These guys who come from Detroit have stories that they don't much tend to mention—Timmy Vulgar used to live in an abandoned factory and eat dried paint 'til Mitsubishi bought a rock song off him, or so the happy ending goes—and Ta'Raach has one, too, a long episode of self-depredation (day job at CVS?) to fund and find the time to get his real artwork done. There was a lot of time as a nomad toting tracks between hotspots—as reported in his hometown Metro Times, Ta'Raach is from Detroit, borrowed records from friends for pause tapes, left for school and to start making music as Lacks, sold all his own records to afford to move back, left later for Atlanta when Atlanta seemed like a good place to get signed and now lands on local label Sound In Color and lends time to aligned California indies like Stones Throw. That kind of trek life gives him particularly efficient character, demonstrated heavily now with a succession of complementary releases that put Raach up with other self-reliant production monsters like Oh No—plus they shine a little gracious light back on Raach's Detroit guider J Dilla, whose do-it-all-and-do-it-well career sets the industry standard for ambition/consistency/excellence.
Dilla was from Detroit, too, and he and Raach actually worked together—the kind of formative experience that can really deform and reform an artistic perspective, and Raach ran what he learned all the way into The Fevers, the Sound In Color full-length debut that marks him as the upper-comest Detroit (by way of etc.) do-it-all-er right now. Instrumental El O Vee settles great by itself but Raach (and Sound In Color's Blu, who locks an onbeat/offbeat rhythm to "Merci Me Lord") puts authoritative vocals to match on tough ensemble package Fevers: some funny ("Make me feel like Black Rob!") and some also funny ("As real as my cock is chocolate/you will not get on!") and some pretty bleak, like disorienting "Hey!" which twins vibe samples for a Can-style caduceus and ends with news clips of shootings outside the party store.
There's about two of everything on this record: edgy loud songs like "The What What" (with concentrated vocals by new guy Tha Beloved) and "The Look" and fur-trim gal-vox class acts like "Catch My Breath" and "Liberation's Lullabye" and absent hotshots like "Kalifornia" and "Y'All Niggaz Money" (as in "no one should have given," both tracks from Ta'Raach's promo Action album) and then the kind of creepy "I Don't Rock Parties," which rolls along about as fast as a car with the headlights shut. It might have been a long hike to get to this record but Raach was watching out the whole way—efficient and versatile, too. Dilla lives on in the guys who learned good lessons: like it says on that track with Exile from last year, this is Raach city.
TA'RAACH PERFORMS WITH ALOE BLACC AND DJS COCOE, JOSH ONE AND SCOTTY COATS PLUS HOST JUD NESTER AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600; WWW.DETROITBAR.COM. SAT., 9:30 PM. $10. 21+. THE FEVERS OUT NOW ON SOUND IN COLOR.