TUES | FLATBUSH ZOMBIEZ at CERVANTES' OTHER SIDE | 10/22/13 As if torn out of the pages of a graphic novel, Flatbush Zombies are intense and ultra-stylized to an extent that is at once cartoonish and darkly gritty. Sometimes, in the case of very exciting music such as theirs, substance takes a back seat to style, but both of their mixtapes, D.R.U.G.S. and BetterOffDEAD, get exponentially better with multiple listens. Thanks to the wild individuality of Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice and the remarkably advanced production of the multi-talented Erick Arc Elliott, Flatbush Zombies are already one of the best rap groups around, and they'll only get better.
TUES | EARL SWEATSHIRT at FOX THEATRE | 10/22/13 After releasing his prodigious self-titled debut at only sixteen, Earl was sent into exile by his mom to a Samoan disciplinary program during the most exciting years of Odd Future's meteoric rise, depriving the act's rabid fans of his music. As a result, Earl Sweatshirt's Doris was easily one of the most hyped rap albums this year. Because of his incredibly deep voice, occasionally repetitive flow and moodiness, Earl can come across as monotonous, but he is an incredibly gifted poet who has the ability to infuse his words with darkness and mystique while baring his soul with a refreshing honesty.
TUES | DISCLOSURE at BOULDER THEATER | 10/22/13 Growing up in Surrey, England, Guy and Howard Lawrence, known collectively as Disclosure, got an early education in the making of electronic music: Their debut single, "Offline Dexterity," came out in August 2010, when Howard was just sixteen years old. But it wasn't until January of last year, with the release of "Tenderly/Flow" that the brothers received significant airplay. Difficult to quantify, the music this pair makes combines the smooth flow and strong beats of house with the sort of lounge-y R&B flavor that wouldn't have been out of place in English clubs in the late '80s and early '90s alongside tracks by 808 State. Disclosure's debut album, Settle, went to number one on the U.K. charts and featured numerous guest vocalists, who lend the already diverse album of glistening dance songs warmth and humanity.
TUES | J COLE at 1STBANK CENTER | 10/22/13 J. Cole's a funny artist, because even though he's a Gold-selling rapper, he still hasn't released an album as good as either of his Roc Nation mixtapes -- The Warm Up and, especially, Friday Night Lights. On the latter, with tracks like "Too Deep for the Intro," Cole proved that he had a raw, emotional honesty not often seen in hip-hop. The mixtape format also allowed him to go hard over already popular beats like Kanye's "Devil in a New Dress" on "Villematic."