S. Carey, the drummer and supporting vocalist of Bon Iver, is often not recognized as a solo act, but in his sophomore release, he offers up a solid showing as an independent artists. First of all, if you were looking for something that sounds like Bon Iver's works, do not look towards this album. S. Carey bring a whole new “electric” feel in Hoyas combining the deep and funky basslines reminiscent of glitch artists like Hex with the smooth varied instrumentation of Saltillo, and buildups that only Blue Sky Black Death could pull off. Hoyas is ambient, but also not at the same time. What it lacks in ethreal popping noise, he makes up by blanketing the listener in a cocoon of sound. What you will hear at any given time varies from tinkling piano to long drawn out synths. My favorite song on this EP is Two Angles which is closely followed up by Marfa (really cool unidentified woodwind instrument in this one). The only drawback I can find with this album is that I do not really enjoy S. Carey's voice on his 2nd and 3rd tracks. His voice seems heavily digitally altered, and didn't sound good to my ears. Despite that this album is a solid work by a solid artist; I'm definitely looking forward to seeing S. Carey develop and find his own sound.
Sacramento’s Death Grips are easily one of the stranger acts to emerge from recent influx of DIY hip-hop upstarts. In fact, the duo barely qualifies as hip-hop at all, transcending hardcore, noise, electronica, and of course rap to create a punishingly aggressive style that continues to bludgeon you over the head with its anger and immediacy. On The Money Store, the duo’s second LP and first with a record deal, Death Grips refines the blend of proto-rap/electro noise they emerged with on their debut Ex-Military into something a bit more subtle. However, just because Death Grips doesn’t explode in a maximalist onslaught on every song doesn’t mean they still aren’t as pissed off as they were a year ago. Stefan Burnett attack with a flow that sounds more akin to Henry Rollins than any of his modern hip-hop contemporaries, shouting out cryptic punk wisdom in a low bark making someone like Tyler, the Creator sound like Vanilla Ice. Zach Hill crafts wildly unpredictable instrumentals that range from the unrelenting throb of “Get Got” to the percussive Bollywood morph of punk weight, to the pumping dance grooves of “I’ve Seen Footage” and “Hacker”. Burnett and Hill have created a style of music that sounds purely theirs and manage to make it surprisingly palatable while maintaining a definite sense of individuality. There is no one making music like this right now.