Death Grips are a strange “band” (if you can call them that). While they’ve put out one incredible record known as The Money Store and a nearly-as-good follow-up with NO LOVE DEEP WEB, just about everything they’ve done since then has been intended to agitate, provoke and confront. Well, I suppose if you listen to their music you’d get that impression too. Their sound can best be described as punk rap, taking the violent barking of punk rock vocalists and translating it into hip hop with fiery and explosive backing tracks. It’s an inventive enough combo to have earned the boys a major label record deal, which they promptly destroyed on their own accord by releasing NO LOVE DEEP WEB online for free. The reason why they did it was supposedly because Epic Records wanted to hold the album for release in early 2013, while the guys had promised fans it’d be out before the end of 2012. In other words, they circumvented the system in an effort to get their music into their fans’ hands as quickly and painlessly as possible. That seemed nice, even if it resulted in a fight with their label and eventually getting dropped. Now operating as their own independent faction on a label they started themselves, Death Grips booked a number of shows in the spring and late summer of 2013 as they also claimed to be working on new material for a soundtrack to a film they would write, direct and star in. While the spring performances went off without a hitch, things began to go awry in early August, when the band failed to show up for their pre-Lollapalooza set at Bottom Lounge. A drum kit was set up, a Gmail screenshot of a suicide note was projected onto a screen behind the stage, and Death Grips music played over the speakers as fans waited for the band to come out and actually play it live. When they didn’t show up and venue management found out band members never even got on a plane to fly to Chicago, there was a small riot and all of the on-stage equipment was destroyed. The Lollapalooza appearance scheduled for the following day was also cancelled. Eventually more shows and the entire fall tour was scrapped, save for a set at FYF in Los Angeles which surprised many because it actually happened. After keeping a close eye on Death Grips and all their antics over the last couple of years, it’s starting to wear on me. I think the music they make is different and innovative, and I don’t even mind their antagonistic approach towards record labels and music distribution in general. But when you screw your fans over and make them waste their time and money by coming out to a show that you had no intention of showing up for, that seems very mean-spirited to me. Your fan base is responsible for your livelihood, and if you insult them there won’t be any left to listen to anything you’d like to put out. Still, I suppose it can be hard to resist free, and when Death Grips released a surprise new album this afternoon called Government Plates I jumped at the chance to download it. If you’re intrigued and would like to download the whole thing for free yourself, here’s a link where you can do exactly that. You can also stream the entire record on Soundcloud. I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, but I’ve watched a couple of the new videos they uploaded to their YouTube channel, and it’s pretty much the same thing and sound they’ve been exploring since Day 1. It’s definitely not for everybody, so approach with extreme caution. If you don’t like what Death Grips have to offer, maybe something from Pick Your Poison will strike your fancy. Don’t miss tracks from Blac Hollywood, The Chelsea Kills, The Landing, Mark Kozelek, Rue Royale, Shocking Pinks, Sweet Soubrette and Trails and Ways (covering Frank Ocean). In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Guerilla Toss, M83, Solids and Xeno & Oaklander.
Trails and Ways – Lost (Frank Ocean cover)
Bjørn Torske – Setter
Delorean – Destitute Time (Slow Magic Remix)
Guerilla Toss – Trash Bed
M83 – Ali & Matthias
Solids – Traces
Xeno & Oaklander – Par Avion