Good things sometimes come in absurdly zany packages, and never has that statement rang quite as true as it does when listening to the contents of DawgGoneDavis’ new record Unemployment Blues. Anyone who has heard DGD’s music before is well aware of her witty style of rapping, which to some extent borrows as much from Frank Zappa and Weird Al as it does Neneh Cherry, but if you thought that you had heard the best of her skillset beforehand, you’d better buckle up for what the Kansas City-based lyricist has in store for us in this latest release. We’ve got the staples “Forever Music” and “Middle Age Woman – Hip Hop Style,” the supple and surreal tracks “I’m Here for Thee” and “Groovin at the Louvre,” as well as danceable groove tunes like “Butt on Fiya,” “Anthem Pandemonium” and the insatiably strong title track, and they’re all produced with such a high definition clarity that it’s as if we were seeing DGD live and in person instead of merely listening to a collection of studio recordings. This is her best stuff yet, and it’s wreaking havoc on the American underground right now like nobody’s business.
Supersized grooves adorn this tracklist from start to finish, but they’re never quite as potent as they are when dispensed by DawgGoneDavis in “I’m Here for Thee” and “Anthem Pandemonium,” which to me justify picking up Unemployment Blues almost exclusively. In each of these songs, DGD lets the arrangement of the instruments carve out a path for her to lay down some compelling lyrics that, in an uncommon twist for this artist, are driven almost entirely by the rhythm that’s framing them in both instances.
“Forever Music” and the title track have a similar effect but much less boisterousness in their respective mixes, allowing for them to take on a more streamlined vibe than either within the aforementioned pair possess. All of these songs are cinematically produced and could spice up any playlist centering on whimsy, but to say that they’re completely devoid of a striking structure wouldn’t just be untrue, but it would in fact be a slight on the creativity that DGD brings with her every time she hits the recording studio.
Surreal, funny and contagiously addictive no matter how many times you may or may not have heard them before, the seven songs that make up Unemployment Blues will help you kick even the strongest of funks this March, and with all of the chaos and divisiveness rocking news headlines at a near-constant pace, it’s exactly the type of EP that we needed to keep this spring somewhat civil. There aren’t any political diatribes on this record, nor will you find any allusions to self-pity, lamenting of the past or balladry that clings to the notion of a fantastical life as opposed to the one we’re already living. DawgGoneDavis doesn’t have time for such trite nonsense – she’s going to get a laugh out of you, one way or another, and having become engrossed in her never-ending slew of humor-stained harmonies, I can assure you that you won’t regret giving her new record a listen.
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