Although JT Nolan and Paul Mullikin appear to be polar opposites — the former was exposed to music through the Chicago bar and club scene at an early age, and the latter is a multi-instrumentalist who plays for the Boulder Philharmonic — Beats Noir! finds them meeting on common ground. The project is firmly rooted in hip-hop, with Mullikin handling MC duties (as well as keys, drums, percussion, beatbox and guitar), while Nolan sings and plays guitar, but with the help of bassist Matt Skellenger, the two also incorporate a number of other genres. While cuts like "Hypnotic" have a distinct Gorillaz feel, there's a jazz element present on tracks like "Tom and Artie," in which Nolan drops a bunch of Tom Waits's lines from "Just Another Dime Store Novel" over a Artie Shaw samples and a thick beat, all of which makes for an interesting exploration of the Dark Side.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.