**** Excellent, *** Good, ** Fair, * Poor
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
- Dan DeLuca
A$AP Rocky is the leader of the weirdly swaggering, Southern-inspired A$AP Mob. He's the Frank Sinatra of their Rat Pack. But the chairman of the board, the hip-hopping Dean Martin of Mob, is A$AP Ferg, a formidable, salesworthy (especially on tracks such as "Work") equal whose style balances the Rock's spite-and-sweat-filled provocations.
Ferg, a debonair but diabolical Harlem rapper, is certainly as bugged out, boastful, and darkly frank as Rocky. "Cocaine Castle" is a deliciously evil anthem of greed, gall, and avarice. But on tunes such as "Murda Something" and "Shabba," there's a salty, old-school, thug romanticism to what Ferg does (to say nothing of his throaty voice) that's vaguely reminiscent of Notorious B.I.G. There's also more variety in soundscape and rhythm, and more lyrical depth, in Ferg's work than in anything the A$AP camp has done. While A$AP's Southern soul-hop roots come on strong in "Make a Scene," Ferg shows he's a fan of lush melody and cool chorales when he teams with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for the most epic track on the album, "Lord."
- A.D. Amorosi
(Sub Pop ***)
Paracosm is a term from psychology for a detailed fantasy world often created as a coping mechanism. In appropriating the word as the title of the second Washed Out album, Ernest Greene (a musician who, as a band, goes by the name of Washed Out) identifies one of the functions of his music: it's escapist, daydreamy, abstract but vivid.
Paracosm is warmer and more inviting than 2011's Within and Without, the album that helped define the chill-wave microgenre. Greene expands his palette by using a live rhythm section and incorporating naturalistic details (birdsong, often) to flesh out the core of vintage synthesizers and electronics. His vocals are still gauzy and restrained, but the melodies are more assertive, especially on the tropical single "It All Feels Right" and the M83-like "All I Know." Some songs, like the aptly titled "Weightless," slowly drift, but that's a plus: they help make Paracosm an insular, pleasurable distraction.
- Steve Klinge
Washed Out and Haerts will perform 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets: $18. Information: 215-232-2100 or www.utphilly.com
Top Albums in the Region
This Week Last Week
Locally Nationally Locally
1 1 Luke Bryan Crash My Party -
2 2 K. Michelle Rebellious Soul -
3 6 Jay Z Magna Carta ... Holy Grail 5
4 4 Robin Thicke Blurred Lines 2
5 7 Teen Beach Soundtrack 6
6 3 Various Artists Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 47 3
7 42 Wale The Gifted -
8 5 Civil Wars Civil Wars 1
9 9 Imagine Dragons Night visions 8
10 17 Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience 12
SOURCE: SoundScan (based on purchase data from Philadelphia and Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties). Billboard Magazine 8/31/13 © 2013
On Sale Tuesday
Bob Dylan, Another Self-Portrait (1969-71): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10;
Black Joe Lewis, Electric Slave;
Placido Domingo, Verdi;
King Krule, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon