Bryce Rudow is an associate editor for The Daily Banter and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow (or follow him to make him feel more popular while getting access to random new music he doesn’t have the time to write about).
I know how much BYT’s demographic loves esoteric sports-related themes when it comes to discovering new music, and the NFL Combine just wrapped up yesterday, so I figured what better time than now to compare some recent releases to those NFL prospects whose dreams were one step closer to being solidified or one more fuck-up away from being lost forever this past week.
Oh, and remember to follow the Tunes You Should Fucking Know in 2014 playlist on Spotify. You’re already listening to this music. Take the time to make sure you can do it ALL THE TIME.
Ok. Here we go…
- St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Yesterday, St. Vincent (aka Annie Erin Clark) released the follow-up album to her fantastic 2012 LP Love This Giant. Two days ago, Jadeveon Clowney, ran the 40 yard dash.
That follow up album, St. Vincent, is already gobbling up critical acclaim is set to make a small dent in the commercial world as well. Clowney, a DE/LB who is 6’5 and 266lbs with an 83-inch wingspan ran that 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, a time that beat out most running backs and wide receivers.
Now we knew that both St. Vincent and Clowney were special talents, but no one expected these kinds of performances.
Granted they’ve both spent the past few years getting groomed in the idealist of circumstances, Clark nestled under David Byrne’s wing and Clowney in the SEC hotbed of the University of South Carolina, respectively.
But that doesn’t explain their freakishly impressive showings this week.
Clowney has locked himself in to be a top 3 pick in the draft this May, and St. Vincent has proven not just that Love This Giant’s success wasn’t a fluke, but that she is one of the biggest forces to be reckoned with when it comes to off-mainstream pop.
A veteran’s bravado is apparent from the first seconds of album-opener “Rattlesnake,” and that kind of artistic tenacity doesn’t take a note off for the rest of the album. She has no reservations about launching into bouts of orchestrated chaos or fuzzed out guitar solos. And while, like Clowney, there are some moments that might raise an eyebrow or two, the excitement that comes from hearing the refreshing sound of experimentation in pop music or watching Clowney make hits like he did in the Outback Bowl more than makes up for those brief moments of doubt.
These two are both about to step into their place in the sun.
- Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron
If St. Vincent is Jadeveon Clowney, then Schoolboy Q is Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle out of Pitt. We all knew St. Vincent and Clowney were going to be ridiculously amazing, we just wanted to see how much they had in them.
But not a lot of people thought Donald would make this kind of a statement at the Combine, and I don’t think anyone expected Schoolboy Q to rise to this level of hip-hop stardom.
Now, I usually only notice DT’s when they’re getting called for a penalty, but the 285lb-er ran a 4.68 40 and had a 32-inch vertical leap. That’s impossible not to notice. And neither is Oxymoron.
I don’t know if I’m able to properly appreciate this album for what it is, as I’m a dorky white 27-year old who hasn’t been able to even fake like he can relate to west-coast gangster rap in years, but I do know that this is some of the best stuff coming out of that genre. And while not a contender for good kid m.A.A.d city’s throne, it’s a worthy entry into that universe.
The beats are interesting and dynamic, the flows are hypnotizing, and an eclectic creativity surges throughout the albums 15 tracks. Schoolboy Q is proudly flexing muscles we didn’t know or weren’t sure he had, like the ability to get real like he does on “Prescription,” or the creative confidence that allows him to get a little out there on “Break The Bank,” or even the technical chops to keep up with Kendrick on “Collard Greens.”
This was a big week for both Donald and Schoolboy Q, and both their stocks should continue to rise as more and more people are forced to take notice.
- Hozier – Take Me To Church EP
Hozier is the receiver from the DIII school that didn’t understand how game footage works. There’s a limited library of his work documented and it’s all a bit different, so whatever song you use as your introduction to him is going to skew how you view the others*.
If you’re hearing his single/going by the track listing, you’re hearing “Take Me To Church” first, a dark slightly bluesy number that might lead you to peg him as somewhere between Alex Clare and James Blake. Since he made it his single and the name of his EP, this is obviously the image he wants to make as a first impression.
And it’s a great idea.
It’s catchy but soulful, with a lovely twisted gospel influence, and his unique voice insinuate that he’s got more than just this song in him. NFL prospect-wise, think of someone like Jerick McKinnon, a former option quarterback and running back turned in the best all-around workout of any player tested at this year’s combine.
If you hear “Like Real People Do” first though, you hear a folky tortured balladeer.
You hear this song, and you think you’re in for an Iron And Wine exploration of the more catchy sides of folk. This is an impossible niche to break through with, but it’s a great skill to show off, like when Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith posted speed numbers that rivaled defense backs.
And if you’re lucky enough to hear “Angel of Small Death” first, you’ll think you’ve found someone that could recapture the danchehall Americana genre from bands like Mumford and Sons that have bastardized that signature blend of blues, rock, and folk. It might make you even believe in the impossible, like Auburn’s Greg Robinson, a 6’5 332lb slab of a person who bench-pressed 225lbs 32 times and ran a 4.84 40-yard dash. I know…
Only time is going to tell what kind of talent Hozier really is, but it’s definitely going to be a fun ride.
*I’m throwing out the live version of “Cherry Wine” that closes out the album as admissible evidence in terms of football skills. Playing well live is like speaking well at the podium. It’s impressive, but just ask Michael Sam how far it gets you if it’s your only move.
And now, it’s time for a very special edition off…
THE GUEST WRITER YOU SHOULD FUCKING KNOW: Nancy Lu Edition
Editor’s Note: Nancy would like me to point out that, “Nancy Lu is a music publicist for some cool artists depending on who you ask. She enjoys the Internet and snacks.”
Moon Boots – “Don’t Ask Why” (feat. Kyiki)
I’d first like to give a major shout out to Bryce for inviting me to be the Guest Writer for his weekly column. I’m a music publicist and usually I’m up to my ears in tracks from the dozen or so artists I have at any given time. This really gave me the opportunity (forced new found motivation) to deep dive into Soundcloud again and for that, I am grateful. There’s definitely a sense of satisfaction you get from pushing play on a random track in your Soundcloud feed and immediately falling in love that is unparalleled.
This week’s discovery comes from New York by way of Chicago’s Moon Boots in a new single called “Don’t Ask Why.” Since his 2012 Aretha EP, Moon Boots has proven time and again his consistency in making good, no-frills electronic music. But what started as a staunchly nu-disco project has evolved over the last couple of years into a more house-oriented sound.
The first example of this house-heavy evolution is evident in his track “C.Y.S.” released just earlier this month.
Here Moon Boots revitalizes the 90’s single “Can’t You See” by Total (feat. Notorious B.I.G.) by sampling the vocals and laying an addictively hypnotic bassline over it. And if “C.Y.S.” is the appetizer on the new Moon Boots menu, then “Don’t Ask Why” is the main course. Instead of using a vocal sample, this time Moon Boots has opted for all original production.
Featuring the ghostly vocals of London singer and Crystal Fighters touring member Kyiki, “Don’t Ask Why” is a sensual late summer night of hanging out with your boo – an endless groove that will make you want to purr and stretch your limbs out like these cats in this YouTube video compilation.
As an extra special treat, Moon Boots is offering the track as a free download so grab it while you can, folks.