REVIEW: Balance – Romaro Franceswa

Romaro Franceswa - Balance

Federal Way rapper Romaro Franceswa and the indomitable producer BeanOne dropped a gem of an LP, track-by-track, over the course of November. Balance concluded its roll-out yesterday and can be streamed in its entirety below.

City Arts magazine liked the record so much they named it their Album of the Month for December, and yours truly wrote the review. Click here for the inside look or pick up a print copy of City Arts for free at locations throughout Seattle.

Album Reviews Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: This Summer – Brothers From Another

This Summer - BFA

Brothers From Another waited for the perfect moment — and the perfect Seattle summer — to drop their best work yet. The trio of Isaiah, Cole and DJ Beeba is billing This Summer as their “debut album,” certainly a debate-able declaration considering the group’s extensive back catalog, but let’s not split hairs here. Summer is the feel-good Seattle rap record of the year — hands down — and you don’t need to look any further for the perfect soundtrack to bump with the sunroof open. BFA makes the Town living so easy.

[Update, 8/2/15: Click here for our full album review of BFA’s This Summer, published on City Arts online.]

Album Reviews Audio Audio / Video

ALBUM REVIEW: Wish You Were Here – The Physics

Wish You Were Here - The Physics

Town favorite the Physics dropped a new EP today. Wish You Were Here is an exercise in refined, grown-man B.I. with the type of fully-formed music production values we’ve come to expect from the trio. I wrote a review of the album for City Arts magazine which you can read here.

Check out three of the EP’s six tracks below, purchase the whole damn thing at this location, and get yourself to the album release party tonight at Neumos.

Album Reviews Audio Audio / Video

REVIEW: Happy Belated – Chaz French

Chaz French - Happy BelatedChaz French
Happy Belated
Self-released (2014)

Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 3 / 5

Chaz French is a blue-chip rap prospect from the Washington, D.C. area whose debut album, Happy Belated, has been making the requisite blog rounds for the last couple of weeks. And, while it’s mostly enjoyable hearing Chaz slam home vocal alley-oops over the production work of fellow upstarts — names like Kris Minor and Super Miles — Happy Belated ends up feeling more like 28 points scored on 10-for-thirty shooting, rather than an efficient use of the rapper’s obvious natural talent…

[Click here to continue reading.]

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REVIEW: Yawn Zen – Mndsgn

Mndsgn - Yawn ZenMndsgn
Yawn Zen
Stones Throw (2014)

Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 4 / 5

This album review was originally published on September 3, 2014 on Potholes In My Blog.

Mndsgn (or Mind Design, if you’re still scratching your head) is the latest in a long line of vowel-dropping producers to emerge from the Los Angeles beat scene, a fertile stomping ground for those electronically-minded, obsessively-curating crate diggers who find glorious voltaic release—and sometimes world renown—on the dank, nocturnal stages of Boiler Room and Low End Theory club showcases. Yawn Zen is Mndsgn’s official Stones Throw debut and it’s a generally pleasing, listenable excursion through the compositional tendencies of a cat with a genuinely compelling pedigree.

(Click here to continue reading.)

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REVIEW: Barkada – The Bar

The Bar - BarkadaThe Bar
Barkada
Beatrock Music; 2014

Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 4 / 5

Prometheus Brown and Bambu are brothers musically, socially and ethnically. Their Barkada is party music with a revolutionary spirit. Check out my review for Potholes In My Blog.

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REVIEW: Smell the DA.I.S.Y. – De La Soul

De La Soul - Smell the DAISYDe La Soul
Smell the DA.I.S.Y.
Self-released; 2014

Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 4 / 5

De La Soul prepare for a big 2014 with the first of three planned releases: Smell the DA.I.S.Y., a free mixtape available via BitTorrent, is a reworking of classic De La raps over previously unreleased J Dilla instrumentals. It’s both charming for fans of the legendary rap crew and reverent to the late, great producer and his family. Read what else I had to say about it, here.

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REVIEW: Abrasions: Stitched Up – Apollo Brown & Planet Asia

Apollo Brown & Planet Asia - Abrasions Stitched UpApollo Brown & Planet Asia
Abrasions: Stitched Up
Mello Music Group; 2014

Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 3 / 5

In which my 36 year-old man sensibilities kick in and realize they don’t make ’em like Premier and RZA anymore (obvi). Read my review of Apollo Brown and Planet Asia’s new EP, Abrasions: Stitched Up, here.

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