The Dose, issue 6: Rival music

The Chili Bowl | Spence Tait | February 21, 2016

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We’re back with issue 6, bringing a slightly more eclectic mix than previous installments. The Dose is here once again, and here to to take you from rap to rock and electronic to jazz-blues, creating a small curation of outrageous talent and groundbreaking material that is sure to provide something you’re into.

Action Bronson

Big man Bronson is proving to be an icon of not giving a damn, churning out impressive rap and hosting VICE’s food-exploration series Fuck That’s Delicious. The ex chef claims to have been effectively reborn in finding his voice and lyrics, and finding them most naturally—something you can hear in his material. Bronson’s vocals come from the heart, carrying a personal style that doesn’t try to accommodate anyone’s expectations other than his own. Check out the weird and wonderful video for a weird and wonderful song, “Easy Rider”.

AKA Frank

AKA Frank proves to be a defining voice in the alternative, herb-muddled and auto-tuned hip hop we can’t seem to go a single party without. “What the Bay Like” is stupidly catchy and deliciously suggestive, twirling through the crossfade in all its cool-kid minimalism. Also be sure to check out “Backwoods and Back Rubs” feat. Kool John, and educate yourself on why it’s inevitable Frank will become synonymous with red solo cups before we know it.


HAIM are quickly advancing to the throne of alt-rock royalty on a blazing campaign of softcore feminist non-chalance. The three LA sisters expertly embrace a 70s/80s aesthetic all throughout their visuals, music, and just general “whatever” attitude—a slightly minimalistic sound that transfers dream pop from a place of bubbly uncertainty and angst to deliverance and fierce tranquility. “Falling” struts through four minutes of funky bass and thrusting drums, a song so insiting you could swear it’s declaring war on all things not hipster. Check out this utter triumph of girl power:


Flume is not exactly a discovery we’ve found before anyone else, but to leave his material off the list would be a crucial mistake. The Aussie has made a name for himself leading the electronic community to halfway dominate the contemporary youth scene, now churning out and producing crushing, minimalistic drops that leave you simply bewildered. Better yet, “Smoke and Retribution” features Vince Staples (another name worth knowing) to show the seemingly endless potential for experimental rap. This is a jam that will absolutely force you into a head-nod worth breaking your neck over.

Alabama Shakes

Finally this week, we’re extremely excited to bring some sound of the south. Alabama Shakes are making huge waves with their soul/jazz/blues virtuosity, fronted by the outrageously talented Brittany Howard on the mic. Gorgeous, low-distortion guitars crackle under thick and demanding bass lines, and a strong, traditional rock beat on the drums wraps it all together under Howard’s angelic vocals. What results is a sound that simply screams “soul”, and it’s a type of genuine playing from the heart we so terribly lack in a modern age. Listen to “Don’t Wanna Fight” below and try not to tear up a little (yes, this video is a completely live performance).

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The Dose is The Rival’s curated weekly music injection designed by a student abroad to deliver 100 notable contemporary artists in 5 months. Sticking mainly to the unsung heavy-hitters of 2015, The Dose also includes choice names from this year’s festival lineups and those primed to have impact on 2016. Some selections are simply stumbled-upon treasures. Electronica, hip hop, indie, blues revival, garage rock, and sounds harder to define all collide in a project that aims to capture and emulate the turbulence that is the college experience. For suggestions or feedback, email