Donald Glover, I Want to be You (A Review of Childish Gambino’s New Single)

image

If I was superstitious, I’d bet money that Donald Glover
sold his soul to the devil. It’s unfair that one man can have so much talent.
Comedic genius, fire rapper, distinct actor, and now the mastermind behind that
beautiful new TV Show Atlanta. Goddamn, man. You’re making everybody else look
bad. I’m so jealous of you, Donald Glover. Why is everything you do amazing?

I’m here today to talk about Childish Gambino’s new song. His
last album, Because the Internet, was
in my top albums of 2013 list. I still bump it. I own it on vinyl. Yo, I don’t
even own a record player. What even is rationality?

This latest single, wittily titled Me and Your Mama, sounds nothing like the last album. Not the least bit surprising. This new single showcases a totally evolved sound, and is more funk than
hip hop. That said, it’s amazing. The angelic crooning on the intro plays as a
wonderful contrast to Childish’s hoarse, desperate singing throughout. The
production is simultaneously smooth and violent. Guitar riffs. It’s Gambino like you’ve never
heard him before.

His new album Awaken,
My Love
is out December 2nd. I, for one, am hyped beyond hyped.

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

New Track: “Money Trees Deuce“ – Jay Rock

image

Jay Rock’s new single “Money Trees Deuceis a tantalizing release for his upcoming album. The last we
heard from him was the single “Pay for It,
featuring Kendrick Lamar and Chantal. This was all the way back in late October of last
year.

A reference to his feature on “Money Trees” off Lamar’s good kid, mA.A.d. city, this time around
the song is all Jay Rock. At almost five and a half minutes, it offers ample
support as to why the long wait for his next album will have been worth it.

Opening with smooth, dark horns, the beat implies a dim
story is about to develop. The relaxed vibe is decreased slightly with the
addition of a clapping snare as Rock begins his first verse, and the final
layer of subtle bass and drum kick sets the tone for a laid-back but charged
tale.

Rock’s lyrics and steady flow convey a tough story that he
is all too familiar with. Over his three verses, a drug-laced, fatal stumble
towards the all-encompassing goal of getting money unfolds. He raps, “I’m a
locomotive, steam rolling, gotta fight to keep that money stream open”, which
paired with his usual raw inflection, conveys the exhausting toll that this
non-stop grind creates. Rapping about the harsh confines of the ghetto is
familiar to Rock, with songs such as “M.O.N.E.Y (feat. J. Black)”, “No Joke (feat. Ab-Soul)”, and “Life’s a
Gamble” off of his first album Follow Me
Home
all describing in vivid detail where he comes from.  

Towards the end of the grim song, he snarls “Had me snatch
that switch off that branch with some leaves on it, fantasizing bout some money
trees on em”. This line ultimately sums up the toxic relationship between the
chase for money in poor cities around the US, and the violence and damage
caused by this pursuit. The fantasized money tree is whipping those in pursuit
of it with the very branches being strained for.

All in all, “Money Trees Deuce” is a fantastic single from
Jay Rock, proving he is more than capable of finding shade in his own trees, no
matter how unforgiving the environment. If you haven’t listen the song already,
it’s definitely worth checking out.

image
DJ Holmes

Back from the Dead: New Crystal Castles

image

October 8, 2014 was a dark day for Crystal Castles fans. Stories with titles such as “Crystal Castles call it quits” saturated our newsfeeds as we sat in a corner wailing along with Not In Love and Vanished while eating copious amounts of ice cream.

No? Just Me? Okay.

Anyway, the pure despair beset upon me by the reports of Crystal Castles’ demise served only to enhance the state of pure bliss I was in the morning of April 16 when I awoke to a passive aggressive message from Ethan Kath accompanied by a Soundcloud link.

The message yielded a response from Alice Glass the next day and Kath later redacted most of the passive aggression, but that drama isn’t what’s important. There’s new Crystal Castles!

The track is called Frail and it’s signature Crystal Castles. It’s heavily distorted and is one of those tracks that melds into the background perfectly when doing anything to a beat, with just enough vocals to give you something to key into without drawing too much away from the instrumentals.

Speaking of the vocals, those on Frail are provided by someone referred to only as “Edith”. Though, they’re virtually indistinguishable from Alice Glass’ due in large part to abundant distortion.

image

Overall, it’s a solid track, but it doesn’t stand out too much when compared to the rest of their discography. You can listen to it on Crystal Castles’ Soundcloud, linked above.

