This week albums being released on Friday are going to have us doing some time traveling. We’re going to be traveling into the future with music by Lil Peep, and then traveling back in time with music by David Rawlings. Both artists are far from what you would hear on mainstream radio, but at the same time, utilize sounds that a familiar to us. Regardless of the direction we go in, we’ll definitely be taking a step out of our comfort zone. Enjoy this week’s picks for The Art of the Album.
Lil Peep- Come Over When You’re Sober (Pt.1)
If you’re a reader who was born in the late 80’s and early 90’s, chances are you’ve had some exposure to emo in your middle or high school years.. Urban Dictionary defines emo as “A terribly misconstrued and misused word. In contemporary culture it is utilized as a broad term to describe a multitude of children and teenagers who straighten their hair, have their hair in their face, perhaps dye it black, and wear tight clothing…” the term emo is short for “emotional hardcore punk rock.” In the early 2000’s bands such as My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and Brand New were at the forefront of the emo movement. In 2017, The Future of Emo is the Brooklyn rapper/singer/model, Lil Peep.
Over the past two years Lil Peep has gained quite the following. His Instagram, YouTube, and Soundcloud have gained a steady amount of followers due to his flashy appearance and his deep and relevant lyrics. Many of Peep’s songs address depression, anxiety, drug abuse, suicide, and loneliness, all very familiar topics in the songwriting of the most prominent emo bands. Lil Peep has even paid homage to many emo bands such as Brand New and The Microphones by sampling their instrumentals. But even on originally produced songs, the dark and ominous sounds are reminiscent of many emo records.
“Crybaby” (Samples Brand New’s “The No Seatbelt Song” from 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon)
In addition to his unique sound, Lil Peep is turning heads with his unique videos on YouTube, as well as his style. Peep seems to have a good handle on the direction of his career, making each move very calculated. In a 2017 interview with Pitchfork, Lil’ Peep compared his success to the business model of professional wrestling. “It’s like professional wrestling-everyone has to be a character. If you’re not a fun enough character, then one’s gonna fuck with you because you don’t have enough shit that’s different.” If you have any questions about the professional wrestling business model, take a look at BeerSpit’s Wrestling column.
So far, Lil Peep has released two singles from Come Over When You’re Sober (Pt.1) via SoundCloud and YouTube. Both songs feature dreamy-distorted guitar accompanied by trap-style beats. While this may not seem like a pleasant combination, Lil Peep makes it work with pretty melodies and verses with depth. Both videos are also accompanied with artistic videos that have been turning heads on the internet. Be sure to check out the links below for “The Brightside” and “Benz Truck,” which are both featured on Lil Peeps Come Over When You’re Sober (Pt. 1), which is being released on August 11, 2017.
David Rawlings- Poor David’s Almanack
Two weeks ago, I was able to make it down to Newport, RI for the historical Newport Folk Festival (In 1965, Bob Dylan shocked the world at the Newport Folk Festival by going electric.) The lineup featured some of the best names in folk, rock n roll, americana, and country. In preparation for this once in a lifetime opportunity, I was listening to a lot of the artists that I was excited to see at the festival, which included Nikki Lane, Shovels & Rope, and The Wild Reeds, all of which you should check out! Through this immersion into the world of folk I was redirected to the work of Gillian Welch (NPR rated Welch’s 2001 album Time (The Revelator) as one of the greatest albums made by women.). I have been a longtime fan of Gillian Welch’s sound, with her stripped down acoustic performances with the fast paced guitar picking from her musical/life partner, David Rawlings. This Friday David Rawlings will be releasing his third solo-album Poor David’s Almanack.
Before Poor David’s Almanack was available for full stream at NPR, critics were already beginning to claim that you can find Gillian Welch’s unique sound and style on Rawlings’ new album. The Guardian’s recent review claims that Poor David’s Almanack is “the most Welch-like of Rawlings’ releases.” Through further research, I was also to find that members of Dawes and Old Crow Medicine Show contributed to the sound of the album. With these notes in mind, I knew that I would be a fan of this record. The album consists of 10 songs, all of which pay tribute to the roots music of the civil war era, as well as folk music of the 60’s. The album does features minimal percussion, two guitars, a fiddle, and upright bass. On the album you’ll also find some unique sounds from old-time instruments like the singing saw and the spoons, which really makes you feel like you’re traveling through time. Throughout the album you can hear Welch’s gorgeous vocals.
Overall, this album aims to please fans of americana and folk. With it’s simplistic, yet advanced guitar stylings and impressive harmonies, Poor David’s Almanack presents a diverse history of folk. To get a sample of Poor David’s Almanack, give a listen to “Cumberland Gap” below. If you like what you hear, the album is now streaming at NPR!