Livin’ it Mite Aswel faces the music head on It didn’t occur to me until I made my own hip-hop album (true story), that you really do have to deliver the bravado. I made fun of rap groups that tried to act cocky, and I didn’t see the error in my ways until it was my turn. You can be the geeky English major who knows how to translate iambic pentameter to a sweet-ass rhyme, but you still have to bring attitude. It’s only natural. Missoula artist Mite Aswel, aka Kyle McAfee, has all the tasty ingredients of good hip-hop on his new album Face the Music—bravado, sexual innuendo (or not-so-innuendo), humor, compelling beats and smart-person words. “Chasin’ the Dream,” the first track, might be the strongest one and a frontrunner, if you were to pick a single. “Fuck chasin’ the dream,” raps Mite Aswel, “I’m gonna live it.” In a minor-key, beat-laden landscape we hear about angels and demons sipping tea together in the midst of chaos. “This rap is a story of love,” says Aswel, to the creeping beats. “Beyond good and evil are people made of trust, shed the husk of our culture, take in the whole picture. Walk through the membrane that separates the blisters.” It’s the track you play when you’re having a comeback moment. Because of meme-culture, the title of the second track, “Hey Girl,” makes me think of Ryan Gosling. The lyrics don’t deter from that. Lines like, “Hey girl, it’s nice to meet you...When we make love, we’re breakin’ sonic boundaries,” layer on the cheese in the most hilarious
way. My favorite: “You’re like food. I want to eat you.” Are we being serious? Who cares. It’s too good. I could quote Mite Aswel lyrics all day long, but it’s also important to note that the music itself is seductive in a sneaky way. Heavy beats mix with frenetic digital bursts that sometimes sound like horns playing improv solos. Nothing too fancy, here. But the featured guests—The Riz and LeeLee, for instance— and electronic flourishes gives Face the Music that added cherry on top. (Erika Fredrickson) Mite Aswel plays a CD release show at the Palace Thu., Jan. 24, at 9 PM with special guests Tonsofun, Traff the Wiz and Dar. Free.
The Captain Wilson Conspiracy: Electrickeries Don’t you ever wish a live soundtrack just followed you around? The moments when you need it most seem the quietest, and breaking the awkward spell would be so much easier with a rad riff, right? Here’s the house band for your head, and all they need is a few minutes to set up. Taking some cues from ambience bands like Zero 7, The Captain Wilson Conspiracy destroys the assumptions of jazz as bygone and unoriginal. On the Missoula group’s album, Electrickeries, there’s no sax or crooner, but that penchant for formless improvisation still pervades. It’s experimental jazz in all its noisy glory. Keyboard-driven and sample-
sourced, the live-recorded album is occasionally brilliant alongside moments of what sound like something from a Hitchcock drama. Tracks like “The End of Time/Some Other Time” take an elevator from comfortable background noise to a nightmare, while “Messaien Around” brings in a cello for an added creepy bonus. The emphasis on “experimental” might scare one away. Don’t let it. The dissonance is always temporary. Think of Electrickeries like turning on KBGA. Who knows what those wacky college kids are listening to these days—the spontaneity might offer good surprises for you. (Brooks Johnson)
A$AP Rocky: Long.Live.A$AP I have heard “1TRain” called the best posse cut of the year—a practice my mother refers to as damning with faint praise. It is true that A$AP Rocky’s repeatedly delayed studio debut is not so startlingly good as 2011’s Live.Love.A$AP mixtape. Long.Live.A$AP does not sound new. Rocky still does ’90s fast-rap cadences over syrupy slow beats, and he still uses his flashy command of dialect to belie a compelling honesty. He’s just not doing it for the first time. And with a couple thrilling exceptions, it does not
bang. Maybe it was the pressure. A lot has happened to A$AP Rocky since his last mixtape, including making out with Lana Del Ray in a concept video about Jackie Onassis. Probably people have offered him drugs. The bad news is that A$AP Rocky is not going to blow our minds and make rap different every time he releases an album. The good news is that he is a craftsman, and he continues to work diligently on his voice and his biography. Here he works a little too carefully, but it is our fault for looking over his shoulder. (Dan Brooks)
missoulanews.com • January 17 – January 24, 2013 
Western Montana's weekly journal of people, politics and culture