FIVE ALBUMS WITH COBRA: KALI DREAMER
Words by Ray Cobra//Photo by Tim Teller Photography
Hip-Hop has never really been a genre that I really dove into. Growing up I listened to it because my sister or my friends in high school would be playing it. It really honestly wasn’t until I heard “Bonfire” by Childish Gambino that I was like: ok, I can get into this. And from there I got into artists like Danny Brown, Hopsin, Slaughterhouse, and 2 Chainz. That was about as far as I went into hip-hop on my own. And I still listen to those artist. My tastes have actually gotten a little mainstream, which isn’t me. Chance The Rapper and Kendrick Lamar are hands down two of the most lyrical musicians today.
Locally I don’t go to hip-hop shows unless I’m working them. However, that needs to change. Last year we here at Tuned Up did a preview piece on 934 Fest, and one of the artists that caught my attention was Kali Dreamer. A few days later Columbus Alive ran a piece on him, and I was like: I know that name. So I read the article, and it was really good, so I thought I need to see him perform. A few weeks later I was working a hip-hop show at Rumba, and guess who opened? Yep, Kali Dreamer. Afterward, I made it my mission to chat with him for a second. And it of course turned to music. We talked about our love of alt-rock and emo. Both genres you can hear in his music. He even has a song on his album, “Dreamer is Unbreakable,” which samples an Anberlin song. His taste in music is all over the place, and it shows in his music, so I’m not the bit surprised at the albums he chose for his Five Albums.
Five Albums to Base Society On After The Apocalypse
Death Grips – No Love Deep Web
Of course, this is my first pick. It’s dark, heavy, paranoid, dystopian, and enjoyed one of the most legendary album releases of all time. If anything, this album might be more relevant to today than I’m ready to admit. Death Grips is one of those acts that I felt was one step ahead of the rest of us, and I feel they would play an instrumental role in whatever Mad Max nightmare world we end up in.
The Fall of Troy – Doppelgänger
What’s life without killer guitar riffs, sweet melodies, and heavy breakdowns? This album made me change up my entire approach to playing guitar, and I’m not the only one. Its forty-four minutes of pure controlled chaos, with references sprinkled throughout to Mark Z. Danielewski’s masterpiece, House of Leaves, and I love every minute of it.
Tegan and Sara – Sainthood
If the future doesn’t have room for synthy pop songs and lyrics about heartbreak, I don’t want to be part of it. After I heard the chorus from “Hell,” I knew I’d be a fan for life. I think we could all use some raw honesty, and even with this album’s pristine production, it still manages to be open and emotional.
Animals as Leaders – Animals as Leaders
This album sounds like what would happen if aliens used jazz and math to write Prog Metal. I can’t help but picture otherworldly invaders, laser-based weapons, and descending space ships dancing across the horizon—but for whatever reason everyone’s vibing with it. It’s very loud and technical while still managing to be mellow and almost comforting at times. It’s worth checking out based on Tosin Abasi’s guitar prowess alone.
Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire
Do I really have to explain this choice? It speaks for itself. Politically indignant Rap Rock with choruses you can’t help but chant along to, and one of the most creative uses of a guitar—turning six strings into a DJ set. This was one of those albums that felt like a punch in the gut the first time I heard it, but at the same time, you want to jump around to it.