New Music: Friday Roll Out! With Cocky Bitches, didi, HPRIZM

Black Friday…

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that just means I’m not heading out to deal with any crowds. When everyone thinks about today, they’ve all but forgotten how the day would be spent at home, eating leftovers and lazily chillin’. Things changed, life changed, and the fast-paced life of get-what’s-yours-now idolatry was placed in full effect. I’ve seen that in my own extended family. Everyone succumbs to it, much like death instead of just living for the moment. But this Black Friday has new releases too, and it doesn’t involve you having to hit Walmart to check these joints out.

It wasn’t that long ago we recently saw the release of HP’s Catching A Body (Don Giovanni) back in August, an EP of easily sculpted instrumentals whose boundaries seemed endless. This time around though, HPRIZM releases the new album Magnetic Memory (Don Giovanni). The Antipop Consortium emcee continues to much today as he’s done in unison with his cohorts over 20 years ago.

On this release, HP incorporates a number of elements, from sharp conscious lyricism running through a kaleidoscope of the metaphysical, to piecing together heavy beats alongside experimental sounds. And he does this all within the first five minutes. “Keep Pushing” is the opening head-nodder where his heady words like “The age of illusion is over we don’t believe you” and “The root of evil/was believing in a system designed to deceive you” send shockwaves as words are weaved in and out of the track. He’s not waiting on handouts or what-ifs, pushing forward is the only way he knows, passing it to the next gen. The beats on “Infusion” may seem scattershot but it’s deceiving, bobbing and weaving in and out, repeating itself giving that semblance of controlled chaos. Once the song ends, this is where things get tricky because “Resuscitate” seems to combine both worlds into one, filling an abstract aesthetic into a banger of a track. Horns permeate throughout the track as church bells echo in the background, and it becomes obvious in his directive: create and expand. The offbeat works in HP’s favor as he wraps colorful words around them. He continues the same process on other tracks, never turning his repetition into the repetitious, and then drops “Break The Body Down.” The single hits unexpectedly with a beat driven by a guitar that you can’t get enough up. It’s accentuated by his words where he literally breaks the body down with a compare and contrast with society. It’s clever and on point.

Just when you think things can’t get any better, “Up From the Flames” appears. It steps softly gradually increasing its momentum matched only by HP’s quick tongue. Wind instruments share space with a grandiose percussion where he’s fine letting the music take on a life of its own. “Soul-F06” with its looped reversed drum pattern and eerie keys are punctuated by dark, truthful lyrics, giving credence to an imagination through a new path as the old was destroyed. The song blends into “Asia (Adrenaline)” which throws a monkey wrench right into everything. This is Hip Hop after all. The frenetic beat kicks along what sounds like quick-handed organ work. And it works and works well. Tracks may run brief but that’s ok, he fits as much that’s needed. It’s easy to get lost with HPRIZM on Magnetic Memory, the music is just astounding. Here, HP is to music what Basquiat was to visual art.

Back in January, we were given a gift I’m not sure many wanted. While I’m not sure why someone decided it was a good idea to re-release the 2015 self-titled debut by Ohio’s didi. I listened to it from beginning to end and the results weren’t in the group’s favor. I’ll get real here; it was panned. But now redemption is at hand with the band’s new like memory foam (Damnably), yet my hesitation was getting the best of me. But here we go.

The band is back but this time, they’re at the starting line wearing a different pair of running shoes. Singer/guitarist Meg Zakany seems to come into her own on “Haru,” the opening jam kicker of the album (or is it Simizu?). Drummer Sheena McGrath finds her pace and singer/bassist Leslie Simizu accentuates the rhythm. Singer/Guitarist Kevin Bilapka-Arbelaez and Zakany both feed off one another as they allow the feedback and loose feel of their guitars to fill in wherever they find it necessary. It all seems to work and come together here on this catchy number. There’s no confusion on “Anzaldua’ where Kevin handles lead vocals, and there’s an insurmountable amount of energy exchanged on this noisy-driven pop number and anyone can feel the group’s love of 90’s indie rock, which they seem to revive just in this one song with a fervor! We can’t hate, instead hit that repeat button over and over again.

Ok, Simizu and the band’s love of stark bass lines resurface on “Circles” and comparisons, again, are slightly directed to a Pixies/Breeders age of brilliance. But it doesn’t shine so much here. The band redeems itself on “Muerde,” loosely based around a couple of notes but the song, sung in Spanish seems to work. Ya tu sabes! The bass is thick and deep while guitars sound light and sparse until they explode with gentle lengthy notes over crashing cymbals.  The band shifts gears here into what you may think is an instrumental jam before vocals surface and halfway through, the track shifts with beautiful harmonies and a rhythm that’s unrelentingly catchy AF.

Kevin Bilapka-Arbelaez seems to take up a more prevalent role in vocals on the misleading “Dead Tongues.” The band begins it at a mid-tempo pace but then quickly speeds things up with the ladies providing the backing harmonies. The feedback drive of “Heavy Ghosts” is what I’m talking about now, breaking the monotony up with sweet harmonies and more feedback-laden guitars. It seems there’s redemption in the air for didi, as like memory foam shows the band’s growth from one album (3 years ago) to the next. I’m glad didi has proven me wrong this time around.

What in the world….? This one literally lands in my lap at the final hour and it’s…intriguing. Why? Well, an aged Paul Leary is handling guitars, bass, keyboards, and programming on this one while you have Cold drummer Sam McCandless pounding away. And then there’s the Baroness handling vocals here, not to be confused with The Baroness band or the Australian rapper of the same name. No, this Baroness, she’s someone completely different. I’m not sure how the live performance is being handled but why should we care, The Cocky Bitches have a new album out today entitled Mercy (Slope Records) and it is definitely different.

While Paul Leary is handling most of the instrumentation as well as production duties, we can’t look at this as just a Butthole Surfers offshoot because the psychedelic skronks these Cocky Bitches are bringing is pretty much self-sustaining, albeit if it does seem to be self-indulgent at times. They begin things with “Sex Machine” which is about, well, sex. Leary’s guitars roll around the track, scantily clad as drums pound away to the Baroness’ sexual innuendos. But they’re pretty obvious. “Jump Jane Crow” has her sing/spoken delivery on this musically sparse track but the party doesn’t really get started until “Hands In Fire” drops. This is where The Cocky Bitches let out a sonic explosion of repetitive rhythms, loud guitars, and echoey vocals. The track may repeat itself over and over here but the band hits its mark here enough to pique interest. And then some. The brief instrumental “Eela Moira” is wrapped around a few guitar notes and background bird chirps which makes this track beautifully alluring and leaves the unsuspecting listener to the pummeling “Free The People” where the band completely lets go, finding its own edgy metal(istic) spirit hidden beneath masks. The band is certainly multifaceted and blends in styles to fit its aesthetic. I don’t think anyone else would be able to kick out “Produce,” a song about produce, and sex. They pick up the pace on “Rocket” though, at a much more frenetic pace that it’s dizzying. Leary & McCandless blow shit straight out of the water here and the Baroness filters her voice through multiple effects it seems. But it all works! Mercy is an intriguing listen and I’m sure it won’t be the last time for me. Oh, these Cocky Bitches.

 

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