Northwest hip-hop is on the rise, and Seattle’s Grayskul is evidence. Bloody Radio, the group’s sophomore album on the Rhymesayers Entertainment record label, shows a great array of solid production and rapping.
Northwest hip-hop is on the rise, and Seattle’s Grayskul is evidence. Bloody Radio, the group’s sophomore album on the Rhymesayers Entertainment record label, shows a great array of solid production and rapping. Their sound is definitely one that fits within the aesthetic of label mates Atmosphere (who guests on this album), but is also all their own. The album’s overall concept is generally about radio-music and the consideration of commercialism and art. Is that shit on the radio even hip-hop? Grayskul doesn’t seem to think so (and sometimes I’m inclined to agree with them). The Seattle shout-outs (and peculiar appearance of Andrea Zollo of Seattle rockers Pretty Girls Make Graves) document the tribalism that’s one of the defining traits of hip-hop. In practically no other genre are people so proud of where they came from. Bloody Radio is a solid hip-hop record, with an interesting concept and deft execution of production. The funny thing about some of these songs–such as “Scarecrow”–is that they wouldn’t necessarily be out of place on the radio. They’re catchy, make your head nod and, ya’ know, are just plain good. Consider Bloody Radio a record for fans of the best of what hip-hop offers.
Grayskul will be playing their record-release show in Portland at Berbati’s Pan on Sept. 10.
The Fucking WrathSeason of Evil
Besides having an awesome name (I’m partial to the word “fucking”) this band also has a pretty awesome sound. It’s a pretty sweet concoction of sludge, crust and straight up metal. But, this is their first record, and it shows. They have a lot of great ideas, but not a lot of original ones. The first song has basically the exact same riff and structure as a song by sludge band Cavity (who rule). I mean, I like this record and it is well produced and played, but that isn’t enough. The Fucking Wrath needs to focus their sound and with more time under their belts, I could see them being a monster.
Dax RiggsWe Sing of Only Blood or Love
Dax Riggs is an interesting character. He played in a metal band called Acid Bath during the 1990s, and then a couple years ago he started a two-piece band called Deadboy & the Elephantmen (which he broke up after one album). He’s interesting because his music is weird. This record (his first solo record under his own name) is full of great blues-rock songs and Riggs’ unique voice. It also has a few songs that are weird stylistic departures, some of which work (such as the heavy-rock song “Truth in the Dark”) and some of which don’t (the pseudo-Green Day number “Wall of Death”). When he sticks to his bluesier side is when he’s at his best–and that’s what most of We Sing Only Blood or Love is comprised of.
The Melvins and Big BusinessSept. 19 at the Wonder BallroomCost: $16 advance, $18 day of show
I’m convinced that the Melvins are the best fucking band on the planet. They’ve been around for over 20 years, yet they’re still putting out amazing records and energetic live shows. Their most recent outing, (A) Senile Animal, straight-up rules. It has great rock songs, heavy-ass slow-motion dirges and wild double-drummer action. Adding Seattle heavies Big Business to their lineup was a stroke of genius and their live shows with two drummers–fucking nuts! Even if you aren’t into heavy music, you can enjoy a Melvins show. And that’s because the Melvins deliver time and time again.
Dinosaur Jr. (21 and over)Sept. 12 at the Crystal BallroomCost: $20
I’m leery of bands reuniting. Generally, I feel it’s a bad idea because history has shown that it doesn’t usually work. However, Dinosaur Jr. seems like they might be able to pull it off. The seminal indie-rock band is back together with their original lineup and is ready to unleash mad guitar solos all over the place. While time has definitely taken its toll on the aging rockers, their newest record, Beyond, shows that they still rock. So, for the people who didn’t get to see Dino Jr. originally (which at this point is a lot of fucking people), go to this show, see an important band and go home happy. I know I will.