Denzel Curry’s music has yet to reach the masses. His aggressive style has helped him find a niche in the rap community, and with “Hate Government [demo]” he continues to embrace it. Possibly taking production notes from Kendrick Lamar (think second half of “DNA.”, when the beat switches), Curry spits over booming bass about his distaste for the government. His flow fits perfectly with the beat, but the track ends far too early at just under two minutes. Hopefully this serves as a teaser for Curry’s next album, Taboo, because it sure builds the hype for his forthcoming project. Listen to “Hate Government [demo]” here and stay tuned to Rainy Dawg Radio for future Denzel Curry news.
My last post was about indie/folk music being so white so this installment of We the Music highlights the brilliant singer-songwriter Samantha Crain who is a member of the Choctaw nation. Her latest album You Had Me At Goodbye came out at the end of March and if you haven’t listened to it you’re going to want to stop what you’re doing and play the whole thing.
Compared to her previous albums Crain’s latest work strays away from the folksy sound she’s been most known for and embraces a more pop sound. The first track “Antiseptic Greeting” makes that clear from the beginning. Crain commented in interviews how she feels more comfortable.
However, songs like “Red Sky, Blue Mountain” and “When the Roses Bloom Again” stand out as call backs to her folk origins. On “Red Sky, Blue Mountain” Crain sings in her native Choctaw language with a simple guitar being the prominent instrument on the track. The song “When the Roses Bloom Again” is the first cover Crain has done for an album and was actually written by Woodie Guthrie.
It’s important not to put a box around artists from minority communities and let where they come from define their work. However, it is important to support these artists in their endeavors so that they may serve as inspiration for others and further diversify whatever field they are in. Recognizing and embracing them as artists or in their work in general is necessary.
Crain singing in her native Choctaw language is significant – even if it wasn’t meant to be a political statement it is almost impossible for it not to be with our history of colonization and oppressing the Indigenous people of North America. The saying of “kill the Indian, save the man” represented the philosophy of the American government towards Indigenous people. It was racist and the policies that resulted created an oppressive system that’s remnants remain today.
By embracing and singing in the Choctaw language, Crain demonstrates to the world that Indigenous voices and culture are still around to be heard. That’s really powerful, especially being a musician whose genre is so white.
American folk music is interesting in that even though today it’s very white it wasn’t always that way. Its roots stem from variety of influences from Cajun to blues to gospel and music from the various Native American nations. Folk music eventually meshed into protest music during the civil rights movement and eventually Vietnam. But folk music is much more expansive than what we remember it to be and what we think of it as now.
Folk music in general is music that is traditional – passed down from generation to generation within communities. Folk music in America became a genre that got popularized by white males and continues to be dominated by them too. It’s important to remember that American folk music has roots in a multitude of music from different culture which isn’t represented as “folk music” today.
Crain’s music is important in keeping the tradition of folk music alive and acknowledging the roots of the genre. Not everything has to be political but it is important to consider the diversity of artists you listen to. Check out Vagabon, Benjamin Booker, and Hanni El Khatib; all three are artists who are representing different voices in white dominated genres.
I remember back in 2014 (or sometime around then) when Fun. announced they’d be going on hiatus, I was pretty distraught. Personally, I am a pretty big fan of the band, and I’ll patiently stay hopeful for their glorious return. It wasn’t soon after their hiatus announcement that I discovered Bleachers, whose front man, Jack Antonoff, was actually the drummer for Fun.! This was madness to me, but my love for Fun. extended to Bleachers, and I fell in love. Who put him on the drums? This guy can kill vocals! (Not that Nate Ruess couldn’t, God bless – check it)
Since the release of their first album in 2014, Strange Desire (which housed familiar hits like “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster”) the artist had only released Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 way back in 2015. This album was a simple reprise of all the songs from the original Strange Desire, but sung by some pretty prominent female vocalists (Sia, Tinashe, Sara Barellies, MO, Elle King – to name a few).
