Monday, February 27, 2012

OPINION: Death Grips Signing to a Major Label?


Weird news of the day: loud, abrasive, experimental punk hop trio Death Grips, a group that has made a name for itself off a largely DIY and outsider vibe, has signed to a major label, Epic Records. We received the news a few weeks ago that 'Grips would be releasing two new albums this year, and now we know that the first, which is looking at an April 24 release, will be titled The Money Store. The album will include both the recently dropped "Blackout", and the newly released "Get Got". You can watch the video for that track here, via the group's -- wait for it -- VEVO.

If you've seen YPOIW's list of favorite albums of last year, you know that many of us are fans of these guys. This move to a major label, however, is sure to make even some of Death Grips' most loyal fans skeptical, since the "anti-establishment" vibe that comes with the group's music and image seems to run in basically direct contradiction to the major label ethic. After all, I saw these guys live in a friggin' art space in Oakland, CA last year that could hardly hold 100 people. However, I'm not sure I can totally get behind the sentiment that Death Grips have "betrayed" their fans, or whatever. Personally, I love seeing ridiculously oddball stuff being appreciated on a wide scale, and even though I don't see Death Grips joining the ranks among Kanye and Drake in the Top 40, I'm glad to see them succeed to at least some notable degree. Besides, as cliché as this sounds, isn't it supposed to be "about the music"? I, for one, am really enjoying the two most recent tracks the group has released, especially "Get Got". Those familiar with Death Grips' previous work will notice that this track in particular is relatively more subdued, but that's not to say that any of the flavor, originality, or spirit has been lost. Vocalist Stefan Burnett still sounds as powerful as ever, even if his delivery isn't quite as ferocious, and the production offers a characteristically dirty aesthetic, which is topped off with a memorable synthesizer melody that is just as noisy as it is infectious. I'm not without numerous problems regarding the way major labels operate, but if Death Grips continue to deliver this kind of quality, I wouldn't feel justified in pouting.

So, I suppose the real test of whether or not this was a bad move comes with the release of the trio's two promised albums later this year. Until then, I'll continue bumping Exmilitary, holding myself over with "Blackout" and "Get Got", and hoping for the best.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed! So long as the music is good, I couldn't care less about major labels or VEVOs. Plus, I'd rather these guys get the exposure and dollar$$$ they deserve.