Inb4track Has Moved

Hello everyone, I first started writing for this blog back in 2010 when a lot of others writers were participating in reviewing music on here and I continued up until mid 2013. Around that time I started to focus more on my school work and personal work as I prepared to graduate from college and stopped writing altogether for the blog.

Now we are well into 2015 and there is a lot of great music I missed out on sharing and talking about last year and already there is a lot of music coming out this year that I would like to talk about. With that I’m moving inb4track to a new blog space for the purposes of sharing with a larger audience and a way of starting out with a clean new space.

If you’ve followed up until this point, commented on the blog, liked the Facebook page or have been in a band or part of a project and submitted music thank you and you can continue to do the same at the new blog. I will try to be more direct and thorough when interacting on the new blog.

If you are a band or musician or have a project you think I would enjoy please share it with me at the below address and I will do my best to listen to it and possibly review it given the time I have.

Email: inb4track@gmail.com

Follow inb4track here: inb4track.tumblr.com

Like the Facebook page here

-Tyler Thompson

Natsumi___San – √

Natsumi__San - √

Remember in 2010 when the internet was inventing musical genres. Everyone got to experience the simultaneous humor and frustration that came with the creation of these numerous micro-genres. There was witch House, one of these “internet genres” that immediately comes to mind, one which quickly transitioned into a legitimate genre as it glued itself to the future-garage and post-dubstep uprising. Then there was the one time use of the word “postinternet”, when Claire Boucher (AKA Grimes) described, in a write-up with ‘Interview Magazine’ in which she said “I think my sound is post-Internet” when she was asked to describe her style of bright left-field pop music. And then we also got to enjoy the sweet summery bliss of chillwave… and then autumn came. Oh and who could forget the most talked about of these genres, vaporwave, which vexed many an internet blogger who came upon it’s brash use of corporate imagery clashing violently against soft elevator lounge and of course its unmistakable ‘aesthetic’, which seemed to be an element that either equaled or at times felt more important than the music it accompanied.

But what exactly is vaporwave separate from the musical artists that chose to self-identify with the genre? Is it some kind of twisted politically infused art movement; it certainly seems to have a lot in common with the ‘Pretty Ugly’ revolution, at least aesthetically if not maybe a little bit conceptually as far as rehashing once popular media to make it kind of appealing, doing it in an ugly way but on purpose but also not on purpose (…sigh, you get it). Is it just a lazy version of plunderphonics and sampling? Is it post-digital? What the fuck does that even mean? What does any of this mean? Its a topic that has left music bloggers and critics sounding like fucking idiots every time they attempt to add some kind of context to vaporwave without sounding like they’re copy / pasting from a wikipedia article. Whatever vaporwave means to the artists who created music under its umbrella for the short time it was relevant (as far as relevancy goes for niche music), currently, vaporwave, much like the music it samples or steals from is a thing of the past.

Regardless, there are still musicians who continue to pump out warped elevator jams on soundcloud and tag it as such. One of these musician is Natsumi__San, who has only been active under that name for less than a month but has been a familiar presence on soundcloud, on this blog, and am internet mainstay, in some circles for some time. Natusimi__San is a side project of the one-man internet screamo / weirdo project, Heccra, who has been releasing some of the most creative shit that Topshelf Records wish it had released – but in other words has gone relatively unnoticed aside from the cult following he has achieved on the web. For me, the music that Heccra makes is really unlike anything I have heard. A friend once described his music as being akin to the Blood Brothers and Agoraphobic Nosebleed falling down a flight of stairs. If you don’t know who either of those bands are, its okay – I’m just rambling to fill space. Aside from being a great musician with an ear for short and catchy but equally eclectic songwriting, Heccra has never played a live show, remains mostly anonymous, and has been working on whats sure to be a masterpiece of an album for the past two years or so. Although, with working on something great comes distractions – albeit creative distractions nonetheless, which is what the anonymous artist’s new project, Natsumi__San seems to be.

On ‘‘, an album whose title couldn’t be more internet, the artist explores electronic music. Although Heccra is no stranger to electronic music, the music itself featured many electronic synthy embellishments and tasty, glitchy effects, however, in this case with Natsumi__San the project is one that is purely electronic – which is kind of funny because the music that is being sampled may not be electronic at all but seems to be derived from early funk music with lots of groovy bass. This isn’t the first musician of this ilk to do this in terms of vaporwave and certainly not the first in electronic music but I must say, the content is actually pretty well crafted, especially when considering the appropriation of music when talking about vaporwave, the near sketch-esque feel some of the songs have – it isn’t present in the music here. What I’m getting to is that all of the songs sound pretty well thought out. They’re short but what more is there to say when your music is sampling and repeating the same parts of a song over and over with little to no in depth modifications. I guess you’d have dub music but what do I know.

