Great album title or greatest album title? For real on that. If you are a fan of Justified on FX, you’ll have heard one of Gangstagrass’ songs already. If not you’ll want to after you read this. If someone had asked me if I thought that bluegrass and rap would be a winning combination I probably would have blinked a few times and said “Uh, man, I never would have thought to put those together.” This is a seriously winning, peanut butter and jelly style combination. If you have been unfortunate enough to have been exposed to such as Cowboy Troy, just forget all that. There’s a shared tradition of both celebration of outlaw culture and storytelling of tales of economic inequality and hardship in both bluegrass and rap. It just took some sharp heads to put the two together. I generally look at the sheer weight of the guests on the average rap album and roll my eyes, but all of Gangstagrass’ collaborators are top notch, especially MC Nitty Scott whose appearance on two tracks has me stoked for her solo LP later this month. Conceptually this might be a hard sell for a lot of y’all, but if rap had come out of the hill country instead of the inner city, everyone would sound like Gangstagrass and you wouldn’t think anything of it. This is one to take a chance on.
Vagina Panther’s name is Vagina Panther and they know it. Judge is a perfect slab of rock n’ roll, seriously. Their sound reminds me of Veruca Salt and Sahara Hotnights a lot. This is a good thing. Dead June’s vocals are just the right blend of clean and powerful and the guitar tone is overdriven and flirts with sludge riffage. Judge is just pure listening enjoyment. I don’t really want to egghead on VP’s sound. It’s like this, do you want to rock? You do? You should listen to Judge then. Maybe pick up the limited edition with the art book.
My ability with words basically fails to describe the complex emotions and sparse sounds of Air. Sparse classical instrumentation (piano, strings, woodwind) and expertly edited field recordings are put together to create the sound of loss and a sense of time that speaks of either reconciliation or resignation. This is what your life sounds like in your most private moments.