Dark Time Sunshine

Nose-picking couch-rapping: Dark Time Sunshine, Aesop Rock & Swamburger in “Take My Hand” video

Dark Time Sunshine: ANXDark Time Sunshine: ANX (Fake Four, 7/24/12)

Consisting of Grayskul’s Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala, Dark Time Sunshine is a lesser-known gem in underground hip hop. The duo’s newest album, ANX, is a diverse offering with quite a few standout guests, including P.O.S, Aesop Rock, Busdriver, and more — one worth exploring.

Here’s the new video for “Take My Hand,” featuring Swamburger and Aesop (who spends most of it picking his nose).

ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

Green Carpeted Stairs

MP3 Premiere: Green Carpeted Stairs’ “Midwestern”

Green Carpeted Stairs: s/tGreen Carpeted Stairs: s/t (Fake Four, 6/12/12)


[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Green_Carpeted_Stairs_Midwestern.mp3|titles=Green Carpeted Stairs: “Midwestern”]

Though Colorado-based Neil Ewing has found himself among underground hip-hop circles with his project Swimming with Models, he’s been making a name for himself in Denver’s experimental scene via indie venue Rhinoceropolis. And though his new Fake Four label-mates include such names as Busdriver and Sole & The Skyrider Band, his latest project, Green Carpeted Stairs, does not limit itself to any genre. Ewing instead crafts an aesthetic for himself that’s influenced as much by hip hop and R&B as experimental electronic music — something like a collaboration of 2012 Busdriver, The Postal Service, and Ritualz.


Q&A: Busdriver

Busdriver: Beaus$ErosBusdriver: Beaus$Eros (Fake Four, 2/21/12)

Busdriver: “Kiss Me Back to Life”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Busdriver_Kiss_Me_Back_to_Life.mp3|titles=Busdriver: “Kiss Me Back to Life”]

Rapping since age 9, LA art rapper Busdriver (born Regan John Farquhar) has had nearly a quarter century to develop his distinct style and lightning-fast delivery. He’s been known to break rules and defy hip-hop conventions, but his latest release, Beaus$Eros, is perhaps his strangest yet — a blend of beats and avant-garde pop.

Centered on both personal and professional failure, Beaus$Eros (“bows and arrows”) is more emotionally intense than the socially conscious rap he has produced for years, and it comes across in his strange, sweeping croons that come to the fore on this record. Delivered with Belgian producer Loden’s epic, pulsing beats, the result is unlike anything we’ve heard from him before — and it’s undeniably catchy.

“Kiss Me Back to Life” almost entirely forgoes hip hop as a hook-filled offering for the dance floor. But if you’re searching for the Busdriver that you know and love, you still have a bit in “NoBlacksNoJewsNoAsians,” where he spews cryptic, politically charged lyrics with his signature auctioneer-like delivery.

ALARM recently caught up with Busdriver to discuss the new direction as well as the trials that have come with releasing Beaus$Eros.

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.


Guest Spot: Nocando explains the power of wordplay

Flash Bang Grenada: 10 HatersFlash Bang Grenada10 Haters (Hellfyre ClubAlpha Pup, 8/23/11)

Flash Bang Grenada: “In a Perfect World” (f. Open Mike Eagle)

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Flash_Bang_Grenada_In_a_Perfect_World.mp3|titles=Flash Bang Grenada: “In a Perfect World”]

Some rappers tell stories, some tell jokes, and some mangle language into a string of witticisms. A few manage to do all three of these things at once. It’s this balance that LA-based rhymer Nocando hopes to achieve. His affiliation with stalwart rap collective Project Blowed led to a rapid ascent of the battle-rap circuit, culminating in a 2007 Scribble Jam championship. Known for his clever, sarcastic style, he recently teamed up with kindred spirit Busdriver to form Flash Bang Grenada. The duo’s debut album, 10 Haters, was just released in late August and received a TWBA nod. Here, Nocando explains what wordplay means to him, and how he hopes to one day harness its powers.

by Nocando

As far back as I can remember (roughly seven years ago), I’ve been consumed with wordplay. It’s the tool that a rapper’s ego uses to stroke itself. Even if the rapper doesn’t pause after the punchline and say, “Get it? Let’s get it!” and use ad libs like “Dayummmm” to highlight his wordplay, he secretly wants to do. I’m not trying to make this an “I hate wordplay” rant, because I’m one of the wordplay-abusing rappers in question.

Me: Hi, I’m Nocando. I’m a wordplay junkie.
Other wordplay junkies: Hi, Nocando.

Weekly Music News Roundup

Over the past week, we caught news of a mini Soundgarden/TAD live jam, a new Kayo Dot album, a new/streaming Trash Talk EP, another Mars Volta album, another Zach Hill project, and a release date for the new Tortoise album.  Read about this and more after the jump.

Weekly Music News Roundup

Hella returns as a duo; Converge posts a studio preview of a new song; Busdriver, Shining (Norway), Om, Russian Circles and Aphex Twin all have new albums on the way.

Five Good Songs about Barack Obama

Political inspiration is great, but the world is tired of Will.I.Am‘s celeb-packed Obama tribute. In honor of the freshly passed stimulus package, here are five good songs about the United States’ 44th president.