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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviewsof local & state music CDs

SELF-EVIDENT Endings

When early 2000s-era screamo meets Mogwai-influenced post-rock disorder, you have Minnesota trio Self-Evident. Their sophomore release Endings starts with a bit of promise on the misleadingly-titled “Everything All At Once,” because the band surely goes to some unexpected places later. The song hinges on its rolling melodies and clever time signatures, while keeping lead singer Conrad Mach’s middling vocals at bay. It’s about the time that “Before the Beginning” rolls around that any melodic pretense is abandoned and the nonplussed shouting begins to dominate the remainder of the album. That’s not to say that it couldn’t have been done well. Bands like Fugazi artfully shouted their way into punk legend, but Self-Evident merely sounds strained and at times, insufferable to the point that there’s little choice but to skip over. Lyrically, the album is solid and plays on themes of emotional suppression and belonging, though it’s often difficult to cut to the core of the message. The band excels on songs like “Players” and “Apprentices,” where the vocals are merely another layer and not the focus, though bassist Tom Berg’s crunchy low end is a delight throughout.

Self-Evident will perform at the Maya Art Gallery Wednesday night.

55/100

DOOM Unexpected Guests

He’s the most mercurial, unpredictable rapper in the game, so it should come as no surprise that the man with more names than Jehovah has thrown a curve with his newest release. The man known simultaneously as Kool Keith, Dangerdoom, Madvillain, Viktor Vaughn and, most currently, DOOM has put together a compilation of sorts entitled Unexpected Guests.

What kind of compilation it is, however, remains a bit of an enigma, as the only common thread between every track is that there is no common thread. Given that DOOM is one of the few rappers whose albums are always greater than any one individual track, therein lies the fatal flaw. The connection between each track is so tenuous that Unexpected Guests downplays his greatest asset as an MC. At first glance, it appears to be a collection of rarities featuring any number of guest artists from his lengthy career, but not every track is even his to begin with. The Count Bass D track, “Quite Buttery,” is one of many that only features DOOM as a guest, while he only played a production role on a track from the Masta Killa solo flop “ENY House.” One Easter egg within is the smooth KMD rarity “Sorcerers” from the hard-to-find Domination Bootleg, Vol. 2, a track that features DOOM in his Yo! MTV Raps infancy. Unexpected Guests is fun at times and great for the diehard, but those looking for a career comprehensive are still waiting.

71/100

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