Thursday, November 28, 2013

Live Review - Death Grips - Government Plates

They really caught everyone off guard with this one, huh?
I was at work and my friend texted me and said something like "there's some new Death Grips thing" and then shortly later "oh it's a new album". Crazy!

It blows me away that there's people who are like... bored with new music, when we have Death Grips, a straight up guerrilla-band, popping out new albums the second they feel like it. And they're so good, too... not only do they manage to have a wholly unique aesthetic, they manage to deliver really fresh variations of it with every album. Exmilitary with feverish rage, The Money Store with nauseous excess, No Love Deep Web with like... 0K nihilism. How about this one??

So I've been really eager to listen to this... last few days have been really crazy for me. I may have some free time nowish though and I kinda just want to spam album reviews, that's the mood I'm in. Hopefully you're in the mood to read them.

Death Grips - Government Plates
Live Review

1. "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat"
This title is awesome. Wow already... super abrasive... screaming over Merzbow type sounds. I love it. Makes sense. No idea what he's saying... wow those super raw Zack Hill drums and drones... and the screams. Wow man already I am just loving this so much, you get in the mood for this sort of music amazing. "Opening of the mouth" "Hijack no questions ask"... super rapid flow, gotta hear that one many more times. I love these sort of arhythmic drum beats, so delirious... and yet so focused and raw. I love that little silence around 1:30... and now outerspace sorta sounds, crazy. Zooming everywhere and WOW I love this more muted "insular" drum sound, beautiful. "FREELANCE MOTHERFUCKER" haha awesome, jesus wow. "come come fuck a part in here"? is that what he keeps saying? something like that... this is just... wow, incredible. *

2. "Anne Bonny"
Um yeah... "Pirate"... this is the name of a pirate... Jewelry Bonney in One Piece is named after her. This beat is really insane, I dunno what he's screaming lol. I love the shifting on his vocals, really surreal and "reeling", makes me "reel". "play some. fucking. music. bitch" and then wow the shift lol, i guess this is the music. This is crazy... raw as hell, "X em out, take me out, I'm almost there", insane. His flow is incredible, the way he so naturally shifts into a double time sort of line and then back to straight staccato shouting. And now back to the original beat, this is a good structure. Something about the really pitched up "bitch!" cracks me up. The "drums" sorta sound like "Known For It" on the other beat, I love it... Lyrics... seem interesting... dunno what they are exactly yet. "Yellow pill shit", I dunno what drug that even is lol. S

3. "Two Heavens"
Sounds like it could be the title of a lame trance song from the 90s... and sounds... almost like it. Wow I love those sort of... chords... I dunno what to call them. This is sort of psychedelic. "Fuck your idols, suck my dick" haha oh my god the sample... is it a sample? Or his voice pitch shifted? Probably that... "until I can't hear you breathing", only MC Ride says stuff like that. There seems to be a lot of sampling/modulating/looping his voice, sounds amazing, like they... pre-remixed it sorta. Cool. Reallyintense. The rhythm at this part with the pitched up thing is insane, the contrast between the drums and the two vocal tracks, and now the drums with the like, bell sounds... holy damn, what/how. There's some thing like... infectiously "tribal" about the patterns near the end here, the sort of call/response feel. S+

4. "This is Violence Now (Dont get me wrong)"
Haha this opening is like... almost comical lol. And the sampling yeah, crazy... This is like a real... techno banger I guess? Lol. Surreal. All the vocals here are like, self-sampled. The stuttering reminds me of "Lord of the Game". Is he slowly saying "Don't get me wrong"? Now we have a sort of laser-breakdown. Crazy... wow yeah... "you have been banned from the channel", internet warfare lol. Like wtf is this "dancey"... is that a word you can use for this band, or not, or what?? The sorta drilly rhythms are super infectious. I could make a stepchart to this... wow. Lol. Death Grips branching out in unforeseen directions. S-

5. "Birds"
This was released, with equal obliqueness, as a single a bit ago... I listened to the shit out of it. This song is like a terrible haunting from the 60s on a night when you ate x3 your body weight in "bad ketamine"... there's just something terribly sinister about this. Something about the nauseating psychedelic tone... or the mysterious lyrics... something very hateful contained within, but to who? Women? Actual birds? "I got tomorrow coming" is just... hmm... wow. Even just the structure itself is sort of amnesiating... song feels way longer than it is. All of these comments I guess could be read as very negative lol. I love this song oh my god. "I've got right now between my legs/I put right now in between your legs". I guess my theory is that DG is famous enough now to have groupies and he's like, rectifying that with his um, whatever he has... and we get stuff like "fuck this bird man drink this bleach"... scary, wow, intense. Are there SJW out there with a problem with Death Grips? I wouldn't, uh, really blame them too much. **

