U.K. producer Adam Gibbons (Lack of Afro / The Damn Straights) shares a 6-song E.P. Manhunt, which sets the stage for his The Last Bastion (OST) release dropping next June. There’s a lot of funk and soul strewn throughout the quick release but not all of the material is quite original. “Get Rid Of Him,” sounds eerily like a rendition of The Heavy’s “I’m A Big Bad Wolf” with chord progressions that are flagrantly similar. The title track offers up a clever groove selection that fits around decades of sound, pulling from the past, keeping it firmly fitted in the present. The dreamy strings of “Downstream” are captivating as the horn section accentuates it all, with the appeal of AIR inspiration.
For decades, Pig Destroyer has been, well, Pig Destroyer. The band from Virginia known throughout the universe with an unrelenting siege on the aggressive thrash of doom and gloom, since 1997 there has been no group that has since dethroned the band. The band has released its latest, Pornographers of Sound Live in NYC (Relapse) which needs a serious listen. You’ll have to make double takes because this doesnt “sound” live, but that’s the beauty of it; the band’s live essence is captured in the music and the result is perfection. Every element of the group’s frenetic level is found here. The speed demons are well in sync and we’re given 23 tracks, all recorded live in front of an audience, recorded at St. Vitus back in October 2019. Yes, this may not be what you want, but it’s what you need.
Conversations with kids don’t always go well when discussing music. My own back and forth with a 9-year-drummer/skateboarder has no interest in any metal or heavy attacks by anyone involved in this particular band, instead questioning me if I could set up a meeting with skate aficionado Tony Hawk for him.
Warish is the band of topic, fronted by Riley Hawk, son of Tony, that’s just released its third long-player, Next To Pay (RidingEasy Records). Throughout the years there have been numerous comparisons to bands that have come before Warish, rounded out by drummer Justin de la Vega who replaces Nick Broose, as well as bassist Alex Bassaj, and while those comparisons/influences may hold truth, the band has come into its own throughout the years. For its new album, the band hasn’t changed or changed its style in any way, instead opting to embellish on what it does well.
For other groups, a steady diet of nothing would be detrimental to its musical health but on Next To Pay, the band’s fortitude is in its own singular motion of heavy riffery, desert sludgery, and Hawk’s monotone delivery. The band starts off with the rhythmic explosiveness of the title track; a cacophony of sound with Bleach-era enthusiasm in Hawk’s delivery. But the band tosses in more melody alongside its dissonance on “Another No One,” and later creating slight changes on “Burn No Bridges” vocally, but keeping it towards brevity less they lose the band’s unequivocal realness. We see what the capabilities are here but the option taken is the one most traveled.
But maybe I was a bit too eager on the band’s descript sound because on “Seeing Red,” Hawk’s guitar work showcases more fluidity as he solo’s here allowing for a bit more intricacy and depth. Please don’t misunderstand, I can take the group in any scenario, any direction it moves it because Warish isn’t about playing games attempting to make a separate distinction as to where it lies in the rock pantheon. “Destroyer” creates a psychedelic funhouse appeal, still holding onto its sludge while at the same time infecting the track with enough melody to keep the critics happy.
Next To Pay is filled with thirteen tracks that are powerfully crafted, unrestrained, and just allow the band to have fun with the songs compiled here. Hawk & company are still young and have much time left to develop and grow into their instruments…if they wish to. They’re more than capable of it but at the moment, the band just like many others, want to enjoy the oblivion we’re living in.
Exploration should always be applauded when it reaches heights unexpected. Occasionally it arrives from those who should have received it much earlier but fickle fans, limited reaches, can keep an artist at bay. At times, a border may even be attributed to that separation.
This isn’t Toronto-based Cadence Weapon’s first go around here, establishing himself with a handful of studio albums and mixtapes dating back to 2005. But the emcee, known to his friends and family as Teddy Pemberton, plans on setting the world on fire with the new Parallel World (eOneMusic), his fifth proper album that spins across multiple subgenres challenges, still remains unequivocally inspiring and focused.
On the new album, Cadence Weapon’s delivery is as diverse as each song compiled here. The diversity of multiple production isn’t always feasible or works for an artist but for Cadence, the changes and differences, well, they may leave you inspired. The opening “Africville’s Revenge” rallies around thick and noisy beats less than a minute and a half where Cadence directs his attention around strength, gentrification, melanin distinction, and the pros & cons of being black. The track is brief but requires multiple spins. Often. The electronic U.K. grimey step of “On Me feat. Manga Saint Hilare” is what follows, and both Manga & Cadence walk carefully, attempting to avoid digital locks and facial recognition. Here, both follow through eloquently, with the understanding of tracking human beings.
Cadence Weapon moves differently with the catchy dance vibe of “Play No Games.” This here shows versatility. The music allows the emcee to move differently vocally. Cadence rhymes about focus and cutely shares insight on the prime minister’s racial leanings with “My prime minister wears blackface but don’t really want to face blacks.” It’s a clever song that leaves much to the imagination. On “SENNA feat. Jacques Green” that imagination shifts drastically and spreads stratospheric-sized wings. The song crescendos slightly as the volume increases but Cadence’s words are sharp and cut thoroughly. Musically, it’s majestic and allows Cadence Weapon all the freedom he needs here.
But I keep referring back to the closing “Connect,” which again takes a much different approach. Musically it’s soothing; much like a summer beach day but it’s Cadence with lyricism wrapped around reality(?) or dreams. It borders on existentialism while keeping one foot firmly planted. It makes sense while allowing for exploration. It’s heady but relatable and easy to fall in love with.
With so much obvious talent littered throughout this release with production by Jimmy Edgar, Martyn Bootyspoon, Casey MQ, Korea Town Acid, DNNY PHNTM, Strict Face, AudioOpera, and Little Snake, the album doesn’t suffer from a musical identity crisis. It all works well. That’s not even mentioning the other guests that include Fat Tony, Backxwash, Skratch Bastid that I haven’t mentioned. Parallel World isn’t easily classifiable but it is easy to enjoy the differences throughout it. That’s probably what makes it dope as fuck.