Song of The Year-Blue Trash by The Dead South
The Dead South are Canadian Bluegrass. If you’ve ever listened to Bluegrass you know that the instrumentation is at the core of its success. Everything grows out of the rhythm and dexterity the banjo and the bass establish. The Dead South add gloriously to that tradition. Erik Mehlsen is basically the Lebon James of Cello. The lyrics that Nate Hilts sings on their new album ,Sugar & Joy, are stranger than Richard Nixon’s ghost. The groups fourth project is named after a lyric from the song Fat Little Killer Boy about a cannibal kid baking people into cakes. The group has been around since 2012 crafting this sound and Sugar & Joy marks the transition where they went to Muscle Shoals and did whatever felt good. They took what was already weird and spackled it with more weird.
Blue Trash comfortably navigates three different paces. I used the song to explain musical tempo to my six year old son. You can’t miss it. Trust me, if you read this blog I know your playlist doesn’t have a lot of banjo in it but lucky for all of us a little goes a long way. Just listen to Blue Trash a few times and see if your not singing along and looking for more songs. Sometimes it takes seven years to find the quintessential album that nails a bands mission statement but Sugar & Joy does. Let this music drive you like it does them and we’ll all stay alive together for a short while.
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Tagged banjo, Blue Trash, Bluegrass, CANADA!, Canadian Bluegrass, child cannibals, Folk, song of the year, Sugar & Joy, Sugar and Joy, tempo, The Dead South
Mixtape Review-One Long Day by SonReal
The best example of how needy/high stakes and fascinating SonReal music is comes on the song LA off his new mixtape One Long Day. The gentle piano gives way to our narrator suffering writers block and going on a drive. He gets pulled over, gets a ticket and goes to get lunch. Don’t worry he tells what he gets for lunch, brings it back to the studio and suffers more writers block until a friend tells him to go home. All of a sudden the chorus crashes, the voices double, the hook hypnotizes and you realize this is his stadium jam. The song where all the hands clap, sing along, and hold up their cellphones…and it’s partially about picking up lunch. He’s got such a deeply abiding sense of his own sincerity that he’s willing to give you the oddest moments; like on this same song when he admits to feeling like he got punked by the cop ticketing him.
I’ve listened to all SonReal projects out of this overwhelming fascination. He can rap at different tempos and write a great chorus but that isn’t it. I suppose that One Long Day along with his other projects could be called Emo rap but it’s usually a lot more serious. While the Nothing Interlude is a great example of heartbreakingly emotional relationship exploration this is also a dude who said “Who’d have ever thought we’d do a thang, I was listenin’ to Wu-a Tang…” on Honor Roll and knew exactly how silly it was.
Part of the difference between One Long Day and previous projects is that this production is remarkable all the way through. This wasn’t as simple as sticking with the hot hand of a great producer; the project is 11 tracks long with 8 different producers. Each one brings to the table his own style with one pre-qualifier. It’s gotta be big. Every beat needs to hold the spotlight on its narrator while providing us with reason to keep watching.
Throughout the project SonReal makes sure you understand that he doesn’t rap about molly or haters or anything generic that’s out in the public. He doesn’t rap about violence or drug dealing because he’s doing his best not to betray his artistic character. That’s a notable part of One Long Day but I wouldn’t want it to be negatively defined as a counter to “mixtapes of the day.” It’s more than that. It’s a Canadian kid spitting about his life as he sees it over hip hop’s version of the Springsteen wall of sound. It’s not something you can listen too all the time and it probably doesn’t fit a genre anyone likes, which might be its greatest asset. When you get sick of aimless braggadocio you might get the chorus from Monday Night (P.S. Kardinal Offishall has an astounding verse on this track. Great collaboration) stuck in your head and hear Son’s lilting voice “I was gonna write something for radio to play but f__k it all I had to say was ‘love me because I’m real” and you’ll need what he provides cause awkward honesty sometimes sounds better than convenient conventions of the day.
Stream or Download One Long Day below: