We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it's too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that's slightly off the beaten path.
Album: Vodka & Ayahuasca by Gangrene (out now on Decon)
Press play if you like: That song on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that samples King Crimson; early ’90s hip-hop; clips of drunk guys screaming at police officers and/or violently vomiting; weed.
Some background: Gangrene consists of West Coast producers-rappers The Alchemist and Oh No, two underground favorites who came together in 2010 for Gangrene’s debut, Gutter Water. Last year the duo was joined by rapper Roc Marciano for the Greneberg EP, and now they’ve put out the loopy, kinda concept record Vodka & Ayahuasca. Hardcore rap-heads have slighted the album for having ho-hum lyrical content—Alchemist and Oh No are recognized more for their music than their rhymes—and admittedly the so-called “concept” about getting super ripped on the eponymous substances is not what makes the album worth hearing. Rather, it’s the intoxicating mix of prog-rock guitar riffs, snappy breaks, moody piano licks, and free-floating weirdness that puts the album over. Even when the content is lacking, Ayahuasca always sounds great.
Try this: The druggy, anarchic aesthetic of Vodka & Ayahuasca comes through loud and slurred on the title track, where record scratches rub against smoking hot guitar solos and references to the rightfully forgotten 1988 Tom Berenger-Sidney Poitier thriller Shoot To Kill.