Song Of The Day 9/11/2014: Death Grips - "Stockton"


Let's Go Sacramento!: I was not aware that experimental hip hop duo Death Grips -- they of couldn't-be-more-NSFW album cover, blowing an entire major label advance on residency at the Chateau Marmont, cancelling a 30-date tour and breaking up just as you're about to go on tour with Nine Inch Nails causing Trent Reznor to rebuke you via Twitter fame -- was from Sacramento until after they'd split. I feel immense pride in and offer my sincerest apologies for Death Grips at the same time. This was a potentially dangerous outfit, even more dangerous than the 1989 medfly invasion, and it warms me to know they were home-grown. But really, it's probably for the best.

On the above-mentioned album with the additional member on the cover Death Grips did a song called "Stockton," using Sacramento's bastard sister city 50 miles south as a metaphor for a very unfavorable, unspecific predicament. There is ample evidence to support this artistic license. For example, in 2012 Stockton became the largest U.S. city (pop. 291,707) ever to declare bankruptcy, a title it held until Detroit filed the following year. In 2011 Forbes magazine labeled Stockton the most miserable city in America. (The Cleveland Plain-Dealer was particularly relieved about that.) The Movoto blog named Stockton the 8th most boring city in America. The Atlantic named Stockton the 10th most dangerous city in America. Despite these sour times, Stockton also gave birth to a curiously wide range of music heroes:  Jello Biafra, Chris Isaak, Pavement and Dave Brubeck.

And don't forget the annual Asparagus Festival, during which the gutters of Stockton are lovingly painted gold. Whoops, wait -- that's not paint. Now we know what that thing on the album cover was doing in Stockton.
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