Matson on Music
Album reviews/Saturday shows: OC Notes, The Physics
If you're looking for a local summer soundtrack to your next backyard BBQ situation, consider these albums. Guests should be two-stepping from the grill to the cooler in no time. And if the live environment is your flavor: OC Notes plays Saturday at Volunteer Park for free, for the Vibrations festival, and The Physics are at Neumos the same night.
OC Notes "What's Your Sign?" (self-released)
Pioneer Square multi-genre producer OC Notes is back with another space-traveling, souled-out beat suite, "What's Your Sign?" — a short album which continues his remarkable run of putting out more good music in a year than most musicians do in five. Offered as a free download at ocnotes.net, it follows the underrated "Moldavite" in 2012, and Notes says a third is on the way. Like all his music, it resists easy filing-away. But essentially it's a Seattle meditation on Chicago house music: pulsing dance jams with a rainy vibe. Key tracks include "Heavy House" and "New House Riot," which kick and ripple out from speakers or, better, headphones. Spliced into the smooth guitars and electric pianos is dialogue from local rap pillars Vitamin D and Ishmael Butler. A testament to shrewd editing, the whole thing's over before before you can find a flaw.
The Physics "Tomorrow People" (self-released)
Among the diehard fans eagerly awaiting Seattle rap trio The Physics' new album "Tomorrow People": a bank teller at Bank of America in the Central District, who tells me she can't stand how hip-hop these days is leaning so electronic, and loves The Physics for their organic sound. That's one way to view the crew and their extended family — an ace live band, the producer Jake One, back-up singers Malice and Mario Sweet — who together make the warmest hip-hop on the local scene. "Tomorrow People" is their best groove yet. Full of sung hooks and easy-listening samples, it wafts, floats, coasts and and never slams on the brakes. Rappers/brothers Thig Natural and Monk Wordsmith express regular-guy issues and South Seattle pride, finding unique flows to use and details to rap about. Aided by producer/scientist Justo, a master of the understated, they bring out the best in local guest rappers like Jarv Dee ("Drink With You") and Grynch ("Feel So Cool"), who could not be more different emcees but both fit snugly into the Physics' style.
Images via ocnotes.net / facebook.com/physicsworld