For the past four years, the hottest hip-hop night in the Valley apparently has been at the Blunt Club (hosted by Hollywood Alley in Mesa). I say “apparently” because I’ve yet to drag my sorry butt down there. That’s gonna change soon (I swear), especially if they keep lining up great indie hip-hop artists; Jeru the Damaja, Crown City Rockers, Abstract Rude and Souls of Mischief are just a few of the guests to come through.
I’m really regretting missing last night’s set, which featured Troublemaker, one-half of the hip-hop/electronic production team (along with E. Moss) known as Backyard Bangers. The term “turntablism” â€“ probably passe, anyway â€“ doesn’t do justice to the duo’s debut LP, New Math (on their self-created Hollyrock label). Drum-heavy rhythms and skewed time signatures suggest DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing might have been an influence, and the carefully crafted samples surrounding them means someone spent lots of long hours splicing and dicing digital waveforms.
It probably sounds as if I’m contradicting myself, if you paid any attention to my review of the Ratatat live show. But in terms of instrumental composition, I’m always drawn to drums. Ratatat’s focus â€“ both live and on record â€“ seems scattered and unkempt. On an album like New Math, drums ground everything; the beats are the common denominator among all songs, the baseline. It never strays from the drums, and that’s enough to keep my attention.
And, oh yeah, Backyard Bangers have toured and recorded with DJ Z-Trip, always a plus in my book.
The guys keep a generous catalog of mp3s available for download, including remixes for the Flaming Lips, Beastie Boys and Super Furry Animals.
Buy New Math through Backyard Bangers’ MySpace page.