Category Archives: music

PCP: Bang Bang

Monotony Monday #24 – More Memories

Bang Bang for Your Buck

The short of it: It’s just a dope track with a sweet sample. 

Young Buck’s life has been pretty rough the past few years. IRS raids, shootings, prison, and property auctions are just a few of the hardships he’s faced.

That list doesn’t even include his exile from and eventual rejoining of G-Unit. Of course, that’s a whole issue besides the beef– he’s a dude best known for being a part of 50 Cent’s crew. He isn’t a well-known name anymore in today’s waves of Soundcloud and social media rappers, and, for the most part, he’s a forgotten part of the early aughts scene.

And it’s a damn shame because he made some dope music.

The sample of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” makes a beautiful hook and those little strings just make this track hit that sweet, moody spot. Buck delivers with this serious, unhappy tone that compliments the almost sad brags that make up the reality of a life that can end with a single bang.

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PCP: rockstar

Monotony Monday #22 – Malone Moan

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars  And live in hilltop houses, drivin’ 15 cars

The short of it: Post Malone’s sing-songy success works with Savage’s savage sonnets.

I’m not the biggest fan of Post Malone or 21 Savage, although I’ve definitely come around on Savage after his cold delivery finally clicked with me.

So when this track dropped, I clicked on it out of idle curiosity at best.

And damn.

These two young stars are, well, rockstars. Post Malone’s faded, singiness on the hook is catchy as hell and serves as a perfect lead-in to 21 Savage’s follow up. While he may have gotten famous off of his flat, cold delivery, he does a brilliant job replicating Malone’s melody. It makes his braggadocious verse just the right amount of coy and threatening.

PCP: Before the Storm OST

Monotony Monday #21 – Moody Maybae

Life is Strange, Music is Strong

The short of it: Capable of bringing your heart to its knees with just a chord, this soundtrack is hella good.

I’m not shy about the fact that Life is Strange is my favorite game (or that Dark Souls is my second). Life is Strange brought me on this incredible journey of love and loss with the single question of “If you could go back, would you?”

Before the Storm continues its atmosphere, with teens facing these problems so much larger than themselves, while dealing with all the social and emotional pressures of becoming an adult.

Daughter is wonderful. They were great on the original Life is Strange as part of the soundtrack, and their work with Before the Storm as the soundtrack is amazing.

From Daughter’s ambient title screen track to the kickass (but fictional) Pisshead, this soundtrack is damn near impeccable. It perfectly recreates the atmospheric moodiness of the original while adding in a bit of a punk edge for Chloe.

I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or not that this music instantly puts me into this weird funk, but it’s not gonna stop me from having it on a (time) loop.

PCP: Joyce Manor

Monotony Monday #20 – Maybe Manor

Ode to Joyce

The short of it: Well, they are the short of it.

Joyce Manor is an emo indie rock outfit with four albums under their belt, giving them a total run time of about 80 minutes. Every album ends up just around 20 minutes, meaning they managed to cram a whole lot of music in a surprisingly small amount of time.

The result is a discography full of songs as catchy as they are short. None of them ever overstay their welcome, even if a few end suddenly. “Heart Tattoo” off their third album is pretty decent example of what to expect: a frantic instrumental with a passionate poem, with a crazy catchy chorus to infect the listener in the song’s brief runtime.

Punchy and poignant, they manage to balance a good amount of emotions in their little runtime. From the nostalgic melancholy (“In the Army Now”) to melancholic nostalgia (“Beach Community”).

Simply put, they’re a joy.

Ce manor.

PCP: “Mononokay”

Mononotony Monday #15 – Monono More Like Moyesyes

Sorority Noise is More Than Noise

The short of it: A song made me feel again, okay?

There’s a lot I want to say about Sorority Noise. They’ve quickly raced past the likes of The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball to become my favorite emo/pop punk-y band, and, by extension, one of my favorite musical acts in general.

At first listen, I thought they were another annoying indie-lite band with nonsensical lyrics, thanks to Pandora’s recommendation of “Dirty Ickes” (“I taught myself Norse to sit on your front porch” – I mean, c’mon).

I eventually got others like “Where Are You?” and “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs,” which quickly won me over with their mix of melody and edge. I was planning to write about “Where Are You?” because of how accessible and catchy it is. Instead, I mentally pushed myself into writing about the song that nearly broke me.

I mean, shit man. That’s the first time in a long time a song’s actually stopped me in my tracks and consider myself.

What does it mean to be happy?
And am I getting better?
I used to make excuses for myself but it’s not the weather
I’ve tried to rid myself of my anxious tendencies
But I have to accept my head for what it is to me
I’m not super human
Well I’m barely alive
But I would kill to leave my house and not be afraid of the outside
So I started thinking
It’d be so nice
To not have trouble sleeping
I haven’t slept in nights

Cameron Boucher’s monotone confession is the same monologue I’ve had when it’s too late and I’ve done too much thinking.

Plus, I’m basically the same person.

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PCP: “Too Old to Die Young”

Monotony Monday #14 – Mais Yeh

The Dege Ain’t Silent

The short of it: It’s one song, come on now.

Maybe it’s because I just finished binging season one of True Detective (guess what Imma gush about Wednesday) and I’m feeling hyper-nostalgic, but man, Louisiana is cool. And so is Lafayette.

I originally heard this song on the Django Unchained soundtrack and loved it on first listen. It wasn’t until I looked it up later and saw the video being filmed in my very own hometown.

The mixture of modern Delta blues and the Acadiana crowd makes this a beautiful celebration of how my home is full of culture and art. I’ve always done a double-take at anyone speaking ill of Southern attitudes towards art, and this just reaffirms how silly of a stereotype that is– and how silly all stereotypes are.

More pride (and horror) for my home coming in a few days. For now, Imma just revel in the beauty.

PCP: “Kill Jay Z”

Monotony Monday #12 – Made Man Makes More

“Kill Jay Z,” or the Death of Stale Z

The short of it: In the opening track of his latest album, Jay-Z manages to shake off the rust of years of success to share his pain. 

Despite all the uncertainty around his name (Jay Z, or Jay-Z, or JAY Z), his status as one of the greats is certain.

Unfortunately, his past string of features and singles have all been pretty lackluster. Dated references and weak brags made him more of a track liability than a legend.

It’s been a shame having to hear him go through these stale bars, knowing his distinctive sound is going to waste. He’s got that voice that sounds like it’s always on the cusp of laughing or crying– and after hearing his laugh, I tend to hope it’s crying.

But finally, here his crescendoed enunciation becomes this great conveyor of decades of emotional stress.

Upon seeing the title, I wrote this track off as being some other braggadocios cut from Watch The Throne, another, “I’m rich / they tried to kill me / never gonna scratch that itch” track that’s turned Jay incredibly boring. But instead, it’s about killing his ego. And it’s the opposite of WTT– it’s the loss of Ye and Jay over the success that’s now become a burden. It’s about the personal and public mistakes Jay’s made without addressing. It’s a lifetime of pain hidden by mainstream success that he’s finally facing head on.

Cry Jay Z, we know the pain is real / But you can’t heal what you never reveal

And these lines are for real. There’s no joking about Bey’s album or about any of his problems with the Knowles. As Anthony Fantano put it in his review, he effectively drags himself through the coals the entire song. It’s this mix of self-flagellation and recognition that he must open up to heal. It’s not pity, it’s reclamation. He’s taking credit for his mistakes and personal life, stepping up to the figure revealed by Lemonade and paparazzi. I’m not sure I can think of any other song like this. Sure, Boosie’s got his songs about his mistakes, Gates tried to clear the air about his assault case (and failed, hard, despite the fact the song bangs), Ye gets vulnerable and defends his actions, but none of them accept their failures so openly and honestly. For Jay, this seems like new ground, a sign of the softening he’s gone through as a father.

If this is killing Jay Z, then let’s hope there’s a spree.

PCP: Clams Casino’s Instrumental Mixtape 4

Monotony Monday #11 – More Mixtapes Mister

Clams Casino’s Instrumental Mixtape 4: Incremental Instrumentals

The short of it: Consistent Clammy Clams comes with it again, offering 13 mellow instrumentals that mark him as one of the most unique producers out there. 

Clams Casino came to my attention as the master producer behind Lil B’s “I’m God.”

Three instrumental tapes later (for me, he’s had a couple dozen massive hits with artists like Vince Staples and Rocky), he’s my favorite producer. Despite not quite reaching the highs of his first two tapes, his fourth still provides the ethereal melodies that make him so impressive.

