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Sound Check

2/18/2015

AngleSleeve ECO

“Definitive Bedtime Stories”

Independent

 

Des Moines does not have a great hip-hop scene. It is not for a lack of trying, it is just difficult to grow a scene organically with no major label backing and no breakthrough commercial talent, ala Slipknot or The Envy Corps. There is, however, good stuff coming out of Des Moines, rap included. Angle is one of the more tenured members of the central Iowa scene — he’s been slinging since 2001 — and “Definitive Bedtime Stories” is easily the best work he has released in that time. One big reason is his improved flow. His lyrics are sharp, and his quick, syncopated vocal rhythm makes him stand out much the same way that Tech N9ne’s separates him from the Kansas City crowd. Another reason the album shines is because Angle is not afraid to allow his collaborators to outshine him. At no point is this made more evident (or with better results) than “Better Shake,” featuring Chicago’s Psalm One, whose masterful mic work helps make it the best track on the album. CV

HIV

 

Colin HayColin Hay

“Next Year People”

Compass

 

Since the breakup of Men at Work in 1985, Colin Hay has been pursuing a solo career that has put the focus more squarely on his own completely distinctive vocals. It is an endeavor that he has gradually gotten better at, seemingly finding his groove with 2007’s “Are You Lookin’ at Me?” “Next Year People” doesn’t quite hit the highest highs of some of Hay’s previous work, but there is plenty on the album to make it more than just a throwaway addition to his catalog. Tracks like opener “Trying to Get to You” are light and poppy, which is Hay’s wheelhouse. But most of the album is slower and more thoughtful, giving the project a feeling of light melancholy that rarely lets Hay’s voice truly shine. CV

 

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