By: Patrick McKenna, Staff Writer
Always eager to present a disregard for the music industry, the Sacramento saints of underground noise-rap, Death Grips, pulled a déjà vu release with their free record Government Plates. An 11 song LP, Government Plates is streaming courtesy of Soudcloud, a little over a year after releasing No Love Deep Web, another free download on their website. A composition of mesmerizing intensity and indecipherable muttered lyrics, Government Plates is a golden nugget of noise for fans. For Death Grip-gripers, it may sound as if robotic punks have come to pillage your town and massacre any corporate entities present. The abstractly angry hip-hop group, made up of rapper MC Ride and producers/instrumentalists Flatlander and Zach Hill, (Hill is currently writing and directing an original feature film that Death Grips will be providing the soundtrack for) present an album that doesn’t stray far from their avant-garde meets Odd Future sound, with politically charged lyrics filled with defiance and inarticulate shouting still plentiful. However, the instrumentation of the album furthers the group’s progress of mixing unruly drumbeats and reckless synth, creating their own blend of experimental hip-hop (See “Anne Bonny” and strap in). This is not the ideal sound for a quaint walk on the beach; the extravagant presentation of sludgy, eclectic electronics and outrageous lyrics presented as a secondary feature of the music hits listeners like a semi.
Government Plates is not an album for someone interested in mediocre indie-pop whiny bullshit. It’s for the aggravated, the alternative, the ones interested in something unusual. Government Plates opens with the sound of shattering glass and a hook, along with screamed words, “Come/come fuck apart in here.” With blistering snares on top of lo-fi synths at their dirtiest, Death Grips puts the meaning in ‘starting with a bang’ with the longwindedly named, “You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.” (Which is literally one character too long for the YouTube search bar.)
Abnormality is abundant on this album, with prime examples in both “I’m Overflow” and “Bootleg (I don’t need your help).” Each of these tracks offers a ironically catchy hook with distortion and chaotic instrumentals, overlapping a terrifying harmony of lyrics bellowed—versus the grossly standard sung of course. The middle of album track “Birds” contains the best drop of the album, with soft electronic squeals thrown away for a thunderous experience of heavy bass and ram snares. Depicting Death Grips at its best, “Birds” is clearly the high point of the album. Don’t write off Death Grips as another alternative project trying too hard to be different; dirty beats and belligerent yelling can be artistic too.
Bootleg (I don’t need your help)
Patrick is currently a freshman majoring in journalism. He’s originally from Elmhurst, Illinois. He listens to an absurd amount of music, ranging from classic rock, pitchforks top picks, or even some soultastic Al Green. He hopes you understand his strange vocabulary and intensive love of strange music.