by Itoro Udoko
Tennessee-bred, Bushwick-based Internet rap/R&B/punk duo Dark Sister recently dropped the much-anticipated follow-up to their 2011 debut EP SWAG HAG. It’s a four-song EP called DARKEST LiPSTICK (in the Drugstore), and it’s a surprisingly mature statement from the pair.
Part of Dark Sister’s brilliance has always always been the cultural intersection where they exist. They are products of the Internet generation who have managed to mesh a confluence of subcultural and musical influences into one cohesive narrative. Think goth meets millennium-era female R&B and pop influences. Smash those sensibilities into a few early ‘90s reference points: riot grrl, trap music, grunge. And what results is an undefinable mixture of punk, hip-hop and electronic music, which is all filtered through the aesthetics of Internet culture.
This overlapping array of cultural signifiers has always been a part of Dark Sister’s aesthetic. But while SWAG HAG showed promising hints of what a cohesive look into this world could be, DARKEST LiPSTICK actually delivers said vision.
The EP’s second track, “goatse”, personifies this. It is an anthem with a hardcore-punk pace and hardcore-rap mood, complete with lyrics of female empowerment and an R&B hook. There’s even a hardcore breakdown at the end of the song. It may seem like a lot of ingredients to juggle, but producer D. Gookin, who also produces the EP’s closing track “A.D.i.D.A.S.,” makes it work effortlessly. It’s a mish-mash formula that DARKEST LiPSTICK successfully adheres to throughout the record, all while avoiding sounding too incoherent.
2013 has been a banner year for punk culture and its various divergent offshoots. It’s also been a year that has seen the lines between hip-hop and punk become blurred in ways not seen since the 1980s. Amid all this is Dark Sister, quietly infusing new life into the term “cyberpunk.” Purchase DARK LiPSTICK here, or stream it below.
Local ambient producer Caveman the Wise is back with a new record, Man Out of Time. The new LP dropped yesterday, and it’s an impressive array of jazz-inspired hip-hop beats with a trippy tinge. Man Out of Time is an ambient journey that morphs in and out of various sounds and moods. It’s the kind of record you play continuously on repeat, until there’s no concrete beginning or end and you find yourself completely enveloped in Caveman’s ethereal world.
Man Out of Time was made for this time of year — it's full of the brooding quality of the winter months. It sounds almost as if someone took the jazzy, haunting melancholy of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “T.R.O.Y.” and fed it through a psychedelic filter.
Download Man Out of Time here, or stream it below.