All posts by Toby Jonson

Fresh Music: Bones – CARCASS

Earlier this month, emo-rap veteran Bones released a new EP entitled CARCASS. For those who are unaware, Bones is a Michigan rapper known for his gritty, dark sound, and stunning pace of releasing music. He’s put out 56 mixtapes since 2011, not an easy achievement by any means. Normally this would take a toll on the quality of his output, but anyone aware of him would know that Bones has managed to create an absolute cult following from his supporters. Fans can expect more of the same style from this project, as he usually hasn’t been one to switch up his sound too much throughout his discography. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this project, and I assume the same will be true for the rest of his fan base. The tracks “CharacterSelect” and “IWasCertainlyNotWorthYourTime” were my favorites on the EP, but definitely follow suit with his tried and trusted vibe and flow. It’ll be interesting to see what Bones releases in the future, and see where he goes moving forward with his sound.

[Album Review] Jeff Rosenstock – POST-

2017 was a wild ride for the USA, and these constant news stories, especially under Trump, don’t look to be stopping anytime soon in 2018. Nobody has been feeling as much confusion as Jeff Rosenstock, as demonstrated in his latest LP, POST-.

Right out of the gate, Rosenstock establishes this as a revolutionary album with the song USA, after a brief 10 second intro track. As of late I’ve found many politically fueled albums to be poorly executed, most just trying to support a political party or point of view. However, this is not to say there hasn’t been any good music to come out of Trump’s presidency, as Jeff Rosenstock manages to pull it off with POST-. His trademark low-fi vocals and guitars fit very well with feel of the album, as he takes an aggressive tone in much of the tracklist.

In the song “Yr Throat”, he encourages speaking up for what you believe in, making the listener ask themselves the same question when he repeatedly states, “What’s the point of having a voice when it gets stuck inside your throat?” This call to action is reflected in much of the album, and he does it well. Jeff still manages to bring his catchy lyrics into his sound, and puts a lot of thought into his lyrics. In the songs “All This Useless Energy” and “Powerlessness”, he speaks on situations where he has felt that he has no control over what’s happening in his life. He struggles with not being able to solve his own problems in his head, let alone help those the world is facing. Rosenstock goes into personal territory in this album, sometimes even partly blaming himself for not speaking up, or doing more to change the course of what’s going on around him.

Although the album is not explicitly political, I find some of my favorite songs during Trump’s presidency in POST-. Rosenstock doesn’t have an agenda he’s trying to create on this record, he just speaks from experience of being an adult in the 21st century. He doesn’t specifically state Trump’s name in any point of the album, and this was definitely done on purpose, ensuring that it doesn’t exclude listeners, whether they’re for or against him. No matter where you land on the political spectrum, I’d recommend giving this album a listen.

There will always be problems in this country, and POST– perfectly relates how many feel during times of confusion, like those we live in today.

AltWire Top Ten Albums Of 2017: Toby’s Picks

AltWire Contributor Toby Johnson Discusses His Top Ten Albums of 2017

10. Milo – who told you to think?

Milo’s 3rd album is one of his best yet, and he continues with his unique low-key, more relaxed style. However, as usual, he doesn’t let up with lyrical content, and keeps up with his trademark philosophical thinking in many of the songs.

 

9. Wiley – Godfather

Grime figure Wiley came out with another album this year, and is his best in my opinion. This is especially impressive because he’s been in the game so long. One of the self-proclaimed originators of grime, he does very well here to fit into modern hip-hop without losing his flair.

 

8. Quelle Chris – Being You is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often

This album sort of seems like Quelle Chris’ love letter to himself, and I enjoyed nearly every word of it. Although his style might not immediately appeal to everyone, his deadpan delivery really makes the album for me. I didn’t hear any other album like this one in 2017, and it’s definitely worth a listen.

 

7. IDLES – Brutalism

IDLES did very well with their first LP. The raw sound of their music comes off very well, and it even manages to be catchy from time to time. IDLES produced a great post-punk album to start themselves off, and I’m excited to hear what they have to offer in the future.

 

6. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

I think Tyler surprised everyone with this new album. He manages to perfect his take on the jazz rap fusion that he was experimenting with a little bit on Cherry Bomb. Staying true to his personality, he reveals a new side of himself with more mellow tracks on Flower Boy. However, he still includes songs like “Who Dat Boy” and “I Ain’t Got Time!” which create a good balance.

 

5. Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood — Sun Kil Moon

Sun Kil Moon completely disregards many of the conventional music, and tells stories about his life and beliefs in many of the songs. This makes the album a formidable 2 hours and 9 minutes long, but if you have the time, it’s worth the time.

