Death Grips – The Money Store
Much debate is being voiced over what genre flag Death Grips enters the musical battlefield under. Pitchfork links them to hardcore punk metal; The Quietus spends an entire review justifying why Death Grips adheres to British post-punk ideologies. But really, why should anyone give a shit what genre Death Grips battle for when they obviously don’t care themselves (beyond calling their work classical future music, which is really what any artist should be aiming for)? What matters is how much of an effect listening to Death Grips’ The Money Store provokes. The Money Store is a nuclear implosion amidst the dross of pop culture. As MC Ride barks out on “Hacker”, “Gaga can’t handle this shit!”
None of the sounds constituting the music on The Money Store seem like they should work together. Each element alone is noise. Sound engineers Zach Hill and Andy Morin mix hisses, pops, scrapes, high pitched squeals, and bone shattering robot-bass together, throwing in lo-fi samples from street recordings and Youtube videos for good measure. All of these noisy concoctions lurk and stab out from a menacing fog beneath MC Ride’s flow, which is best described as varying intensities of shouting. He spouts lyrics cut straight from William Burroughs’ wet dreams. This sounds terrible doesn’t it? As horrible as the music may sound when described, Death Grips are making the most visceral, compulsive music to be released on a major label since… I’m sorry, I started that sentence without knowing how to end it. Major labels aren’t known for noise like this.
As inherently noisy as The Money Store is, though it may seem like Death Grips just recorded the sounds of five CDs skipping and mixed them together at times, everything is pinned ramshackle together with the catchiest hooks and song structures available. This is musical napalm. Once it gets on you, it will burn and scorch the soft tissues of your brain and you won’t be able to get it off because of how compulsive the song structures are.
Death Grips are a nuclear musical implosion, drawing in references from every corner of pop culture’s broad spectrum and spitting the innards back out for us to enjoy. The Money Store mixes stratosphere-high ideologies with gutter-trash low noises into a heady explosive concoction, and that is what’s most interesting about Death Grips. They’re taking the rough, dirty, perverse edges of culture and supporting them with intelligent ideologies and catchy structures. Death Grips are showing us life as they perceive it, which isn’t sublimity through the achievement of perfection but rather the sublimity of our imperfect lives, bones and grime and all. It’s hard to highlight specific songs from The Money Store to support this because all of the songs work toward the same goal, forming a cohesive unit of song-craft that swirls inwards and inwards upon its own centre, building up, imploding and cycling over and over again. This is Year Zero for the post-Internet age.