The Uncluded – Hokey Fright album review

One of the most prominent, and well- known underground rappers of the last 10 years, Aesop Rock, has teamed up with Grammy Award- winning folk singer, Kimya Dawson, to form the group, The Uncluded. The term, uncluded, was first coined by San Francisco artist, Michael Bernard Loggins, meaning “keeping things you don’t appreciate out of your life.” Aesop initially reached out to Dawson via email as a fan of her music. The duo would later collaborate on an art- inspired blog, 900bats. From there, their working relationship birthed featured songs on each other’s solo albums, and ultimately transformed into The Uncluded, with their debut album, Hokey Fright, released in May of 2013 under the Rhymesayers’ Label.

Like most debut albums, Hokey Fright struggles at times to claim an identity. However, their identity can be an extremely ambiguous topic considering their completely different backgrounds. Aesop, known for his unique voice and intellectual wordplay, has been delivering excellent rap productions for a select group of alternative underground rap fans, closely associated with the likes of Atmosphere and Living Legends. Meanwhile Kimya Dawson, has released a critically acclaimed children’s folk album, ALPHABUTT, but got her big break when her music was featured in the breakout movie, Juno. The duo’s different backgrounds is, of course, the major catalyst for the album, as evident on the second track, “Delicate Cycle”, which is unquestionably Hokey Fright’s best track. “Delicate Cycle” starts off with Aesop coming in strong with an urbane rhyme, over a soothing guitar strum, presumably by Kimya, who delivers a folk-inspired rap towards the latter half of the song. Although a significant portion of the album follows this gaffe- proof formula, it is when the duo deviates from that recipe where Hokey Fright runs into a few problems. One must remind themselves when listening to Hokey Fright, there just are not many, if any, folk/ rap groups out there, making this album by definition, experimental. The Uncluded used this album as a springboard for creative material, however, with that musical leap, comes head-scratching tracks such as, “Superheroes” , “WYHUOM”, and their attempt at more traditional hip hop track, “Tits Up”.

The Uncluded will be spending all of their summer touring the United States, and hip hop fans should feel privileged, as listeners, to hear this combination of sound at a live venue. Another resulting component will be the duo continuing to contract chemistry and grow as a group, as one would hope further collaborations are in store. Hokey Fright is a great debut showing for The Uncluded, and will be interesting to see if other alternative rappers will seek to mimic this combination on a larger scale, such as an album in the vein of Hokey Fright. One thing’s for sure, Rhymesavers, already considered one of the most critically acclaimed underground rap labels, has another artful showpiece to add to its stellar catalogue.

The Uncluded Announce Tour Dates

The Uncluded (Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson) are excited to unveil the details of their upcoming US tour which will begin on May 28 in Washington DC and will find the duo taking their whimsical tunes from coast to coast. The tour includes dates in Chicago at Old Town School of Folk Music on June 8 as well as stops along the West Coast in Los Angeles at the First Unitarian Church on July 25. For all dates, the band will be supported by Hamell On Trial. For the full itinerary, please see below.

The Uncluded are touring in support of their upcoming debut album Hokey Fright, out on May 7th on Rhymesayers.

Kimya Dawson is a Grammy winning, platinum selling singer songwriter most widely known for her work on the JUNO soundtrack and her former band, The Moldy Peaches. She has released 7 solo albums, including a children’s album “Alphabutt”.

Aesop Rock (aka Ian Bavitz) is a critically acclaimed hip hop artist/producer, recognized for his dense and abstract word play. He has released six solo albums, three EPs, and a 45-minute piece of music designed for runners, commissioned by Nike. Lyrics have been published in the New York Times Best Seller Hip Hop Speaks to Children, as well as Yale University’s Anthology of Rap (Nov. 2010). Aesop is also co-founder of 900bats.com, a creative resource of arts, information, and oddities.