6. "Feels like a wheel"
Aaaaahh what is happening... this is like, swirling sort of music. Really feels like a wheel. And the way that drone stutters... Wow like... that rhythm... and those really low drones, the way they "rapidly sink"... this is like if Burial went certifiably insane and made a bunch of music. Wow how do they do the vocal effect on him dropping the title? That's crazy. So many elements just swirling around in so many directions. I think MC Ride found a brand new drug that is like super-MDPV and made an album about how it made him feel. This outro is intense too... feels like I'm being attacked. S

7. "Im Overflow"
This title sounds like something someone would say on drugs... and wow the music is just... feels like it's exploding and melting at the same time. Like, there's all these percussive elements and then all these kinda shifting/sliding elements. "I am overflow! And [cannot parse]!" Wow crazy. I love these vocals though... I feel like I can't even feel the beat on this song. I really feel like I can't say too much about this song, there's just too many things happening. Very overwhelming. I like the sort of break down and then now they have the vocals isolated and that's really cool... in general I think I'm missing hearing more MC Ride stuff in his normal register. "Hot shit! Hot shit!" S-

8. "Big House"
Oh my God I love this intro so much. It sounds like a nightmare version of Mega Man music. This is so cool... so kinetic... the rhythms are complex and yet droney... and WOW when they add the harmonizing sound that's so clever and YES now vocals. "They creeping under my skiiiiiin"... Does Death Grips make me feel like what Linkin Park made some people felt like when they were 13? I don't know what I mean by that entirely. "I'm in the fuckin' big house" this means prison? I wonder if MC Ride went to prison. S+

9. "Government Plates"
Wooooowwwwwwwwww... this sound is so cool... So cold and distant, like... driving on black ice. Just... sheer out of control terror. I like this synth line a lot. I don't even know what to say or think. So many things happening. It's so abrasive and yet I feel like this is one of their... lol well I was about to say cleaner aesthetics and then they just amped up the distortion near the end here, great effect. Yeah this one is pretty amazing. *

10. "Bootleg (Dont need your help)"
Lol that sample at the beginning. Is this directed towards record labels? lol. Wow Jesus what is even happening in this part? Sounds sorta like... My Cat is an Alien lol. I like this thing around 0:55... And the sort of clicking sounds... so many very unique tones and things. I swear they're coming up with brand new frequencies for these sounds... frequencies on another axis. S

11. "Whatever I want (Fuck who's watching)"
Big finale... what is he saying "WHATEVER I WANT" okay yeah that was the important part. Holy jesus what is happening, this is an aggressive clusterfuck of sound. "Fuck who's watching!" shouts coming in, seeming surprising every time. Okay we're actually getting some sort of rapping now, not just loops... cool. Wow the breakdown around 1:20 sounds REALLY NICE, just that sort of collapse sound, like a big scraping trainwreck of momentum. This is really cool, brutal, just big sonic footsteps. Haha oh my god just whenever they do a really simple pattern like that, it's just so effective. And now the "fuck who's watching" sounds mute the rest of the audio, so cool. No idea what he's saying here lol. And then another big breakdown around 3:17... hmmm I think some of these vocals are actually sampled from older songs? Weird. I recognize some of them. Dunno how I feel about that. "bluh-bluh"? lol what? This is pretty crazy lol... Wow yeah the change at 4:50 is solid as hell, each time they go back to this "slow section" it's even more slow and "brutal"... really reminds me of some harsh noise artists... um a guy... I think his name was like M with some numbers... this sort of sounds like him. I love the sort of stutters they do with the really brief silences and then the tone comes back on a little shifted, very clever. S

Not enough MC Ride!
Okay yeah that was pretty good. Lots of really novel and inventive sounds. Great aesthetic feel. Lots of insane and surprising moments. That's all like... par for the course with Death Grips. But where was MC Ride? Most songs (outside of the first track and "Birds") seemed to only have a few lines, which were then sampled and such... which was cool, but man, I really feel like MC Ride outright rapping(?) is a really key element to the whole project.

Like, there might be a seeming inherent hypocrisy in saying "I really like when he says all sorts of different stuff" and also "I can't understand half of what he's saying"... but actually I think it's that combination that makes his contribution so key. Trying to figure out what he's saying, with the same sort of... apprehensive fear that makes you hesitate at closed doors when you play horror games... it really immerses you in the ideas of the album. Really gives them their truly insane sort of soul. This one... musically it was very cool, but I didn't get that same "staring into the void" feeling I do when MC Ride really brutalizes a track. It kinda seemed a bit shallow in that regard? I want to listen to it again, but I don't feel like I need to. It doesn't have that same sort of compelling mystery as the previous ones.

Maybe that itself is the theme of the album? License plates are like, stamped out en masse, so is this a sort of "Death Grips production" but not an actual MC Ride and friends artistic production? Is MC Ride in the Big House right now stamping out Government Plates so they had to use two songs' worth of vocals over the whole album? I have... absolutely no idea, which is par for the course with Death Grips, and a big part of what makes them so exciting to listen to.

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