It’s Wednesday evening and I’m in the middle of a crowded room working a slow-motion R&B body-roll and battling for eye contact with a greasy curtain-haired frontman sporting a dog tag, a parody long-sleeve, and a pair of baggy jeans. Did Tumblr win some sort of petition and the 90’s have genuinely been reinstated? Sadly not, this is in fact the debut London show of the fabulously ungoogleable “inc.”.
Want to know more? Here are your options:
No, that hasn’t got me body poppin’ and reaching for the baby oil either. The inc. that I’m referring to, being so cruelly ignored by everyone’s favourite search engine, are a pair of LA-based brothers currently riding the R&B revival wave alongside the likes of The Weeknd, Miguel, Frank Ocean, Jesse Boykins III, and How To Dress Well. Their debut album, no world, is set for a February 2013 release on 4AD - with two tracks, The Place, and 5 Days, having made their way online already. Both pay homage to the sound of the late-90’s in a more blatant manner than the brothers’ wave-sharing counterparts, although the near overwhelming sense of melancholy eliminates any feeling of datedness (we are the generation to so eagerly promote the notion of “forever alone”, after all). Judging from the previews we’ve had so far, and their swoon-worthy debut London performance, February 2013 looks set to be a candle-lit crotch-sweatingly good time.
Stream inc. “5 Days” now:
no world, full track listing:
1. The Place 2. Black Wings 3. Lifetime 4. 5 Days 5. Trust (Hell Below) 6. Your Tears 7. Angel 8. Seventeen 9. Desert Rose (War Prayer) 10. Careful 11. Nariah’s Song
With regards to the driving force behind this year’s onslaught of material, Spit describes kick-starting 2012 with a need to feel creatively overwhelmed: “Last year I released only one project titled “These Long Strange Nights”, It was the result of me going through a lot of personal shit and experiencing the longest writer’s block of my life. When starting 2012, I really wanted to do my best to never experience something like that again, so I figured it was best to overwhelm myself creatively with several projects.”
Considering that 99.9% of Spit’s work is self-produced, a not-so-humble four releases would make even the most impassioned of artists feel overwhelmed. “I take a lot of pride in producing my own music”, he says, “any artist that produces their own music understands the work that goes into that and knows the amount of intelligence and craft it takes to accomplish that. Best part about it all is that it enables me to maintain a certain sound/vibe that I’m known for” - a point that has been demonstrated perfectly across the three very different releases he has dropped thus far in 2012: the hip-hop-focused “A Breathtaking Trip” EP, the R&B production of Bago’s “Sunday’s Best” EP, and the standout instrumental mixtape “Mansions”.
To date, every one of Spit’s releases have been offered up for free via his website, not that the missing price tag is in any way a reflection of their value in the grander sense. Over the past few years the quality distinction between free “mixtapes” and bonafied local-indie-record-store releases has lessened to the point of total irrelevance. Besides name-dropping the obvious example of 2011, this year has been punctuated with countless freebies all more than deserving of a spot on the coveted end of year lists alongside their iTunes-available counterparts. Think LE1F’s genre-bending “Dark Times”, Joey Bada$$’ outstanding debut “1999”, and let’s not forget Rick Ross’ latest endeavour “Rich Forever” (how apt). The success of Spit’s free material has seen him sign with New York label Decon Records, and his forthcoming LP will be the first product of this relationship: “For me… at the end of the day the most important thing is that my music sounds and is presented exactly how I envision with as little to no outside influence involved. Never in my career have I really went shopping for a deal but this past year I was approached by several labels. One of them being Decon.” Spit continues: “It’s a label run by folks that understand the importance in artistry and have been able to take my vision to the next level” …andwith features from The Alchemist, Action Bronson, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, and E-40, it’s safe to say that his commercial debut will be doing just that.
