Are you all so super stoked on all the best of the year lists around the interwebs? So much numerical ranking. So much music industry nerdery. Hope you haven’t filled up yet because ours are just around the corner. Our favorite album? Same as every year: Jingle Dogs. In the meantime, here’s what we were listening to this week.
"Sauce Twinz" - In Sauce We Trust
The Houston duo Sauce Twinz have come up out of nowhere pretty quickly—back in the spring when I was asking everyone I could about Texas rap, nobody even mentioned them—which is a testament to how unique and refreshing their sound is. Houston is a city steeped in rap traditionalism, and the rest of the country is constantly in awe of the city's screwed-down aesthetic. Sauce Twinz turn that formula around, bringing the sounds of Atlanta and Chicago into the Houston fold while still feeling Texan and pushing boundaries that don't really have a geography. Sometimes their voices are melting over the track in a processed morass; sometimes they're yelling in pure Migos-style glee. Their aesthetic is unpredictable and their lyrics are boldly hilarious ("riding on a sauce tidal wave!" "backstroking in the flavor!") as well as occasionally starkly candid. In many ways this feels like the logical next step—or perhaps the source material—for fellow sort-of Houstonians Travi$ Scott and Riff Raff. It's Houston rap that's re-absorbed the rest of the country and the power of the internet rather than the other way around, and it's dope as hell.
Mala - Mala in Cuba
Back when I had a boring office job, this was the time of year that I would typically escape the Canadian weather and Christmas jingles by jetting away to the sunny paradise know as Cuba. Since I'm pretty sure Americans still aren't allowed to go to Cuba because of something that happened back in the renaissance, a lot of you won't know what this is like. Cuba is like a magical island where the middle parts are all made up mostly of trees and poverty, and the outside edges—the ones closest to the water and the beaches—are dotted with very luxurious and expensive resorts. Before departing on my last escapade, I loaded my music storage device with some albums that I may have previously ignored. One of these albums was Mala in Cuba, a dance music project that was made by Mala while he spent a few months in Cuba. The music contained within was heavily influenced by the same sounds that you could hear leak out of the middle parts of the island where the locals hung around, jubilantly watching tour buses full of privileged Canadians drive by. I won't be going on another excursion to Cuba this year, but I will be lighting a candle and listening to this album while looking at a .gif of a wave crashing onto a beach. Same difference.
Slava Pastuk, Noisey Canada editor
THE REPTILOIDS - ЦИНК
In between blissing out to Dorthia Cottrell's spellbinding solo album (listen to the track we premiered earlier this week,. it's seriously incredible) and ambling through Hank Williams' discography just because, I found myself captivated by a raw-as-fuck new demo from some old friends in Moscow. The Reptiloids are all about the dark, crusty d-beat, tearing through three songs in under five minutes and leaving one hell of an impression. More, please!
Young Thug's Verse on the Rap Monument
Excuse me for plugging our own series, but if you haven't been following the Rap Monument, you're really missing out. This week, we delivered stand-out verses from YG, Killer Mike, Action Bronson, and, yep, Young Thug. The latter has been my favorite so far, because Young Thug basically took the Hudson Mohawke beat and made an entire goddamn song out of it. Thugger!
Eric Sundermann, Managing Editor
Orchid - Gatefold LP
I’ve been talking about Orchid a lot lately and just recently realized this album was about how the band really hated their fans at the end. Totally on board with that. People who listen to music are dumb as hell. Except you. You rock.