Archive for February 3rd, 2022

February 3, 2022

Thursdays With J.R. – Kyoto Kyoto

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

I really can’t put into words how awesome a trio can be when in step and on the same page artistically.  I got the privilege of hearing such a trio this week with the track “Grangbeen” by the London UK based Kyoto Kyoto.  This song really played to my musician’s ear and took me down quite the rabbit hole of nerdery.  I will try to put some sort of digestible framework around this piece of sonic explosion.  Let’s just separate each piece of the puzzle, that will keep this under six billion words, yeah.  Well, if you’ve read anything of mine so far you know I like drums so let’s start there.  They are fantastic.  They sound great, the drummer is tight, solid, has bass and snare drum chops and doesn’t push it even when the song gets chaotic.  There are big breaks where the dynamic shifts quite drastically and the drummer is in step for the ride.  It opens with a breakbeat that is relentlessly and deceivingly difficult to keep steady, they nail it.  I am most impressed by the mature and tasteful choices in fills as the song crescendos, it continues to drive and build, increasing the anxiety without being all over the map.  Great off time cymbal hits in the end groove.  When the bass solo kicks in it comes back around to its part and lays into the groove until the song lets you go.  The bass guitar tone is perfect, you can hear the attack, but it has a warmth that really lends to the groovy parts.  When it comes time to get loud it fits, when it comes time to solo (the bass solo alone is worth the spin) it resides comfortably in the mix.  Tip of the hat to the EQ work, and for having a solo, solos rule.  Guitar is nice in beginning, chords and nice picking patterns that hold tight with the drum and bass.  A chorus watery pattern leads us into the wall of metallic waves, that leave you surfing into the abyss of chaos that lurks ahead in the repeating pattern building and building into the sweet release of our first groove.  This time the bass as we spoke of, rips a nice little solo, guitar almost fades out while the song ends.  Vocals are sparse but quite fitting, they slowly talk their way into the first groove and into a very intentional repeated phrase before we hit that metal surf and ride until Solotown (*unfortunately Solotown as of now does not exist, will update if that changes).  They are reverb laden but not as much as you may expect, a change from my recent spins.  Really liked this song and this band, it’s on their newest EP Mirror Flexing Jaw which just came out.  Highly recommend, check it out here.

February 3, 2022

The B-Side: theMVP

If you love classic hip-hop the way we love classic hip-hop than we have a throwback jam for you. But don’t get it twisted, “Whatcha Be About” by theMVP isn’t a sonic trip down memory lane with old school scratches and a sample of the Incredible Bongo Band. Instead it’s a reminder that the real ones are in hip-hop because of the art form itself and not all that other bullshit. One part Dead Prez’s mission to stay focused on the real and one part Brother Ali’s ideology of paying respect to those who came before you, “Whatcha Be About” isn’t a diss track, it’s a challenge track. Here’s to hoping more new artists answer the call.

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