Asher Roth – Asleep in the Bread Aisle & Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing

Asher Roth – Asleep in the Bread Aisle

To say that I am a rap fan is a bit of an overstatement. I tend to find the posturing tired and the name dropping to be a distraction to some otherwise good flow. But what i find interesting is when a rapper comes out of nowhere, creates an album that is fun and exciting, and seemingly throws the cliches of modern rap back in the face of those still in the game.

Asher Roth first crossed my radar in January, when, while reading some indie music sites, i heard his name mentioned, and looked for some tracks. I heard ‘I Love College’ sometime later, and was instantly excited. A fun, if overly simplified rhyme about the joys of being in college. Now that Roth’s full album has dropped, i scooped it up, excited to see what else he had to offer. I was not dissapointed, but only after i had heard the whole album. At first, i was afraid i had inadvertantly picked up another rap album of questionable lyrical content, but after hearing the diversity of flow and Roth’s ability to shift vocal sounds at will made me think differently.

My first note for reviewing this album was the similarity of his flow and voice to Eminem. It seems most evident when the chorus starts, he has the same type of cadence that Em does, and sounds almost interchangable with the Detroit native, sans his inflated ego. Roth also sounds a bit like The Lonely Island’s Adam Sandberg on some tracks, most notably ‘Bad Day’, and not just in vocal sound but style (Listen to the first verse of ‘Bad Day’ and then ‘Jizz in my Pants’. Uncanny. He also has his own style, which suits the white boy type demograohic he is shooting to become popular with.

His beats are amazingly tight for a debut, and production values are very high. is lyrics run the gamut from typical party boy, drug culture, highly inflated self image (“Pass me a blunt and some captain chilling with an Ashley/Heading to the mall/ Sitting in the backseat getting jerked off/10 feet tall with the balls of a matador” from ‘Lark on my Go Kart’), smart pun (“Mario kart skills are outrageous/Play me any day and I’ll be the best racist/Wait no erase it meant to say racer” from the same track), to political skepticism (“Donate your dollars/Raise a dollar/Help a mother/Save a father/Cause poverty is probably our biggest problem/And it ain’t gonna stop with Obama/To save the world we must start at the bottom” from ‘Sour Patch Kids’).

I almost felt bad for the kid when i heard ‘As I Em’, a lament of his Eminem soundingness, but upon repet listenings, if you are going to complain about being compared to someone, don’t sound exactly like him, especially not on the track doing the complaining.

In essence, Asleep in the Bread Aisle is a solid, albeit kinda holow debut. Tight beats, guests ranging from no namers to Cee-Lo (of Gnarls Barkley) and Busta Rhymes, and lyrics that can be taken at face value, or seen as a bit of a jab at the types of themes rap has become, Asher Roth created an album that makes me excited and pensive. He has come up with a set of tracks that would soud right at home in the richest of college Fraternaties, which seems to be where he aimed. Congrats Asher, you win, but make a better album for everyone next time. 2.5/5

Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing

Fuck Buttons is a band which i was introduced to just a few days ago, and immediately was interested in. With a name like Fuck Buttons, one has to be curi0us. This curiousty has panned out well for me in the past, Holy Fuck turned out to be one of my favorite electronic acts, and Starfucker is an alright group, nothing awesome but listenable none the less.

Fuck Buttons is an electronic group, but in a different way. Imagine Mogwai. Like “Young Team” era Mogwai. Got it? Good. Now imagine that, but done with electronics instead of instruments. The tracks, swelling as they build, gaining momentum like a rock, slowly rolling down a hill. It starts slow, but in the end, you are all but bowled over by the sheer force of the track.

Fuck Buttons uses a lot of feedback and distortion, so if that bothers you, dont even attempt to listen. But underneath all of this aggressive and dirty feedback is a sound which is begging to be heard, someone anting to imitate the best f what post rock has to offer, all without having to learn to play guitar like Explosions in the Sky, or incorporaing the “lyrics” or Sigur Ros. The only real voices you hear are treated more as parts of the beat than as lyrics, which makes an pretty unusual sound. Check it out if you have the hour to spare. It sounds like the soundtrack from a scary, almost tribal horror movie, and is all the better for it. It is not for everyone, be adised that you will need patience to be able to get into it, but you will be rewarded. 3.5/5

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