Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simple Success opens up for Mac Miller tonight at Warehouse Live. They play from 9 to 9:20 p.m. Purchase a ticket, stand there while they perform, then apologize to the people standing near you for getting brain fragments all over them after your head inevitably explodes. Hyperbole, son.
Simple Success Smash and Dash EP (Self-released, 2011)
Simple Success is a DJ/drummer remix and production duo. In short, they rock tits. In long, they mash together bits and pieces of music from various genres until it forms a very distinct, very appealing version of what's been termed "conceptual hip-hop."
Smash and Dash is their first proper project; they're calling it an EP, but at 12 songs long it's a lot closer to being a full on album. Minus a mechanical first three or so minutes, it is nearly flawless in its grab-bag randonmess and a shoo-in to end up among the Best Houston Rap Releases of 2011. It's smart and creative and daring and, at times, rubs up against being exquisite.
Best Song on the Album: Ostensibly, any song that employs the title "Cuz I'm Dope" is destined for mediocrity; it's like getting a Chinese symbol tattoo or asking Plies to guest feature on a track. But the brooding, ancestral production here grab hands with rapper Lux's innate crispness and skips out ahead of everything else on the EP.
Most Unexpected Sample on the Album: It's nearly imperceptible, but if you squint, squint, squint, you can catch the leftovers of a Feist sample (it's been chopped and distorted) at the beginning of album closer "Lows." You're welcome to try and intellectualize the meaning behind its inclusion on the track and how it relates to Mic Skills, the rapper who guest features on it.
Your thesis statement might be something about artistry and integrity and maybe even reference Poland and Broken Social Scene, but you'd be wrong. Says Kyle Vento: "I had it chopped already and saved in a sample bank and stumbled across it later when I was composing 'Lows' and it worked out really nicely with the song." Sometimes life just isn't very dramatic, we suppose.
Most Unexpectedly Enjoyable Moment on the Album: The fantastically creepy first 0:40 of "It Could Be," in which a girl (probably drunk, but possibly not) leaves a voicemail for someone she cares about with little more than a piano and speaker static playing behind her. It's oddly mesmerizing.
Argument With Yourself After Listening That You Weren't Expecting To Have: Is Yo Gotti not entirely terrible after all?
YG has never set the rap world on fire - his best song is likely a repurposed Young Jeezy track - but he sounds like an absolute champ alongside Wayne on "Gotti Rockin' (Remix)," a redo of "Women Lie, Men Lie."
Let this serve as an example: If the biggest complaint against you is that you're a tad clichéd, just throw some tinks and heavy guitar noodling on your champ. Presto! You sound like a world-beater.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own So As To Make Yourself Look Smart:
- "Dangerous" was the last song made on the album. Karina Nistal was supposed to be featured on it, but couldn't meet the deadline. Shina Rae stepped in and, quite frankly, pressed the production under her glittery thumb until it sounded like it'd been made especially for her.
- That girl on the phone in "It Could Be" is guest producer A. Selekt the Instrumentalist's fiancee. Lovely relationship they must have.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.