Upcoming Tour Dates

5/28 Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club

5/29 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live

5/30 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

6/01 Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

6/02 Montreal, QC @ Il Motore

6/03 Toronto, ON @ The Blk Box

6/05 Detroit, MI @ Trinosophes

6/06 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Warhol

6/07 Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center @ Ohio State

6/08 Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk Music

6/21 Dallas, TX @ The Texas Theatre

6/22 Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Upstairs

6/23 Austin, TX @ Central Presbyterian

6/25 St. Louis, MO @ Firebird

6/26 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar

6/29 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon

6/30 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center

7/01 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s

7/03 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room

7/05 Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theatre

7/06 Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep

7/23 San Diego, CA @ The Irenic

7/25 Los Angeles, CA @ First Unitarian Church

7/26 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

7/29 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

7/30 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s

7/31 Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club

8/02 Missoula, MT @ The Palace

8/03 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

The Uncluded’s new music video for first single “Delicate Cycle”

The Uncluded – Delicate Cycle video

Video directed by Pete Lee and Ben Fee.

Here is the brand new Pete Lee-directed music video from The Uncluded (Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson) for their single “Delicate Cycle,” which premiered today on MTVu. The video features ‘perma-kitten’ cat superstar Lil Bub.

“Delicate Cycle” is the first official single from The Uncluded’s upcoming debut album Hokey Fright, out on May 7th on Rhymesayers. One of 16 songs on the new album, “Delicate Cycle” is the only song on the record to feature a musician other than Kimya Dawson or Aesop Rock, in the form of guest drumming by James McNew of Yo La Tengo.

Kimya Dawson is a Grammy winning, platinum selling singer songwriter most widely known for her work on the JUNO soundtrack and her former band, The Moldy Peaches. She has released 7 solo albums, including a children’s album “Alphabutt”.

Aesop Rock (aka Ian Bavitz) is a critically acclaimed hip hop artist/producer, recognized for his dense and abstract word play. He has released six solo albums, three EPs, and a 45-minute piece of music designed for runners, commissioned by Nike. Lyrics have been published in the New York Times Best Seller Hip Hop Speaks to Children, as well as Yale University’s Anthology of Rap (Nov. 2010). Aesop is also co-founder of 900bats.com, a creative resource of arts, information, and oddities.

The Uncluded (Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson) Debut Album Hokey Fright To Be Released on May 7th Duo Releases New Viral Music Video for “Scissorhands”

The Uncluded, featuring rapper Aesop Rock and folk singer/songwriter Kimya Dawson are releasing their debut album Hokey Fright May 7th on Rhymesayers. The band recently made a viral video for the album track “Scissorhands.” To watch the video, click the link below:

When the pair collaborated on both Aesop’s Skelethon (Rhymesayers) and Kimya’s Thunder Thighs (Great Crap Factory), the two decided that they wanted to continue making music with each other as a group. The band name, which means to keep the things you don’t appreciate out of your life, is based on an excerpt from Michael Bernard Loggins’ book Imaginationally. This record helps to tell the story of two people who are finding therapy through making art together.

Hokey Fright’s 16 tracks were written, performed and recorded entirely by Aesop and Kimya, except for a guest drum appearance by James McNew of Yo La Tengo on “Delicate Cycle”. The album artwork was also done by illustrator/artist Travis Millard. While the record retains Aesop’s signature dense wordplay and Kimya’s soft spoken and innocent lyrics, the album has a dark feel, as the record was recorded in the wake of recent personal losses. While it may seem like an unusual pair, each artists’ best qualities shine through making an enjoyable listen for fans of both.

Kimya Dawson is a Grammy winning, platinum selling singer songwriter most widely known for her work on the JUNO soundtrack and her former band, The Moldy Peaches. She has released 7 solo albums, including a children’s album “Alphabutt”.

Aesop Rock (aka Ian Bavitz) is a critically acclaimed hip hop artist/producer, recognized for his dense and abstract word play. He has released six solo albums, three EPs, and a 45-minute piece of music designed for runners, commissioned by Nike. Lyrics have been published in the New York Times Best Seller Hip Hop Speaks to Children, as well as Yale University’s Anthology of Rap (Nov. 2010). Aesop is also co-founder of 900bats.com, a creative resource of arts, information, and oddities

Aesop Rock – Skelethon album review

San Francisco-based rapper Aesop Rock recently released his first album in five years, titled Skelethon.  The album itself is a mixed bag, filled with several dynamic hip hop tracks but interlaced with a few duds.

