MusicRecord Reviews

Mad Axes

From the still-smoldering ashes of local secret society Deaf Judges comes Mad Axes, a group featuring all but one Judge (missing is Austin Darnell, AKA Produce Man) and every ounce of its predecessor’s delicious, delirious energy. The very first thing you notice about Debut Smash is the breadth of the beats. Producer Cubenza once again heads up the crew in this department, though Mad Axes’ two other members—emcees Louie Larceny and Walter Kovax (formerly Rorshak)—claim a larger role in it than before. Songs like “Clyde Drexler†are glitchy, sumptuous and nearly out of control, featuring synth-sick bass lines and ultra-computerized electro overtones that leap out of the headphones.

In keeping with these fellas’ M.O., Debut Smash is at times confounding in its obliqueness, its unwillingness to play by rap rules. (Check “Naughty Girls,†a disturbing, Monkees-sampling somnambulist’s love anthem.) Still, there are the familiar reference points—Wu, Kool Keith, Def Jux—even if Mad Axes insist on skewing them all to the edge of cognition. The esoterica-obsessed group’s love for the aurally otherworldly continues with psyched-up tunes like “Star Junk,†a glorious mess of snipped samples and whirling sound effects that feels both anachronistic and futuristic. Which is all really to say, there’s not really anyone doing what Mad Axes is doing, in Athens or beyond.

Mad Axes is playing at Little Kings Shuffle Club on Saturday, Mar. 31.


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