Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt, the previously missing member of Odd Future, a Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective, released his newest album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt, on March 23.

I Don’t Like Shit continues Earl’s no-nonsense approach to music defined in his debut studio album, Doris, but to a further extreme. Compared to his previous works, the cold and depressing feeling of I Don’t Like Shit is a let down. 

With his immense skill, many listeners hoped Earl’s follow-up to Doris would have more energy, passion and aggression and bring diversity and energy to his music. Instead, Earl goes deeper into the darkness with I Don’t Like Shit. The album has none of the necessary compromises Doris has with its occasionally up-beat songs and sometimes hopeful themes. On this record, Earl seeks to please no one; the songs are depressing and extremely antisocial.

The goal of the album appears to be one overarching feeling of claustrophobia. The producers did a great job hitting their mark to create a very specific tone, but the flat and lonely experience leaves more to be desired.

The slow-motion jazz chords and the beats may be simple, but the background tracks have far-too-powerful emotional weight to it. The album is a full-bore, swift knockout of intense sorrow. Samples of children’s screams on “AM // Radio” bring a dark humor into the mix, and the record’s leading single, “Grief,” successfully executes a full takeover of the listener’s emotions.

I Don’t Like Shit is plagued by its up-and-down style. On “AM // Radio,” Wiki, member of the rap group Ratking, spits a few bars and fizzles out, but Earl comes in strong and attacks the track on the second half. This progression represents the record as a whole: About half of the verses seem lethargic, but, in the other half, Earl goes into full-on attack mode. The album is a constant cycle of anticipation and disappointment. Maybe it was a choice he consciously made, but that decision makes for a confusing listen.

At some points, an inattentive listener might think that Earl put no effort into his music. Upon closer inspection, themes of trust are abundant, but the lack of variety gives a misleading impression, making this album anything but a casual listen.

One of the finer aspects of the album is Earl’s lyrical abilities. In most tracks, such as “Off Top” and “Huey,” his words fit together perfectly as a jigsaw puzzle would. On the first track, “Huey,” Earl kicks off with “Foot and hand on the gates / We was jumpin’ em, fuck, I’m like quicksand in my ways / Was always stuck in ‘em, stuck it in until an ambulance came.”

If listening to details of Earl’s depression doesn’t sound like a worthy investment of your time, this album isn’t for you. It will feel tedious and drawn out despite its short length.

I admire how Earl ignored commercial success for a more artistic angle, but an album only works if that style proves to be genius. I Don’t Like Shit trips up too often to be considered anything more than an intriguing prospect and forgettable listen.

Album: I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Tracks: 10

Rating: 5/10

The Daily Texan compiled a list of the best music events at SXSW that do not require a badge to get in.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

Pitchfork Day Party

When: 12 p.m.

Where: French Legation Museum

Who: DJ Rashad + DJ Spinn, Speedy Ortiz, The Range, Ex Hex, Perfect Pussy, Cashmere Cot, Coachwhips, Protomartyr

Age Restrictions: All Ages

The first Pitchfork Day Party is half ‘90s-inspired indie and punk rock and half electronic acts who never come through Austin.

Under the Radar SXSW Party

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Flamingo Cantina

Who: EMA, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Future Islands, Connan Mockasin

Age Restrictions: Not Listed

Under the Radar will be throwing parties Wednesday through Friday at Flamingo Cantina, but with appearances from indie pop act The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Future Islands, the first day boasts the strongest lineup.

Consequence of Sound Cosigns Day Party

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Hype Hotel

Who: Against Me!, Wye Oak, Albert Hammond Jr., Hospitality, Together Pangea

Age Restrictions: 21+

Here’s a chance to see Against Me!, who just released the excellent album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, for free alongside some of the better indie rock acts — including Strokes lead guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. — who are attending SXSW.

Red Bull Sound Select

When: 8 p.m.

Where: The Belmont

Who: Earl Sweatshirt, Lil Herb, Thurz

Age Restrictions: 21+

This is the only opportunity to see Earl Sweatshirt, the young rapper from Odd Future, play a free show during SXSW. This is also the first time in Austin since Doris, his most recent album, came out. Make sure to RSVP to get in.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 13

Pitchfork Day Party

When: 12 p.m.

