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Sunday, December 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 32.0° F  Fog/Mist
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The Knux forge a musical fusion all their own
Making rap alternative again

Rap may once have been a renegade genre, but today it's a predictable pop radio staple, an essential ingredient for record producers looking to make a hit, alongside beats and catchy melodies. So many hit radio singles have song structures in which the chorus is sung and the verses are rapped.

Fortunately for fans of original music, one group is still finding ways to make rap sound alternative. Meet the Knux, two brothers who don't rely on studio mixes to make rap songs. Joey and Krispy Lindsey grew up playing jazz in New Orleans, and they embrace live instrumentation, which may say something about the way the business of music is changing the sound of music. With concert revenue eclipsing record sales, music is increasingly shaped by songs that are meant to be played.

The Knux's sophomore album, Eraser, is danceable rap-rock. The lyrical themes are lighthearted. As with a lot of rock from days gone by, fascination with girls is the recurring theme.

On electric guitar, Krispy takes no backseat to any alt-rocker. That much is clear in the YouTube video for "She's So Up," the first single off Eraser. Powered by live drums, the song is a party rock anthem. "Have you ever met a girl," sings Joey, "who turns your world into a playground?"

There's an old-school rock element to Eraser. The band acknowledges as much with the song "1974." The surging guitars and dance energy of that track are reminiscent of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," which, as it happens, was popular in 1974. The Knux sound like a power-pop band on "Run," a song from Eraser that features rapper Kid Cudi.

Krispy and Joey named their new album Eraser by way of acknowledging their quest for a musical starting point. The record's 12 songs fulfill that effort, forging a musical fusion all its own.

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