One thing Aesop Rock undeniably has is a talent for spitting rhymes.  He raps incredibly fast and has a impeccable flow; lyrically, he consistently writes clever lines that rhyme creatively.  Aesop raps smart, too: one only has to check out his vocabulary to realize that he is not pandering to an unintelligent audience.  Unfortunately, his ability to speed through a rap makes it difficult to comprehend what he is saying, and some of the more interesting lyrics may become undiscovered by listeners as a result.

Though Aesop Rock has the talent, his rapping can sound hyper polished and stylized almost too perfectly, causing some of the songs to blend together and lack distinction.  Aesop Rock also shows no bit of vulnerability when he raps, which fits with his aesthetic but does no favors for the listener.

Skelethon appears ripe with creativity.  Though Aesop Rock consistently uses typical instrumentation in his songs – drum beats, electronic sounds, and so on – he also takes inspiration from rock and metal styles, which add to the dark tones of the record.  In addition, he picks from a wide variety of samples, from the vocals of prominent anti-folk artist Kimya Dawson to loud, high pitched fireworks.  One song in particular, “Tetra,” features samples of gritty and lo-fi rock, and brings to mind M.I.A.’s most recent release, MAYA.  When his formula works, it creates a scary, almost haunting tone that is fun to listen to and undeniably cool.  Standout tracks from Skelethon include “ZZZ Top,” “Crows 1,” and “Racing Stripes.”

But it does not always work.  Album opener “Leisureforce” has borderline nonsensical lyrics, and the instrumentation does not pop like some of the better songs on the album.  And some of the rock music samples occasionally sound a bit like today’s annoying Warped Tour fare, which are best avoided at all costs.

Aesop Rock clearly as it all: great flow, originality, and outstanding writing ability.  If he could channel all of his talents onto a record, he might have a masterpiece.  Skelethon, though, only hits the mark part of the time.

AESOP ROCK, ROB SONIC, AND DJ BIG WIZ FORM NEW GROUP HAIL MARY MALLON

AESOP ROCK, ROB SONIC, AND DJ BIG WIZ FORM NEW GROUP HAIL MARY MALLON

RHYMESAYERS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM ARE YOU GONNA EAT THAT? ON MAY 3RD DIGITAL AND JUNE 7TH PHYSICAL

LATE APRIL AND MAY TOUR ANNOUNCED WITH KIMYA DAWSON

WATCH VIDEO FOR FIRST SINGLE SMOCK (LIVE FROM THE BURGUNDY CAMRY) HERE

Rhymesayers has announced the signing and release of Hail Mary Mallon’s debut record, Are You Gonna Eat That? for digital release on May 3rd, 2011 and physical CD and double colored, etched vinyl on June 7th 2011. The trio comprised of Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, and DJ Big Wiz will premiere tracks from the upcoming record this April and May while on tour with Kimya Dawson.

After years of touring together and collaborating in the studio, Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz joined forces to create their new group, Hail Mary Mallon. The groups name pays homage to Mary Mallon aka Typhoid Mary, the first person in US identified as a carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. The trio plans to spread their infectious blend of powerful production and back-forth rhyme schemes all over the world.

The 12-track album’s production is as detailed as the raw lyrics both Aesop and Rob spit. Thick, underlying bass keeps a strong backbone to the breaking drums and high-distorted guitar that comes and goes as songs climax. The ultimate compliment is DJ Big Wiz’s scratching ability that pops through while Aesop and Rob pass verses with ease. Their first single, Smock, adds synthesizers and ambient tones that subtlety rest atop the dark beat while Breakdance Beach keeps focus on the tight kickdrum and distorted handclaps. The contrast of production-heavy tracks with punching lines and stripped down bangers with light-hearted hooks allow the album to never lose your attention.

Hail Mary Mallon’s first video, Smock, features Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic performing the song live while driving around San Francisco. Look for cameo appearances from DJ Big Wiz, Kimya Dawson, and artist/illustrator Alex Pardee. Alexander Tarrant and Justin Metros directed the video.

