Beyoncé, "Diva": I Am...Sasha Fierce — this Independent Woman's latest multimedia event — is front-loaded with snoozy ballads one can fast-forward through without remorse; the party really gets going with "Single Ladies." By "Diva," wherein Beyoncé embraces the titular descriptor and equates it to being a hustler, she's gone all buck-wild on us, throwin' 'bows and bustin' 16s like a street MC: "Hoy you gon' be talkin' shit? / You act like I just got up in it / Been the No. 1 diva in this game for a minute." Guess hubby Hova's really rubbing off on her, huh?
Eric Copeland, "Alien in a Garbage Dump": Eric Copeland's gotta be careful. He's the front man for NYC fractured-noise trio Black Dice, but his solo recordings are infinitely more interesting. This one takes hip-hop samples and what I'm assuming are snippets of field-recorded conversations and loop-de-loops 'em off into infinity over whatever additional sound sources he's spindled and mutilated into crazy-carnival herky (beef) jerky.
Ophibre, "Reference": Whenever I spin this one, I imagine some dude in a stained lab coat hunched over heaps of stereo consoles, painstakingly adjusting frequencies, fiddling with dials and caressing the strings of a modified electric guitar — pasting together an amber din, oblivious to the world burning down outside his studio. But maybe he's just pulling this shit off with a laptop. Dim-subway-tunnel-on-Ativan gorgeous, this.
Z-Ro, "Made": Not about the MTV series, dude. Oh, Z-Ro's modest: "Remember me? / I'm the one who did bad in all of my classes / Now what they spend a house I blow on designer glasses." In terms of content and swagger, this Houston cat isn't especially original, but he's got a post-Nate Dogg singsongy flow that refines thug braggadocio into syrupy Southern poetry.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.