Seems the good ol’ folks at Stereogum still got a little flavor left in them. Apparently, out of their top 40 new artists from around the world, five of them are Hip Hop artists who claim NYC as their home. Topping their alphabetical list is Azalea Banks, the cherry-bomb rapper known for lacing electro-clash beats with her staccato street flow. She is so damn sexy and, remarkably, most of her appeal comes from her amazing lyrical agility. Joey Bada$$ chimes in with an old school flavor reminiscent of NYC in the 1990s. For cats who appreciate straight lyricism over some classic boom-bap, he’s bringing it back. But what’s a top five rap list without a bit of nonsense? Das Rascist affiliate Lakutis (pictured) makes a bunch of words rhyme with little reverence for linear thought or punchlines—a headache to some, a welcome relief for many. Scroll a little bit further down and find young Le1f, the crunk southern-rap revivialist. His lean-back approach to lyricism has him vacillating between super triple-time and borderline chopped and screwed raps – highly recommended for altered mindstates. Speaking of altered mindstates, fifth and final NYC rap rep Meyhem Lauren garnered his acclaim simply by having a party in his SXSW hotel room and recording the whole thing for posterity. Wish you were there? Download his most recent mixtape and you can experience the cannabis-imbued fury of him and all his friends. - Broke MC
"Uptempo" and "Pop" are by themselves two concepts that - in the business of being an indie band - can take you quite far; but if on top of that you add to the equation also comparisons to The Smiths, then the hype can get out of control. Brooklyn's Drowners have more than one similarity with Morrisey's act, and although they will surely feel belittled by such comparison, they should not, because no artists really managed to be The Smiths' worthy musical heir yet (like, for example, XTC were for The Beatles, Robin Hitchcock for Syd Barrett, and The Strokes for Lou Reed - uhm, maybe...).
The band's 3 songs debut EP features the remarkable single "Between Us Girls" (streaming below) which immediately throws us back to the days of "Meat is Murder," with the electric guitar alternating between jangly parts and arpeggios, and Welsh frontman Matt Hitt singing semi-melancholically about some girls' hair length - rather than about how big they are... The edge is slightly punkier, while the songwriting reveals an almost clinical concision (the song clocks in just under 2 minutes, with the first chorus coming in after 26" - A&R allergic to intros will dig that).
The second song, "You've Got it All Wrong," beats a similar musical path, tackling the infinite well of inspiration that (for Brits) is life at the pub, with the difference of a slower bridge, which acts as a breather for the final chorus. Final track "A Shell Across the Tongue" is the punkier of the bunch, but also the one with the least memorable melody.
This is obviously a band with enormous songwriting potential. If they'll manage to write songs as good as these and integrate their influences in a more mature and personal sound, the world can be theirs. - PDG