Category Archives: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Album reviews.

Triplicate Form :: Rav X Kill Bill X Scuare Present ‘SKIN’

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The way that the internet has made our massive world figuratively ‘smaller’ has allowed for collaborative possibilities that, even a generation ago, could not have existed.  The story of the EXOCIETY collective perfectly illustrates this, as the ultra-talented Austin-based MC known as Scuare has shown us.  About a decade ago, he connected with non-Texans Rav and Kill Bill over the website Newgrounds, and a bond was formed that has lasted despite proximity and time.  With each member growing and the world changing drastically since their inception, it makes sense that SKIN would reflect this range of change, despite it’s semi-short runtime.  Each member provides production, along with fellow collaborator Gold Midas, on the project, which takes a deep dive into the realms of creativity and sonic exploration.  I could throw a bunch of adjectives around, but this one deserves a direct listen, as it is quite gripping.  Check it out on Bandcamp or your favorite streaming service, and spread it around for others to do the same.

-chief

Clutch Time :: BoomBaptist Releases 2nd Single In Run-Up To ‘Boom Shakalaka’ Release

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We’re only two tracks in, and I’m already championing BoomBaptist‘s upcoming release, Boom Shakalaka.  After the pleasant introduction provided by Razzle Dazzle, we get a completely different look from the follow-up single, Shattered Backboard.  After a high energy, sample-laden collage of an intro, Boom drops a clean beat-flip and repurposes the main intro sample while texturing drums, synth and other sprinkles of samples around it.  If Razzle Dazzle was a warning shot, then Shattered Backboard is a line in the sand, firmly stating that you’re either rocking with this upcoming gold, or you’re planning on missing out.  Check out the new single and hold tight, because in slightly less than a month, Boom Shakalaka touches down.

-chief

Calming Waters :: Moira Waters Releases ‘Living’ EP

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After her time spent fronting Water On Mars, it’s nice to see someone as talented as Moira Waters move forward and continue to create as a solo artist.  After a slight tweaking of her performance name, she’s presented us with Living EP, a short but powerful collection of deeply reflective and movingly honest songs.  Her voice stands loud and proud above her guitarwork, which provides a strong foundation.  If you’re looking for something that will resonate with you during these times of isolation, definitely give this EP a moment.  It’ll be well worth your time.

-chief

Rising Above :: J-Kline And D.D.I. Drop ‘Feet Above Water’ Video

The constant discovery that being a blogger provides me is truly a gift that keeps on giving.  Luckily, I’m blessed enough to know so many talented people that I’m never at a need or want for content, but every once in a blue moon, I like to step outside of the circle.  This go-round, I discovered J-Kline via the I Support ATX Hip-Hop, Do You? group, specifically his collaborative video with guest vocalist D.D.I. and producer Wave titled Feet Above Water.  Director Tommy Kastro caught the collective in a very straight-forward, candid manner as they drop science about keeping your eyes on the prize over Wave‘s bouncy and driving production.  The track is a solid piece of motivational and inspirational art about being aware of the both purposeful and accidental trappings that present themselves to an artist on the rise.  Definitely check it out, leave a like and a comment, and share it around for everyone to experience.

-chief

Sensory Blitz :: BLXPLTN Releases New Video For ‘ZZEERRO (Dying For You To Get Rich)’

I’ll let BLXPLTN tell you about ZZEERRO (Dying for You to Get Rich) :

‘Punk has always been a warning about how much worse things could get, and now?  We’re there – and Austin‘s BLXPLTN are weaponizing their visceral, needle-burying proto-rock bursts to deliver the huge, nasty truth that the unthinkable is the new normal.  They’ve soaked in the history and sonics of their chosen genre, echoing the political and musical bent of the likes of Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and Fear.  But as acolytes of genre-benders like Ministry and Big Black, the need to kill convention poisons the blood of TaSzlin Rico Muerte and Jeremy Wolfe Kivett.  In place of duct-taped guitars and banged-up kits, the two push drum machines and synths to within inches of their lives.  ZZEERRO (Dying for You to Get Rich) is the latest case of what Fader calls “working-stiff punk… that makes me feel like punching someone in the face.”
There’s a live-wire immediacy to BLXPLTN because they tend to assemble these Molotov cocktails the second they get their hands on some gasoline.  One morning, TaSzlin woke up and saw something terrible on the news.  What was it?  Take your pick of all the horrifying things we now choke down on the regular.  He went into the studio and wrote this, the PhlegmTV LP’s first single.  The two kick out an unforgiving feedback squall, a primal beating with megaphone vocals chanting anti-mantras, as if from a Unabomber shack behind a burned-out factory.  But when the chorus hits, they manage to gouge out some serious melody amidst the chaos.  When the nearly unfazeable Noisey tells you, “BLXPLTN are going to burn down the stage, the crowd, and your house,” pay attention: this tune is what they’re talking about.  If you’re not already banging your head, a track like this will gladly bang it for you.’

-chief

Raw Raps :: Secret Levels Drops ‘Oh Well Whatever’ EP

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In the wake of the members of Space Camp Death Squad putting the group on hiatus, each individual member has made a noticeable transition.  Protextor dropped a genre-blending album and is helping to run a successful YouTube channel, Doc Brown has found success on stage and behind the camera, and thankfully for us hip-hop heads, Secret Levels has continued to drop hip-hop projects while embracing vinyl DJng.  Recently, Secret Levels has continued their musical momentum with Oh Well Whatever, a blistering six song EP that is a clinic in style exploration and spitting with confidence.  The ideas are well thought out, polished and well executed, and the beats are all standout selections, flowing well from track to track.  This is their first project to hit the broader streaming world, so don’t sleep on Secret Levels… seek them out on your favorite streaming service or digital storefront, and encourage others to do the same!

-chief

Foot Down :: Kydd Jones And Y2 Stand Tall On ‘Steel Toe’

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Over the years, it seems as if Kydd Jones has found ways to continually reinvent himself and his sound without sacrificing a core sense of who he is as both an artist and an individual.  Be it about bars, a vibe, or a combination of the two, I find myself surprised time and time again by his range and dynamic ability as an artist.  This time around, with the help of fellow Austin fixture Y2, has unleashed a beast of a single with Steel Toe.  Over a track that is deceptively strong despite its bare bones, drum and piano-heavy nature, Kydd and Y2 drop two very different but equally strong verses full of low-key self-props and statements of personal facts, as well as observations on the state of hip-hop and the culture in general.  Like many of his latest tracks, this one will definitely find itself in heavy rotation.  Check it out, share it around, and cop it if you’ve got a buck to spare.

-chief