|N-S-F-W doesn't seem an adequate warning for the album cover of Death Grips' NO LOVE DEEP WEB. Early Monday morning Oct. 1, I started reading headlines about the avant-hip-hop band concerning the "leak" of their new full-length. I noted the slightly arty album cover with a black rectangle askew and lines forming patterns reminiscent of floor tiles in the background. I thought to myself, "weird, the group's kinda more 'art' than I thought...kinda 2001." NOPE. I was very wrong...When I read further I learned the band was upset with their label (Epic) for delaying the release so they expressed their discontent by posting the songs online, in full. I also discovered the artwork was NOT arty.
Nothing like a prominent penis with words scrawled on it to make you wish you could click away double-quick. Once you've seen the cover you can't UNSEE it. So, the album cover is a dick pic...OK, well the band then claimed the label shut down their website (which the label denies) and all this shit about the creatives rebelling against the corporate major label comes into play, classic art vs. commerce. Punk is alive and well...as long as we aren't talking Green Day. The jokes, of course, started flying around too.
Death Grips' record The Money Store from earlier this year is one of the 2012's best. NO LOVE DEEP WEB is at least as good if not better. The trio of Stefan Burnett, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin cut & paste gnashing glitch grooves, mad free-form lyric spewing, and whirling electro-minimalism to great effect. For a band who's earliest recordings were based on samples no major label would allow, the original music conjured here is top notch. I can't say with authority that I ever really know what Burnett means with his words, but his delivery sells the fury. I love the band's overall sound. The thin beats and totally unstable time signatures break up the monotony of everyday hip-hop. For me the band is all about the harsh production. Which means, even at their best, a full-length set of songs is a tough listen - but worth it.
"Come and Get Me" is an opening taunt that does not sound like major label fare. The half-insane bile spittle is tangible on every second of this static irregular monster. "Deep Web" is a, like most of the tracks, skeletal fuzzy low-end thumpers with industrial edge. The last four tracks represent some of my favorite music the band has released. A balance between abrasive and psychedelic, hip-hop mashes with industrial electronica in a surprising fashion - a great listen.
Death Grips are foolish genital joke art-hop crazies. Equal parts abstraction and punk filth, Epic Records is not the type of label I would expect to be associated with the bizarre California trio. This music is meant for streaming, for online distribution, and buzz...not selling "units." I don't know if Death Grips are just out for attention and/or making a ruckus, but I'll be eager to hear what their next record sounds like.