, The Matt Waterman Revival. The following song proves this. “Friends ‘Til the End”, about friends, partying, drinking and just being hoodrats. The instrumentation on this song is clunky, struggles to keep the beat and the guitars can’t seem to keep up at points. It seems a little bit all over the place. The instrumentation makes this song really hard to get into, let alone listen to. The exact same sentiment can be said for the last track, “I’m an alcoholic”. With it’s shotty, Do-It-Yourself beat of clanging beercans, the lyrics again are about drinking and partying. No surprise given the title. The chorus sucks. It’s a joke song. Take it as you wish.

If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, lyrics about girls, sex, partying and drinking, this record is for you. Again, I’m tending to think this EP is a just-for-fun release so maybe my criticisms are looking too deeply into something that’s pretty light to begin with. On it’s face, it’s great party music. More deeply though, there’s little to be desired, even on the supposedly more serious tracks. Check this out for yourself and download it for whatever price you choose.

Link: http://mrfoxandthehounds.bandcamp.com/

Nasty Nyne “Higher Learning” review

Lansing rapper Nate “Nasty Nyne” Winters (now living in Bakersfield, CA) released his album “Higher Learning” almost a year ago to the day. Before he left, he was performing all around Michigan and called Lansing his home. Check out this review of “Higher Learning”.

Starting us off is the slow, R & B tinged “A New Day”. Full of sparse synths and wah-tinged warbles, the drums are mellow and add keep the song grounded. The lyrics here, delivered at an almost talking pace, have a, yet again, chilled and mellow drawl. “Just another day/I make another dollar/Money comes and goes but we livin’ larger” he raps with a naturally gruff yet melodic singing slant. The production on the album varies throughout. Some tracks have an R & B pulsation to them and others have an almost Synthpop production style with horns being used via a synth (“Corners”). Another song, “Higher Learning (Magic)”, uses an acoustic guitar riff loop, which helps keep the listener on their toes.

The lyrics on the record don’t deal with a whole lot, mainly smoking marijuana, drinking vodka and, oddly enough, school. Winters attended Lansing Community College while here in Lansing and it’s had a more real and positive effect on his lyrics and outlook. While the outright lyrics about smoking weed (Winters seems to favor grape flavors) are pretty common within hip hop, the fact that he’s writing about school is something you don’t hear very often. On “A New Day” he raps “I did good on my finals G/two 4s and a 2 but I can’t complain/My GPA rises like gas prices”.

The album seems to wear a bit thin as it moves along as the lyrical content becomes a little tiresome. The production also gets a little tiresome after a while. I do like this record but only if I’m in the mood for it.

You can check this out (and pay your own price for it) here.

-Label: Hot Stacks Music

Lansingmusic.TV and Elm Street Recording Sessions

A few weeks ago, Lansingmusic.TV and Elm Street Recording filmed a slew of bands including Jason Alarm, The Hangers On, The Rival, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and more. Here are the first batch of videos, edited by Ryan Wert (Elm Street Recording) and filmed by Lansingmusic.TV. We will post the rest of the videos when they become available.

Jason Alarm – “Doppelganger”

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers -”We Are Everything”

The Hangers On – “Abuse Me, Use Me”

Philthy and Amature – “Nate’s Back in Town”

The Rival – “Speedy Gonzales”

Archana – “Getting Away With Faking a Friendship”

Nasty Nyne – “A New Day”

Day two of our video-a-day marathon featuring Nasty Nyne.

You can find more of Nasty Nyne’s music here and purchase this track here.

P2daHI and The Amature Interview

Check out our interview with Lansing’s own The Amature and P2daHI.
Watch the videos, then check them out here:

http://www.myspace.com/p2dahi
http://p2dahi.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/p2dahi

http://www.myspace.com/theamaturemusic1
http://twitter.com/theamature

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