Connect & FTdub
Need More Faster
Connect — who also performs with Fortified Phonetx — gets self-reflective on eight tracks (plus a bonus track), produced by FTdub. A lot of Connect's rhymes deal with hip hop itself, language and power dynamics; he's the contemplative counterpart to Phonetx bandmate Moemaw Naedon, who guests on a track here, spitting more aggressively. But both are thoughtful, and indignant about the right stuff: rappers who "rap stupid shit," aggro South Side dudes and the like. FTdub's production — sparse samples of often heavy or psychedelic-sounding rock, giving Connect space to work — is appropriate for the project, and at times downright hooky. Good stuff.
Locks & Dams
EP of country tunes from the local six-piece. That the first two songs are called "Carolina" and "Tennessee" should give an indication of where this one is coming from: raucous, sometimes tender, with banjo foregrounded. These are mostly old-style honky-tonk tunes, with a dose of rock 'n' roll injected — the album closer, "I Want to Find You," is more rock than country — and are largely catchy, if conventional. There are some sweet vocal harmonies here, but also some moments where the lead vocals feel a little put-on. A nice EP all in all, though, and a good taste of what this band is capable of.