The thing is the artists creating this music may or may not be thinking all that hard about what it means, what they’re trying to do – they could be just doing it just to do it and here we music bloggers are, sounding like we know our shit when in actuality Natsumi__San is just trying to make some music and not think too hard about what it means. Anyways this review is longer than the EP in which I’m writing about so…

Overall Rating: 5.5

Favorite tracks: ‘YΩU WXRXN’T 一人で’

Recommended: Whatever

Released: 26 September 2014

Links: Ayyee

-Tyler Thompson

Death Grips – Fashion Week

Death Grips - Fashion Week

Its 2015 and with that, among other unimportant things comes the most important thing that any music fan in the know could have hoped for, the release of yet another album from the most productive break-up-band, Death Grips. Last year the band drew criticism and a simultaneous sigh from the internet music community and fans alike when they suddenly canceled all future shows, including a their anticipated Fun Fun Fun Fest performance when they announced via a handwritten note on a napkin that “We are now at our best and so Death Grips is over“. Their break-up note was curious because it was both unexpected and at once casual – which has also been the case with the bands continuous activity despite their status as a band. They put out the first half of their two part album ‘The Powers That B’, dropped a video for ‘Intimate Sensation’,  recently put out this unexpected instrumental tape, ‘Fashion Week’, and just a few days ago uploaded a surprise lo-fi video of the band putting on a performance.

With all the hype, the mystery, and the hate that surrounds these musicians its easy to say that they’re gimmicky. Aside from making some truly unique sounds, they are essentially this generation’s rock and roll / punk rock band at their most basic. The band drawls a certain fascination not simply from their strange sound but of course from their antics – I get it but as of now I don’t know of any other band that has been able to stay as relevant as Death Grips, especially after having broken up.

Fashion Week was released as a kind of nod to the fact that they will be releasing part 2 of their anticipate post-houmous double album ‘The Powers That B’ entitled ‘Jenny Death’ which will be dropping, as the titled of this tape suggests, sometime around Fashion Week. So what we get with fashion week is 14 new instrumental tracks featuring Death Grips futuristic and loud take on various style of electronic music, most notably what sounds like dub and dancy music you probably would be best off moshing too as oppose to dancing or maybe punk music that you could dance to.

The first track starts the album off the way you would expect a Death Grips album to start off, unpredictable, loud, yet familiarly catchy. You hear these off-kilter rhythms throughout that kind of arpeggiate up and down simultaneously as the music takes new shape with added layers of effects. The effects sound sculpted and what I mean by that is these, like most of Death Grips production choices sound signature; they don’t sound like anything that you’d hear on any other record, rather the sounds have been meticulously broken down and sculpted from the source material to create the distinct otherworldly sound that Death Grips have been recognized for.

While drummer, Zach Hill and producer Andy Morin did their part to create the jarring instrumentals that became a staple of defining the sound they pioneered its even easier to attribute their influence to that of MC Ride’s contribution to the group. From the band’s conception with the release of the debut ‘Exmilitary’ the only confirmed member at the time was Zach Hill, the drummer from noise-rock legends, Hella. And while the band gained attention for the tightly executed albeit noisy drumming of Hill it was MC Rides over-the-top vocal performances that drew the attention. However, with this new tape, being that it is an instrumental tape there comes the drawback of Ride’s exclusion – whether he performs at all on this record is unclear- but the absence of his vocal performances removes some of the intense potential these instrumental tracks could have yet it also brings their pop-influences to a new level of attention.

Its kind of funny that a group as confrontational, as aggressive as Death Grips is sonically and lyrically they have throughout their career given not-so-subtle nods to pop music, namely the synth-heavy club-driven beats that dominated tracks on their debut studio full length ‘The Money Store’, which had little bits of pop sprinkled throughout the whole album but became most prominent on the anthemic final track, ‘Hacker’ in which you can hear what sounds like a recording from the outside of a nightclub as MC Ride says something about there being “no ins and outs’ before the track actually starts in. It would appear to be a clever allusion to the band’s pop-influenced instrumental sound. This allusion becomes even more clear when Ride raps how ‘Gaga can’t handle this shit’ and would become even more clear later on when the group released a remix of Bjork’s track, ‘Thunderbolt’.  In recent years even the most nauseating pop musicians like Lady Gaga, Banks, Lorde, Miley Cyrus, and perhaps the most obvious being Kanye West with his ‘Yeezus’ album have embraced a more left field approach to their music, either in their sound or their antics both on stage and off stage. Its difficult to tell who inspired who at this point but whatever is happening it sounds noisy but its the most accessible noise has ever been.

