Clipping Credit: deMonica orozco

In the years following their volcanic 2014 Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG, LA group Clipping got swept up in the tidal wave of a massive cultural phenomenon: Hamilton. Between albums Clipping rapper Daveed Diggs landed a gig to play the dual parts of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson for the runaway hit, and by the time he hung up his purple coat last year he’d won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Clipping had already showcased an expert hand at dramatic overtures before their MC became a pop commodity—because what good is playing vicious, blown-out noise if you can’t go over the top? And none of this is to mention the narrative tension Clipping producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson inflicted on their score for Room 237, the 2013 documentary about The Shining conspiracy theories. But on last year’s Splendor & Misery (Sub Pop), Clipping toned down the intensity of their screeching sonic assaults, even allowing room for an effusive vocal harmony built for Broadway (“Long Way Away”). The guys in Clipping know the intensity in noise isn’t purely connected to volume, so the album’s atmosphere and loose sci-fi narrative allow feelings of dread, despair, and even glimmers of euphoria. They also know how to make a furious racket sound glorious, as is the case on “Baby Don’t Sleep” when Diggs burns rubber—rapping with speed and cartoonish flair while feeling out the shape of every letter—atop of what sounds like glass spinning in a blender.   v