The Phoenix trio Injury Reserve match rhymes from rappers Ritchie With A T and Stepa J. Groggs with deconstructed beats from producer Parker Corey. This year they’ll follow 2017’s Drive It Like You Stole It EP with a self-titled debut LP for Loma Vista, the Universal-distributed label whose roster currently includes St. Vincent, Iggy Pop, HEALTH, Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Rhye, Sylvan Esso, and Alice Glass among others. The label also works with Denzel Curry, so Injury Reserve aren’t their first hip-hop signing, but that list of label-mates should give you the rightful impression that the group’s approach to the genre is by no means orthodox.
If the Loma Vista signing didn’t sufficiently communicate that point, new single “Jawbreaker” certainly will. The song is built around a sparse, cascading xylophone riff and heavy bass blasts, with barely any drums to speak of. Despite the minimal sound, it’s an intense and noisy listen, especially when the hook “How come you’re staring like you don’t know what it’s for/ Get your shit together, get your jaw up off the floor” morphs into a riotous gang vocal near the end. Guest appearances from Rico Nasty and Phoenix band PRO TEENS contribute to the chaotic, unmoored sensation.
In addition to producing that incredible beat, Corey directed the music video, which plays off the song’s discussion of fashion, individuality, and hypebeast culture. It’s billed as a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style critique of a runway show, and it makes for a compelling introduction to Injury Reserve. Watch it below, and check out this feature on Injury Reserve from their hometown alt-weekly for more background.
Injury Reserve is out this year on Loma Vista.