2LP Green/Pink Neon Colored Vinyl, Custom Die Cut Jacket, 3’x4’ Double Sided Poster, Two Illustrated Record Sleeves, Album Lyrics & Digital Download Card. Indie-rap mainstay Aesop Rock has announced his new album, The Impossible Kid, dropping April 29th on Rhymesayers Entertainment, marking his first solo venture since 2012’s Skelethon. On the new album, Aesop continues finding new ways to improve on the skills that have made him one of the kings of indie hip-hop. His creative process now includes a newfound willingness to open up about his personal life, going deep on topics like depression, his sometimes rocky relationship with his family, and the turbulent handful of years that culminated in Aesop leaving his adopted home of San Francisco to live in a barn out in the woods, where he recorded the foundations of The Impossible Kid. There’s also moments of levity though, as Aesop taps into the funny side of his persona that he suppressed during the period where being taken as a serious lyricist was more of a priority. Like Skelethon, Aesop exercised complete creative control over every aspect of the album, from the production (which he handled himself, with instrumental help from Philly’s Grimace Federation) to conceptualizing the cover art by his friend Alex Pardee. Though it’s been four years since his last solo album, Aesop has maintained an impressive creative streak, releasing collaborative albums with Kimya Dawson (The Uncluded’s Hokey Fright in 2013), with Rob Sonic (Hail Mary Mallon’s Bestiary in 2014), and with Homeboy Sandman (LICE’s self-titled EP in 2015). He’s also been actively crafting beats. Recent projects include producing the 32+ minute instrumental mix, The Blob, working together with Nike to provide the music for a series of their skateboarding videos, and producing the soundtrack for the upcoming film Bushwick, starring Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow. He’s also started skateboarding and drawing again, which were his big passions before his hobby of making rap songs turned into a paying gig that evolved into an accidental 20-year long career, taking him from making beats in his bedroom to playing for crowds thousands deep. Going back to his roots has proven useful in processing everything that’s happened in his life over the past couple decades, and maybe to figure out the person he’s become: The Impossible Kid, a person who’s spent his life doing things that seemed unthinkable before he just went and did them, blazing a visionary trail all his own. Two decades in, he’s still out there pushing it forward.
The music of Grimace Federation reaching the ears of the masses was never a forethought in its creation. Founded on a self-gratifying need to shift sound with friends, vast musical influences and jam sessions that had no boundaries, the ever-evolving Philly unit has always been armed with an arsenal of multi-layered, hallucinogenic beats. Their sonic collages create a symphonic, cinematic, and immense sound. With all their complexities, no words are needed to stir emotions, like a Robert Rauschenberg painting, a scene from a Jodorowsky film, or a drive down Mulholland with David Lynch. Early on as a sextet, which included dueling drums and guitars, bass, keys, and a vibraphone, the band’s musical foundation could be discovered in the grooves of records from post-rock legends such as Jaga Jazzist, Tortoise, and Stereolab. And with the addition of a horn section later on, David Axelrod and Steve Reich became major influences. Like most bands, Grimace Federation has experienced some serious growing pains along the way, having lost two of its members to mental breakdowns with continual reconfigurations of the lineup. Now, solidified as a three-piece with core members Wes Schwartz bending sound on his laptop/electronic toys and Chris Wood leaving his drum kit bruised and battered, while Jim Calvarese lays down an ominous low-end, you can feel the increased weight of their music as latter day influences, like Mogwai and Black Sabbath, and a lifetime of collecting obscure underground hip-hop records seep into their symbiotic chaos. It’s been an honor for Grimace Federation to continue to shift sound for nearly a decade and a half, finding themselves working alongside renowned artists, such as Aesop Rock and Circa Survive, and landing opening slots with longtime musical inspirations Tortoise and Battles. The band is currently set to drop its new EP The Measure In Mixture, via lauded hip-hop label Rhymesayers. Combining spastic krautrock beats with the grandeur of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack on a Boards of Canada sonic landscape, the album features two new tracks along with superbly badass, bass-heavy remixes from Aesop Rock. It’s a must-have for crate-diggers all over the world.
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