 

4. Billy Woods – Known Unknowns

Billy woods is one of the best lyricists in hip-hop right now in my opinion, and he continues that trend with his latest album. Although it isn’t as focused as “History Will Absolve Me”, one of my favorite albums of all time, he still covers a broader range of topics well. He experiments with a lot of different styles here, and it leads to covering some fantastic new ground. Every listen I uncover some new meaning in this album, as is the fact with many of his projects.

 

3. Open Mike Eagle –  Brick Body Kids Still Daydream

Open Mike talks about memories he experienced in a Chicago project that was recently torn down. In his mellow delivery, he tells many of the memories he had there, and what it was like growing up there. He adds humility to the projects, something that isn’t seen often enough in hip-hop in my opinion. He expresses both his anger and sorrow about the demolition through this unique album in his discography.

 

2. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION

As said in my review of the final album in the trilogy, these albums were very similar in diversity and quality, and I decided to only put the first one, my favorite of the trilogy, in the list. All things said and done, 3 albums in one year is absolutely amazing, and especially with the level of quality in each one. The range of talent in the group is astounding, and to stop myself from restating everything from my review, I’ll leave it at this: no artist in the world had a better 2017 than BROCKHAMPTON.

 

1. B.I.G. Krit – 4eva is a Mighty Long Time

This came out of nowhere. This double album by B.I.G. Krit includes a broad range of genres, all of which he fits into with ease. The first side of the album, where he identifies as his stage alias “B.I.G. Krit” is packed with a series of well executed bangers in the style of Southern hip-hop, along with a few tracks with an R&B flavor talking about things often seen in hip-hop, such as cars, girls, and guns. All of these are executed well, and there isn’t a bad track on either side in my opinion. On the second side however, he identifies with his birth name, Justin Scott. He gets much more personal, and talks about his struggles with religion, as well as dealing with life and negativity. This album came out of nowhere for me, and I’d never seen an album, in any genre for that matter, as polarizing as this one. All these things combined, 4eva is a Mighty Long Time is my top album of 2017.

Your Old Droog Releases “You The Type”

Image Credit: Seher Sikander

Your Old Droog, a Brooklyn native known for his classic hard-hitting New York flow, has
released a new single titled “You the Type”. The song comes from Adult Swim, as part of their program that releases a new, free single every week. Your Old Droog is featuring at week 33 of 52, but the program features a wide range of artists including Wavves, Venetian Snares, and Oddisee, just to name a few. The project is definitely worth checking out here if you haven’t already.

In “You the Type”, Droog continues with the same sort of style used in his latest album,
PACKS. The song would be right at home at some point in the track list, and this song could likely have been a B-side. Using a series of decent one-liners, Droog peppers whoever he’s talking to with insults, with the “you the type to ____” template. Although his flow isn’t as tight here as it was on many of the songs in his last album, he still delivers it with his trademark style.

I found it amusing, and I’d leave you to hear it for yourself, but then again, you the type to read this whole article and not listen to the song.

[Album Review] Brockhampton – SATURATION III

Brockhampton has had one hell of a year. In 2017 alone, the 14 member “boy band” has released 3 albums, SATURATION III marking the end of the trilogy. Even at this rate of production, they’ve managed to keep their consistency up as well, with both SATURATION and SATURATION II turning many heads. However, Brockhampton still refuses to be categorized in SATURATION III; blending elements from hip-hop, pop, and even dance in their latest LP.

Straight out of the gate, the song “BOOGIE” sounds like nothing the group has ever put out before. Beginning with a similar abrasive start to “HEAT” in the first SATURATION album, Brockhampton wastes no time setting the tone for the album. They try to make it very clear that although it may bear the same name and similar themes as their previous two albums, by no means will it just be a carbon-copy extension of them.

However, this does not last throughout the 15 song track list. Much of the content ends up sounding similar to past albums, which isn’t unexpected for an album with the same name as its predecessors. For example, the song “TEAM” ends the album similarly to the songs “WASTE” and “SUMMER” in the previous two albums, but lacking as much of the sentimental feeling of closure. This rings true with a couple other songs here, but the group is normally good about bringing something new and meaningful to each track.

All things considered, it’s hard to complain. This album has everything, and it packs it all together uniquely. Members like Kevin Abstract, the leader of the group, display their skill in both rapping and singing. The sheer size of the group allows for a diversity of talents to be showcased together, and that’s not something you see very often, especially in hip-hop. Not many are making anything close to Brockhampton’s music, and their sound doesn’t seem to have any limits due to what they have at their disposal. They’ve done everything possible to make a splash in the music scene, as an output of 3 albums in 6 months is certainly admirable.

SATURATION III is a fresh blend of the first two installments of the SATURATION series, and proves that more of the same is not always a bad thing.