I’m drafting assessments of this new wrecked-up, techno-doom, rap-punk rampage of an album when its creators tweet this out into the post-apocalyptic ether:
“…as loud as possible in every speaker u got…”
Cryptic. Fitting. Really that’s the only way to appreciate the ethos of this Sacramento-based trio: the bluntest, barest dystopian poetry; brass-knuckle protest ballads that could care less if you listen; a bellicose come-with-me-if-you-want-to-live screed of fierce raps over chilly synth chimes, growling bass grooves and quaking beats. “Violators…don’t do me no favors…”
Montages of unaccounted-for monstrosities, repudiations of societal sleaze, shouted, screamed-even, over fervently rattled up synths and unrelentingly beats.
Appetite for controversy, man; this is the band any Internet-jaded music writer would hungrily leap at: Death Grips “got some sh*t to say / just for the f*ck of it…” and they’re warning you to lock your doors and they’re swelling some scary-ass sounding synthesizer effects and they’re album “art” is likely censored because the throbbing phallus and you have to be 18 or older just to enter their damn website.
(Oh, and…“We consider this art,” the band proclaims, right below their legally-obligated permission entry screen; and most music writers are agreeing…)
Just when you thought “heavy,” or ‘bad-ass,” had lost any impact from over-usage, or if it was disingenuous to suggest rap and punk working together – this band comes along and there’s no other words for it; but its because it is, somehow, artfully achieved.
They embody the musical provocateur that this generation has been waiting for, proving more substantive / cerebral / alluring than that more-prankstery-than-actual-profound flash of Odd Future, if just as strident.
But it gets better. They defied their label (Epic) by leaking NO LOVE WEB DEEP weeks ago for free downloading; initially incurring said-label’s wrathful shutting-down of the Death Grips site. Streaming songs survived via various filesharing sites, including Soundcloud so most listeners were still able to get a grip throughout the month.
Here’s the thing, though: these songs were licensed (by the band) under a Creative Commons that permitted listeners legal freedom to share/copy/remix the songs and even distribute them for their own commercial use. All you had to do was properly attribute the works to their author: Death Grips.
Death Grips typify the new wild norm of music post-Internet, typify artful (yes, outrageous) defiance and with this album, further typify impressive re-forgings of forms.
Death Grips perform at the Magic Stick in Detroit on November 19