Today’s Sounds: The Uncluded, Saxsyndrum, Hooded Fang

Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson team up as the Uncluded, PLUS an exclusive track by Saxsyndrum, a video by Hooded Fang & an assault on the senses by Major Lazer.


The Uncluded, Hokey Fright (Rhymesayers)

Stranger things have happened in hip hop, probably, but honestly not much stranger than this pairing of indie rap vet Aesop Rock with “anti-folk” poster-woman Kimya Dawson.

The idea of the Uncluded is a tough sell from a genre perspective, especially for loyalist fans from either artist’s niche. I don’t know too many folkies up on boom bap or hip hop heads down with light acoustic melodies, but I do know “good” when I hear it, and Hokey Fright is pretty damn great on the whole.

Aes and Kimya aren’t as strange bedfellows as they seem, though. Both come from strong storytelling backgrounds in song. Abstract raconteur Rock is aptly named after a master crafter of timeless fables, and Dawson is famous for lyrics that capture the complexities underlying perceived simplicities, like Rockwell paintings to the tune of guitars.

It’s not that rap and folk haven’t met before — in fact, the case for hip hop exemplifying the most modern form of the American folk tradition has been made by artists, critics and scholars alike — but they have never played off each other quite this stylishly. Dawson’s strumming and Aes Rock’s drumming (well, programming) meet halfway between the former’s sweet, talky approach to singing and the latter’s gruff, talky approach to rapping.

While each by and large stays in their own lane, occasional forays past the markers of their respective turfs and into each other’s territory aren’t groundbreaking as much as they are just fun without being derivative or, well, hokey — hear Aes croon along on “Scissorhands,” or Dawson getting gully on “Tits Up,” for the evidence.

Hokey Fright provides an endlessly catchy, bouncy, new-fangled approach to perceived limits of challenging genre expectations. Hard to say what ardent, traditionalist fans of either talent may conclude, but leave all pretense at the door and you may find yourself a fan before you can articulate what the hell you’re even hearing.

The Uncluded play Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon W.) on Sunday, June 2. Go to on Friday for an interview with Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson.

Exclusive Track:

Saxsyndrum feat. Holobody, “Heartstrings”

Hey everybody, it’s a new track by local electro-funk duo Saxsyndrum. They’re opening for Cinéma l’Amour (who are launching a new record) alongside Loosestrife at Brasserie Beaubien (73 Beaubien E.) on Friday, May 31, 9 p.m., $8



Hooded Fang, “Ode to Subterrania”


Tweaky Toronto indie rockers Hooded Fang released their new record Gravez just yesterday. Here’s an eyeful of them, directed by Daniel Lee.


Major Lazer, “Bubble Butt”

Brace yourself, this is NSFW, and awful on so many levels. For shame, Major Lazer, and director Eric Wareheim (yeah, of Tim and Eric).

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