The Needle Drop




The magical monthly segment where I briefly touch down on a gauntlet of albums I didn't get a chance to review this past month. These are just my short, straightforward, passionate, biased opinions. Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution Parkay Quarts - Content Nausea The Neighbourhood - #000000 & #FFFFFF Taylor Swift - 1989 Charli XCX - Sucker Blockhead - Bells and Whistles The Budos Band - Burnt Offering Savages & Bo Ningen - Words To The Blind Gazelle Twin - Unflesh MONO - Rays of Darkness / The Last Dawn Bent Knee - Shiny Eyed Babies PRhyme - S/T Theophilus London - Vibes

Blockhead - Bells and Whistles

New TracksContributor Jones2 Comments

A catalog as wide and definitive as that of producer Blockhead is most definitely one to be lauded and respected. Having worked with the likes of emcees like Murs and Aesop Rock as well as with labels including Defnitive Jux and Rhymesayers is unquestionably nothing to sneeze at. So it should come as no surprise that his latest solo project, Bells and Whistles, remains in the vain of a soundscape that's pleasantly ominous, windswept and spacious--while also dense, free-flowing and heroically diverse. The sound selections and production choices by Blockhead are nothing if not strategically challenging and chilling. The background sampled voices on tracks like "You'll Get Over It" and "On The Back Of A Golden Dolphin" add an air of tense mystery to Blockhead's beautifully blighted production. He throws in everything but the kitchen sink that will take any unfamiliar listeners' ears on a musical whirlwind: tribal drums, maracas and hand claps, movie sound effects samples, old school R&B melodies and voices, classical big band pianos, deep computerized synthesizers, off-kilter strong instruments. Further, Blockhead literally creates songs within songs, as he effortlessly transitions from one sample to the next without batting an eye, and expects the listener to keep up. And although Bells and Whistles does unfortunately begin to wane in certain areas, it's a body of work that deserves several start-to-finish listens to grasp the whole of Blockhead's grand pursuit of creating some of the most wide-ranging and nonconformist Hip Hop production.

- Ron Grant

Billy Woods - "Gilgamesh" ft. L'Wren


Adultery and betrayal are being served up in this new music video for the track "Gilgamesh," which is one of many tracks from Billy Woods' latest album, Dour Candy. Mostly, the album explores some dark themes within the personal and business dealings of a small-time drug dealer, putting this oft-mentioned figure in hip hop music in a somewhat humanizing light. Enjoy, and check a review of Dour Candy below. Grab a copy of it here.

Billy Woods - "Cuito Cuanavale"

Videosalex nicollComment

This video is off of Billy Woods' collaboration with underground producer extraordinaire Blockhead. The LP Dour Candy, on Backwoodz Recordings, is out today. Billy Woods plays the grizzled, angry man walking around abandoned houses with a dog and a hunting rifle, face obscured through digital blurs. His raps are gruff and political, abstract but tied to history in a realistic way that Kanye West's "Keep it 300, Like the Roman's" avoids. The beat features a crying guitar looped over hollow sampled drums, evoking the same post-apocalypse as the video. If you like references to disintegrating American culture and African wars where Fidel Castro was the real hero, check it out.

Check out a review for Billy Woods' last LP below:

Illogic & Blockhead - Capture The Sun

New TracksNicholas KindrachukComment

Underground MC Illogic has united with producer Blockhead to make some old school hip-hop with a clear voice to it.

The tracks on this album give me vibes from older Atmosphere albums, including the lyrical content and flow of Illogic is even close to Slug in some ways. Each song is consistent and has a lot of fun beats that can be expected by this point with Blockhead on them. It's exciting to see a lot of variety in the genre right now, with artists bringing back a particular 90s sound right here while others are going in all kinds of directing. Most of all if you want to hear great chemistry between an artist and producer look no further.