‘King’s Dead’ Music Video Review

A rapper eating elote in a palm tree, interesting camera movements, Jay Rock in a suit; these are just a few of many interesting aspects that make this new King’s Dead music video alluring. In light of the new Black Panther Soundtrack Album that this track makes an appearance on, one would think that the music video would cater towards the release of the new Marvel film. Alas, the music video takes on the cadences of a normal rap video with little changes of details here and there, but does little to make itself a groundbreaking music video that Kendrick Lamar has had in the past with HUMBLE, Swimming Pools, and Alright.

Women, money and expensive clothing should be expected going into the video, and those are some of the first things you’ll see when Jay Rock has his verse early on in the song. Switching between old school VHS style recordings and tracking camera movements sweeping across the setting of the video does help enhance the understanding of this music video. Respect for the individuality of the director, Dave Free and Jack Begert, and what they try to accomplish here.  They do much to keep the video interesting with the style and quick cuts here and there. Plus, the zoom of the main rapper trio on different skyscrapers is really impressive, as the buildings are lined up perfectly to keep the same sweeping and zooming theme perfectly fixated within the video. And later on, where Kendrick Lamar is within the traffic intersection, is also a high point for the video as Kendrick’s verse is very fitting amongst the speeding cars that whiz by. The direction of the video is good where it needs to be, and so the video was entertaining to say the least.

However, whereas the video is entertaining, the song is quite mediocre and surely will not hold up will with however good the directing of the video is. Jay Rock has only arisen his fans from slumber with his verse that needed much more effort from him. His repetition of, “I gotta go get it,” is not a fitting refrain from him, and his rapping abilities that has been showcased in the past does not show up here regarding keeping a song hyped. It is lazy writing for Jay Rock, but as a fan it should be in the best interest to keep an eye on his future works as Jay Rock apparently was caught off guard in making the song, according to an interview from Jay Rock on Power 106 Los Angeles. In which, Jay Rock mentions that he was recoding in his studio and next door was Kendrick, who invited him to do an impromptu feature. (Video of the interview at the bottom of the post)

Jay Rock was by far not the worst verse on this song, as Future should take that honor. At first, Future and Kendrick do well together in starting the chorus off, but as soon as Future hits the weird sounds he makes in the middle of the song, it does well to put a dumb smile on my face. There is no way to take Future seriously when he starts making those silly noises, and I say silly noises as it doesn’t even come close to rapping. All praise to Future for trying something different, but the fact that in the video he is keeping a straight face only emphasizes the ridiculousness of his feature.

In the end, it would be K-Dot that keeps the team on his pack for this one.  His chorus and his final verse make up for the quality lost in the song, making the song at least structured and something to look forward to towards the end of the song. Nearing the end of the video the viewers can also see Kendrick put up a fight in what appears to be a drug deal, which Kendrick ultimately kills the dealer and for a brief moment the words, “(don’t trap),” blinks in a black background for half a second.  Kendrick’s allusion to living a fast life and enabling the fictitious character that is Killmonger in the new Black Panther film does well to paint a good message in the song.  Overall, the song does not hold up well on its own, and the video can really only be as good as the song. This should not take away from the young directors, though, as there were many promising moments in the video that could be of use in their future.

Jay Rock interview with Power 106 Los Angeles:

 

Triathalon - Online

Brooklyn-based band Triathalon have created the soundtrack to your sleepwalk with the release of their album Online. Appropriately named, Online encapsulates a sound that was raised by the internet and cannot be labeled under any one genre.

Every listen through oozes a sticky sweet nostalgic feel while simultaneously exhibiting an extremely innovative, contemporary take on music. Through this album, Triathalon showcases their mastery of dreamy bass and synth.

Cover Art for ‘Online’ by Triathalon

Rich, complex tones and melodies drive each song in such a way that the band creates an atmosphere that can wrap around your entire being, commanding the attention of practically every one of your senses to consume their sound; however, they also make you very aware of the voids they intentionally employ. In this way, Triathalon seems to be experimenting with negative space of the auditory nature.

