Delayed, but we’re in here. This one was originally scheduled for Friday but…Things happen.
It seems that life sometimes takes you for a loop at times but then you always have to bounce back just as a rubber band does to keep from downward spiraling into insanity. The great thing about it though is that you show resilience and growth every single time. No harm, no foul. Change like that is usually a good thing, even when you’re forced into situations that are life changing.
2MEX, known to his family and friends as Alejandro Ocana, had such a life altering experience losing his leg. Instead of wallowing in misery he bucked up, pushed forward and released Lospital, his first solo album in seven years, is filled with 15 tracks of urging imagery, experience, and a dictionary-sized vocabulary throughout. Yeah, I think I’ve already given away the feels on the new album by the Hip-Hop veteran whose resumé extends from The Visionaries, Of Mexican Descent to $martyr and the short-lived Look Daggers. While 2MEX doesn’t stray far from writing about love loss like on heartfelt “I Love You I’m Sorry,” where musically you could find someone wallowing in despair, he balances things out with a banging “Bollywood Squares,” that blows modern Hip-Hop right out of the water. The beat is fierce and jagged with a repetitive bassline that, for lack of a better term, is dope AF! 2MEX touches on multiple subjects, from “Fuck Donald Trump shit” to repping who and what we all are shouting “You were put on this planet to do more than pay bills.” When he raps about losing his leg last year it plays no part as a hurdle because in his own mind he’s running laps around the small minded. All of that in just one track! But it’s the title track, featuring Sophia Pfister on backing vocals, that burns with so much unrequited passion. Musically the track is painfully melancholic, and “drifts away.” Vocally, Mex captures the vibe with his words. Despair? A feeling of anguish? They might be there but he still grips with the ideal of pushing himself forward. But when you get to “Deception” though, you know 2MEX isn’t afraid to say WTF is wrong with people who aren’t straight-forward, poseur-esque, and just down right trifling. He puts into words what he sees wrong with people and the influence modern culture has on them. The music though…it trails into one hypnotic groove that occasionally pauses and then shifts back. I’ve never thought of 2MEX of being anything other than a positive and well-spoken rapper that can fit hundreds of words into songs until “The Fresh Depression Anthem.” While the title descriptively states one thing, musically 2MEX sounds downright sexy on this joint. The juxtaposition of the both is imagined well here, and he gives a clear explanation with the first couple of sentences he utters: “Have you ever tried turning a suicide note into a love song? I’m kinda good at it.” Lospital is rife with a number of different ideas that could clutter anyone else’s album but here, it works for 2MEX. The great thing about the album is he’s not trying to fit in to any particular style or attempt to find adulation by popping himself into a mold. He’s 2MEX, the one and only.
It seems that artists making their fans wait are par for the course for many. Although for Rainer Maria everyone can actually call it a comeback. The band ended its run back in December of 2006 when the members played their last show in Brooklyn, NY. Eight years later they regrouped and played a show in 2014. They again performed a few more times in NY, Philly and Chicago before deciding to record another full-length album and make a go of it again. The group just released their new album literally titled S/T and it pretty much picks up where they left off. To be honest, I know many were geeked out to hear something new from the band but many would wonder, “Would the edge they had still be there? How prevalent are they in 2017? Does anyone still care?” The answers that I’ve responded to the few have been “Yes, yes, and yes.” While members of the band have gone through some personal changes, the music on S/T is as impassioned as you could expect from the group’s previous work. The album opens with some effect laden guitars which showcases the dynamic shifts the trio is just really fucking astounds with. Caithlin De Marrais’ breathy vocals are set well against the backdrop of Kaia Fischer and William Kuehn’s powerful instruments but it’s when you get to “Suicides and Lazy Eyes” that follows directly after that when the hypnotic vibe of this repetitive track captures the listener’s attention, essence and all. The band knows how to be repetitive without being repetitious and when the song finally breaks into the chorus and then back, you know what a great number it is. Again though, it’s De Marrais’ voice and delivery that fully infectious. I’m trying not to succumb to reverting back, utilizing terms like ‘emo’ but Rainer Maria far surpassed the subgenre although they sucked every emotion out of their followers. I can only assume it’s going to happen again following this album. “Forest Mattress” has the group cleverly utilizing some dissonance, possibly pulling from their own influences here but making the song its own. The band delivers 9 powerful tracks here all fitted together as well-pieced together ensemble. S/T is the band’s return and one everyone should cherish.