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by Ryo Miyauchi

New Music Picks

“Reloaded” by Roc Marciano

When listening to hip-hop, certain songs sound “East Coast.” There’s no strict criteria as to what makes an East Coast hip-hop song, but you have an idea about what they consist of and you know when you hear them. Roc Marciano and his second album “Reloaded” gives that vibe and its straight-hour run is a solid whiff of that feel. The production of “Reloaded” evokes that dirty crate digging of golden loops. Samples hang pretty lonely with sparse, drumming but nevertheless it sets a perfect street scene for Roc Marciano’s gangster flexing.

Many like to ride along to production like Roc Marciano’s in “Reloaded,” but the real highlight is Roc Marciano’s free-associative rapping. His subjects are nothing new: gun talk, money and a murderous blood. He crams syllables and slides them continuously without much use of a period breaking between each line. Just a sample from “Deeper” goes “Eight ball, corner pocket/ My hustle, can’t knock it/ the game chop it, catastrophic/ I’m after the profit/ Pull a salad out of the stocking/ I’m poppin’.” At the pace he’s loosely grabbing these kinds of phrases and thoughts, Roc Marciano sounds like he can go on forever.

In contrast to the wild, party- geared raps of bloodthirsty mixtape rappers, Roc Marciano sits back comfortably. It’s a great change of pace and a nostalgic puff. “Reloaded” is not overstuffed nor pompous. “Reloaded” is just a smooth- riding East Coast burner that keeps cranking shots.


“What You Came For” by Mosca (ft. Katy B)

Mosca’s popular B-side from last year’s “Bax” is already irresistible and energetic. The bubbly synths in “Bax” are ideal for the dance floor, while Mosca messes with the bass and steadily pumps the drums. This week, Mosca’s B-side got an upgrade into newly titled “What You Came For” as U.K. bass/pop songstress Katy B graced the track with her vocals. Katy B’s presence adds a fun pop sensibility as a perfect match for keeping the production moving. Mosca’s rework of “Bax” pushes a stronger urgency to get your body moving and Katy B’s hook (“if you ain’t moving, tell me what you came for!”) makes sure listeners do.

“But There Has to Be More” by Lower

Here’s another B-side for your listening pleasure. Equally slow burning as its A-Side, “But There Has to Be More” is a wrecking ball of a release from Danish four-piece Lower. The band carries a late-’70s post-punk and ‘80s hardcore punk vibe with an industrial groove. Riffs in “But There Has to Be More” bellow heavily, more mucky than the band’s usual arsenal, and vocalist Adrian Toubro shouts passage-like verses from its depths. Lower swallows its listeners whole throughout the song as it slowly raise its growl. But even if “But There Has to Be More” sinks steadily, this strong B-side continues Lower’s ripping streak.


“Beta Love” by Ra Ra Riot

Nothing truly that horrendous has surfaced this week, although I could poke at a few. One that caught my ears with surprise at its quality out of everything was the new Ra Ra Riot single “Beta Love” from its upcoming album next year. Ra Ra Riot has been keeping up an autumnal affair of pop music that combines its lineup of string musicians while pushing towards a sweet and soft songwriting. The band strayed away from a fully baroque instrumentation, but the new single “Beta Love” was a full surprise at its sharp dive into Ra Ra Riot’s Pop taste.

From its first strike of the super-bright synth chord, “Beta Love” is full-on synth-pop that climbs huge, both in keys and vocals. Previous ideas attached with Ra Ra Riot went right out the window and into a new entity sounding similar to a more organized Passion Pit, barely retaining a drop of its folk lean. Ra Ra Riot’s turn sounds similar to The Morning Bender’s radical change of direction. The Morning Benders changed its name to POP ECT and shifted to a nostalgic ‘90s and R & B sound.

Neither “Beta Love” or the newly formed POP ETC fit the bill they’ve already been attached to. People who run into Ra Ra Riot for the first time may dig its sugary coating of synthesizers. But “Beta Love” feels very alienating to those who have been keeping an ear. Check out “Beta Love” if you’d like, but its synth-pop is too oversaturated and the band’s attempted reach to higher heights seems very dull in the current pop climate. “Beta Love” runs too loud and lacks constraint for its own good. A full album of this stuff would be something to watch out for.

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