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Death Grips

June 11 • Taft Theater

By Jason Gargano · June 4th, 2013 · Sound Advice
soundadvice_death_grips_photo_jonny_magowanPhoto: Jonny Magowan
Death Grips is a primal force of nature that seems built to subvert. Entering the world of this Sacramento-based experimental Hip Hop trio — frontman Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett, keyboardist/programming guru Andy “Flatlander” Morin and drummer Zach Hill — is akin to being trapped in a demented, all-immersive video game designed and conceived by Harmony Korine and Charles Manson. Strap in for a wild, sensory-altering ride.

Death Grip’s full-length debut, The Money Store — somewhat improbably released by the bigwigs at Epic Records in April of last year  — is a dense, claustrophobic head-trip marked by Burnett’s rapid-fire raps, most of which are hard to discern amid the clanging sonic assault that surrounds him.

The Bomb Squad’s Public Enemy heyday is an obvious touchstone, as is any number of far lesser known art-damaged outfits. A glance at the lyric sheet confirms the workings of a paranoid mind. Try this from “The Fever (Aye Aye)”: “Blade cut me/Sewer drain grated/Bubonic plague/Spreaded faceless/Lurking in the deadest spaces.” 

The Money Store is challenging, fully-realized stuff, which makes the details of its follow-up, No Love Deep Web, released six months later, another fascinating wrinkle in the ongoing Death Grips narrative. The trio dropped the sonically spare (for these guys) album as a free download after Epic balked at releasing it so soon after The Money Store. The label supposedly hadn’t even heard the finished “product.” Then there’s the fact that the cover art features a photo of Hill’s erect penis with the album’s title written on it in black magic marker. 

And now for the only obvious development in Death Grips’ creative trajectory to date: They have since parted ways with Epic.


DEATH GRIPS plays Tuesday, June 11 with Rat King at Taft Theater downtown. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.


 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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