Showing posts with label sims. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sims. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2019

video review: 'great hits' by SHREDDERS

So, guess who got demonetized for talking about (and not so implicitly endorsing) antifa (and then lost a bunch of subs as a result)?

Eh, whatever, I'll keep chugging along - if you know, you know. Enjoy!

Friday, September 13, 2019

album review: 'great hits' by SHREDDERS

You know, I've talked a fair bit recently about 'expectations', where as a critic I've gotten used to tempering them and praying for the surprise, which is a hell of a lot better than setting them high and falling short. And that's absolutely the case that I had when I was going through my schedule and came up on SHREDDERS. Don't get me wrong, I like these guys - P.O.S and Sims can spit their asses off and Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak would give them all the warping, abrasive production that they would need... but I remembered being a little underwhelmed by their debut Dangerous Jumps, and I just left with the feeling that for as single-minded and thorny as the project was, outside of scattered moments it never quite hit as much as I was hoping. 

And going into Great Hits, I'll admit my expectations were even lower: seven songs, just over twenty minutes of material, the buzz hadn't really coalesced, and they were following a Sims collaboration project from last year that was a little underwhelming and an album from fellow Doomtree crew member Dessa that is damn near a classic in my books. So I figured if we were just going to get more of Dangerous Jumps, it might be the sort of project that'd fit well on the Trailing Edge and I'd just move on, but I still wanted to give it a shot... so what did we get?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

video review: 'dangerous jumps' by SHREDDERS

Well... it's still good, I just wish I liked it a fair bit more than I do. Meh, it happens.

Next up, though... well, this should be interesting. Stay tuned!

album review: 'dangerous jumps' by SHREDDERS

Oh, you thought I was going to miss this, or that because this is very much a between-albums-side-project that it would be a lower priority?

Well, to be completely truthful, up until very recently SHREDDERS wasn't really on my radar. I knew that P.O.S and Sims were working with Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger on something, but I assumed it would be an EP or something, or maybe a few scattered singles until Dessa put out her next full-length project or they started work on another Doomtree record. And if anything it felt a little too soon - while I hadn't loved P.O.S's chill, dummy it wasn't even a year old yet, and given how Sims' More Than Ever remains one of the best hip-hop records of 2016, I would have thought it would have a little more solo shelf life.

But then again, I'm not complaining about a new project from this crew, because hip-hop has had a weird 2017. There's been too many great records to call it a bad year, but it seems like the gulf in quality between said records and much of the rest that got hype and popularity is vast. That feeling of strangeness, coupled with only two hip-hop records I'd say are outright incredible in 2017 - those being Brick Body Kids Still Daydream by Open Mike Eagle and Run The Jewels 3, and the latter barely even qualifies - means that I was eager for something out of the Doomtree collective, if only to bring in a sound with consistent, hard-hitting quality and real lyrical punch. And while Dessa wasn't on it and P.O.S can frustrate me as an MC, Sims is currently surging on a creative roll and I really wanted to see where he'd take his bars. So, what did I find on Dangerous Jumps?

Monday, January 9, 2017

the top 25 best albums of 2016

And now, the final list, the one that always gives me the most anxiety but also the one that I'm always happy to have finalized by the end of the year - or by the first few days of next year, I'm going on vacation for the first week of January and I'm in a bit of a rush to get packed and ready on time, so this video might be a day or two late. 

But in an odd way that's kind of representative of 2016's albums as a whole, as I've definitely not seen a lot of common consensus surrounding picks - and fair warning, that'll be very true with these as well. Great records in 2016 came in fits and spurts, with a lot of big returns that didn't quite impress me, some debuts that blew me out of the water, and a predominant theme of endings that ran through a lot of albums that I covered and loved this year. I'm not quite sure if it's reflecting the tempo of the times or my personal feelings surrounding the year, but this list really feels all over the place, all albums I loved but coming from radically different locations, styles, and genres than I expected. In other words, there are albums that you will not recognize on this list, and a few major exclusions.

But it also runs deeper than that: for instance, this is the first year I've ever given out a perfect score on this channel - and then I did it twice. I'll get more into this when I talk about the albums at length, but I would recommend you consider my top two choices as interchangeable at best, I flip back and forth with them every day. There's also a whole bunch of albums that narrowly missed the cut, from punk veterans like Against Me!, White Lung and Jeff Rosenstock, to metal and experimental rock like Swans, Savages, Epica and Tarja to hip-hop powerhouses like clipping., Ka, LMNO, Elzhi, and Denzel Curry. And as I've mentioned a number of times, country had one of its best years in recent memory, and that led to some extremely painful cuts, from the superb pop country of Jennifer Nettles to the neotraditional tones of Cody Jinks and Mark Chesnutt to the stripped back indie starlets like Karen Jonas and Dori Freeman. Everyone I just mentioned dropped albums this year you can consider honourable mentions that I couldn't rank if I wanted to and are all worth your time, but now it's time for the list proper, starting with...

Monday, November 7, 2016

video review: 'more than ever' by sims

Well, this fucking ruled. You think Danny Brown went hard... Sims can give him some serious competition, with arguably even stronger lyrics!

Beyond that, I think I'm going to go for something lighter with this Tinashe release... then Common and Czarface and of course, Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

album review: 'more than ever' by sims

So, here's a story for you: I saw Doomtree in Toronto twice last year. Once was at Riot Fest - it was awesome, they put on a terrific show, and I was able to leave to see Frank Turner before Tyler The Creator showed up - and the second time was in a small venue downtown. I actually ran into an old university friend there completely by accident, and afterwards we hit up a bar and talked about the show. And I remember a big part of the conversation being which Doomtree MC was our favourite... because let's face it, there's five of them, they're all ridiculously good, but there's always a hierarchy to these things. Obviously Dessa topped both of our lists, but that should be no surprise to anyone - Dessa would make my top five of all time, and the fact that she's now featured on the Hamilton mixtape is all the more deserved.

But after that, the ranking was a little more mixed. For me, I tended to gravitate to Cecil Otter, more because of his production work and because I had heard a lot of his solo material and work with Strange Famous. My friend consistently brought up Sims as her second favourite, and while she was making her entirely justified case, I realized I had never listened to Sims' solo work. I had heard P.O.S.'s albums - I can't say I'm the biggest fan, but I appreciate his distinct lane - but Sims... I had a hard time evaluating his material outside of Doomtree, especially going back to his breakthrough record in 2011 Bad Time Zoo. On the one hand, his unconventional rhyming patterns could definitely get frustrating, but he was also probably the most eccentric and borderline odd rapper of the Doomtree collective. Unlike Dessa, whose material tended to be more conventionally tasteful - as well as intricate, gorgeously performed, ridiculously intelligent, I could go on - Sims was the guy who would take more risks, in his content, wordplay, and especially his instrumentation. He had a flair for theatrical bombast and some really great hooks, but there was an off-kilter edge to Bad Time Zoo that in retrospect really feels ahead of its time. It was experimental and weird courtesy of Lazerbeak's eclectic production, almost certainly underappreciated in 2011 - and I include myself in that category. Even as a fan of Doomtree, the collective that along with of Run The Jewels is everything I want to hear in modern hip-hop, I probably didn't give Sims enough credit.

So I wasn't going to be making that mistake again, and even if nobody else cares to cover this record - which is likely, as I'm not sure he's got the immediate name recognition as Dessa or P.O.S. or even Cecil Otter - I wanted to get to this first, before Common or Czarface or anything else this week. So what did I get?