EditorialFor the love of music


For when you’re feeling social


Craig Clemens

December 09, 2014

You’ve got to give it up to these guys, December is a really tricky time to try and release music. With all the blogs, daily’s, weekly’s, and outlets locked into an orgy of “Best of..” lists a lot of really great music tends to get overlooked. Everybody wants to be the first to “define” the year that still is not even over yet. That’s why Playback won’t be doing own annual retrospective until around Christmas time – deal with it.

Until then, we’ve actually got some solid albums that came out this week – let’s focus on that, shall we?


J Cole | 2014 Forest Hills Drive

This is a very, very scaled back record when it comes to production. This (sort of) surprise LP from J Cole came without promotion, without a single, without a lot of buzz – It just dropped. Highlighted here is J Cole’s ability to flow, and it’s pretty unadulterated. Staying close to what he’s good at: a sort of middle-of-the-road style Mos Def storytelling and touching on sensitive topics of the day like the hook “Hands In The Air” on ‘A Tale of 2 Citiez’ (coincidentally the first major label artist I’ve heard actually rap about Ferguson or anything related to the protests). It’s a pretty solid record, and maybe the best of his career mostly because he does exactly what he’s good at and stripping everything else away.


Witching Waves | Fear Of Falling Down

Releasing their debut LP on the Edinburgh-based Soft Power records, the DIY garage rock duo (turned quartet) Witching Waves are doing some great things here. Just classic-down-home garage rock the way you want to hear it – noisy, distorted, grubby, dirty, on top of some excellent songwriting that always tends to go overlooked in the genre. On top of all this they’ve actually avoided the many ways that garage rock becomes unpalatable: turning the knob to 11 and clunking two chords for 3 songs in a row. This album has a surprising amount of feel to it and defiantly deserves multiple plays to get you through the upcoming winter.


PRhyme | Self-Titled

What do you get when you combine a primetime East Coast producer and an Eminem protege? You get PRhyme, arguably the best collaboration since Run The Jewels, consisting of Royce da 5’9″ and DJ Premier. Premier is clearly the veteran of the two, with his work with Biggie, Nas, and Gang Starr his mastery is undeniable. Throw in the absolutely great flow of Royce, as well as a star studded guest-list including Killer Mike, Schoolboy Q, Mac Miller, Jay Electronica, Dwele, and Common, you’ve got an all-star team playing at the Olympics – they shoulda called this LP “Dream Team”.