Ice Cube, "No Vaseline"
Ice Cube ended the explosive Death Certificate with a savage diss track on N.W.A, one that N.W.A wasn't able to remotely respond to. They kind of didn't really even try. While the homophobia in the song makes it jarring to listen to these days, I still can't help but admire how hard Cube went at his former bandmates.
Firewater, "Some Strange Reaction"
I was pretty bummed out by the dissolution of Cop Shoot Cop, another band that seemingly was destroyed by a major label contract. The marriage of the punishing rhythms and samples of industrial dance with Tod Ashley's emotional lyrics and delivery was something pretty special. Luckily, Ashley didn't wait too long to start up a new project which would quickly surpass Cop Shoot Cop. The first Firewater album, Get Off The Cross, We Need The Wood For The Fire, set the template for the rest of the band's career. Borrowing bits and pieces from all sorts of music traditions, but centered around Ashley's cynical world view, he described the band as a "wedding band gone wrong". This is the first song on the first album, and what a way to kick things off.
Prefuse 73, "Afternoon Love In"
Shuffle throwing fastballs today! The first Prefuse 73 album is magnificent.
The Flaming Lips, "How Many Times"
The Lips' 2019 album, King's Mouth: Music and Songs, is the lightest sounding album they'd made since probably Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. After the darkness of Embryonic and The Terror, it was nice to kind of hear them re-connect with their sweeter side. It's not as magnificent as their peak records, but it's a solid effort, and one to try if you didn't care for some of the murkier records.
Pretty Girls Make Graves, "This Is Our Emergency"
Indie rock band Pretty Girls Make Graves stepped up from Lookout to Matador and nailed their next record, The New Romance. There's nothing revolutionary about their sound or anything, but the songs are dialed in and it's just fun to listen to.