Watch a surprise video of the band performing below:

Overall Rating: 7.0

Favorite tracks: ‘Runway J’, ‘Runway E (2)

Recommended: Nah, Hair Police, Arca, Clipping

Released: 04 January 2015

Links: Download ‘Fashion Week’ at thirdworlds.net

-Tyler Thompson

2012 Year End List

In the annual tradition of most music review websites and blogs this list showcases my favorite releases of the year. To give you a little bit of perspective into my thoughts on 2012, other than a select few solid releases I was beginning to feel underwhelmed with what the year had to offer. For me, it seemed there was either an insufficient output of what I found to be preferred listening material or I just wasn’t impressed with releases I had been anticipating (Sigur Ros’ ‘Valtari’). Although, disappointed with that lack of music I deemed enjoyable during the first half of the year, the second half proved to be a surprising and welcome change of pace, not only because of the many long anticipated albums seeing a release but also because of my personal discovery of a number of unexpected new acts that resonated with me.

Regardless of how the year began for me it did end with a promising collection of albums, quite a few of which I wouldn’t have discovered without the convenience of other blogs and websites that, like inb4track, cater to the lesser known musical projects on the internet which I believe proves the importance of lists such as these – as a source for curious or adventurous listeners to get the chance to hear the best of what the previous year had to offer. Living in these times, with access to technology at almost any point during our lives I find that we are very fortunate in that nearly any piece of music you could want is available to be heard or downloaded for free. Thanks to the internet we have more options than ever in finding new music and inb4track has provided a way for me to do that and I hope it has provided you, the reader with the same opportunity, to discover new music in this massive ever growing database we call the internet. Although we at inb4track strive to expose listeners to new and often unheard of artists as well as promote these aforementioned unnoticed acts this list is an exception as it does feature a mix of some larger projects along with those hidden gems. With that said, these are my top 15 favorite albums of 2012… cheers!

Continue reading

Best of /mu/ Contest – Vol. 2

Better late than never. I continue to believe /mu/ is the best music board on the Internet. Meanwhile, /mu/sicians make some of the most interesting homemade music I have heard on the Internet. I personally think it beats most of “mainstream” independent music, that is, music released by labels and positively reviewed by Pitchfork and the such, and this compilation proves that shit. Now let’s get down to business:

Rekapper – Tripcrop

It’s a trip alright, not only the track but listening to Rekapper’s stuff in general. He is capable of anything in electronic music, and everything he does is absurdly well made and polished, always surrounded with very good taste and synth play. It’s a work of obsession and long hours of hard work. After listening to hours of his music, I have come to the state where when I listen to electronic music, I immediately compare to his music. There are many electronic musicians on soundcloud, he’s the best, most interesting and inventive I have heard.

This track in particular has many beautiful and interesting details, laid down on a soft, sleepy carpet of dreams. Listening on good headphones is probably recommended, but I bet it was mixed to perfection on any setup you have at hand. The track develops nicely, slowly building interesting juxtapositions, than deconstructing  them unexpectedly, always unexpectedly. It’s a feast.

The MACHINE – Building a New House for Skrillex

Interesting experiment in making music with noises, mostly raw and unpleasant, fitting the witty theme. This can be silly and awful, like this piece of shit, but halfway through the track you forget the joke-like substance of the collection of sounds, because it fits together in a a musically sound way. It’s by no way a mess, it follows a structure, develops and changes in the right times and in interesting ways. Cool track, not the sort you forget easily, not the sort you only listen to once.

Continue reading

Best of /mu/ Contest, Vol. II – Review of Submitted Tracks (Part 2 – page 1)

The Sifters – Goodbye Waves

Very nice mellow song with sort of an hawaiian style and a little bit of 60’s style voice harmonization. It’s pretty fun and distinctive.

New Motive Power – Breathe

NMP is kind of evolving. After doing a bunch of pretty different tracks, especially collaborations with The Hai, I see this track is coming back to improve more specifically on the style exhibited on his first album, which is a sort of 8-bit dance punk, I suppose, which made his track the most voted on the first best of /mu/ compilation. The track itself is powerful and fun, with a nice progression and an effective transition between hard and softer parts.

Continue reading

Best of /mu/ Contest, Vol. II – Review of Submitted Tracks (Part 1)

Once again motherfucker, let’s do this. I will keep this shit brief so I can hopefully review everything this time.

Last year when inb4track was just starting out Carpeaux took on the task of reviewing submissions for the first ‘Best of /mu/’ compilation album. The idea was to compile a set of tracks that reflected the collective music interests and endeavors of independent musicians, specifically that of /mu/. This year another Best of /mu/ contest is taking place and once again, inb4track is setting out to review each individual track.

Kingtommen – Based

Nice track, spacey, sparse, beautiful. If you stop to think about it, the sort of Kid A influence is all around us and we barely notice it at this point, everything is sort of strange and otherwordly, but the shock from 2001 is gone, we are living in the fucking future now, no one gives a shit anymore. Yeah, and this track also.

Mascara Hera – Phaethon

Pretty, competent, gorgeous synths, the singing sound ethereal and nice. It also gets boring after some time. I don’t know, I just keep wishing for something awesome to come up, but it never does. But damn, it’s only 2 minutes and a half long, so either I shouldn’t be such an ass to expect so much from such a short track, or the track would benefit from an added section. Anyhow, what little there is here, is good.

Continue reading