Yes, their guitars thrash and burn. Yes, their rhythm section is spot on, bulldozing its way through a stampede of growling riffs and careening their way around tight corners like a pair of loose-limbed gymnasts. And, yes, they deliver catchy, emotionally raw vocals about past regrets and fading youth that make you want to slam back beers and bear hug all of your friends. But they also make sure to keep the listener’s head on a swivel by striking from multiple angles, breaking up their hyper-charged punk assault with angular nosedives and mathy spazz-outs. Despite the brevity of these songs (opener “Closed Eyes” is the longest track at a scant 1:57), and their unrelenting pace, Burners manage to pack in a multitude of clever ideas and unexpected changes, not one of which feels extraneous to the EP’s core mission or aesthetic. Plainly put, this is everything you want hardcore to be: smart, passionate and explosive as hell.
Casey Hood and standup bassist Adam Mincey have been crafting dark, arresting folk songs for years and I’ve been either too deaf or too busy or too jaded to hear them. Or maybe it just took something as exquisite, something as haunting and emotionally resonant as “Honey” to shake me out of my stupor. – [ Premiere of "Honey" single ]
Vocalist Casey Hood has the perfect voice for spilling her guts—rich, expressive and quietly confident—and here she unpacks her parcels of wisdom with a croon that’s both beautiful and weather-beaten. It’s a stirring effort, a raw testament to the power of simplicity and elegant restraint. – [ Review of "The Hand You Deal Yourself" single ]
“Getcha Weight Up” is the sort of infectious anthem that lodges itself in your cranium, plants a flag and builds a fucking fort. Rapper A.T.’s opening verse is straight bananas, setting the tone for what is one of the grimiest earworms you’ll hear this year. Indeed, you can try your best to keep this track from flooding your membrane, but I promise you it’s a losing battle. – [ Video review for “Getcha Weight Up” ]
Somehow this bit of Southern-rap-with-a-twist funkiness never hit my radar, so I’m here to rectify that misstep. While not exactly a weed anthem, the track definitely makes the group’s preference for ganja abundantly clear and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the laid-back production—courtesy of Flick James—does everything in its power to envelop you in herb-infused clouds of billowing bass and smoky horns. – [ Video review for “French” ]
Atlanta’s Slugga play snotty, abrasive hardcore-punk that comes charging at you full speed, clocks you square in the chin, and then stumbles off into the shadows to await their next assault. The band, which counts Matt Gibson-Hatcher of powerviolence destroyers Cheap Art among its members, recently released their debut demo, a six-song collection of brutish riffs and misanthropic rage led by blunt-force stompers like “Everywhere is Hate,” “Ascension” and the acerbic closer, “Kill Me Too.” In hardcore, the line between true bulldozing aggression and middling, by-the-numbers retreading is a particularly thin one, and Slugga are too busy throwing themselves into the churning center of their sonic rampage to give a shit about style points. The pace here is breathless, the energy menacing. This is music as bloodletting, and it fucking rules.
Look, I’m not going to get into a discussion about “real” hip-hop or even attempt to decipher what the hell that was supposed to mean in 2014. What am I going to do is to tell you about the new Ante Meridian joint, Sons of Heaven, and how it succeeds, in part, by referencing the classic boom bap era of hip-hop when producers such as the legendary J Dilla, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan ruled the game. If this assertion causes you to turn your back dismissively and write-off Ante Meridian as some sort of throwback act who can’t let go of some notion of the glory days, that’s on you. Producer Mr. Enok has given us nothing less than a masterwork of beat construction that provide a plethora of cinematic backdrops for Rozewood’s coldly efficient rhymes and gritty storytelling. Goddamn this shit is ill.