And the award for song title of the year goes to….. Seriously, there’s nothing like listening to Street Sects’ music and brutally screaming out your existential pain. They’re truly a genuine band who pour everything they have onto their music, and it’s captivating. The band will release their new E.P. Gentrification IV: Suspended from Gallery Rails this Friday via “The Flenser,” and today they have shared a music video for the opening track “If Life is a Gift, It’s in Very Poor Taste.” You can watch the music video below:
On this day in 1999 “Korn” released their fourth album Issues. At the height of the “Nu-Metal” craze of the late 90’s, the music world became saturated with copy after copy of bands jumping on the band wagon creating trendy music devoid of originality. Though 1999 was when “Nu-Metal” was at it’s peak with bands like “Limp Bizkit” climbing the charts, (kinda laughable now isn’t it?) the genre at the same time was on it’s way out, but the pioneers of “Nu-Metal,” as is the case of most pioneering bands, “Korn” weren’t interested in repeating the “Nu-Metal” tropes they helped create, instead they experimented even further with their album Issues, but this time stripped back their sound reducing it to a simplistic heaviness, a heaviness that was immensely polished and had a new strict sense of focus thanks to producer Brendan O’Brien who didn’t allow the band to party and fool around. Issues was heavy no doubt, but this album found lead singer Jonathan Davis delivering his best and most melodic vocal work. It’s almost as if this is Korn’s Pop album, well, whatever tortured, incredibly dark, and unsettling Pop world this album can belong to. Of course “Korn” are still active today with a large devoted following of passionate fans, but Issues marked the end of an era, and displayed the band’s refusal to succumb to trends. Happy Anniversary.
On this day in 2009 Underground Hip Hop supergroup “Felt” released their third album Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez. The group consisted of rappers Murs and Slug, working with a different producer for each album. Felt 3 is arguably the group’s best album, once again switching their style up thanks to Aesop Rock’s unique production. This album signified the end of an era for Underground Hip Hop. The go to scene for Hip Hop heads who wanted to hear substance, flow, and lyricism as opposed to hearing the mindless stuff that was being played on the radio reigned supreme all throughout the 2000’s, and Felt 3 was almost like an unintentional last hurrah, because let’s face it, the majority of artists in the underground scene didn’t really make anything essential in the next decade, but they made their staple in time and influenced a myriad of younger artists taking the D.I.Y. route. What better way to represent the underground than to feature 3 artists representing 3 essential crews in the scene? Slug represented “Rhymesayers” from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Murs represented “Living Legends” from California, and Aesop Rock represented the now defunct “Definitive Jux” label from New York. 3 different styles colliding but working perfectly together with innovative and at times odd as Hell production and an impeccable back and fourth between Murs and Slug as they range from boastful flow and mature themes, to vivid storytelling. I can’t think of a better album to end an era. Happy Anniversary.
Colorado based band “Czar” are pretty new to the Rock world, but it’s evident that the band have been working hard since their formation in 2018. The band will release their debut album on January 31st 2020 via “Black Bow Records,” and what a perfect way to start off the new decade. Through my eyes Rock music is having a renaissance at the moment. Though interest in the myriad of styles and artistry in Rock has yet to reach the mainstream, (if it ever will) bands of all Rock genres have been creating the most captivating music as of late, and now we can add “Czar” to that list. Today the band premiered their new music video for their single “A Loathing,” a track that evokes the spirit of bands such as “Tool” or “Helmet,” but has it’s own staple of melodic accessibility and thoughtful inward-looking lyricism. This song sounds very 90’s, and that’s not a bad thing, because instead of going on a nostalgia trip and completely emulating the 90’s, the band show us that there’s much more to explore in the music that once was on top 20 years ago. You can watch the music video for “A Loathing” below:
On this day in 1989 “Industrial” legends “Ministry” released their fourth album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.” Diving further into the “Thrash Metal” leanings that popped up on their previous album The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste was the first album that found the band fully developing their signature style of Thrash-leaning “Industrial Metal” with countless samples and unrelenting heaviness. Sole member Al Jourgensen has been vocal about his disappointment with this album, citing the chaotic background of the recording and the fact that him and pivotal band-mate Paul Barker were never in the same room during the recording of the album as the reason for that, but that chaos translated to the music quite well with it’s aggressive and terrifying darkness. This album was the complete reinvention of the band. A reinvention that still hasn’t been matched to this day. Happy Anniversary.
On this day in 1999 “Le Tigre” released their self-titled debut album. Following the disbandment of “Bikini Kill,” lead singer Kathleen Hanna formed Le Tigre with fellow musicians Johanna Fateman and Sadie Benning. Le Tigre were originally intended to be the live supporting band for Hanna’s solo project “Julie Ruin,” but the band took on a life of it’s own and they began writing their own original material. On their self-titled debut the band used organs, samplers, turntables, drum machines, and guitars to create music that was “Electronic” based but featured the feminist political lyrics Bikini Kill were known for, and Kathleen Hanna’s raucous vocals were as strong as ever. This album revolutionized both “Punk” and “Electronic” music, two genres that couldn’t be more opposite from each other. This album is proof that political music can also be catchy and melodic. Happy Anniversary.
Montreal-based R&B artist Maryze has had quite the year. Her debut E.P. Like Moons was well-received and garnered much attention, and following her tour across the U.S. and Canada, her following continues to grow. Much of the Pop/R&B world feels a bit oversaturated at times with countless artists recycling the same clichés and predictable styles, but there are those who innovate, and Maryze is one of those artists. Whether she’s delivering her beautifully soulful vocals over a myriad of musical styles such as R&B, Hip Hop, and Electronic Music, writing thought-provoking content that allows you to look inward and search for self-acceptance, or incorporating French representing her bilingualism, she never fails to display her versatility. As colorful as her music has been thus far, it feels as if there’s always been a darker side just waiting to come out, and now on her new single “Bad Bad Dream,” that darker side is front and center. Produced by Toronto’s “Mouth Breather,” and also featuring a spoken word verse from British artist “Forever Next Door,” “Bad Bad Dream” is a dark yet fun banger that speaks on the terrors of sleep paralysis, and it’s cleverly disguised as a song about a toxic love interest. The song deals with darker subject matter yes, but it’s also not afraid to be playful with it’s bouncy Halloween-like production and sexy vocals. On the surface it can be a fun track to add to your Halloween playlist, but if you delve deeper into the lyrics you’ll find Maryze acknowledging her sleep paralysis and embracing it. She’s making light of it to the point where it’s almost as if she welcomes it. Does she hate it? Does she love it? Does she hate it and love it? Sleep paralysis is a subject that’s seldom explored in Halloween-themed music, and it’s a lot more terrifying than vampires and zombies, but don’t let that scare you off, because this song is immensely catchy with a hook that will stick in your head for days, proving that not all spooky music needs to be embedded in doom and gloom. Maryze is having fun with the darkness, and it’s refreshing.
Written By: Steven Sandoval