Where: French Legation Museum

Who: Fucked Up, Lunice, Mutual Benefit, Isaiah Rashad, Kelela, Classixx, Future Island, Eagulls

Age Restrictions: All Ages

Day two of Pitchfork’s free parties focuses more on hip-hop and R&B with Lunice, Isaiah Rashad and Kelela. Expect dance parties with Cassixx and insane mosh pits with Fucked Up as well.

Stereogum Day Party

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Mohawk

Who: Cloud Nothings, Fucked Up, Speedy Ortiz, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Perfect Pussy, Ema, Mutual Benefit, Chloe Howl

Age Restrictions: All Ages

Here is where you can see most of the indie rock acts playing SXSW in one location. This might be the most impressive lineup of the day.

Jumpstart 2014

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Side Bar

Who: Diarrhea Planet with Melissa Etheridge, The Midgetmen, Big Ups, Upset, Potty Mouth, Solids, Connections

Age Restrictions: All Ages

The Midgetmen, a local rock band, harassed Melissa Etheridge enough that she agreed to play with them at their annual SXSW party.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 14

Ground Control Touring Day Party

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Beerland

Who: Power Trip, Touche Amore, Trash Talk, Bl’ast!, Vulgar Display

Age Restrictions: 21+

The collections of hardcore bands include the classic California hardcore act Bl’ast! alongside contemporaries such as Power Trip and Trash Talk. This one could get violent.

A.V. Club Day Party

When: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: Blackheart Bar

Who: Bob Mould, Wye Oak, Speedy Ortiz, Eagulls

Age Restrictions: 21+

Here’s a great chance to see legendary rocker Bob Mould of Husker Du & Sugar for free along with some great indie rock acts.

Spotify House

When: 12 p.m.

Where: 901 E. 6th St.

Who: Real Estate, Vance Joy, The Districts

Age Restrictions: 21+

Real Estate’s latest album, Atlas, is incredible, and this is your best bet at catching them for free.

Austin Party Weekend

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Empire Garage & Control Room

Who: Fucked Up, Power Trip, Destruction Unit, Classixx, Sophie, Cashmere Cat

Age Restrictions: 21+

One of the best events of Friday features a slew of punk and hardcore acts in one room complemented by breakthrough electronic producers in the other room. While the two genres might not mix perfectly, there’s plenty of great bands playing.

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 15

KVRXplosion

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Farewell Books

Who: Speedy Ortiz, Grass is Green, Each Other, Psychic Teens, Pale Hound

Age Restrictions: All Ages

UT’s student-run radio station’s day party features a group of ‘90s-inspired indie rock acts. It is headlined by the always entertaining Speedy Ortiz, who sound like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., and is amazing.

Thrasher X Converse Death Match

When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Scoot Inn

Who: Lil B, Perfect Pussy, Destruction Unit

Age Restrictions: All Ages

The almighty Based God is coming to play this party in a rare and blessed appearance. Lil B shows are less rap concerts than spiritual revivals, and this is one you don’t want to miss.

Rayban x Boiler Room

When: 8 p.m.

Where: TBA

Who: Four Tet, Julio Basmore, Omar S, Tinashe, DJ Mustard and more

Age Restrictions: All Ages

Last year, this party featured rare appearances by Death Grips and Mount Kimbie, and was one of the most innovative SXSW experiences of the year. This year, they’ve already confirmed exclusive performances by great electronic producers like Four Tet, and this will surely be one of the best parties to attend.

Red Bull Sound Select 4 Days in Austin

When: 8 p.m.

Where: The Belmont

Who: Danny Brown, Lucki Ecks, A.Dd+

Age Restrictions: 21+

Tyler, The Creator returns for his third album, Wolf

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

Tyler, The Creator is almost as talented as he is controversial. As the leader of collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, he is heavily involved in producing, designing and promoting for everyone, including Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and Hodgy Beats. In 2010, the Los Angeles native self-produced and released his debut Bastard, but it was 2011’s Goblin that garnered him significant attention. All of his albums are structured as sessions with his therapist and Wolf continues this formula, discussing deeper issues than his previous releases, while taking place at fictional Camp Flog Gnaw.

