By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
By Calum Marsh
By J. Pablo
By Phillip Mlynar
By Jenna Sauers
By Brian McManus
By Elliott Sharp
There's a song on Ropechain that encapsulates the album's frustrating duality perfectly. It's a snarky little number titled "The Girl Ain't Preggers," kicking off in the me-first macho vein of Spoon's "Waiting for the Kid to Come Out." Sampled drums slam, a funky bassline snaps like a thick rubber band, and David Adamson—the Indianapolis-based ringleader cracked enough to name his project after babyspeak for "Grandpa Jukebox"—sets about explaining why he's not fit for fatherhood: "I need some money right now/Ain't got no money/I can't pay for no baby/I need some food right now/I wanna eat/Can't feed no baby." The self-deprecation parade marches on and on, gathering handclaps and bell-chimes like dander, until our slang-slinging protagonist is actually sort of bummed that he isn't becoming a dad after all. With Ropechain, the emotional turnaround's reversed: An initial, burning desire to hate everything about this album—the stylistic mish-mash, the artistic blackface, the blah cover art—gives way to wary admiration, even though it's hard to shake the sense that its creator's something of a jerk.
Adamson's no Beck, but these days, who is? On "You Will Love My Boom," he posits a version of the Jimi Hendrix Experience where the groundbreaking maestro doesn't wring gallons of noxious feedback from his ax; on the majestically overblown "I Will Save Young Michael," he gives Jacko a series of deeply sincere pep talks. "Black Girls," meanwhile, places its titular subjects up on an electro-industrial pedestal without going all "Kill Whitey party" about it: "Black girls walk on tips of mountains/Jump in seas like they was fountains/Convince the earth to turn around again." Adamson's awe is inspiring to behold, and there's an important lesson buried in Grampall Jookabox's pop-collage growers: Never underestimate the audacity of dopes.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city