New Zealand songwriter Aldous Harding’s sophomore album “Party” is punchier and even more haunting than her more folk-influenced debut.
It seems every other weekend another Portland indie band gets its big break, but what about hip-hop? In a city primarily known for its historically rich indie rock scene, Mic Capes is providing a voice for the ever-growing rap scene in the city with Concrete Dreams. Made with collaboration from fellow Portland artists Glenn Waco, Rasheed Jamal and more, Concrete Dreams is one for the Northwest hip-hop heads to be proud of.
The album is a natural progression of the work Mic Capes did on 2012’s Rise and Grind, but it’s much more polished; four more years of practice turns good flows into great flows, and the rhymes followed suit. The 19-track album does a couple things very well: It rewards attentive listeners with subtle, but pointed, wordplay and never lets up. It’s easy for such a long album to have a couple of duds, but there are zero here.
Concrete Dreams is impressive in its ability to integrate painfully introspective tracks (“Boyz & Girls Club”) with massive, booming tracks (“Magic 8-Ball”) without losing focus. Mic Capes raps just as effortlessly over hard-hitting, trap-influenced instrumentals as he does on the down-tempo, atmospheric cloud-rap instrumentals. A post-Flockaveli rap scene has allowed artists the freedom to experiment with trap instrumentals without being labeled a trap-rapper, and that flexibility is on full display throughout Concrete Dreams.
The title Concrete Dreams acts as both a reflection of Mic Capes’ past and a prediction of his future; the dreams are both built within the city and destined to become reality — become concrete.»
– Tyler Sanford
EDITOR’S NOTE: This album was selected as one of our 11 favorite Portland albums of 2016. Jump to the other year-end selections below.