May 16, 2014

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Brad Beatson is the latest head coach candidate for the New York Knicks

Phil Jackson would hire Matthew Tavares after hearing the opening run on “Triangle.”

It leads the first third of BADBADNOTGOOD’s 9 track Innovative Leisure LP, and plays out like a noirish descent. Starting with drums and keys like a Mad Men preview, the pace hardly lulls, maintaining a down-but-never-out score that could boost a heist and subsequent chase. The pulse flows right into “Can’t Leave The Night,” celebrating the spoils over Alexander Sowinski’s kicks. “Confessions” comes-to the following afternoon, full of angst, regret and acceptance, in the form of collaborator Leland Whitty’s sax. In just under 14 minutes, the influence of Frank Dukes (Mixing/Producer, Danny Brown’s Old) is undeniable. Dukes worked on the Man with the Iron Fists‘ soundtrack with BadBadNotGood, and here, serving as Assistant Engineer and Producer, he makes sure the Toronto trio sounds tight while maintaining their fervor.

The orchestral heart of the record bleeds on “Kaleidoscope” and “Eyes Closed,” and perplexes you when you stop to consider that it’s being made by dudes who can barely order a whiskey in the States. Their composition builds brightly and Chester Hanson lays a monster bass solo, ensuring everyone gets their proper time to shine. Over the next three tracks, the band loosens up, dipping into their jazz and hip hop roots while exploring both funk and the disco revival. The final and best track, “CS60,” begins with a tip-of-the-hat to In Rainbows’ “15 Step” drum pattern and intermittently injects a booming bass, equalling their most dance worthy, original record. And if you’re smart enough to order the project through Rappcats, you can get their bonus remix of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s “Shame.”


The only gripe that may arise from hearing the record is that things sound a little too measured. Sure, that’d be fair criticism if they were sampling, but this is original instrumentation performed live. To sound this good playing live instruments on record is a feat — sticking true to themselves and their influences while adding a classic touch. A fairer but still flawed criticism would be that the album isn’t all that adventurous in that it sounds like each song follows a structure that works within the context of the LP. This might be true, but most of us who’ve followed the growth of the band are used to hearing BBNG cover incredible songs. Whether it be something from Earl, MF Doom, Kanye or James Blake, they add their style to an already great piece of music.

If III sounds overly confident at times, it might be because you haven’t been checking for this type of music since 5th grade band class. It sounds like they already won and are booked at Carnegie Hall. I can’t help but wonder what they’d make if they turned their back on the throne altogether.

BBC 1 Live session

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