And now, in the magical year that is 2017 we have been blessed with all new music from Antonoff. The first of two singles (so far) “Don’t Take the Money” is somehow worth the three (two?) year wait. First, I’ll say that it definitely feels like summer. It also has a pretty wicked music video to accompany it, it’s pretty weird with a fun little twist – but, that’s not unusual for Antonoff considering previous music videos. Check it:
Next up, we’ve got the latest release, “Hate That You Know Me”, which feels a bit like “I Wanna Get Better” as far as lyrical composition, but definitely departs from the more rock/punk feel that “I Wanna Get Better” throws out. Personally, it’s my favorite of the two to be released so far. I feel like it’s that track that everyone has been trying to write, but no one has done it just right. It takes the classic cliche “hate that you know me so well..” that you find in a lot of songs, and expands it into an entire track.
Just right off the bat, the two songs really feel pre-2000′s with a nice modern twist all blended together with Bleachers’ mixed bag of rock, pop, and a little bit of heavy piano ballads. I’m excited for what’s to come – and you can bet you’ll find a follow up post.
The upcoming album “Gone Now” holds a lot of potential, and it’s three (two?) years in the making. You can find it dropping on June 2nd – get it while it’s hot. No doubt it’s gonna dominate the summer, ya know, sorta like “I Wanna Get Better” did?
This Tuesday, May 16, Gabriel Garzon-Montano is performing at The Crocodile in Belltown. Gabriel Garzon-Montano’s Jardin, released early this year, intricately melds together notes of soul, pop, hip-hop, and funk, ultimately creating a vibrant sound owned solely by him. Hailing originally from Brooklyn, Garzon-Montano’s interest in music was sparked in childhood by his mother, a musician in the Philip Glass Ensemble during the ‘90s. Though most commonly recognized as the creator of the sample featured in Drake’s Jungle (check out his original Six Eight), Garzon-Montano is so much more than that. Weaving together bright funk notes and unlikely time signatures, Garzon-Montano’s Jardin is a powerful collection of music that insights both introspection and pure dancing fun and will undoubtedly be a memorable experience live.
– Natalie Lew
Easy going Mac Demarco has dropped his fourth album, This Old Dog. This follows his 2015 album Another One and shows his continued growth as an artist. Demarco is known for his laid-back demeanor, wanting to interact with fans directly, whether through his Official Fan Club or at shows. He’s given out his New York home address on the final track of Another One offering his fans a cup of coffee if they stop by. Since this, he moved to California at an undisclosed address and started working on his newest release. If you’re unfamiliar, you can get a better sense of his attitude through his music videos or social media posts.
This Old Dog doesn’t deviate much from Demarco’s easy, breezy sound found in his previous two albums, but displays a level of growth in songwriting and production. His lyrics are less cluttered than before and grapple with much more complex and adult themes, the largest being Demarco’s relationship with a largely absent father. He laments that he’s turning into his father on the first track “My Old Man”, closing the album with “Watching Him Fade Away” where Demarco says of his father’s illness: “the thought of him no longer being around/ well sure it would be sad but not really different”. It’s heart wrenching to hear about losing something that was never quite there and a stark contrast to previous songs such as “Ode to Viceroy”, an ode to Demarco’s favorite cigarettes.
Maybe it’s his shift towards these more adult themes that makes this album feel different from the previous ones. The sound hasn’t changed that much, although Demarco’s favored an acoustic guitar heavily this time around. This album also sounds more polished, more studio produced than previous demo-like moments from Salad Days or 2. He’s still the laid-back singer-songwriter but his sound is starting to explore a selection of other genres and influences. “A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes” feels folky with a harmonica and acoustic guitar while “One More Love Song” immediately after is funkier with heavier bass. However, he manages to do all of this and still sound like Mac Demarco.
This album makes for easy listening in true Demarco fashion. While it personally isn’t my favorite work from him, it still has great moments and is still a strong album.
Stream This Old Dog here and catch Demarco at The Moore Theatre September 10th or 11th.
Best Tracks: “My Old Man”, “Still Beating”, “One More Love Song”