The Austin, TX crooners return to the spotlight with their stunning new album Crawling Up The Stairs, out this week on Acephale (US) and Merock (EU). As SPIN reports, “The band’s full-length “traces the arc of a personal descent into hell and the slow climb back out of it — a storyline no doubt inspired by a couple of breakups and a skateboarding tumble that gave Grace a gruesome knee injury that left him on crutches for a large portion of last year.” One of the most intriguing and heart wrenching explorations of sound and experience, Pure X deliver more than just chords and lyrics, you just need to listen.
‘Thousand Year Old Child’ Yours Truly Session
‘Things In My Head’
Read what your favorite tastemakers are saying about Pure X:
In spite of the really seething, saddening moments that mark Pure X’s first album, Pleasure, it had a strange ability to soothe ears. The ability was so unanimously agreed upon that, in it’s path to canonization, it started to morph into comfort music. The honey-dripped burn of its carving guitar squalls, succinct bass grooves, and writhing vocal echoes fused into a separate entity, a characterization of the music linked more the times we chose to turn to it and what we felt while listening than what the music portrayed on its own. Even though the work was still the same, the relationship developed between itself and listeners obscured its full range of possibilities, which left leaving the record evocative of a narrower— dare I say, inaccurate— range of interpretations. What makes Crawling Up The Stairs so memorable is its ability to cleverly defy that context. They’ve been able to come closer to the core principles of their style by employing subtle changes in mood and instrumentation that most fans might not expect, experimenting with more ambitious arrangements and fleshing out distinct personalities for each song. When taken in sequence, the new tracks lendC.U.T.S. an unpredictable and dramatic arc— rather than floating in the infinite recesses of one small moment, it travels the peaks and valleys of a tumultuous longer-form timeline. -ad hoc
Pure X songs remind me of quicksand. Or maybe it’s a soak in a warm tub of thick honey. Once a song starts and the sweet stoned nothings are whispered into your ears and buttery chunks of flanger-effected guitar slowly melt over you, all eyes glaze into fixed hypnotic stares and all movements temporarily freeze in time. Maybe I’m getting carried away, but every time I hear a new song by this great Austin band, I start thinking about the word ‘viscosity,’ which essentially describes the ratio of resistive force to flow in a fluid. Yes, Pure X’s music flows—it moves forward in time—but there’s something heavy and obstructive continually pushing back against it. For every sweet blissful melody, there’s a dissonant streak of darkness; and for every snap of snare in time, there’s a backlash of unhurried sludgy sighing guitar. And it’s one hell of a convincingly gorgeous contrast. -Everybody Taste
The slow stream of singles from Pure X’s forthcoming Crawling Up the Stairs suggest that the band’s softly emerging from their reverb-soaked, foggy introspection to a sunnier place— one where nostalgia is draped over gorgeous sprawling plains, and surprisingly raw vocals help humanize quietly brooding frontman Nate Grace, who suffered a nasty leg injury (without insurance) while working on the LP. “Thousand Year Old Child” unfolds like a cathartic lullaby as a gentle guitar melody strums over a swinging, heartening beat while Jesse Jenkins softly warbles out his self-reflection. Pure X’s intimate moments are more charming than ever; when Jenkins asks, “What am I doing with my life?”, it sounds as if he’s inviting you to answer. - Pitchfork
Entertaining Made Easy with Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap Punch
In a large bowl mix the following:
-1 part undeniable talent no matter what kind of hip hop you’re into
-2 parts catchy lyrics and quick, complicated flows (see: “You never tasted paper, Tripped, racing yaself trynna chase the paper. I just faced a Vega, And you love being Kobe when you make the lay up, Till you realize everybody in the world fuckin hates the Lakers, Hahaha”)
-1 part charisma that transcends demographics; mass appeal on more than just a hip hop level (see: Kanye West, Kid Kudi)
-a splash of traptastic beats (see: ‘Smoke Again’, ‘Favorite Song’)
-1 part Action Bronson (see: every hip hop album produced in the last five years)
-1 part TopDawg Entertainment (see: Ab-Soul on the track ‘Smoke Again’)
-1 part humor (see: Chance The Rapper + Hannibal Buress I “NaNa” I $5,000 Video: Episode 1)
Shake then strain over your favorite speakers. Serve/enjoy with excessive headbobs at your next party.
