A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Avada Kedavra Deluxe

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

Do you know something about the history of this record? Do you have a favorite lyric or a favorite memory? Send us an email on why this is one of the great hip-hop albums from the Northwest. Thanks!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Finesse The Cube

Finesse The Cube is one of several 2019 releases from the prolific AJ Suede. His relaxed, shoot-the-shit talk-rap grounds the often drumless production from BB Sun, Wolftone, and Khrist Koopa. It plays as though you’re walking around town together, with Suede casually discussing Seattle gentrification, WikiLeaks, Star Wars and The Matrix with you. Insomniac Magazine says these songs “wake up heads worldwide.” The self-aware seven-syllable rhymes and clever local criticism result in one of my favorite lyrics of the year: “You’re living in a bucket that’s full of crustaceans.”

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Fantasmagoría

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Fantasmagoría as the very best Seattle album of 2019, saying:

Talk about a record worth the wait. Three years ago (an eternity in streaming-era hip-hop), the real-life Olivia Hatfield, who previously performed as avant-soul singer Aeon Fux, released the well-received Black Trash, White House — wielding bilingual bars and Latin American influences — and became a club-circuit fixture. An experimental current has long coursed through a faction of Seattle’s eclectic hip-hop scene, one Guayaba gravitated toward alongside fellow Seattle favorites DoNormaal and Taylar Elizza Beth. But with this month-old alt-rap opus, the Tacoma-based rapper/singer has become a creative leader among this vibrant left-of-center coterie. A hair-raising uneasiness runs throughout the album, from the spooky cathedral intro that could open a Cradle of Filth album (not a total shocker coming from this former metal singer) to the horror-flick murder screams that dissolve into a Billie Holiday cover. Beguiling string arrangements drift over lurching click-clacks, with Guayaba shifting between bewitched low-register raps and devil’s-choir vocals across this haunted-to-perfection dreamscape. (Or should we say nightmare?) Fantasmagoría is a rabbit hole you absolutely want to fall down.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Gotham Fortress

Gotham Fortress, from AJ Suede, is a bold statement, an abrasive face-punch of certainty, punk-rap, chant-rap, looping, hypnotic, otherworldly. Throughout the upbeat pop-chorus of “Rain on The Parade,” he raps, “Fuck the competition, leave their bodies in the rain.” The restrained, resigned piano line found on “Gas Light” is inhabited by those waterlogged and distant vengeful ghosts who come ever closer. Remember that feeling of possession a few tracks later when you’re jumping on your furniture, shouting at the top of your lungs through the hardcore numbers, “Crypto Currency” and “Iconoclast.” This mixtape plucks you from your comfortable room and shoves you straight through the mirror to an underworld place stark, dream-like, nightmarish. Wunderkind producer Wolftone supplies the empty sports stadiums and the distant phantom cheering, rendering them as physical and tangible. AJ Suede’s versatility as a vocalist is on display throughout, reminding us: “I. Don’t. Waste. Any. Rhymes.” Participants in the haunting are some of the city’s buzziest collaborators: DoNormaal, Brakebill, Raven Hollywood, Crimewave, and youngster jiji. This record mines deep ore, revealing vital hip-hop hardly ready for the casket. These are zombies waiting at the gate.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

SUPASUEDE EP

I first saw AJ Suede perform in a packed, sweaty basement that violated most—if not all—fire codes, and he was a revelation. The intensity of that live show and the frenzy of his thrash-punk rap had the room moving like a single organism undergoing cathartic release. The four-song SUPASUEDE EP, with Supa SortaHuman and produced by Wolftone, offers a tiny taste of that experience, opening with contemplative piano lines, and then turning the dial up a notch with every bar. Pay careful attention to the killer rolling bassline in “Sad Piano,” the Drake references in the introspective “Real Tree” and the counterpoint flow in “Four.” AJ Suede’s just dropped a full-length called Gotham Fortress. Go check that out, too.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Third Daughter

Few albums have as much to say about our present, turbulent times—our year of protests and rebellion, of identity, race, and responsibility—as does Third Daughter from DoNormaal. Emerging from the dragon’s maw of “gold rooster” she declares of multicultural heritage, “They still make Americans just like they used to.” During a recent DoNormaal show, one specific moment brought this record clearly into focus for me: On the chorus of the addictively catchy “ego slave,” she repeats, “March on, march on, everybody needs to step front, I’m going be the only one to take a step back right now.” It’s a line spoken by an iconoclast outsider, that when performed live, you witness as the careful orchestration of adoring masses, asking us to close in, while she, the matador on stage, the only one to step back, waves the daring red flag because the time for sitting on the sidelines in silence is over. On “dodo call” she bluntly questions, “But will you show up when the people call?” These anthems are contrasted with moments of too-close intimacy, (“revenge”) and virginal sweetness (“my teacher” featuring partner Raven Hollywood). DoNormaal complements her stellar songwriting with a cadre of the city’s most talented beatmakers: Luna God, Brakebill, Mario Casalini, Fish Narc, Joe Valley, and others. There’s so much to love here, from the vocal experimentation on “heat lullaby” to Wolftone’s guest verse on “don’t make me wait.” This remarkable record, blistering with confidence and clarity, demonstrates why DoNormaal is the titan of the local scene.