With Ethan Kath releasing new music under the Crystal Castles moniker and Alice Glass set to release new music in the coming months, it’s an exciting time for Crystal Castles fans. Only time will tell if their split was better for listeners or not.

image
Garrett M

New Track: Allen Stone – Upside

image

I first heard of Allen Stone back in 2013. He was a last moment replacement for headliners Capital Cities at our Dawg Daze concert, Fall Fling. I wasn’t too thrilled about this development. I’d been looking forward to jumping around and screaming “safe and sound!” over and over again.

Nonetheless, I went to the concert. It was free, I had nothing to lose. I’m super glad that I went. Allen Stone did not disappoint at all. He danced around the stage frenetically, channeling his inner funk to put on a hell of a show. He had me non-stop swaying to his swanky tunes. Stone banished all my regrets regarding Safe and Sound.

Stone has come a long way since the fall of 2013. He’s now signed to a major label, Capitol Records, and is about to release his third album, Radius, on May 26th.  

“Upside” is the latest single off of Radius. The song’s funky guitar riffs and sudden keyboard notes pair well with Stone’s pain-filled voice. The Stevie Wonder influence is plain to hear:

The song laments a love lost, “Your love has no alibi/Still I fuel my appetite,” but also kind of celebrates it, “And I forget the pain it caused/It’s better to have loved and lost.”

Musically, “Upside” is deceptively upbeat. I can’t help but bob my head every time I listen to it. And I’ve listened to it plenty. The hook is cleverly catchy and easy to sing along to, “It keeps turning me upside down/It keeps pulling me underground.” I see this song becoming immensely popular at his live shows.

I really dig Stone’s brand of soul music and can’t wait to hear whatever else he has in store.

You can check out “Upside” here or pre-order Radius here.

image
Pranav Shivanna

“Sunday Candy”: something to be thankful for (New Song)

this thanksgiving, i am SO thankful for Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, and Nate Fox.

the four, commonly known as The Social Experiment, dropped a song on November 25th, with help from Stix on drums, vocals from Jamila Woods, Jabari Rayford, Eryn Allen Kane, and Macie Stewart, J.P. Floyd on trombone, and Patrick Paige on the bass.

the track, named “Sunday Candy,” is a single from Social Experiment’s upcoming album Surf, set to be released before 2015. 

and, as i said earlier, if you were looking for things to be grateful for during this lovely holiday break, search no more. this song is a blessing. the vibrant and upbeat trumpet accompanies a soulful, smooth beat that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs, probably in the shower, or at all times, whatever works. 

another reason to fall in love with this song is the lyrics. the first verse Chance the Rapper raps about how much his grandmother loves him and Taylor Bennett, his younger brother, because of everything she has done for them. 

image

as if i’m not already madly in love with Chance

the second verse, Chance expresses how important his grandmother is to him. he says “I’m pessimistic on Monday if I had tweaked and missed you,” referring to the thought of skipping seeing her at church on Sunday. given how chance is relatively open about his skepticism towards religion/God, this speaks volumes to how much inspiration his grandmother provides. it’s just so cute, okay! Take a listen:

the song is about waiting to see someone that improves your day, your life, any aspect of yourself. its about cherishing the people who are important to you, which is so great to have on a day like today.

anyways, the song is awesomely put together, with so many contributions from so many great artists. Nico Segal (better known as Donnie Trumpet) is noted in The Fader as saying ”this song specifically is a great representation of [The Social Experiment’s] collaborative efforts. It’s my curation, but then bringing it to the table with all these beautiful people and including them in their own way. Jamila sang on that hook, then I brought it to the collective. Peter added some great layers of texture and helped produce, Nate added a bunch of drums, tons of our friends from Chicago played instruments and added their ideas.” 

everything about this song is feel-good, and the people involved are people that you can also feel good supporting. Nico Segal and Chancellor Bennett went to high school together, and have been making music together for years, like Zion released on Donnie Trumpet EP in July 2013 and Wasting Time released from Traphouse Rock EP in 2012. it’s amazing to see the two, and other Chicago natives, succeeding on a larger scale, and releasing an album together years later.

so now, i sit and wait for Surf.