The 20-year old rising Chicago rapper, Chancellor Bennett aka Chance The Rapper, releases his fantastic Acid Rap mixtape, shining a spotlight on his witty and energetic lyricism and unique brand of hip hop.
‘Smoke Again’ Ft. Ab-Soul
Chance the Rapper x Nosaj Thing - ‘Pusha Man (Paranoia)’ Songs from Scratch
‘Juice’ (Prod. by Nate Fox)
‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’ (ft. Vic Mensa & Twista)
Read what some of your favorite music tastemakers are saying about Chance The Rapper:
“His grassroots approach to building a fanbase would feel contrived in a lot of other cases, but this is part of why it feels like Chance works: he’s capitalized on what it feels like to be in the audience and made an organic, exciting, and not-corny experience out of it.
Acid Rap is a testament to that method, an attempt to narrate being a relatively normal kid growing up in a slightly less-than-normal universe. Again, Chance is a good student of the form: “Good Ass Intro” is a juke-laced interpolation of a Kanye West mixtape cut and the track name is a nod to the working title of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Good Ass Job). “Lost” uses a Willie Hutch “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out”sample popularized by Dr. Dre. The Jack Wilkins bassline in “NaNa” is nod to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Sucka N*gga.” It’s the kind of beat selection that suggests creative admiration instead of uninventive mimicry. Lyrically, Chance is equally expansive in both content and form. He’s managed to convey the threats of his everyday life (violent crime, acceptance from his family and peers) with ways to escape it (girls, drugs), while reflecting on it all in real-time. Acid Rap’s storytelling might indebt Chance to Kanye and Kendrick Lamar, but it’s distinguished by his scattered, semi-melodic flow—one that hints at repeated listens to Lil Wayne’s Da Drought 3. Unpacking this mixtape demands the same kind of effort from the audience that he put into it, especially if you’re really going to “get” it all. “Lean all on the square/that’s a fucking rhombus” is applied geometry for promethazine and cigarettes; “Acid on her face/ that’s a work of art” is a reference to Jerry Hall’s character in Tim Burton’s Batman, for fuck’s sake. Chance’s dexterity isn’t always striking or even passable, but as he says on “Acid Rain,” “Sometimes the truth don’t rhyme.” What’s more important is that he’s taken a huge sphere of references from his memory and influences to create a big risky experiment, and it pretty much paid off. I’m glad he…took a chance at rapping (heh heh feel free to kill me at any time).” -Noisey
“Acid Rap isn’t trying to be an alternative; it’s an attempt to encompass everything. There are shout outs, musical or lyrical, to practically every important Chicago tradition short of Thrill Jockey. It invites elements of classic soul, juke, gospel, blues-rock, drill, acid jazz, house, ragtime scat, and R. Kelly, Twista, and a young Kanye to the same open mic poetry night, where the kid on-stage is declaiming about what’s going unreported. Its genius is that he somehow makes this work.
The structure is as expansive and freewheeling as any strange trip. Acid Rap is a less about the attempt to break on through than a way of describing the hallucinatory shades, transitory revelations, and cigarette burns of the journey. You can get off or on the bus at any juncture. There is no ideology or orthodoxy. No arbitrary binaries between conscious or gangster, apostle or agnostic. Freaks and free thinkers are accepted. Chance understands that those who are frightening are often frightened, too. He comes off as a guy who could find something in common with anyone but a high school principal.” -Pitchfork
While the tape and its production mutates like a hallucinogenic vision, nothing matches his ability to twist his own voice, from lazy drawl on the hook, to that gritty ad libbed “igh!”, to the lurching verses. Not to mention his witty wordplay, as displayed on this gem from the hazy “Smoke Again”: “Lean all on a square / That’s a fuckin’ rhombus,” he whines, pushing the drug reference into a geometry joke.
