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Apr 26, 2018







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Ranger, Speed & Violence (Spinefarm Records)




Ranger, Speed & Violence (Spinefarm Records)

Any year that sees any sort of Robin Thicke release counts as a down year for music, leaving critics free to start cleaning up any business they see fit as it draws to a close. For me in 2016, that spelled taking five seconds out of my acute workaholism to find out exactly what’s up with a random thrash-metal record company I’d never covered before and probably never will again. Yes, some dude in Finland probably actually called his mom to tell her he’d been signed to “Spinefarm Records,” which has to have won the “Kind of Scary-Sounding But Actually Cartoonishly Funny Company Name of The Year.” Finnish thrash is usually decent, and now there’s even a “new wave of Finnish metal” to get excited about if you like that sort of thing, and of course who wouldn’t. Anyway, supposedly this quartet is leading the charge, which I literally cannot prove, but the album intro is ’80s John Carpenter-movie-cheese, which is a retro move worth noting I suppose. The nice and lousy production is cool, sort of like Venom vs. the first Iron Maiden album on the title track, with an inordinate amount of amateur Rob Halford-ish screaming to get all the doggies barking or whatever its purpose is. Elsewhere it’s the same idea, Armored Saint, that kind of thing. Gosh, these guys are really trying. It’s inspiring. B- Eric W. Saeger




oddCouple, Liberation (Closed Sessions Records)
CD Reviews: December 22, 2016

12/22/16
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



oddCouple, Liberation (Closed Sessions Records)

Chicago’s indie-rap scene is breaking wide, with the Closed Sessions imprint responsible for a large part of the chatter. Enter this guy, Zach Henderson, the label’s main producer, who’s brought a growing list of real-live instruments he’s learning to play and a similarly expanding crew of rising local R&B/rap stars into his debut LP, not counting a beat tape of sorts from a while back. String sections play a large part in carpeting the vibe here, but opening tune “Slept On” leans more toward a Drake-as-jazz-guy feel, a lonely sax straight from 1980s pop radio casually tooling away in support of guest Mike Golden’s breezy tenor voice. The loop for “Hereditary” is more to the point, screechy strings with AM radio squelch blare along with veteran mushmouthed Chicago rapper GLC, who’s largely responsible for putting all this on the map. Some of these guys have jammed with Chance the Rapper and whatnot, including Joey Purp, whose smiley-faced thinking-gangsta flows dominate the chaotic swirl of “Visions.” Not wildly creative by any means, but not instant oatmeal either.
 





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