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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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Asaad

New Track: "Blue Note Entendre" - Asaad

It feels like it has certainly been a minute since we revisited music from Asaad. That's not to say that we weren't feelin' him. It just seemed like the madness of the music industry had finally gotten to the boisterous emcee who is prone to controversy, and he decided to take down most of his recordings. Well, he's been back for a bit now, and on his latest single, "Blue Note Entendre," the jazz instrumentals hint at an artist possibly coming closer to some inner peace (as well as being influenced by the iconic record label); however, you can still feel the flames from Asaad's diction. There is the sound of a young man maturing on this one.

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Asaad Album Release Show at Silk City March 26

Asaad (born Saayid Asaad) has been one of the most prolific and controversial artists in the local hip-hop scene. Since dropping his debut mixtape Flowers in 2009, the North Philly emcee/producer has released seven other albums and nearly a hundred tracks. He first caught our attention with 2011's #DIRTYMIDDLECLASS, which helped to get him nominated for The Deli's annual year-end Best Emerging Artists Poll, where he won Philly's Readers'/Fans' segment of the competition. 2012 proved to be his most productive year to date with the release of New Black History Month, #WHITE, and #TROY, as major music media outlets began to take notice, but the venomous tongue of the brash, young talent and an album cover that depicted Tupac having sex with Notorious B.I.G. seemed to alienate him from the rest of the hip-hop world. An artist, who once thrived on the controversy, began to show signs of wear in 2013. Asaad surprisingly changed his stage name to Saudi Money, attaching it to a handful of releases, and then, after showing great dissatisfaction with the music industry (there were rumors of him being "blackballed" by the hip-hop community), he attempted to delete the existence of himself and his music from the internet. Well, it seems that the time out of the public's crosshairs has helped to rejuvenate the Philly-bred talent. He'll be returning this evening at Silk City under the name Asaad, once again, with a new record, Flowers II, in tow. Come out tonight and experience his rebirth! Silk City Diner, 435 Spring Garden St., 9pm, $10, 21+ (Photo by Snaps NY) - Q.D. Tran

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New Track: "Horror Film" (Feat. Saudi Money) - Reap Howard

Ha...in preparation for last night's Halloween festivities, we admittedly took it pretty easy yesterday as we donned our costumes and make-up with alcoholic beverage in hand, so we're playing a bit of catch up with releases in honor of the beloved holiday. After needing a break from the hustle and social media, Saudi Money, a.k.a. Asaad, provided us with a few bars on Reap Howard's track "Horror Film," reminding us that the controversial emcee is still alive and angry.

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Free Download: Black History Month II - Asaad

While Asaad continues to tease the release of his upcoming EP 006, the prolific North Philly emcee dropped a new mixtape Black History Month II to keep us entertained. You can pass the time today until your weekend starts with his latest below, which is also available for free download HERE.

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Free Download: "AK47" (Feat. Grande Marshall & Wyo) - Asaad

Below is a new track from Asaad called "AK47" that is available to be downloaded for free. It features verses from fellow local natives Grande Marshall and Wyo and production work from Nascent and QB. The nearly ten-minute single is the first offering from his upcoming release, 006, and premiered earlier today via Complex Magazine.

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