Here is a rare album: an experimental rap album that’s good. It’s tough describing this album since it’s constantly changing through out. What I’m going to say is that it is well through out and executed. The beats are at first very minimalist, but upon further listens reveal more depth. The songs change scope from what seems to be pure abstractive poetry to then very direct political or personal messages and then back to the abstract. The vocals are delivered in a variety of styles, from what sound like sound collages to spoken wor to even legitimate rapping. While many albums like this are challenges to listen to, this one flows so well that one can hear the whole album over and over without becoming bored.

Rating: 15/15 not enough songs about hoes

N.A.S.A. – The Spirit of Apollo

N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo:

Two DJs sample obscure South American records then reach into a hat and pull names out to form the guest stars. All the songs are solid and there some amazing pairings on here. Tom Waits and Kool Keith? Hell yeah! Dudes even dug out Fat Lip from whatever basement he was hiding out and shove him on a track with Karen O. It works. If you like rap in anyway, then go pick this up.

Rating: 14/15 one time that I really wanted a Lil Wayne guest spot.

Verbal and The Kickdrums – Idiot Savant

Verbal and The Kickdrums Idiot Savant:

Hey did you like Atmosphere when he wasn’t lame(Lucy Ford EP and God Loves Ugly)? Yeah? Then you’ll dig on this album. Verbal is like Atmosphere topically, but is more charismatic and has less grating voice. His rhymes, while not mind-bending, are clever and equal parts bragging and blunt honesty. But Verbal alone doesn’t carry the album, rather The Kickdrums do their jobs extremely well, giving Verbal some great beats to flow over. I suspect that if the beats weren’t as interesting, this album would have a high burn out factor. But everyone brings their A games and we end up with an unusually awesome mixtape that proves that the Kickdrums are one of the better production teams in the game and Verbal is an MC to watch in the future.

Rating: 13/15 alcoholic, burnt out rappers


Arcwelder Everest:

A poppier version of Shellac with better vocal work. Scott MacDonald lays down sick beats while doing much of the vocal work simultaneously. After a long break Arcwelder has been sporadically playing shows recently, catch them if you can.

Rating: 13/15 Aluminum neck guitars

RJD2-Since We Last Spoke

RJD2 Since We Last Spoke:

A unique disc that mashes hip hop production techniques with sounds culled largely from 70’s and 80’s rock and funk. The result often sounds like A Cars techno album. Lyrically the album is good, but unexceptional, its all about the beats.

Rating: 12/15 Hours spent record crawling

Blue Sky Black Death- Slow Burning Lights

Blue Sky Black Death Slow Burning Lights:

One of the best production crews out there joins forces with Coco Rosie sounding vocalist to produce an interesting listen. The beats and production are top notch, the lyrics are strong, but the singers voice isn’t my cup of tea(ed. note: Sounds like some one broke her jaw then made her sing.).

Rating: 12/15 unexpected collaborations

Flashbulb – Red Extensions of Me

Flashbulb Red Extensions of Me:

Flashbulb is to Squarepusher what Squarepusher is to most other electronic music. Ben Jordan has the rare gift of being a great beat maker, obviously willing to spend hours hunched over a computer carefully editing each and every drum sound, and a talented guitarist. Jordan’s guitar and keyboard arrangements bring a fluency and utilizes a harmonic language often lacking in electronic music.

Rating: 13/15 Tabs of Acid, THE GOOD STUFF

Roots Manuva – Slime And Reason

Roots Manuva Slime and Reason:

His production just keeps getting cooler. Roots comes back with another collection of great songs featuring his trademark surreal lines. The album contains a good mix of conventional and experimental material. Goes well with a vaporizer.

Rating: 13/15 Tiggers becoming Tigers