Emmanuel Elone: When “Only You” started, I didn’t think that I was going to like it. The rattling hi hats were bland, and it felt like this song would just be another boring trap beat. I couldn’t have been more wrong. An epic horn section (the same ones on Vic Mensa’s “U Mad”) comes in, and then a vocal sample begins to weave its way around the banging production. Neither are gaudy, but both are tasteful, with enough musical twists and turns to make such a large scale trap instrumental flavorful throughout the whole song. However, while it’s good to talk about a song’s elements, “Only You” needs to be listened to in order to understand it fully. It slaps in the best way possible, and is one of the few songs that showcases trap music’s true potential. [9/10]
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Multi-cultural Brooklyn band Butcher Knives cooks up an eclectic genre stew of punk energy with band members from places like Morocco, Israel, Colombia, New York, and New Orleans. Their sound will thrill fans of Gogol Bordello and the Clash as they blend Eastern European music with punk, rockabilly, and psychobilly into a sound they like to call “gypsybilly”. Butcher Knives’ latest video celebrates the immigrant experience. They tell PopMatters that “‘American Dream’ is not only the story of a day in the life of the everyday immigrant, but a story of the dissolving ‘American Dream’ ideals on which this country was once based on.” Butcher Knives’ sound is irresistible with the swirling accordions, the blend of cultures and the raw, passionate energy of the music.
Chris Ingalls: Xiu Xiu bring their characteristic experimental noise to a Twin Peaks soundtrack tribute. As expected, a weird band paying tribute to a weird director works pretty well. Everything is pretty laid-back and ambient until the noise factor grows and about two-thirds into this epic, it actually becomes melodic, in a shoegazey kind of way. It’s definitely something you need to be in the mood for, but they do a nice job. [7/10]
Chris Ingalls: A collaboration between these three terrific singers (Neko, k.d., Laura) is sure to please a respectable swath of music fans. Everyone wins. The song is extremely well-crafted, sounding like some classic from the minds of Jimmy Webb or Bacharach/David. All three are in fine voice, and Lang in particular sounds as good as ever. [9/10]
Emmanuel Elone: “Black Leather” is a pretty good song. Kat Von D’s vocals are beautiful, and compliments the great rhythm flowing below her. Her singing feels even more powerful on the chorus, where her vocals are either stacked, or she has backup singers that improve Von D’s performance. Lyrically, “Black Leather” isn’t a slouch either, with lines that are simple, poetic, and put together well. “Black Leather” may not blow you away, but it is a good listen nonetheless. [6/10]