Stream Alexander Spit ft. The Alchemist “Getaway Car” now:
“A Breathtaking Trip to the Otherside” will be released via Decon Records on January 29, 2013. Full track listing below:
1. Black Magic On Blue Magic 2. Ride (Chicken Wit The Odds) 3. GREAT SCOTT!!! 4. That’s Spit / Space Echoes 5. A Breathtaking Trip feat. BAGO 6. NRML Ave Interlude 7. B.N.E. Remix feat. E-40 & Mr. MFN Exquire 8. Coastal / Hyperion co-prod. by Caleb Stone 9. Lakes 10. Getaway Car feat. Alchemist 11. Vodka Interlude prod. by In Transit 12. Artesia feat. Action Bronson 13. Pulp 2013 / Heroin Chic 14. Cinema Interlude 15. Honeymoon In A Motel Room 16. Sluts Kiss French co-prod. by Bobby Evans 17. Death By 27
All musicians derive influence from an artist that has preceded them (unless you’re like, Mr Bungle, because I don’t think anyone can claim responsibility for inspiring that one). When paying homage to those who have influenced you, there’s a tendency to lean upon the age old concept of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. In some cases, musicians adhere to this so heavily that the final result is nothing more than a glorified cover band. That’s not to say that success can’t been found in the blatant ripping-off of your idols: it’s been almost 20-years since Muse began their career as a Radiohead tribute act, and only two years ago Fireflies by The Postal Service Owl City became the 20th most downloaded song of all time.
Forging a career through imitation can be especially rewarding when the artist who inspires you are themselves unknown. I imagine only a meager percentage of Tyler, The Creator’s one million (and rising) Twitter followers are aware that Necro has had a penchant for abusive and sexually depraved rap lyrics since 1998.
When Death Grips arrived on the scene last year, bringing a “brand new” level of complexity to hip-hop and earning rave reviews across the board, there was one community of fans who were already more than familiar with the genre…
B L A C K I E (also known as B L A C K I E… All Caps With Spaces) has been championing the punk / hip-hop crossover, supposedly heralded by Death Grips, since early 2005. The similarity in sound between the two acts cannot be ignored, however, it seems that until now B L A C K I E himself has been.
While the past six months have seen Death Grips sign with LA Reid and soften (if only slightly) for a second release, B L A C K I E has been slogging his guts out harder than ever. “GEN”, his latest offering on Tooth Records, sees the artist’s most groundbreaking and downright punk move yet… an acoustic album.
By stripping back the overbearing wall of noise which usually dominates his style, you’re confronted with the basics: B L A C K I E’s guttural voice, and his domineering lyricism. The stark confrontation can be unsettling at times; surprisingly, removing the brutal assault of feedback from the mix only serves to heighten B L A C K I E’s formidibality. Not that he’s in the business of making friends here, this is notably the only live act I’ve ever seen cause actual distress to their audience. Hey, it worked for GG Allin, right?
At the time of writing this review, I can honestly say that nothing else exists to occupy a similar musical space to B L A C K I E’s fifth release. Individuality is short-lived though, chances are something will appear in the near future and will undeservedly receive more recognition.
Not to be judgemental over here, but I’d say releasing a duet with a deceased artist you’ve never met, whose face you have tattooed across your back, and who you’ve invited out for an all-expenses-paid dinner on the “day you finally meet” (what happened to YOLO, dude?) …now that’s definitely edging into “borderline-pathological” territory.
The fact that this photoshopped image of the two kicking back and enjoying some purple drank has been attached to the conversation only serves to make it even creepier (because Drizzy really needed some extra help in achieving that, you guys).
The inevitability that Drake will haul Aaliyah’s hologram on tour to support the entire collaborative album is almost overwhelming. Honest question though, can a 3D hologram file for a restraining order?
I guess it’s not all bad, if celebrity stalkers can now release legitimate collaborations without the input or consent of their idols, does this mean that a Miley Cyrus feat @MileyCyrusCarlx collaboration is on the horizon? Fuck, I hope so.