Will Hermes
November 21, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Maryland Mansions

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Cex
Producers
Jade Tree

We gave it a B

If indie rap is the new punk, it makes perfect sense that MCs like Slug, Sage Francis, and Cex are teaming up with smaller rock labels. The latter is a genially intense freak known for performing in tightie-whities and leading conga lines through the audience, and his latest LP fits the Jade Tree avant-emo aesthetic to a baby tee. It’s an exercise in romantic self-loathing — complete with anorexia and existential dread — that shuffles between distorted beats, art-metal grind, and somber acoustic guitar, like a hip-hop fan trying to make a Nine Inch Nails record in his parents’ basement. SELLING OUT ”The Strong Suit” is the best rap song ever about being a traveling salesman; Arthur Miller would be proud.

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