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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

November 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

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Music Monday: Grynch, Beat Connection, Macklemore

Posted by Andrew Matson

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"Air Max 'Em" by Grynch (prod. by DJ Nphared; download here)


Basically, Grynch thinks young women look sexy when they wear throwback '90s Nike running shoes.

Not a controversial sentiment for many rap listeners, but then Grynch is not one for the avant garde. He's a folksy figure in local hiphop, and "Air Max 'Em" is fratty on an almost Aristotelian level, heartwarmingly horny, simultaneously romantic and bromantic.

Keyboards twinkle in the background courtesy DJ Nphared (pronounced "infrared"), and the delicate sound helps "Air Max 'Em" achieve a certain emotional balance.

The track is also geographically balanced on a line across Lake Washington: Grynch is the rapping King of Ballard, Nphared (pronounced "infrared") is the emergent rap-producing King of Redmond.

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Beat Connection live on KEXP 10/25/10 (stream here)


University of Washington dormwave duo Beat Connection just signed a deal in England with Tender Age, a label partner with Moshi Moshi, both of which you're forgiven if you haven't heard of.

The labels will release a new version of the "Surf Noir" EP, Beat Connection's dance-oriented pop release that was freely downloadable all summer, but at the present moment costs $50 via Beat Connection's bandcamp page. The price tag is a bit of a jokey measure, but accurately expresses how much more commercially valuable the group's music has become since last year, when it was unknown.

Beat Connection recently expanded into a five-piece for an in-studio session on KEXP 90.3 FM, which included drums, bass/electric guitar, keyboards, and computers on a performance of "Silver Screen," a swaying song that sounds like Sting hanging out on a British beach, perhaps engaging in some dry suit waveriding. Check photos from the session here, by David Lichterman.

Emails from inside the Beat Connection camp indicate the expanded lineup was a one-off experiment, that we can expect the group to remain a duo and perhaps develop a more beats-centric personality in its music in the near future.

Beat Connection plays the Crocodile Nov. 7

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"Crew Cuts" by Macklemore and XP (Jake One remix; download here)


Fresh with a new look for oh-ten, Capitol Hill rapper Macklemore's "Crew Cuts" is reborn thanks to Seattle hiphop superproducer Jake One. The 2009 version by Ryan Lewis had a "We Will Rock You" vibe; the new "Crew Cuts" is a more understated affair, its drums programmed into a clenched clack.

Tough to say which version serves Macklemore's verse better, which pours emotional syrup over a waffle of post-kitsch '80s/'90s style points: David Bowie in "Labyrinth," Hypercolor shirts, etc.

Images courtesy the artists, Beat Connection image from flickr.com/lavid

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