Wednesday 23 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Astro boy

Astro boy

Astronautalis tries to flip the script of his rap sheet by shaking indie hip-hop free from its creative doldrums.

Chris Parker March 16th, 2011

Astronautalis with Sims and Algebra
7 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western, 607-4805

Astronautalis hails from what might be the last generation of indie hip-hop. The 29-year old Florida rapper came of age in the late ’90s as a bevy of underground artists emerged, seeking to redefine a mainstream style that’d become stuck in a locked groove of guns, drugdealing, bitches and boasting.

Astronautalis, aka Andy Bothwell, honed his rap skills in his bedroom, to the point where his freestyles were “8 Mile”-tight. Like Eminem in that movie, Bothwell would travel to dangerous urban areas to do battle in clubs and basements, where he was the only white boy spitting. People wanted to beat him up, and one combatant drew a knife. So Bothwell gave up rap, except for college parties in Dallas, where he’d regale theater friends by rapping about any subject they’d toss out. It helped pull him back in.

He has an equal love of indie rock, manifested on his three adventurous albums, for which rap is only a jumping-off point. The low-key pace and textured arrangements have more in common with Death Cab for Cutie than Wu-Tang Clan. See for yourself Tuesday at The Conservatory.

OKG: You tend to tour more with indie-rock acts, and on your current tour, you have a live band backing you.

Astronautalis: I didn’t do any rap touring, because rap fans come to a rap show expecting rap. And if they’re not given rap, they’re disappointed. I don’t feel like that’s wrong, but that’s one of the reasons I checked out the rock community: “I’m not going to be able to give you guys what you want, and you don’t like what I’m giving you. So let’s go our separate ways, and we’ll buy each other drinks when we see each other.”

OKG: You’ve worked with producers in more of a rock manner rather than simply as a provider of beats.

Astronautalis: I feel a lot of rappers would benefit from that, because a lot of rappers don’t have a lot of outside input, and that really kills them over the course of a career. They figure out one way to do things and their vocals all sound the same. There really aren’t any dynamics to the record. They’re relying on content, as opposed to actual sound quality and song craftsmanship. So if their lyrics don’t remain relevant, they don’t really stand a chance.

OKG: What should we expect from your fourth album?

Astronautalis:I have every hope and expectation of taking a really significant departure for the next record.

There’s more emphasis on simplicity. This is the first record I’m working more like a traditional rap album, where I’m getting beats from other producers.

The stories are all inspired by my last seven years spent on the road. I wanted to do a record that was supremely autobiographical. There are still a lot of elements of history in there. I’ve been really interested in scientists from the Age of Enlightenment.

So there are a lot of parallels between the risks they took as scientists and the risks I feel like myself and people in my circle are taking with their lives, to do things differently.

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