The Stranger picked Third Daughter as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2017,” saying that:

Concise is nice, but when it comes to ambitious artistic declarations of purpose, I like them long, complex, and unwieldy. The 19 tracks on Third Daughter cover a lot of sonic, rhythmic, musical, and verbal territory, but they’re united by the voice at the center, reclaiming the rapper’s traditional role as MC, presiding over a retinue of producers (one for each song) and guests. That voice is compelling, commanding, even. The lyrics are firmly grounded in a quest to locate and express a self to can live—”young bitch in a pit of lions,” she says on “My Teacher.” “I don’t wanna give it up, standing still in the spotlight vulnerable as fuck.” Without the unified subject, it might just feel like a long, good playlist or promising mixtape. But this is an LP (a double LP, in fact, so fingers crossed for a vinyl pressing). It wants to be heard. And you definitely want to hear it.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

GREY NEON

A few years ago I visited Alaska and was quite struck by native stories of the Raven, a mighty trickster bird who can imitate a wide variety of human voices. I have all these recordings I made on my iPhone while walking through the woods because the bird calls were so incomprehensible. You walk through the forest and you hear these sounds that you struggle to describe. This brings me to Seattle’s own musical trickster, Raven Hollywood. His 2016 record, Disco Christ, was one of my favorites of the year, commandingly straddling multiple genres, defiantly refusing to be classified, and similarly incomprehensible in all the best ways. I love music that manages to be both playful and this daring. In August of this year, he dropped GREY NEON. I’m at a loss for how to describe it, short of saying you should immediately go to SoundCloud and listen for yourself. Some future generations of sad kids will sing this version of “happy birthday” at their sad parties. You’ll want to hold hands with a loved one while you both sweetly sing along to “snakes in the moonlight.” The track “headed down” manages to sample one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs while sounding completely fresh. “sad sack” is a loop? As far as the musical composition of the chorus of “wounded teenager,” we currently lack the tools to notate on sheet music how this would be played by other humans. Both Wolftone and AJ Suede add their musical gifts.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Fresh Cut Flowers

The Fresh Cut Flowers EP from Taylar Elizza Beth summons that primal childhood feeling of hiding under the covers, reading by flashlight, afraid you might be caught, where the smallest rustling carries massive weight. But these delicate petals summon phantom roots, asserting growling resilience against the wind. “I am afraid of no one,” Taylar declares on “High & Haunted,” before conceding, “I am afraid of myself.” This track is a menacing centerpiece emboldened by Wolftone’s dirty production. This EP has many highlights, but foremost are the collaborations with five of city’s producers-du-jour: Luis Vela’s reverb wash, Urban Nerd’s electro-pop, Luna God’s ear for funky timing, and the mesmerizing keys on “The Storm,” from Sendai Mike. This is music that smolders at an unhurried pace, aware of its mortality. On “Synthesis” she sings, “I am dying,” and in that pause, you are faced with the fact that you and everyone you know are marching through life toward our collective, eventual deaths. At only 18 minutes, these are five-song mic drop moments worth clinging to.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Disco Christ

Disco Christ, from Raven Matthews, is quite possibly my favorite album of the year. Channeling some of the spirits of Beck’s anti-folk Loser era, this creative and wide-ranging record is an endlessly inventive musical playground. Rambunctiously mixing hip-hop with grunge and pop and EDM, Matthews sings and raps sweetly. You rarely anticipate where the next track is going to take you, but it’s always someplace amazing. Take, for example, the gurgling, carbonated bubble pop of “Soda,” the relentless forward drive of “Don’t Stop Baby,” or the musical round of “Bikini Bottom,” featuring DoNormaal. With each track, I think “This is my new favorite song.” I saw him at The Crocodile a few weeks ago and he was a radical, committed live performer. Go see him if he’s playing near you.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Distinction Management Essentials 001

This opens with DoNormaal’s “50 Jasper Horses,” (feat. the newly renamed “Rave Holly”), and the placement of that song, first, forces you to hear it anew. The flow into “Dead Rose” by Nightspace is seamless, demonstrating the genre fluidity inherent in Seattle music. (The Deadmics track, with Hekl, The Mad Scientist is a revelation.)

Distinction Management throw these ultra-hip underground parties, at places with made-up names, where everyone attending is a celebrity and you have to know them, or know of them, to know who and where and when. Last Thursday’s had pop-up clothing shops, Taylar Elizza Beth and Aaron Cohen.

Distinction puts out these coveted mixed CDs–this is the first one… The second one was just released. It’s their collection of who’s hot right now, and they know: nerdy hard rock-tronica from Youngster Jiji, gender-fluid Michete (who’s “Red Rover” kicks some serious team-switching ass), musical chameleon Wolftone and of course Sleep Steady. Anna, Jasmine, Sasha and crew, hats off to you. Of course this CD is great.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!