The Thermals’ 7th studio album comes out Friday, March 25 on Saddle Creek Records. Our Wendy Worzalla reviews.
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.