Podcast the Thirteenth: September 2020 in Review

Another month, another batch of music to review and/or lampoon.

Zack’s Top 3 Albums of the Month

3. Tim Heidecker – Fear of Death
2. Big Sean – Detroit 2

Detroit 2 was released nearly 8 years to the day of the release of Big Sean’s fourth mixtape, Detroit.  Back then, Sean was doing it: his first studio album, Finally Famous, had dropped the year prior.  A week after Detroit would be the release of Cruel Summer, a compilation album showcasing several G.O.O.D. Music artist, including Sean on two smashers: Clique and Mercy.  He was still with his high-school sweetheart too.

Fast-forward to today: Detroit 2 is Big Sean’s sixth studio album, and he hasn’t slowed down a lick.  He’s quietly made a name for himself as one of the best rappers in the game.  And, like all the greats do, he spans a variety of topics on Detroit 2, without holding anything back.  Whether it’s the diagnosis of his heart condition on “Lucky Me”, the squashing of the apparent non-beef with Kendrick Lamar on “Deep Reverence”, or the vulnerable matters-of-the-heart jam “Guard Your Heart”, Sean puts it all out on the table.

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September 4, 2020


All Them Witches – Nothing As The Ideal (New West Records)

Wow. Musically this is a treat. 

This Nashville quartet is steeped in blues, psychedelia, prog, and stoner metal. While they are a hard rock outfit, they employ classical guitar, gothic tones, and their own blend of everything that came out of the Delta Swamp (Dr. John, Soylent Green, Junior Kimbrough, etc). 

This is their 6th album, if you don’t count live releases, which I don’t. That’s in just 8 years, making them almost as prolific as King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard or Steve Buscemi. Much like the aforementioned genre-bending geniuses, you never quite know what to expect from these cats. Even just on this record, there are significant differences among the tracks.

The album opens with a slow build into a Tool-esque jam in 6/8 (“Saturnine & Iron Jaw”), “Everest” is a Led Zeppelin-meets-Donovan guitar instrumental, which bleeds into a Soundgarden-style downbeat banger (“See You Next Fall”). That gets followed up by a folk/country/blues track (“The Children of Coyote Woman”). The latter of these brings me to my next point, because it is the first song on the album that truly works with this dude’s voice. Up to this point, his voice is sort of like a blemish on an otherwise pristine surface. It’s not bad enough to make you stop listening, may even make it interesting, but causes you to hold back. 

The next 2 songs show a different characteristic to his voice without actually changing what he’s doing. The music just finally suits the nearly monotonous style of the singing. “The Children of Coyote Woman”, “41”, and the album closer, “Rats in Ruin”, almost seem like they came from a different band. 

The album returns you to regularly scheduled programming: brilliant music and subpar-if-interesting vocals. I, personally, still found that the record was a great listen, but I would understand if you don’t agree.

FFO: Deaf Radio, Agents of Oblivion, King Gizzard

-JR

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