By Nicole Bakeman
Though 2017 has already enjoyed a plethora of album drops, these two releases should be on your radar if they aren’t.
The Internet, an LA-based neo-soul band, has undeniably evolved their sound over their last three studio albums. The band started as a producer trio back in 2011, when they still had strong ties to the LA hip-hop collective Odd Future. The Internet’s dynamic and multifaceted digital and analog sound, heard on their third studio album Ego Death, is largely due to the permanent addition of a drummer, bassist, and guitarist to the group.
In a well-orchestrated rollout, lead singer and co-producer Syd Bennett dropped her first solo album, Fin, last Friday, one week after keyboardist and backup vocalist Matt Martians dropped his solo debut, The Drum Chord Theory.
Syd’s Fin explores themes of lustful interactions and relationships with girls (in typical The Internet fashion), taking care of fam, and includes a common thread of adjusting to the struggles and successes of fame. I found myself curious: “Fin”? Is this an ironic start or the real ending to her solo work? The album sounds like a close cousin of Ego Death but dives deeper into contemporary R&B digital beats. Syd’s iconic sweet, angelic, pitch-corrected voice complements her experimentation of a deeper and darker voice on tracks “Nothin to Somethin,” “All About Me,” “Dollar Bills,” and “Over.” While I did enjoy Syd’s new musical journey, I found myself not a huge fan of the album’s high production value. Everything seemed a little too polished and perfect; a common blessing and curse for artists who have multiple studio albums under their belt.
Album standouts: “Smile More,” “Body”
The Drum Chord Theory
Matt Martians’ The Drum Chord Theory sounds like a distant cousin with the same surname as The Internet’s first two studio albums Purple Naked Ladies and Feel Good. The Drum Chord Theory had all of the accentuated rough edges I was expecting of his first solo effort. The album featured a lot of spoken word and came off as experimental, but well-produced, too. In contrast to Fin, The Drum Chord Theory featured a mix of analog and digital elements, furthering the recent industry exploration and blending of neo-soul, trip-hop, and acid rap (yes, not talking about Chance, but the genre). Overall, I think The Drum Chord Theory pushes the limits of genre blending even further and am thoroughly surprised it’s not receiving more acclaim.
Album standouts: “Southern Isolation,” “Alotta Women / Useless,” “Diamond in the Ruff”
On Feb. 23, The Internet is headlining at Webster Hall, a show that sold out in four days. While the band is headlining (is a new The Internet album in the mix?), social media has confirmed the show will be featuring both Syd and Matt’s solo work. There’s also been talk of an added show either the day before or after the 23rd, so stay tuned!
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