Show up early for Deerhoof at the El Rey and you’ll catch an opening set by esteemed Los Angeles MC Busdriver, who’s no stranger to the world of indie rock: In 2005, Busdriver formed Th’ Corn Gangg with members of the Canadian psych-pop outfit Unicorns, and last year, he appeared on Return to the Sea, the debut by Islands, another Unicorns splinter group. Too often, indie rap + indie rock = a supersize helping of self-aggrandizement cloaked as moral outrage (and boring, dead-sounding moral outrage, at that). Yet on RoadKillOvercoat, his first effort for Anti records, Busdriver circumvents that sad tedium with the simplest of strategies: Dude seems like he’s having a good time. He rides lush, whimsical beats produced by backpack biggies Nobody and Boom Bip with the guileless abandon of a kid on a merry-go-round, and he’s unafraid to bust out a little singsong action when the time is right. He’s also smart (and honest) enough to recognize self-aggrandizement for what it is. “Last year, I was passing out Green Party leaflets when you’re at the chalet on ski trips,” he play-huffs in “Pompous Posies! Your Party’s No Fun,” a genuinely funny assault on holier-than-thou types. So why is this the exception rather than the rule?

BUSDRIVER | RoadKillOvercoat | Anti

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