Riff Raff at Fillmore Silver Spring

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

“It’s Gatorade, I swear,” fibbed what could have been a Taylor Swift video extra were it not for the fluorescent weed print socks, acid washed denim underwear, and a bralette top with the price tag hanging out (props to the Forever 21 sales associate who clocks that return today). The door guard tossed what was probably 100% pure, fresh-squeezed orange 4Loko without breaking eye contact, which was some ‘96 Chicago Bulls type of shit. Had this been the fairytale Fearless tour with waltzing Romeos and Juliets, homegirl probably would have hopped back in her mom’s Toyota Sienna real quick, blathering through broken sobs about peer pressure and learning some sort of lesson. But not this chick. They knew she was trouble when she walked in, but in a Spring Breakers understudy type of way. We weren’t here for rhinestone teardrops on anyone’s acoustic guitar, we were here for an Iceberg (Simpson, to be exact)–Riff Raff.

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Disclosure at 9:30 Club

Photo credit: Disclosure
Photo credit: Disclosure

With Disclosure’s sold-out concert, the 9:30 Club saw a new chapter in the ever unfolding saga of the British Invasion. Once four Liverpudlian lads and five chicks off the spice rack, the latest UK transplants to make waves this side of the pond are unarguably Disclosure, two Surrey brothers bringing the UK’s exciting homegrown breed of electronic garage beats into the American mainstream.

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Pissed Jeans at the Black Cat


 

Philadelphia-via-Allentown four-piece Pissed Jeans kicked off their North American tour last Friday at the Black Cat with a piss to put Linda Blair’s nightgown soiling Exorcist performance to shame. After newly mohawked frontman Matt Korvette promised the crowd he’d have them home safely by midnight, the Jeans launched into a 46 minute set of pure sludge punk—exactly what DC came for. Playing primarily off of 2009’s King of Jeans and their most recent (and best) effort Honeys, Korvette, drummer Sean McGuiness, bassist Randy Huth, and guitarist Bradley Fry ripped through each track seamlessly (I think that’s it for the pants puns, but I can’t promise anything).

Constantly positioned within a nexus of seminal Sub Pop label mates including Mudhoney and Butthole Surfers, the Jeans’ high energy yet simultaneously gutteral set was just as much Gibby Haynes as it was either McKaye, but with a self deprecating snarl all their own. Their Sub Pop bio describes the Jeans’ sound “like hearing yourself being bashed over the head with a snow shovel. Sometimes they sound like that feeling you’d get if you dipped your arm up to the elbow in a vat of boiling grease,” and I wholeheartedly agree—stomped, screamed anthems of the mundane that make me want to rip out all my teeth, in the best possible way.

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I Can't Get Down with "Bow Down"

I’ll make this short, because I already anticipate being tied to the Kogan clock tower and incinerated, or at the very least forced to wear a scarlet “B”, for the unforgivable act of blasphemy I’m about to commit—but hear me out. In my opinion, so many people love Beyonce because she has consistently produced incredibly solid, really fantastic bodies of music since 1999. I’m not going to list the litany of tracks and music video moments that have laid the foundation for Beyonce’s complete domination of the entire free world (but while we’re on the subject, take a lil minute and flip on the “Me, Myself, and I” video), or talk about the fact that I own B’Day on vinyl—all of you, whether you like it or not, understand exactly what I mean. I want to be clear: I am not in the business of devaluing Beyonce’s contribution to music, but I think very few of us would hinge this totalizing adoration for her on any claims of true sonic progressiveness. And that’s fine. That’s perfect. Up until this point, Beyonce has tried, and vastly succeeded, in being no one but herself.

And so I have to say, I’m really disappointed with her new track “Bow Down/ I Be On”. Both lyrically and production-wise, Beyonce kinda just bit everyone and it feels disingenuous and uncomfortable. Equal parts A$AP Rocky’s “Purple Swag” (come on, you didn’t think “Texas Trill” was all her, did you?) and the outro of Azealia Banks’ “Van Vogue,” B’s bizarrely aggressive, operatic track struggles amid an irksome sample to arrive short of the radio-ready standard she’s come to master. Both the A$AP Mob and AB have been credited in ushering in a new era of Harlem sound and style, but slapping “H-TOWWWN” all over one of Hit-Boy’s worst beats isn’t the way to go about participating in this aesthetic. I sincerely hope “Bow Down” is more of an anomaly rather than indicative of an overarching theme in Queen B’s fifth studio album. There’s nothing wrong with changing and growing, but we shouldn’t mistake “Bow Down” for freshness.

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SHOUT OUT EVERYBODY THAT FELL OFF VOL. 1: TERROR SQUAD

Flipping through the vinyl stacks at the station, I came upon some mint Mystikal, Amerie, and Omarion wax (seriously plotting to swipe all of the above and I don’t care who knows) and thought to myself, “damn, what happened y’all?” It seems like mere minutes ago I was 13 and setting my ringtone to “Shake Ya Ass”—the New Orleans MC literally screaming “I CAME HERE WITH MY D*** IN MY HAND” every time mom texted about the soccer practice carpool. We here at WRGW Music Blog Inc. Worldwide pride ourselves on staying relevant in bringing you thoughtful features pertaining to the best new music around—but what about those who are no longer with us? Whether they were an old fashioned one-hit-wonder, had a kid, or went to jail, they straight fell OFF. I’ve decided it’s high time to resurrect some of these treasures from their Titanic-esque underwater grave, if only for a paragraph. Think of S/O EVERYBODY THAT FELL OFF as the #throwbackthursday of blog features, a peace-sign-selfie-less reminder of what once was. First up: Terror Squad.

Terror Squad was a Bronx-based hip hop collective most notabley containing Big Pun and Fat Joe, roughly 1,110 lbs of Puerto-Rican lyrical fury and FUBU.  The Squad’s ’99 debut The Album was a radio smash, but the group went on hiatus after Pun’s death from a heart attack just one year later. Fat Joe took a ticket for an Ashanti hook in the interim, enjoying a successful solo run that helped leverage the Squad’s resurrection with the release of sophomore album True Story (let me just say the cover art is amazing. Also, anthropology majors take note: it has become something of a fossil record, containing the first traces of DJ Khaled’s Tickle Me Elmo tags, “WE THE BEST” and “WE TAKIN’ OVER.”)

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