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Action Bronson

Only For Dolphins

    On White Bronco, Action Bronson’s 2018 release, he rapped “my next album’s only for dolphins,” and the principled MC is nothing if not true to his word. A Queens legend, respected for his idiosyncratic pen and vivid raps, Action is a decade into his career and still deepening his skillset. “The dolphin is one of the most intelligent creatures ever created on whatever planet we're on,” Action explains. “They have their own way of communicating. They have nuance and intangibles like we do.” In a perfectly unusual analogy, he likens the aquatic mammal to the storied “five-tool” baseball player—that is, the extraordinary class of player who combines all elements of the game. “The only people who understand me are those five-tool players, those higher beings who are on the same telepathic wave as me.” Thus, Only for Dolphins, out on August TK.

    Action keeps Only for Dolphins among family, working with producers and rappers he’s known for years. The Alchemist, Harry Fraud, Budgie, DJ Muggs, Samiyam, Daringer, and Tommy Mas provide crackling psychedelic soundscapes for Bronson’s unique tales.

    His close friend Meyhem Lauren and Lauren’s brother Hologram are the only featured MCs. Bronson himself produced two of the songs, including the exuberant “Capoeira,” which kicks off the album with a saxophone solo. As much time as he spends on the wordplay and imagery, he’s dialed into the sonics too.

    The first single “Latin Grammys” is a tribute to family. Produced by Tommy Mas, who produced all of Action’s 2011 debut project, Dr. Lecter, the beat for “Latin Grammys” is many years old. The file was originally labeled “Ozersky,” a nod to the beloved food writer Josh Ozersky, who tragically passed away in 2015. Ozersky and Action were close; in fact Ozersky was the first person to put Action on television via his show Ozersky TV. One day Action was going through old beats, saw the file, and knew he had to do something special in honor of his friend. Over a slinky brass and guitar loop, he raps with casual gusto about swim trunks stuffed with cash and black trench coats, Dolph Lundgren and Derek Jeter. “It’s Young Baklava, you know me,” he concludes.

    Bronson is a collector—of experiences, of sounds, of culture. He’s especially happy with the Budgie-produced “Golden Eye,” a nod to the classic N64 shooter and to the resort in Jamaica; it samples a beautiful lovers rock track, which is a real point of pride for Action. “It’s a very specific UK subgenre,” he says, referring to the romantic reggae style that rose to prominence in London in the ‘70s. The flip gives “Golden Eye” a lush and sweet bed for Action to lovingly describe acrobatic sex and expensive rugs, wet with spilled wine.

    To be a fan of Action is to be a fan of detail. Only for Dolphins is studded with remarkable specificity. On “Vega” he raps, “My alibi for the police is I was naked in Seattle”—a line only Action could come up. Befitting that attention to minutiae, Action hand-painted the album artwork, crafting, a figurative depiction of death and dolphins and gold coins.

    “Congratulations” is the first word rapped on the album and it’s fitting to see this as the culmination of every skill Action has carefully honed over the last decade. He’s an insatiable and generous artist who wants to take the listener on a tour of his creativity. Welcome to his world. 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Opaque Yellow Vinyl.

    Sylvan Esso

    Free Love

      What started out in LA with Jon Hill and was finished back in North Carolina at Sylvan Esso’s home studio, "Free Love" asks major questions about self-image, self-righteousness, friendship, romance, and environmental calamity with enough warmth, playfulness, and magnetism to make you consider an alternate reality. These are Sylvan Esso’s most nuanced and undeniable songs—bold enough to say how they feel, big enough to make you join in that feeling.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Sky Blue Opaque colour vinyl.

      Margo Price

      That's How Rumors Get Started

        "Everybody wants to know / how I feel and what I think," Margo Price sings in her emotive, bittersweet twang, halfway through her third full-length record. On That's How Rumors Get Started, Price has committed her genre-bending rock-and-roll show to record for the first time, stretching out into sky-high soft-rock, burning psychedelic rock ballads, stomping road songs, and sprinkles of pop.

        Twinkle Twinkle:
        'Twinkle Twinkle' is an anti-nostalgia anthem of sorts, about the polarization of becoming a more well-known artist, and the wild ride that was Margo Price's last few years. It traces her trajectory: she gets by, gets high, racks up debt, can’t pay the rent, plays dives to stay alive. "If it don’t break you, it might just make you rich," she sings, with heroic sass.

        In fact, the song was inspired by a back-stage encounter with Marty Stuart and the Superlatives at a music festival that was otherwise pretty bleak. (Price has played with Superlatives guitarist Kenny Vaughan over the years.) After the show, in Stuart’s trailer, while he tuned his guitars, he said to Price, “So, you and the band have been on the road a lot lately, do you all hate each other yet?” As Price recalls it: “I said, ‘No, well, I mean, our marriages are falling apart and our health’s deteriorating. But other than that, we’re great.’ And he looks at me, and he gets this gleam in his eye, and he says, ‘You wanted to be a star.. Twinkle twinkle.’”


        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: One of the most pivotal figures in the new country renaissance, Margo Price impressed us all with her 2016 LP 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter' and this new outing is only going to expand upon that reputation. Modern country songs, imbued with modern techniques but never forgetting the sense of historic legacy inherent in the genre. Superb.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indies exclusive includes "Twinkle Twinkle" 7".

        Local Natives

        Violet Street

          Local Natives are an American indie rock band based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. Face-to-face songwriting and musical interplay put to tape: the classic studio setting is juxtaposed on Local Natives’ fourth full-length, Violet Street with modern production and visuals to form a timeless album. The band’s signature soaring 3-part harmonies are augmented by loops of tape, physically spliced and transformed by hand, the result of experimenting in the studio with producer Shawn Everett [Alabama Shakes, Kacey Musgraves, The War On Drugs] is a band renewed.


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