But, just like Chicago in the summer, the flashes of innocent fun come with steady, violent reminders that that innocence is impossible to hold onto for very long. The last verse of “Pusha Man” admits that “everybody dies in the summer,” crowded beaches and fireworks making things out like a warzone. The drugs are a problem too. Chance, Kids These Days’ Vic Mensa, and Chicago legend Twista take turns on “Cocoa Butter Kisses”, the track a meditation on growing apart from family due (at least in part) to weed, a sentiment that won’t dissuade the Kendrick Lamar connections being made of late. Though he’s afraid that his new lifestyle and the violence can take everything away, there’s hope: “everybody’s somebody’s everything,” he and BJ The Chicago Kid croon on “Everybody’s Something”. As long as they can repeat that mantra, there’s hope for a better Chicago, a goal Chance hopes his personal look at the city can help become a reality. -Consequence of Sound
One of the coolest things about Shuffler.fm is that we’re made up of the most influential and creative group of tastemaker blogs and sites on the web. With so many incredible and unique blogs in our database we wanted to highlight and showcase the blogs that make up Shuffler.fm in a very special way. We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase those favorites than with Exclusive Mixes!
Our shiny new mix is courtesy of the always ahead of the curve music blog, Crack In The Road. The UK based site is the best for discovering emerging talent in a varitey of genres, from pop and indie rock, to electronic, plus any style involving a wave or a dream, CITR has got you covered. Don’t believe us? They were the site to uncover Jai Paul’s mysterious bandcamp page containing unreleased demos from Jai’s past earlier this month. We don’t know how they do it, we just know to do as we are told, and listen to Crack In The Road.
We hope you enjoy the fantastic mix titled, “Something To Bury Yourself In”, Crack In The Road created just for us!
Artwork by Luca Venter
Want more? Subscribe to Crack In The Road’s Music Channel so you never miss an update!
Justin Timberlake & The Tennessee Kids - ‘Mirrors’ (live on Ellen) via Under The Gun Review
If there’s one member of society looking for a way to live forever, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that individual is Kanye West. Well it looks like he didn’t need to defy nature to make this idea a reality. Enter producer and rapper, Travi$ Scott. The prodigal son of Mr. West, signed to West’ G.O.O.D. Music, and T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint, the Houston native has made quite a splash in the hip hop community over the past year. Having collaborated with everyone from Meek Mill, T.I., Lex Luger, 2 Chainz, and Kanye West himself, Scott has proven he can party with the big guns.
With dynamic production pulling from much more than just hip hop influence, coupled with smart, crisp rhymes and an infectious flow that draws you in, it’s safe to say the year-long wait for his debut release, Owl Pharaoh, will be well worth it.
’Upper Echelon’ ft. T.I. & 2 Chainz (Explicit) Prod. Travi$ Scott
‘Quintana’ ft. Wale
Read what some of your favorite music tastemakers are saying about Travi$ Scott:
Though he’s currently on the cover of XXL magazine as a part of their “2013 Freshman Class,” before very recently, Travis Scott music was extremely scarce. On the internet today are three songs slated to appear on his debut Owl Pharaoh EP: the just-released “Upper Echelon,” “Pussy” and “Quintana.” They feature rappers of various star-power, including Scott’s label boss, and are all exciting enough to sort-of justify putting someone on the cover of a music magazine who doesn’t even have a mixtape out. -The Fader
In a sea of prominent turn up anthems (“Bugatti,” “Karate Chop”), Scott’s has a good shot of getting people to go crazy in the clubs. As usual, Tip and Chainz command the track with lyrically impressive verses. -XXL
Travi$ Scott continues to string along anxious onlookers anticipating the release of his Owl Pharoah with another new track titled “Upper Echelon.” The young gunner premiered the high energy record on DJ Skee’s radio station earlier this morning.
We assume that Scott handled the production duties on the hard hitting track. As always, the budding talent adds some a gloss to his trap influenced sound. In other words, imagine The Throne’s “H.A.M.” produced by one man, and that’s what you get.
This track will undoubtedly influence folks to “turn up” near and far, and so will Owl Pharoah when it releases in May. -HipHopWired