Bodyguard- The I.L.Y.’s

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Zach Hill and Andy Morin are back again with another album under their project ‘The I.L.Y’.s’ titled ‘Bodyguard’. After the release of their 2016 sophomore album ‘Scum With Boundaries’, many fans began to speculate that this was more than just a Death Grips side project. The I.L.Y.’s make that clear on this third album. Along with the promise of a future physical release (marking the first physical release of any I.L.Y. music) the band has also announced that they will be playing live shows in the future, taking the I.L.Y.’s on  their own journey and separating them from Death Grips. Of course Zach and Andy plan to continue working with Death Grips but it is clear that they are ready to attempt their own separate project. If ‘Bodyguard’ achieves anything, it is only that. The album just lacks that classic Zach and Andy feeling that their prior albums held. A few of the songs such as ‘Wash My Hands Shorty’, ‘49er Lighter’, and ‘This Is How It Is Now’, stay true to the identity of the I.L.Y.’s but the rest just seem to fall short of that. Upon a first listen I wouldn’t have been able to figure out that Zach and Andy had anything to do with the album if I hadn’t been told. Some of the songs just feel like strange indie rock songs with little to no spice to them, ‘I Love You Man’ being the most notable. The album is much more accessible than their previous two albums which could be what the band was aiming for. I can see this album serving as an appetizer to the rest of the bands menu for newcomers. Accessibility and quality are two very different ways of judging an album and a really good album maintains its accessibility while remaining original and true to the artist. You will lose potential fans if an album is much to accessible to the point of being completely different from your other work. Maybe The I.L.Y’s are trying to reform their image and move into a different direction than they first set out on, but until they are back with more music it is hard to say. Bodyguard lacks that whack vibe that the band had on Scum With Boundaries. This album is a step forward for the band but a step in the wrong direction.

Written by- Joe Collins

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This Is Happening- LCD Soundsystem

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‘This Is Happening’ by LCD Soundsystem is our first installment in classic Friday here at Deaf Press and for good reasons. First, James Murphy announced a new LCD Soundsystem record not too long ago, so why not revisit their latest record? Second, LCD Soundsystem help shaped modern indie and electronic music. And third, this album is just really fucking good. While a lot of people rave over the self titled 2005 debut record, which is still a phenomenal record. “This Is Happening”  is my favorite from the band who seems to release amazing record after amazing record. But this happening truly stood out within LCD Soundsystem’s discography, the synths, the drum machine, and James Murphy’s voice all blend so well together. Also providing the listener with some of James Murphy’s best lyrics: on songs such as ‘Dance Yrself Clean,’ ‘I Can Change,’ and ‘Home.’ I love how James Murphy decides to start this album off with this quiet bongo rhythm and soft singing before allowing the song to explode with heavy synths with no build or warning at all, making anyone want to dance themselves clean. Followed by the very aggressive (for LCD Soundsystem) ‘Drunk Girls’ which embodies the early to mid 2000’s indie rock scene. While ‘I Can Change’ adds this very catchy synth line and disco inspired rhythm and the hook ‘never change, never change, never change, this is why I fell in love,’ creates one of the best love songs I’ve ever heard. James Murphy’s project LCD Soundsystem still tends to extremely underrated, I know that they’ve played sold out shows at venues like Red Rocks, but for some reason I just feel as though they don’t get the recognition deserved. Maybe it’s just cause I live in the states. I’m struggling with how to describe this album, since it is a unique piece and LCD Soundsystem is a unique band within the music world. But ‘This Is Happening’ is a really wonderful record. ‘This Is Happening’ came out in 2010 on DFA and Parlophone records on vinyl, CD, and all digital formats.

For Tim Reece, you’re with us in some shape or form. Thank you.

Written by Zander Velleca.

 

You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack- Viper

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Few musicians can claim to have released nearly an album a day for the past three years, and having released prior work to that as early as 2006. Among the very few, if any, around the world that have as many “albums” behind them, almost none of them can say they have one masterpiece in their midst. Enter the world of Lee Carter, most know him as Viper. In 2008 he quickly gained acclaim after the release of his 2008 mix tape ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. Given its unusual album cover and title, he soon gained infamy. Many learned of him, but few sat down to actually listen to the masterpiece hidden right before their eyes. Almost a decade after its release, I took another look at this classic record. I first heard about Viper my junior year of high school, to say this mix tape shaped my year and changed my life, wouldn’t be an understatement. All I talked about for weeks was Viper. I showed everyone I knew his music. Of all his music, the only two albums that really hit me hard were ‘These Rappers Claim They Hard When Them Fags Never Even Seen the Pen’ and of course ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. When I first heard the album, I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away with the lo-fi beat that picks up instantly upon pressing play woven into Lee Carter’s echoing cackle.

“HAHA!

