Living Things “Malocchio” Mixtape — Album Review

I’m not sure if there is anything better than free music! Not only does it allow you find new, cool bands, but it also beefs up your iTunes.

Hailing from St. Louis, the four-piece band Living Things released their free seven-track mixtape the day after they announced their four-week residency at the Satellite for the rest of March (they’re playing every Monday night if you want to check out their music live after downloading their FREE mixtape).

Malocchio is actually the first of two planned released mixtapes for Spring/Summer 2011, and the boys are definitely not disappointing. Influenced by the sounds of Afrobeat and some psychedelic-era Nigerian dub, Malocchio’s playlist provides listeners with some chill, yet funky tunes. For me, it sounds like a fusion of something between The Specials and Bob Marley mixed in with a little dark, edgy and indie rock beats, with a few electrified melodies thrown in just to keep it fun.

This all makes sense after finding out that the Living Things actually recorded some of the stuff in Kingston, Jamaica, as well as at the band’s studio, Berlin Family Basement in Laurel Canyon. While on their Jamaica trip, the guys (comprised of Lillian Berlin, Yves Berlin, Bosh Berlin and Cory Becker) actually recorded 33 songs in only six days.

When you think about that, it’s some pretty intense shit, but you’d be inspired too after listening to such an eclectic mix of tracks from the likes of Miles Davis, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac and Odd Future. Oh, and don’t forget the wonderful sound of reggae, which Jamaica is so famously known for. Some of the tracks will be saved for the next mixtape, as well as their untitled third full-length album out this fall.

“The Stupor” is more of an indie-based jam that reminds you a bit of something from Springsteen’s heydays. The guitars on this track are amazing under Lillian’s deep melodic voice that makes it really new wave-ish, too. “Unemployment Line” and “Gang Banksters” both have a heavy Nigerian dub/reggae influence to them and a bit of ska/punk elements that create a unique mix. At first play, I wasn’t exactly entirely sold on the mixtape, but after a few more plays, the songs grew on me, especially the ones noted above.

In the end, Malocchio is definitely one of those mixtapes you’ll want to throw on for a lazy summer BBQ Sunday, where you’re with a few friends and throwing back a few brewskies, while taking in the beautiful rays.

Words: Kristie Bertucci

Get your free download of the Living Things’ new mixtape, Malocchio, below!

Artist: Living Things
Album: Malocchio Mixtape
Label: Brotherly Recordings
Release Date: March 8, 2011

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