The title track brings us into Tyler’s conflicted mind: An ironically soft piano melody overlaid with chimes hints at a new sense of maturity before Tyler pulls the rug out, singing “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck him, fuck everything else that I can’t see, I know, fuck you I hate you so fuckin much, I know you think I’m crazy cause I think you’re a fucking fag.” At the end of the song, a dialogue introduces us to a new therapist, Sam, and his old one, Dr. TC. 

“Jamba” displays Tyler’s characteristic lo-fi production style and heavy reliance on simple synth melodies. Even so, as the first real song on the album, it is much more musically-inclined than Goblin’s dissonant “Yonkers.” Hodgy Beats delivers the song’s particularly good second verse. Hodgy pulls the plug on the song before humorously criticizing Tyler for rapping about marijuana while he is actually straight-edge. 

More mature songs like “Answer” distance Wolf from Goblin and Bastard. Through the metaphor of his phone calls being unanswered, Tyler raps about his communication issues — how he has never met his father and his grandmother’s recent death. It’s encouraging to see that he can musically express himself without using too many racial and sexual epithets. 

Other highlights include the accessible lead single “Domo23,” modern rap parody “Trashwang,” sentimental closer “Lone” and “Treehome95,” featuring Coco O. and Erykah Badu. 

Wolf’s lyrics are both deeper and more immature at the same time, showing an attempt to reconcile his older and newer subject matter. Tyler delves into his father’s absence and troubles with women, but his newfound success leads to a lot of superficial bragging. The album is full of avant-garde beats and backhanded hilarity aimed at critics. No one is spared in Tyler’s seemingly inevitable climb to the top and Wolf proves that he is only getting better. 

Featuring four UT students, In The Works won the My Band Rocks Fox Austin contest in 2012 and are finally releasing their debut EP, Ever Upward. The soft rock five-piece demonstrates proficient musical talent with complex melodies, sentimental lyrics and technical guitar solos. Every song has a distinct feel, and as a whole, the EP is promising for a relatively new band. 

California indie band Cold War Kids has made a name for itself as hardworking up-and-comers. They’ve released numerous EPsand Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is their fourth full-length studio album. They opt for a slight techno feel, resulting in an interesting mix with their indie rock, that sounds more contrived than artistic. Frontman Nathan Willet’s vocals prove indispensable again, but the album breaks little new ground as a whole. 

Boston emo band Transit returns with a revised musical plan, shedding almost all aspects of their former punk style by trading their power chords for arpeggiated melodies, while maintaining an upbeat tempo. After 2010’s Listen & Forgive, this album is a huge letdown.  Their transition is impressive, but a lot of the kinks have yet to be worked out. 

Complex magazine reported yesterday morning the alleged location of Earl Sweatshirt, the 17-year-old rapper of the phenom hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Sweatshirt, legally known as Thebe Kgositsile, is purportedly in a boarding school in Samoa called the Coral Reef Academy.

Fans of the group have been curious about Earl’s whereabouts for the past year, chanting “Free Earl!” at Odd Future shows and speculating on the blogosphere about the rapper’s whereabouts.

The report comes from an aggregation of different sources, ranging from lyrics from the groups songs to extreme Facebook stalking, as well as information on a variety of different websites. A recently released song, Tang Golf, by two members of the group, Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats cites at 1:55 in the song, “Ask Syd where we at. She’ll tell you where we going — to free Earl from the fucking Samoans.”

A picture, viewable in a report provided by David Huebner, U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, shows a boy believed to be Earl among his classmates in Samoa.

A classmate in the Samoan program stated that Earl was sent to the Academy because of his “disrespectful music [and] behavior,” verifying rumors that have been spreading around the Internet for months.

Odd Future frontman Tyler, The Creator responded to the findings on his Twitter, “Fucking Creeps, Did All That For A Nigga That You Don’t Even Know. Can’t Even Respect My; His; Or His Mom Privacy. Yeah, I’m Bitching.”