Ghostface Killah's Fear of God, and the Thermals' Temporary Chill

Categories: In Print
From SF Weekly's print music section:

Ghostface Killah: This might be a common belief, but Ghostface is an uncommon man. For starters, he's intensely observant. In the rap game, his strength of recall is Proustian. His skill in breaking a verse's picture into jagged crystals is Joycean. Many of his lyrics consist of little more than artfully edited lists of concrete details. Each new image nudges the listener toward an emotional epiphany, as in the nostalgic "Child's Play," from 2000's Supreme Clientele: "Lines from Dolomite/Few tips from Goines/Birthday, gave her two 50-cent coins." Here and elsewhere, Ghostface flexes his grasp of the power of brief and elliptical speech. "You gotta submit to the will of God," he told Henderson. "He's the creator. He gave you life. With his power, he said, 'Let it be,' and it was. In very few words." It appears God has a grip on Ghostface's style.

The Thermals: The Thermals' charm has always been in their feistiness. Casting off rounds of power pop that cracked like cap gun shells, they'd grin while tackling the sorest topics: confusion and disgust for the Dubya days, death, fanaticism, and the apocalypse. "A Pillar of Salt," from 2008's The Body, the Blood, the Machine, paired a bubblegum-sticky hook with a narrative about running away from a vengeful deity. Frontman Hutch Harris' conversational, nasal call has never possessed much in the way of nuance, so he'd prove a point by shouting vigorously. Not every Thermals moment was bathed in glee, but when they moved, they did so with enough energy to convince you that we'd all make it through the gloomiest hours. This latest album, on the other hand, orbits a dismal subject (an ailing relationship) without incorporating any playfulness to offset the fatigue.

Also, we recommend shows from Delorean, Toro Y Moi, Dean Wareham, and Sharon Van Etten.

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