Here’s a little something for you bustlers

Yeah”

This modesty was definitely satire on Vipers behalf, because he wasn’t just about to give us “bustlers” a “little something”. He was about to change my life. Much of Vipers music serves as a call out to the rap industry and posers far and wide, the opening title track of this album is a perfect representation of who Viper is. Presenting a complete disregard for anyone who hasn’t walked the talk, and anyone unfamiliar with the streets. Viper blends his verses with a lo-fi mix most comparable to vaporwave. Fuck the haters, posers and everyone in between. If you’ll havent smoked crack, then you’ll haven’t bustled like Lee. The vaporwave theme continues throughout the entire mixtape and much of vipers work, but Viper gives it his all on this record. Never before had Viper demonstrated his true talent. Having played the piano since the age of 6, Lee’s life has always revolved around music and it’s obvious upon hearing ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. It feels as if Viper pioneered an entire genre. Today there are many lo-fi hip hop acts that clearly take influence from Viper. Most notable are: Lil Ugly Mane, Death Grips, and Danny Brown. Vipers lyrics and bars were vulgar, his album titles were heavy hitting, and his art was inspiring, who could blame them? ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’ came out of nowhere, taking the internet by storm, forever changing internet rap. To this day Viper has managed to release nearly an album a day every single day since 2014. Many can argue that he is just fucking around but that’s where this mix tape stands apart. Viper slows down, and shows us bustlers a little something. His true talent and passion glide you through this unique listening experience. There is nothing else on Earth like it. Tracks like ‘I Sell Dope Boy’ and ‘I Like The Way’ are some of his most complex and deep songs to date. Its sad to see so much talent washed away by “ironic” fans and infamy. Viper may have a mediocre but dense discography, but ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’ serves as a testimony to what Viper can do when he takes time to sit down and write. In words from his closing track on this mix tape, ‘ The Baller Out Your Best Side’,

“It me, that baller out the best side. Everything’s cool, and everything’s alright”

Written by Joe Collins.

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For the first time in 22 years, the shoegaze heavyweights in ‘Slowdive’, are back with another album. Their second album “Souvlaki” debuted in 1992 after their 1991 album “Just For A Day”. “Souvlaki” essentially established the band with the reputation they have today in the underground music scene, gaining acclaim from critics and music fans alike. The dreamy sounds on this album evolved to become a benchmark in the genre of shoegaze. Their follow up album “Pygmalion” was a decent album but it lacked the progression in sound and passion that “Souvlaki” presented. Now the year is 2017 and the band is back riding their wave of underground success in the recent years do to the rise of more modern shoegaze acts. The band’s first single from the new self titled album, “Star Roving”, was uninspired. The droning guitars at the beginning of the song pretty much continue in the background of the track throughout its entirety, minus two breaks in the middle and end of the song. The first break was refreshing but short lived, followed by the same exact same melody and progression as the beginning of the song. It was far too repetitive. Riding the wave of nostalgia and denial a good amount of people seemed to ignore the looming problems that would only grow to be more apparent on the self titled album’s entirety, in hope that the band would deliver a refreshing blast from the past in a genre where the majority of the band’s lack any distinct sound.

At first listen “Slowdive” wasn’t as bad as I first thought, but after revisiting their previous works it became clear how little the album brought to the table. Minus the vocals of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead, the band just sounds like one of the many copy and paste shoegaze acts of today. Nothing distinctly says “this is Slowdive”. If I heard this music in the background of the room I probably wouldn’t have guessed that it was Slowdive’s comeback album. It feels like less of a comeback for the band and more of a reminder that they still exist. Most of the tracks on the album are repetitive, indistinct, and lacking passion. It became more painfully obvious the more I listened to it that Slowdive wasn’t bringing anything new to the table for the band or for the genre. Anything that could be considered different for the band compared to their previous works has already been done in the last 22 years by pretty much every shoegaze band since. Slowdive relied far too much on their name and reputation for the release of this album. The first track “Slomo” is my personal favorite but I can’t say the band is pushing any boundaries or delivering their full passion in it. The echoed, hardly distinct vocals are easy on the ears but remind me too much of other acts such as “Cold Cave.” The low point on the album is definitely “Sugar For The Pill.” This is probably Slowdive’s most uninspired and repetitive track in their discography. That being said the rest of the album is pretty forgettable. I can see it serving as a good intro for new fans of the genre or the band but as soon as they get a taste of the bands older works, and other artists, the album will probably be quickly forgotten. Slowdive demonstrates that they still haven’t lost their talent as musicians but fails to deliver a cohesive vision as artists. “Slowdive” is available on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats thanks to Dead Oceans.  

Written by- Joe Collins.

in-ter-a-li-a- At The Drive In

 

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At The Drive In shattered the underground seventeen years ago with “Relationship of Command.” Which shaped modern post hardcore and allowing bands such as Thursday, Thrice, and mewithoutYou to exist. It’s hard to imagine any sort of modern underground scene without the band. Shortly after the release of “Relationship of Command” the group split and went their separate ways with the occasional live show across varying music festivals. The legendary group is back, and “in-ter-a-li-a” sounds as though the group hasn’t been gone at all, with exception to Jim Ward. “In-ter-a-li-a” packs just as much energy as the recordings that came out seventeen plus years ago. It’s raw and stays true to the early 2000’s post hardcore sound, while bands like mewithoutYou and Thrice have strayed from this path over the past couple years. At The Drive in maintains to be political in their own right, and it’s almost impossible not currently be. Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala has never been hesitant to be upfront about political climates as well as other issues that he’s faced in life. Cedric manages to keep his very poetic style of writing and explicit statements which have always been the forefront of the band. The production on this record is pretty good, it’s not anything amazing but it sounds nice and even. But I don’t think Omar Rodriguez Lopez is showing off what he is capable of on this record, I’ve enjoyed the work on the eight solo records he’s put out this year more than what I’m hearing on this record. I do think Paul Hiojos and Tony Hajjar sound amazing and help bring this record to life. As for Keeley Davis I don’t really know what to say, I don’t know anything about his previous work, and this being his first project with At The Drive In. He is no Jim Ward though. At The Drive in have made an amazing comeback with “in-ter-a-li-a” and I hope they stick around for a bit. “In-ter-a-li-a” is out through Rise Records on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats.

Written by- Zander Velleca.