Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vex Your Mind with Vex Ruffin's Crash Course EP

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM


Listen to this while high: Vex Ruffin's Crash Course EP


Behind the buzz: Vex Ruffin is the next whiz kid out of L.A.'s celebrated Stones Throw Records, signed after an unsolicited demo and now being touted as a split of the considerable difference between Ruff Ryders and The Cure. Such flackery, along with Stones Throw's uranium-weight rep, indicates a THC test in order for these seven tracks of presumptive wack.

Today's weed: Louis VIII, monarch of the indica side of the dispensary list.

Twenty minute horror

movie: "Sacrifice" is commendably creepy and atmospheric, with a chugging beat

and Ruffin's dead-affect voice creating a nice tension that it resolves merely by

shutting down and ringing on the next track, the boastful, paranoid "Man with a

Plan." Another exercise in doomy avant-weird, this track abruptly jump-cuts

into the title track, which recapitulates the established mood in a manner

that's half J.G. Ballard and 50 percent The Normal. "Shield for You" is what

passes in this tonal universe for a love song, with weary boneyard lyrics that

sound like sentiments zombies are wont to exchange on Valentine's Day. "I'm

Creative" is jagged hymn to violence best taken as brute satire, and "My Mind"

is self-loathing worthy of "T.V. Party" era Black Flag. At 3:31, the album

closer "Hey Gerald" is the "Hey Jude" of this set and a very concentrated and

droning piece of resentment is too. Vex's vocals here scale to a relative

height of emotion -- sounding, well, vexed.

The part where you know

you're high: If you time your first hit just as you press play, something

fairly awesome will happen to your head. I promise.

The part you wish you

weren't: About a minute into the last track, when an effect is reached like

that of simultaneously hammering nails into green lumber and pulling them out.

What Laurie Anderson called "difficult music."

Psychotropic verdict:

Ruffin has undeniable talent and one awaits its development with interest.


Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ron Garmon @RockyRedGlare, and like us at

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Ron Garmon


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"