Standout tracks such as “Hard to Move” convey a super dynamic track with melodic duality. Between the verses and the chorus lies a smooth transition that you can feel in your plums with a strong enough juxtaposition to catch you by surprise.

Triathalon delivers a heartfelt album perfect for putting on during this month of love with honest lyrics in songs like “Couch” that exude quiet relatability and the tender side of sexual tension:

Chilling on my favorite couch

Ask me what I think about

Thinking about how I need your body close

I need it now

What gets you feeling loose? Feeling new

Feeling all the things I wanna do with you

Can I get you home? In the zone

I just wanna feel the truth

Triathalon is showing us that they are a band to keep an eye on for sure. The timing of Online’s release could not be more perfect in lieu of the coming springtime. Perfect for that Sunday morning stroll through the park or a lonely view of the sunset, this album can set the mood for all of it.

You can check out Triathalon on Spotify, Twitter, and Instagram.

Triathalon is also on tour, you can check our their Tour Bill below!

Hovvdy - Cranberry

Although it’s been actualized through individual scenes and “post-something revival” genre tags, there’s an unspoken theory that idol worship is one of indie’s integral bridges of style. Typically, the feedback splits between esteemed gratitude at its most positive, with the highest distinction decreeing the new product as just as seminal as the old, and only a notch below plagiarism in the lens of detractors. For example, NME’s C86 cassette infamously birthed dozens of projects scrambling to reap the jangle-rock goodness of their forefathers two decades later—to this day, we’re still trying to force the infectious Sarah Records and Captured Tracks anthems out of our heads.

Slow but graciously steady, Texas-based duo Hovvdy are labeled slowcore revivalists on the surface but naturally attuned to the magmatic potential of indie rock instead of caustically jumping a bandwagon. Their 2016 debut Taster seemed snug within the fabric of Bandcamp’s listless and homespun corpus of artists; economically minded, the album was partly recorded on iPhone application workstations, yet it pushed an aesthetic of tender, full slacker rock best performed at a glacial pace. As a duo, their inner workings are equally enthralling. Juggling the role of songwriter, multi-instrumentalists Will Taylor and Chris Martin utilize the more-with-less principle studied by their contemporaries to create hypnotizing melodies while eschewing a sense of urgency entirely.

On their second outing, their technique only expands in scope and fervor albeit as minimal as their foundation they’ve triumphed. Cranberry’s twelve offerings, kicking off with the ominous “Brave” and winding down with “Swing”’s intoxicating pop, serve as gorgeous comedowns against the bombast this year is already serving up. In addition to the languid instrumentation at play, the verses behind these songs plunge into pure, almost approachable apathy—frankly, it’s music for dreamers without an engulfing focus or sensory overload to distract or overwhelm.

If there’s one discernible shift from Taster, the band’s dynamics feel set in stone rather than gradually pieced together. Elegant lead single “Petal” commences with a series of muffled guitar riffs and an unchanging drum stomp that marginally elevate into an unassertive climax. Likewise, midsection standout “Quitter” embraces the pastoral glum of Carissa’s Wierd’s Songs About Leaving with a slight lean toward the acoustic flank of late-90s emo. Not everything adheres to their cardinal formula; padding their guitar-drums combination with pastel keyboards and (“Float”) and meager electronica (“Thru”), Hovvdy assert themselves as pop auteurs on a budget, but alluring in their craft even with these restrictions.

At times, Hovvdy’s lavish melodies feel like an addendum to long-gone slowcore underdogs like Bedhead and Duster, as well as the earliest incarnation of genre-definers Low. While Taster touted these similarities, their arrangements were original enough to differentiate their trademarks from their Bandcamp peers. On Cranberry, these epitomes are the bedrock for more expansive and forceful handling of sound even if their emotional expression remains loose-lipped and quietly reflective. Ultimately, it’s not the musical parameters of their idols they’re attempting to consort, but an outlet of their own that’s evenly raw and cathartic.

 

You can check out Hovvdy on Spotify, Youtube and Bandcamp.