ARE YOU GONNA EAT THAT? TRACKLISTING:

1. Church Pants
2. Garfield
3. Grubstake
4. Meter Feeder
5. Smock
6. The Poconos
7. Breakdance Beach
8. Table Talk
9. Mailbox Baseball
10. Holy Driver
11. Knievel
12. Plagues and Bacon

AESOP ROCK WITH ROB SONIC AND DJ BIG WIZ

4/28 Anchor Bar Anchorage AK (with Murs)
4/29 University of Alaska Fairbanks AK- Spring Fest (with Murs, etc)
5/7 Greek Theater Berkley CA (supporting Atmosphere)

A NIGHT WITH AESOP ROCK AND KIMYA DAWSON featuring Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz:
5/10 Terrace Club Princeton, NJ
5/11 Middle East Boston, MA
5/13 Rock N Roll Hotel Washington DC
5/14 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
5/16 Altar Pittsburgh, PA
5/17 Outland Columbus, OH
5/19 Lincoln Hall Chicago, IL
5/20 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
5/21 Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN

Aesop Rock MTV’s Artist of the Week!

Aesop Rock MTV’s Artist of the Week!

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass (Definitive Jux Records)

Release Date: 08/28/07

MTV has selected Aesop Rock as their artist of the week just as the Def Jux rapper kicks off a nationwide tour in support of his new album, None Shall Pass. Tune in or visit MTV’s Buzzworthy to see Aesop’s one of a kind “cable access show” running this week. In the words of MTV, “Watch as the foremost in frowny, political hip-hop gives his deadpan analysis of celebrity news items, Irish dancing, perfect dates and the deliciousness of grapes. And hey, if you hate fun, there’s also a super exclusive interview with Aesop Rock, immediately following the show.”

None Shall Pass, Aesop’s 4th full length album, hit stores on August 28th. AllMusic.com wrote, “the talent, both of Rock and his guests…is impressive, and makes None Shall Pass an album that deserves a lot of attention, both inside and outside the hip hop world.”

Aesop recently took off on his nationwide tour with fellow Jukies Cage, Rob Sonic, Blockhead, DJ Big Wiz, DJ Signify, along with Octopus Project on the Midwest leg and Black Moth Super Rainbow on the West Coast leg. Spin.com caught up with Aesop and his fans at his September 10th show in Washington, DC and wrote, “The Long Island native spent most of the time wrapping his rhymes around each other like rubber bands, though, spinning the minds of everyone trying to keep up while still keeping their hands in the air.”

Listen to Aesop RockCitronella” from None Shall Pass (Def Jux)

Listen to Aesop RockNone Shall Pass” from None Shall Pass (Def Jux)

Listen to the Big Wiz None Shall Pass promo Megamix (non-commercial version)

Aesop Rock forthcoming album/tour dates – None Shall Pass

August 28th marks the release of None Shall Pass, the fourth album from Definitive Jux’s best-selling rapper, Aesop Rock.

Created over a two year period following his last release (Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP), None Shall Pass documents not only a vast amount of personal change that Aesop experienced over this time, but deftly depicts scenes and stories relative to all ages of life. The majority of production duties have been handled by Aesop’s longtime partner Blockhead, while label mates El-P and Rob Sonic each make offerings. Aesop himself confidently produces a handful of his own tracks as well. Title track “None Shall Pass” is successfully penetrating into college hip hop and was the #1 most added in May. The video for the track will be available as a pre-release on August 7th.

Aesop Rock will be touring in support of None Shall Pass this fall with Rob Sonic, Blockhead (w/ DJ Signify), Cage, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and The Octopus Project on select dates. DJ Big Wiz will be on turntable duty for Aesop and Rob on all shows.

*Please see below for tour dates

Listen to Aesop Rock “None Shall Pass” from None Shall Pass (Def Jux)

What the press is saying:

“Aesop Rock introduced a raw, urgent, intelligent new sound designed to break the monotony of mainstream rap.” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Even among the hip-hop heavies who record for his local label, Def Jux, rapper Aesop Rock manages to stand out thanks to a vulnerable storytelling style that’s all too rare among the genre’s tough guys.” – NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“Aesop Rock is indie rap’s surrealist, a spewer and sneerer given to oblique code and artfully jumbled syntax. His voice is a bassy, agile instrument that rhymes ‘evil’ gracefully with ‘amoeba’.” -BLENDER

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass

1. Keep Off The Lawn
2. None Shall Pass
3. Catacomb Kids
4. Bring Back Pluto
5. Fumes
6. Getaway Car (feat. Cage and Breeze Brewin)
7. 39 Thieves
8. The Harbor is Yours
9. Citronella
10. Gun For The Whole Family (feat. El-P)
11. Five Fingers
12. No City
13. Dark Heart News (feat. Rob Sonic)
14. Coffee (feat. John Darnielle)

