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Playboy's 2014 Music Guide
  • April 04, 2014 : 19:04
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Chancelor Bennett’s father, Ken, was deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, but Chance is unlikely to ever enter the political arena, given the number of times he mentions drugs on Acid Rap, his impressive mixtape. The young Chicago rapper “with a literary knack and a shitty little Mac” delivers clever rhymes with a relaxed chuckle, whether mentioning things he loves (LSD, Rugrats) or things he hates (Fox News, the Lakers).

From the horrible city of Syracuse, New York comes this knock-you-down noise band fronted by Meredith Graves, who has well discarded her background in musical theater. Graves’s singing is buried beneath chaos—she has a “weird, high, squeaky voice,” she’s said, and unlike other punk singers, “I can’t scream”—which gives Say Yes to Love a heightened sense of someone being shouted down, buried or unable to find the right words. But the title is a hint: Graves hollers for all the things she desires, and while similar bands are sad or scornful, Perfect Pussy’s clamor is an act of celebration.

Cheap Beer,” “Wake Bake Skate,” “Stoked and Broke”—FIDLAR makes it easy to get a sense of its bratty, carefree garage rock from its debut album’s song titles alone. The group utilizes the Ramones’ key qualities—cartoonish excess, slam-bash speed and negative energy (“I don’t ever wanna get a job”; “I’m fuckin’ bored”)—but also adds a few West Coast touches: The band name is a skate-culture expression similar to YOLO.

Imagine if Led Zeppelin hailed from West Africa and sang in Tamashek. Over hypnotic, hand-clapping grooves, musician Omara Moctar, nicknamed Bombino, plays distorted electric-guitar lines that can ripple and skip or stutter and attack. Produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, the album Nomad grows out of African and Arabian traditions, but it is likely to thrill many fans of Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Plus, you won’t have to worry about liking the lyrics, because you won’t understand them.

Adam Granduciel loves classic rock (Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen), but he also loves experimental punk (the Fall, Suicide). In his band the War on Drugs, the singer-guitarist combines the two spheres, creating indiscernible anthems that move fleetly, then stretch out into echoing, silvery jams rife with texture and surprises. Only three songs on Lost in the Dream (the Philadelphia group’s third full-length album) end before the five-minute mark. “I’m all alone here, living in darkness,” Granduciel sings with a happy whoop. The later at night you listen to the Drugs, the better they sound.

In their best songs—“Nerve Endings,” “Amber Veins”—Eagulls’ doomy, buzzing guitars seem to be playing not so much notes as the essence of youthful angst and destructive energy. There are musical resemblances to Magazine, the Cure and other bands from the U.K. that started way before these five Leeds lads were even born.

She was discovered on Myspace and had a few false starts, including the group RichGirl, which dropped the hot “He Ain’t Wit Me Now (Tho).” Instead of fading out, Sevyn Streeter came back, setting her wispy vocals to clattering R&B that can be serious (“B.A.N.S.,” about domestic abuse) or frisky (“Sex on the Ceiling”).

He has only two themes—one is bitches, and the other is hoes. His raps can be clever, if mean: “Both of my bitches drive Range Rovers; / None of my bitches can stay over.” Cali’s Ty Dolla also sings numbly, like R. Kelly with a concussion, and his slow R&B tracks are odd and bombed-out, even when he’s bragging about an orgy. As stupid as it is complex.

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read more: entertainment, magazine, music, issue april 2014


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