image

image

gnovs

Outlander in the Emerald City: Helvetia (Artist Profile)

image

After the dissolution of the LA-based space rock band Duster, former drummer Jason Albertini moved up to Seattle and founded the experimental indie rock group, Helvetia.  Named after the female personification of Switzerland (Albertini’s childhood home), Helvetia’s music combines the reverb-drenched guitar effects of space rock with the percussions of a classy jazz outfit.  With a lineup seemingly stuck in eternal rotation, Helvetia’s music is anything but homogenous.  Albertini’s songwriting partners have included other former Duster members, bassist Mike Johnson of Dinosaur Jr., Doug Martsch of Built to Spill, and many, many more.  The band’s breadth of songwriting ability and large music catalog is impressive: since their full-length debut A Clever North Wind dropped in 2006, Helvetia have released four other studio albums and three compilations, and continue to release new songs on their Facebook page about once a week. 

Due to the difficulties I would no doubt face attempting to summarize the full-blown Helvetia musical experience for you, I’ve picked a few of my personal favorites that I feel exhibit the most important themes.  Here goes nothing:

Old, New Bicycle”:  This was my first favorite, and continues to give me chills every time that tasty rolling tom fill introduces the song.  This track (like many others) can be categorized by its cohesive yet dueling nature.  The jazzy percussion hardly changes throughout the entire track, allowing a strong surface for the multiple guitar and vocal parts to “duke it out” on.  The rhythm guitar is smooth, unfolding easily into the lo-fi atmosphere the drums have created.  But before long, the lead guitar rips an off-kilter solo that builds with intensity and cuts out just when it was ready to burst, giving way to the higher-pitched vocal melody, both of which complement the lower tonality of the rhythm parts perfectly.  The lead guitar continues its competition for space throughout the song, challenging the other parts ferociously but intelligently conceding when the overlap would be too much.  This allows the song to ebb and flow intensely and gracefully, leaving the listener panting for more by its finish.  

RyBro”: From their latest album Nothing in Rambling (2012), this chunky alt-rock jam incorporates two rhythm guitars, this time working with the vocals in rhythmic stops.  Just as before, the theme of competition persists, with the lead ripping in once vocals drop out.  This track’s bridge part is entirely unique, taking cues from space rock predecessors in order to create a temporary dream-world for the listener to float around in for a little while.  The trance is broken with a classically intense (and fantastically groovy) solo to bring us all back down to earth.  

In Every Hour” [BONUS TRACK]: After an especially long day of drowning myself in spacey jams, I came upon this gem in the depths of the internet – a previously unreleased track from who knows when.  Unlike the others mentioned above, this song is as mellow as Helvetia’s music gets, featuring parts that actually work together for its entirety!  Although periodically interrupted by rhythmic blasts from the chorus, the lead is entirely complementary of the laid-back vibe this tune gives off.  Albertini’s vocal harmonies give a haunted hue, turning this dream into a wonderfully creepy nightmare. 

Although they haven’t toured in a while, Helvetia’s Facebook page and SoundCloud are fairly active, featuring rough demo releases once a week.  

image
Katie Hanford

Song Review: take a CHANCE on this song

Alright, now that i’ve gotten past that awful but necessary pun, let’s be real here. chance the rapper & the social experiment have been dropping some cool and unusual tracks, but this one is especially different. and, not to mention, a complete conceptual turnaround from the previous song they released, “Wonderful Everyday.”

“No Better Blues” is essentially chance ripping on the world, laundry-list style. but the stuff he says he “hates” are things like “artists,” “creatives,” and “bright people,” which, in my opinion, are all things chance is considered to be. and he repeats that “it don’t get no better,” despite that it already has for the rapper himself.

so, you can interpret this song any way you want. there have been two main competing opinions: it’s a satirical piece meant to be taken light-heartedly & to speak on how ridiculous pessimism and hate has become, or it’s our favorite 21 year old Chicagoan using the facade of sarcasm to expose some deep issues & unpopular opinions.

take it how you want, it’s a good song with a symphonic intro, SoX style, and a cool piano progression on the beat. i’d recommend a listen, or twenty (gnovs style). 

Peter Cottontale, noted as a member of Social Experiment, tweeted the track saying:

#SoX My friends and I made a funny song for you , here’s new music.”

image
gnovs