It seems Psymon Spine isn’t closing out the year without giving us a couple of new songs on the heels of Charismatic Megafauna, released earlier this year. The two tracks offered up, “Mr. Metronome” and “Drums Valentino” (Northern Spy Records) were culled from the same sessions of the albums, more so the ideas the band came up with while they were writing the album. Seems the tracks have been fully realized into the underground electro dance-punk that it is. “Mr. Metronome” is easily catchy and seems to end much too soon although the track clocks in at over five and a half minutes. Yes, we could dance all night, allow the pyre to burn on Rockaway Beach, running away as the cops try to catch us. That’s the move, that’s the movement. “Drums Valentino” mechanical guitar pop moves like an 80s track fitted in a John Hughes film’s closing credits. It works. I think it’s time to revisit the band’s last album.
Would you believe it if anyone told you Ohio always strikes back? If it’s not Chicago, there’s always something stirring in Ohio, whether it’s Cincy, Columbus, or Dayton because you know, Hip-Hop. This year has been pretty busy for TINO in particular, releasing a couple of EPs earlier this year; Been A sidekick Fan For Seven Years And All I Got Was This this past summer, and Safe Money in April. But he unexpectedly released the new Never Worried Bout Tomorrow, a 10-track album produced by Nick Robison, Rizo, and Blueprint.
From the start, TINO’s delivery throughout the new album is inviting. The Cincy rapper showcases his unpretentious storytelling capabilities, masterfully crafting songs around his words. There are an innumerable amount of tracks that are tightly wound around his lyrics. The first track that comes to mind is the unwitting love song “I Know,” where he balances sensuality with sexuality, with a beat and backdrop that suits his needs. It isn’t over the top but comparisons to the sweet scent of “cinnamon” with clever quips like “eat you like Entenmann’s” may have you giggling and also thinking, “yeah, that seems about right.” He knows how to add the right amount of sweetness. “For Every Action a Reaction,” produced by and featuring Blueprint is thoughtful with lyricism rolling around struggle, doubt, being held down and held back, and knowing the difference between letting go of the naysayers in order to ascend. Both emcees are direct in their lyricism. ‘Print’s beat, as always, fits snuggly against the words placed against it.
But it’s “On Momma,” featuring TrigNO, where gritty reality hits with TINO exposing low moments from the get-go with “Contemplating trying to talk with satan because the Lord doesn’t seem to hear us here/Pray for rain but it never came, in fact I never seen the sky that’s clear.” With a melancholic backbeat, the emcees offer up a can’t-stop-won’t-stop attitude when faced with constant struggles. Although, with “Sad Song,” it doesn’t seem things can’t feel any more morose than it does here. His faith is constantly tested through death and addiction, and he’s able to put all in his words, reflecting back but also aware that “no one wants to hear another sad song.”
TINO is fully expressive in what & how he gets his point across. “No Sinatra” TINO confronts the difference between being overly braggadocio and confidence on this grandiose “No Sinatra,” the sole track produced by Rizo. Musically, it’s fitting for the topic and even quotes the Chairman of the Board offering, “at the end of the day, I’m doing it my way.” Rizo’s atmospheric keyboard washes are eloquently placed against his steady beat, allowing TINO the room and space he requires here. TINO is over the top here, boastful sans arrogance. It doesn’t end there though as he’s fully expressive and open on the bouncy “Preacher’s Son.” Again, the egotism is minimal as he shares the differences between himself and his family members, doing things the only way he can because there’s only one TINO.
We’ve only scratched the surface of Never Worried Bout Tomorrow because there’s much more to be offered here. TINO closes out the year as a force to be reckoned with.