Aesop Rock Tour Dates

07-28 Seattle, WA – Capitol Hill Block Party
09-06 Portland, OR – MusicFest NW

W/ Cage, Rob Sonic, Blockhead, DJ Big Wiz, DJ Signify:

09-08 Philadelphia, PA – Starlight Ballroom
09-09 New York, NY – Irving Plaza
09-10 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
09-11 Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theatre

W/ the Octopus Project, Rob Sonic, Blockhead, DJ Big Wiz, DJ Signify:

09-13 Chicago, IL – Metro
09-14 Madison, WI – Barrymore
09-15 Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theatre
09-16 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
09-18 Detroit, MI – TBA
09-19 Cleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop
09-21 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
09-22 Providence, RI – Living Room
09-23 Boston, MA – Middle East
09-25 Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
09-26 Burlington, MA – Higher Ground

www.definitivejux.net

www.myspace.com/aesoprockwins

Aesop Rock – Daylight review

Aesop Rock Daylight EPwritten by Andrew Lunny

Since his first proper release of ‘Appleseed’ (since the earlier ‘Music for Earthworms’ was more of a compilation), Aesop Rock has been recognized as one of the underground’s sharpest emcees. Throughout ‘Appleseed’ and its follow-up full-length, the excellent ‘Float,’ Aesop established a reputation as a lyricist of vast intelligence but formidable abstraction. With last year’s awesome ‘Labor Days’ Aesop, perhaps influenced by his new Def Jux colleagues, worked on more traditional rap skills: brash flows and a more lucid, though still creative, approach to songwriting. The ‘Daylight’ EP pushes this further: taking one of the album’s more approachable songs as its starting-point, its probably his most likeable release yet.

Don’t get me wrong, Aesop’s still Aesop. But Aesop’s five new songs on ‘Daylight’ (discounting ‘Daylight,’ the previously-released ‘Maintenance,’ and Blockhead’s excellent instrumental piece ‘Forest Crunk’) demonstrate a harder, more aggressive style then we’re used to, both in the beats and the rhymes. The disparity is most evident on ‘Nightlight,’ a reinterpretation, more than a remix, of ‘Daylight,’ with a sinister new beat and a cynical line-by-line revision of the original’s hopeful lyrics. Life is a “BI-OTCH” this time instead of a beautiful woman; ‘Nightlight’ emphasizes the bleak reality over the ideal. The twists on each line are sometimes awkward and generally can’t match the original, but as a concept the song is perfectly executed, and a good intro to most of the CD.

Original Article

Aesop Rock – Float review

Float cover Aesop Rockwritten by Andrew Lunny

On the back of his two minor, but notary, underground releases (‘Music For Earthworms’ and ‘Appleseed’), New York’s finest abstract MC Aesop Rock has finally dropped his full length debut. Marking a dramatic departure from ‘Appleseed’s tight package of eight near flawless songs, ‘Float’ comes twenty tracks deep with a plethora of clever instrumentals and cunning linguistics. With a booming baritone, a flow that knows no fear and a generous collection of alternative quotables, Aesop is the type of MC who could probably produce a classic, paradigm-shifting album. Keeping this in mind, it’s perhaps a bit disappointing that ‘Float’ is merely a great record, not a tremendous one. Nonetheless, any listeners of innovative hip-hop will be highly impressed by ‘Float.’

Unlike most rappers pigeon-holed as “innovative” or “progressive,” Aesop has a strong voice closer to Rock from Heltah Skeltah or Xzibit than Morrissey. No complaints about breath control or flow could be aimed at the exemplary vocalist, who combines this talent with lyrics that’ll have you reaching for the notepad as much as the rewind button. It would be wrong to call a burst of inspiration like “I’m running with these fantastic amalgams / Painting casket boundaries to peers gunning with plastic albums,” exceptional for Aesop Rock, since that’s the quality of every line he spits. All of these great liners are tightly integrated into real songs with real concepts, such as ‘Commencement At The Obedience Academy,’ the source of the quote above, which uses a variety of creative metaphors to outline Aesop’s struggle for individuality and ‘6B Panorama,’ a literal observation of the New York streets in front of our talented narrator.

Original Article