Staying on campus this January? Apply for a winter term radio show! No experience necessary! It’s a great opportunity to have a show if you’ve never had one before or to try out a new theme that’s too **cool** for a normal show during the school year.
2014 has been as tumultuous a year for metal as it has been for Oberlin and the world at large. Formerly rigid classifications have been bent backwards and broken, warped into positions a chiropractor wouldn’t even dream possible. This lack of regard for convention has allowed metal genres to shake off some of the stagnancy of the early 2010s, and has paved the way for seemingly disparate elements to synergize in unexpected harmonies, culminating in some of the most compelling metal music that’s ever been produced. Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of the most intriguing records metal workgroup has looked at over the course of the last year, dominated by Profound Lore and Relapse Records. Links to listen to album or song streams are available in the respective album titles:
Anna Rose Greenberg, co-Traffic Director and host of “Germaniacs” interviewed Jürgen Engler of Die Krupps, legendary German industrial/electronic band who, incidentally, wrote the song “Germaniacs” after which Anna Rose’s show is named – hear Engler talk about the difference between American and German music, his favorite music, his new label, and more.
A re-release of Abelardo Barroso’s music makes #5 on this week’s top 5, I mean 6, adds.
Before the CMJ Top 10 tomorrow, enjoy this list of very new releases to check out. We typically do things around here in multiples of 5, but I couldn’t resist tacking on one special release on the end.
1. Mary J. Blige – The London Sessions [Ed. note: She’s been around since 1992, but she still manages to sound fresh and interesting and just, well, really good.]
2. Lord Raja – A Constant Moth [Ed. note: Electronic artist from New York]
3. Girlpool – Girlpool [Ed. note: Duo of teenagers from L.A., just guitar, bass, their voices, and some killer songwriting.]
4. Oceaan – Veritas [Ed. note: Producer from Manchester, U.K.]
5. Abelardo Barroso y la Orquesta Sensacion – Cha Cha Cha [Ed. note: Re-release of an incredible Cuban group from the 50s.]
6. Parquet Courts – Content Nausea [Ed. note: The extra 6th album is Parquet Court’s second full-length of the year!]
There continually remains a negative understanding of southern rap, as it is largely constructed as void of quality lyricism, radio-friendly, nonsensical, and ultimately simple. Within this sentiment, certain are deemed transcendent of the sub-genre, with Houston based UGK and early-to-mid Lil Wayne not only catering to a larger demographic, but garnering critical acclaim and praise throughout relatively all outlets. In the last few years, Big Krit has been placed within the rare Southern-but-respectable rapper paradigm, with his 2012 release Live from the Underground earning rave reviews and building suspense for any future major label release. Two years and a mixtape later, Big Krit released Cadillactica on November 10.
The intro to Cadillactica, “Kreation,” sets the tone for a different Krit experience; the southern drawl remains, yet the production is more electronic and noisy, vaguely similar to Pusha T’s My Name is my Name or a tapered down Raider Klan release. Essentially, Krit is trying to produce an expansive sound and illustrate his evolution as an artist, which he does moderately well. In particular, the eponymous track “Cadillactica” is a highlight of the first half of the album, with Krit rapping quickly and confidently about his motivations over a futuristic, synth-driven beat by DJ Dahi.
The first half of the album remains strong with the track “King of the South” serving as a catchy yet guttural experience with Krit boasting: “Kick that south flow that you can’t get. Try to fuck the world but my dick won’t fit. My bitch like ‘Krit, motherfuck they feelings. You wanna be king, gotta claim that shit.’ I’m talkin’ ’bout off with they heads.” In execution, “King of the South” serves to be the end of side a, with the second half of the album returning to Krit’s southern roots.
The remaining productions are full of twangy soul and funk driven instrumentals akin to an 8ball and MJG or Scarface record, which theoretically contrasts Cadillactica’s aims; the album plays as an experience attempting to transcend southern rap, yet through production and lyrical content fails to do so. There is a definite attempt at shedding southern stereotypes, and results are mixed. Krit’s lyricism is fine, but suffers on occasion as it comes across as a formulaic, conscious attempt to produce these vivid, yet obscure, poetically driven verses. In a noticeable attempt at a refined lyrical experience, Krit declares on his opening track: “These hands of mine can hold the weight of planets. Allow me to use the hues of lunar cools to paint a canvas. Of explosions and vibrant emotions that we know we could. Explore the outer most with no risks. Even though we know we should. You are the ocean, I am a mountain.” This isn’t to say that Big Krit’s lyrics are bad by any means, it just doesn’t feel quite natural. The same can be said for the productions, as the album lacks cohesion, problematically weaving from electronic synths to funk, without ever truly settling down.
Big Krit is a victim to success. As all of his previous releases have received general acclaim, a newfound pressure is present; Krit has been good, consistent, solid, occasionally great, and as a result, expectations have risen. Cadillactica is another step, but it isn’t groundbreaking. In this sense, Krit fails to fully escape the “southern rap” moniker he holds, and although Cadillactica is worth a few listens, it doesn’t reach the hollowed territory of a transcendent southern-turned- classic rap album. Essentially, the album strives to be Outkast’s Stankonia or Speakerboxx/The Love Below, yet plays like Idelwind.