Clams’ proves his mastery with the use of echoed vocals and these tiny little high notes that float over these slightly drawn out bass notes. His music is more a miasma than a melody– the tape, despite having wholly unrelated singles from different artists, blends into this cloudy experience.

It’s Clams Casino’s jackpot.

PCP: Dethklok

Monotony Monday #10 – Most Metal

Dethklok: Timeless

The short of it: Parody that outdoes its source material is rare. Not only does Dethklok successfully mock the quirks and ridiculousness of metal, it outdoes most metal bands in terms of talent and performance. 

The pilot episode of Metalocalypse portrays Dethklok as the world’s most popular band, with legions of fans willing to die to hear the band play.

Three albums (more or less) later, it’s actually understandable why their animated fans would go to the brütal slaughterhouse that is a Dethklok show.

The band is effectively just Brendon Smalls playing with himself. And the result is some of the funniest jokes about the genre delivered through genuinely great metal.

Pretty much every track manages to both kick ass and bring a grin to your face. You’ve got songs like “Dethharmonic,” with these gorgeous, orchestral strings backing this shuddering riff and it’s just beautiful.

And the song is just about not wanting to pay taxes. It’s funny on the surface level, but, like all of Dethklok’s music, makes this grander point about how dumb most metal lyrics are. Even though Small’s got wonderfully clear vocals, other metal bands’ muddled screeches and snarls disguise the utter inanity of most lyrics. And Dethklok is both pointing that out and saying that it’s actually fine– the pretentiousness and elitism that riddle the metal community are as silly as the eighteenth reference to Satan in a three minute song. If it sounds good, it’s good. If it sounds metal, it’s metal.

Dethklok, as a band, is impressive. Dethklok, as a comedic avenue, is impressive. Dethklok as a single man’s project is indescribable.

Well, maybe not.

It actually just takes three words.

Metal. As. Fuck.

PCP: Freshmen

Monotony Monday #9 – Moronoic, Maybe Not

Kodak Black & 21 Savage: Freshmen Track Stars

The short of it: Once the backpack comes off, these two young stars have more to offer than their outlandish behavior and reputation.

Aight, I gotta start this off by saying I’m not a backpacker. Sure, maybe I used to be more on the side of suburban white kid rap (horrorcore and the spirituallyricalmiracle), but then I realized how much good music there was once you stopped reflexively hating on anything outside your box. I came to realize that artists like Hopsin are more of a failure of potential rather than a guidepost of good hip-hop. And I found out artists like Future can put out some of my favorite tracks and projects (Monster is Future’s greatest work, @ me son).

So the XXL Freshmen are always fun for me to see– I can get behind veterans of the scene sneaking in, and I’m interested in seeing what talent I didn’t know about made it in.

G Herbo, finally. Denzel Curry, Dave East, good for them. Desiigner, aw hell yeah, got a weird soft spot for him. Dicky probably deserves it for his honesty and virality. Yachty and Uzi Vert been shakin’ up the game, aight, and .Paak is blowing up.

That leaves Kodak and 21, two artists that have long left a bitter taste in my mouth. Kodak for his history of dumb crimes and violence, 21 for his overly deadpan expression and “issaknife” debacle.

Two songs cycled up on Pandora recently, and I begrudgingly started to warm up to these two.

Kodak’s feature with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (who I also don’t dig, partially because of the obtrusiveness of his name, partially out of loyalty to Boogie) got me. ABWDH’s melodies lured me in, and Kodak’s grizzled pronunciation sealed the deal.

Something about his tight lipped delivery worked with the production to even let me look past his terrible “I’m the shit, I’m fartin'” line to appreciate one of my favorite closers to a verse this year:

She call me daddy / But I ain’t her muh’fuckin’ father

Meanwhile, 21 Savage won me with his song “X” with Future. In the track, 21 says with a straight tone, no inflection or slowing:

Hit her with no condom / had to make her eat a Plan B

Childish Gambino has a similar line, but he offers this deep shame along with the admission:

“There any breakage in that Trojan?” / She see what she wanna see / So I make her take Plan B in front of me

Now, this isn’t a direct comparison between the two or some criticism about how hard or soft they seem. It’s a matter of approach– and 21’s is, well, savage. It’s flat, cold, straight. It’s a delivery that could be either completely untrained or terrifyingly trained. It’s a feral dog that wants blood or a trained dog coming for the jugular. Either way, it’s got me barking for more.