All posts by merhailemariam

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Interview | Benjamin Booker

BY MERHAWI HAILE

Benjamin Booker
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

American singer-songwriter, Benjamin Booker, coming off his critically acclaimed eponymous debut album, has led a successful nationwide tour and has left his mark on festival stages worldwide. Booker took some time out for us to discuss touring, the development of his short film, and social commentary in music. Read our full Q&A with the talented New Orleans based guitarist below.

Continue reading Interview | Benjamin Booker

Album Review: Dirty Sprite 2 | Future

 BY MERHAWI HAILE
 BY MERHAWI HAILE

Even though Future’s sophomore release, Honest, showcased the Atlanta native’s ability to tackle abstract soundscapes and spawned a few successful singles (despite being riddled with unnecessary features), it was still met with under appreciation. So from the October through March following Honest‘s spring 2014 rollout, Future released three mixtapes (MonsterBeast Mode and 56 Nights) that would mark a return to the heavily street-oriented trap that launched his career, particularly breakout mixtape Dirty Sprite.

Continue reading Album Review: Dirty Sprite 2 | Future

Interview | Young Fathers

BY MERHAWI HAILE

Young Fathers

Coming off their critically acclaimed debut album, Young Fathers are back with one of the best albums of the year thus far with White Men Are Black Men Too. Alloysious Massaquoi took some time to discuss the role of pop music, the album’s production, race and identity, and the power of messaging through music.

Continue reading Interview | Young Fathers

Album Review: White Men Are Black Men Too | Young Fathers

White Men Are Black Men Too
BY MERHAWI HAILE

With White Men Are Black Men Too, Young Fathers have followed their polished and critically acclaimed debut album, Dead, by making a gritty, lo-fi, soul-pop album that contemplates societal ills and spirituality as much as it explores musically.

Young Fathers have insisted that this is a pop album, and it is. It’s more melodic than their previous releases, but that doesn’t make the it any less uncompromising, uncomfortable, and unsettling. White Men Are Black Men Too is an exercise in propulsive, harsh instrumentation juxtaposed with soulful chorales and infectious call-and-response. Young Fathers sustain an urgency throughout the album, most indebted to its pulsing percussiveness: staccato organ stabs and clacking drums. It’s the moments of calm, however, like ‘Sirens’, ‘Get Started’, and ‘Nest’, that accentuate this urgency. ‘Dare Me’ plays with this calm-abrasive juxtaposition to great effect: tender crooning turns sinister, the legato “Dare Me” into a piercing “Fire!”, a thin organ into a dark, dense synth, and back again. They have no qualms about playing with song structure or convention either (several songs, including ‘Dare Me’, end abruptly), an enduring characteristic of their catalogue. The lo-fi quality, also characteristic of their early work, compresses the layered production and emphasizes the vocalist(s). It’d be fairly easy to make a mess of these raw materials, but the band members’ synergy keeps this musical variation dynamic rather than disjointed, consorted rather than cacophonous.  They build songs like lead single ‘Rain or Shine’ into an encompassing barrage that mirrors the repetitive nature of a lot of pop music without sounding as contrived.

Continue reading Album Review: White Men Are Black Men Too | Young Fathers

Watch Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy” Music Video

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Starring Chance the Rapper and singer Jamila Woods, the ‘Sunday Candy’ short film is a theatrical one-take visual for The Social Experiment’s upcoming release, Surf.

Check out the video below!

Continue reading Watch Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy” Music Video

Album Review: What For? | Toro y Moi

Toro y Moi -
BY MERHAWI HAILE

Toro y Moi was initially written off as a flash in the pan that managed to make the most of the chillwave trend, but each new release from Toro, as well as side project Les Sins, dips into new musical territory and further proves Chaz Bundick’s accomplishment of defining his musical aesthetic by atmosphere rather than production style. After the success of Causers of This, Bundick pivoted to produce the excellent Underneath the Pine, with singles featuring lo-fi funk jams, then again on his Freaking Out EP and follow up LP, Anything in Return, a pop album with Rhodes-like, smooth electronic production. So it came as no surprise that his new album sees Bundick immersing himself in a new genre for Toro y Moi: psych pop. Unfortunately, while What For? maintains his chillout aesthetic, the production isn’t nearly as consistently interesting as his previous efforts, resulting in an average album with great moments.

Continue reading Album Review: What For? | Toro y Moi