Category Archives: Short Cuts

Review: Jneiro Jarel, “Android Love Mayhem”

Jneiro Jarel, Android Love Mayhem Alpha Pup Records Jneiro Jarel, who has recently garnered attention for his remix work with TV on the Radio and Maximum Balloon, only recently moved to Los Angeles, but his expansive approach to beat production … Continue reading

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Review: Take, “Only Mountain”

Take, Only Mountain Alpha Pup Thomas “Take” Wilson is frequently mistaken as a rookie, but his career actually dates back to the early 2000s and encompasses several under-appreciated works, including 2007’s Earthtones & Concrete. He has developed a highly distinct … Continue reading

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Review: The Glitch Mob, “Drink The Sea”

The Glitch Mob, Drink the Sea Glass Air Records Since the middle of the 2000s, The Glitch Mob have taken bass music to the extreme, banging out synthesized jams that bounce like a hip-hop version of Giorgio Moroder. Drink the … Continue reading

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Review: Baths, “Cerulean”

Baths, Cerulean Anticon Will “Baths” Wiesenfeld’s debut album leaps from style to style, from Four Tet-inspired folktronica (“Aminals”) to Autechre’s early experiments in ghostly arpeggios (“?”). It contains allusions to L.A. such as Daedelus and Flying Lotus, and the sound … Continue reading

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Review: Exile, “Radio: AM/FM”

Exile, Radio: AM/FM Plug Research On his 2009 album, Radio, Exile (producer for Fashawn and Blu, among others) tried to replicate a radio listening session, even interspersing frequency noise and snippets of pop hits amidst loping instrumentals. Radio: AM/FM is … Continue reading

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Review: MF Doom, “Expektoration Live”

MF Doom, Expektoration Live Gold Dust Media Expektoration Live captures a MF Doom concert at B.B. King’s in New York. Judging from the track list, which draws heavily from Operation Doomsday, his Madvillain project and MM…Food, the gig took place … Continue reading

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Review: Atmosphere, “To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy”

Atmosphere, To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy Rhymesayers Entertainment Slug may never get recognized as one of hip-hop’s greatest storytellers, but he deserves to be. The Minneapolis rapper excels at the confessional, rhyming first-person narratives so vivid … Continue reading

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Street Sweeper Social Club, “The Ghetto Blaster EP”

Street Sweeper Social Club, The Ghetto Blaster EP SSSC/ILG Tom Morello writes some of the best intros in modern hard rock, and Boots Riley from the Coup is an ace satirist. And when both click on The Ghetto Blaster EP, … Continue reading

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Shawn Jackson, “Brand New Old Me”

Shawn Jackson, Brand New Old Me Tres Records Shawn Jackson’s second album riffs on underground striver themes: surviving the mean streets of “Lah City,” toking on “purple swishas,” taking “Starget Practice,” and going on “T!LT.” The beats explore well-worn niches, … Continue reading

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Marco Polo, “The Stupendous Adventures Of Marco Polo”

Marco Polo, The Stupendous Adventures Of Marco Polo Duck Down Records It seems counterintuitive for rising producer Marco Polo to turn The Stupendous Adventures of Marco Polo into a platform for dozens of MCs. But Marco Polo isn’t an instrumental … Continue reading

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TOKiMONSTA, “Cosmic Intoxication”

TOKiMONSTA, Cosmic Intoxication Ramp Recordings Jennifer “Tokimonsta” Lee has waded into a teeming L.A. beat scene with her Cosmic Intoxication debut. So give her praise for excelling at production fundamentals and spinning a cool vibe on this 21-minute EP. Her … Continue reading

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Ninjasonik, “Art School Girls”

Ninjasonik, Art School Girls Green Owl/Chief Records This full-length from a trio of Brooklyn smart-asses is a puzzling conceit of hipster in-jokes. Ninjasonik is undoubtedly the Art School Girls in the title, flipping through cool indie styles like a wardrobe … Continue reading

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Masta Killa, “Live”

Masta Killa, Live Gold Dust Media Masta Killa has quietly carved out a fine solo career independent of his Wu-Tang Clan brothers, issuing modest gems like 2004’s No Said Date. On Live, the New York rapper “keeps it classical like … Continue reading

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Inspectah Deck, “Manifesto”

Inspectah Deck, Manifesto Traffic Entertainment Inspectah Deck has dropped many classic verses and hooks for his Wu-Tang team, from “C.R.E.A.M.” to “Hollow Bones.” But unlike Ghostface Killah and Method Man, he never evolved into a compelling solo artist. Inspectah Deck’s … Continue reading

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Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx, “The eXXecution”

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx, The eXXecution Duck Down Records Canadian producer Marco Polo knows how to cajole strong performances out of recalcitrant thug rappers. For Ruste Juxx, the star of The eXXecution, he lays down a template of grimy … Continue reading

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Flobots, “Survival Story”

Flobots, Survival Story Universal Republic If you’re looking for another “Handlebars,” the insanely catchy anti-imperialist anthem that put Denver, Colo. rap band Flobots on the map, then you won’t find it here. If anything from Survival Story emerges as a … Continue reading

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Dessa, “A Badly Broken Code”

Dessa, A Badly Broken Code Doomtree Like many spoken-word artists turned rappers, Dessa makes music that can’t be easily pegged as hip hop. Instead, A Badly Broken Code has a wintry, quiet tone reminiscent of mid-90s trip-hop, and she spends … Continue reading

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Get ready for more short cuts

Starting today, I’ll post some of my Rhapsody reviews on Plug One. I’m a little wary of doing this because these reviews tend to be more “service-friendly” than my usual work. At best, however, they cut to the chase and … Continue reading

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B. Dolan, “Fallen House, Sunken City”

B. Dolan, Fallen House, Sunken City Strange Famous Records “I braced against the railing and looked into the sun like I was waiting for someone to burn a picture in my mind,” B. Dolan intones on “Leaving New York.” Having … Continue reading

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Short Cuts: DJ Design, “Jetlag”

DJ Design Jetlag Look Records Keith “DJ Design” Griego’s Jetlag closes a circle first opened in the late 90s. Back then, as a player in Stones Throw’s formative San Francisco days, he produced tracks for that label (including rough rhymer … Continue reading

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