Innovative live-band hip-hop from ... Minnesota?
Minnesota's No Bird Sing meld urgently delivered hip-hop tirades with live band backing to terrific effect on their sophomore full-length, Theft of the Commons. Opener "Biasquat Loves Company" grabs the listener's attention with its combination of snappy lyrics and lurching, distorted guitars, but it's "Night Lights" that really shows the power of the formula.
Other tunes hit the same sweet spot, with an unusual range of sonic dynamics and a lyrical sense that owes more to grunge-rock angst than typical hip-hop braggadocio. "Guns for Planes" and "Approved Disease" both deliver the goods in convincing fashion, although some tunes are a touch more repetitive than inspired (I'm looking at you, "My Machine"). Still, this is hands-down one of the most inventive albums I've heard all year, well worth a listen for anyone with an interest in hip-hop, noisy rock and roll, or any form of "underground" music.