Boris Ė Pršparat
Boris, possibly the worldís most diverse rock band, starts off the year with a vinyl only release, Pršparat. Like many Boris releases, Pršparat has a lot of different sounds and textures on display, but this album feels kind of like a sampler platter. It seems as if all of these songs couldíve just been jams that they rehearsed like 3 times and then recorded. Thatís not a bad thing though because Boris writes some of the tastiest jams ever. The first 4 tracks are more post-rock /minimalist rock in style, similar to Feedbacker, featuring bright guitar sounds and deep crescendos. The next couple of tracks are heavy-as-hell, sludge sluggers. The first one, Method Of Error, is kind of spastic and not really centered, but the next track, Bataille Sucre is an awesome stoner jam. The rest of the album is more laid back Boris, and itís a chill way to end the album. Overall, the album kind of feels like Boris on autopilot, but Boris on autopilot is a lot better than most bands trying their best. Dig it.
Childish Gambino Ė Because The Internet
This was the one of the last records I checked out from this year, and I was pleasantly surprised. Childish Gambino is comedian Donald Gloverís rap stage name. He makes a poppy style of hip-hop thatís full of absolutely genius one-liners. With Because The Internet, Glover released an 80+ page screenplay to go along with the concept of the record, but Iím too lazy to read that so Iím basing my opinion on solely the album (crazy concept, huh?). I havenít had too much time to really dive deep into the concept of the record, but from what Iíve gathered, thereís a decent amount of social commentary regarding the internet, songs about girls and love, and drug dealing. Iím not sure how it all ties together, but thatís kind of beside the point right now. What really impressed me with this record is the stellar production. Gambino is the main producer on the record, working with Ludwig Goransson and a feature from Thundercat. Itís all original production, not just sampled stuff. The album features beats with a lot dark synth sounds with some industrial sounds and weird vocal samples. Thereís a sax solo at the end of WORLDSTAR and a guitar solo at the end of The Worst Guys, which is pretty cool and works really well. In about the middle of the record the album takes a bit of poppy turn, but itís done really well the songs are incredibly catchy. But staring with The Party it goes back to these dark beats that are magnificent. The last songs go back to brighter, poppier sounds and itís just infectious. Overall, Because the Internet is full of witty rapping and amazing production. I can see myself getting even deeper into this as time goes on
Danny Brown Ė Old
Detroit rapper, Danny Brown, is probably one of the most unique characters in hip-hop right now. He raps with a high-pitched voice, has impeccable style, raps over some of the zaniest beats Iíve heard and covers a wide array of topics in his music. On his commercial debut, Old, Danny displays all of these characteristics more than ever. The album comes with a dichotomy; the first half of the record, Side A, being more introspective and more representative of Brownís older style; and the second half of the record, Side B, being chockfull of EDM inspired party anthems centered around drugs and such. The production throughout the album is absolutely phenomenal. The record mainly features production from Brownís main man, SKYWLKR, along with a lot of contributions from Paul White, and some tracks feature production from Purity Ring and BADBADNOTGOOD. And the first half of the record features some awesome performances from Danny Brown. On tracks like Torture, Lonely, and Gremlins, Danny Brown covers his upbringing in the ghettos of Detroit and paints really vivid pictures of the hardships he and his family went through growing up. And Side B has some great tracks like molly anthem, Dip and the closest thing youíll hear to double bass in hip-hop on Kush Coma. I think my main issue with Old is that the dichotomy is so strong and apparent. While there was something similar to this on his 2011 mixtape, XXX, it didnít seem as forced then as it does now. On top of that, there are some tracks on Side B of Old that I didnít think were that great, mainly Way Up Here, featuring Ab-Soul, and I also didnít think the album was quite as quotable or lyrically as impressive as XXX. Overall Danny Brownís Old is a fine hip-hop record with exceptional production and great material from Danny Brownís more introspective/serious side and his party side but the strong dichotomy from the first half to the later half in both lyrical content and sound kind of brings it down.
Earl Sweatshirt Ė Doris
There was a lot of anticipation for this record. Shortly after 15-year-old Earl released his 2010 mixtape, EARL, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa. After about two years, he returned in 2012, and since then people have been highly anticipating Earlís debut album. After a year of waiting, Doris finally dropped and showed that Earlís rapping skills have greatly improved from his already impressive mixtape. The album has an overall dark vibe, using really spacious beats that focus on low end and a lot the songs feature really dark imagery, but itís not as childish whatís presented in his earlier work. Earlís use of assonance is as apparent as ever and his word play is extremely impressive. Tracks like Burgundy and Chum give us a window to Earlís emotions and perspective of what heís been feeling since his return. Other tracks like Centurion are reminiscent of his older work, getting a little graphic. Other tracks like Whoa and Molasses are just Earl having fun and displaying his ability. The production on the record is pretty good too, featuring a lot of production from Earl and also featuring production for Tyler, The Creator, RZA, and BADABADNOTGOOD. Overall, Doris sows that earl is still a great young rapper to keep your eye on and definitely met many peopleís expectations.