As a music lover of modest means, I'm grateful that there are a lot of artists willing to make their music available online for free, but I always keep my expectations in check. "Free" doesn't have to mean bad, but it's understandable that a musician might save their best material for the commercial release, since giving it away isn't exactly the best way to pay the rent (for those who care about such things).
This new Vex Ruffin EP, however, which he is selling for absolutely no dollars, is better than I expected. In fact, it's pretty great. Like Soft Moon's Luis Vasquez before him, this one-man Chico band recreates the minimalist sound and anxious vibe of post-punk acts like Wire, Suicide, and Cabaret Voltaire. Granted, it's only 14 minutes long (for five songs), but I'll take quality over quantity any day.
Ironically, Ruffin calls it "No Escape" even though "Take It" is the track that most closely resembles Cabaret Voltaire's gloriously grinding version of the Seeds' song of the same name, which I wrote about here (and I have no idea whether he's familiar with either rendition). Stream it below or download from Stones Throw.
To quote my friend, Jennifer, "Oh my gawd. I've been listening to this for hours now. It's like an electro-hiphop Fall with David Byrne bustin' rhymes. LOVE."
Stones Throw releases Vex Ruffin's first, self-titled full-length on Nov 12.