Monday, 30 December 2013

Review of "Beyoncé" by Beyoncé

Well done Beyoncé for becoming a mother, but did little baby Ivy Blue really need to make a vocal contribution on the final track? Did we really need another duet between you and your darling husband, Jay-Z, to show us how “Drunk in Love” the two of you are? Did I really just hear you utter the line “Can you lick my skittles?” on the track “Blow”?

Friday, 20 December 2013

Review of "Because the Internet" by Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is the hip hop stage name used by American actor, writer and comedian, Donald Glover. Not to be confused with Lethal Weapon actor, Danny Glover.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Monday, 2 December 2013

My Top 20 Favourite Albums of 2013

The year is coming to an end and its time to have a look back at 2013's greatest albums. Here are 20 of my personal favourites.

20 – 10

20. Incitare – Volto!

Prog rock/jazz fusion album, featuring Danny Carey - the drummer from Prog metal band, Tool. Its pretentious, instrumental show-offery but I love it nonetheless.
Favourite tracks: “Drumbeaux”, “Tocino”

19. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem

Shady’s back, bringing with him hyper-speed flows and brilliantly entertaining wordplay. The legend reaffirms his position as king of rap - or should I say, “rap god”.
Favourite tracks: “Love Game (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”, “Evil Twin”

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review of "Bangerz" by Miley Cyrus


Monday, 25 November 2013

Review of "Artpop" by Lady Gaga

This meat-dress wearing alien from planet MTV, Lady Gaga, has rapidly mastered the art of making cookie-cut pop for the masses. She knows how to make her music catchy, fun and danceable. I’ve never liked Gaga BECAUSE I’M A FUCKING HIPSTER. Well, to be totally honest, I have had the odd track burrow itself in my brain and induce humming in the shower but no-one needs to know about that little secret (oh …darn it! too late…)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review of "Government Plates" by Death Grips

Musically, Government Plates is everything you can expect from Death Grips. In other words it’s totally unpredictable and utterly unmusical in every way possible.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review of "MellowHigh" by MellowHigh

This album’s DOPE. I can’t rate it HIGHly enough. Okay, that’s enough dreadful weed-related puns.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Review of "Melophobia" by Cage the Elephant

This alternative rock act from the tobacco-smoking, bourbon drinking, fried-chicken-famed Bluegrass State of Kentucky have always had the potential to be complete and utter nutters, but they seem to have squandered this potential.

Monday, 7 October 2013

7 Big New Genres in Electronic Music

Human beings have always had an OCD tendency to label things into neat little categories. Since 2010 there has been a rise in new music genres. The revolutionising seems to all be happening in the electronic music scene. Here are a few new supposed genres that are being proclaimed as “the next big thing”. Whether they will become the next big thing is a subject of debate. Personally, I reckon half these genres will be buried and forgotten in five years time. Still, knowing about them is fun.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Review of "Nostalgic 64" by Denzel Curry

Forget those dumbed-down dudes in A$AP Mob. This is how trap rap is done properly.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Review of "AM" by the Arctic Monkeys

At first, I thought this album was dull as dishwater. Now, I’m kind of on the fence with it.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Double review: "Yeezus" by Kanye West and "Magna Carta ... Holy Grail" by Jay-Z

Kanye West and Jay-z? Who are they? What are they? If you don’t know who either musician is y̶o̶u̶ ̶d̶e̶s̶e̶r̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶e̶u̶t̶h̶a̶n̶i̶s̶e̶d̶ , don’t worry, because I’m about to kindly educate you on the matter!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Review of "Run the Jewels" by Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels is a musical duo, consisting of two members as is the case with most duos.  Its two members are Michael Myers the killer and 70s prog rock band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). They play a brand of music called “hop hip”. It involves lots of “wrapping” and “beats” and I'm going to give this album zero stars…

Review of "Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action" by Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand was a famous Archduke of Austria-Hungary whose assassination on the 28th June 1914 prompted the beginning of the First World War.

Review of "Trap Lord" by A$AP Ferg

If you're a coke-dealing New York gangster, this is the album for you.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review of "Walk Through Exits Only" by Phil Anselmo & the Illegals

Phil Anselmo undoubtedly has the perfect heavy metal voice. Its mercilessly aggressive – the sound of flowing testosterone and swirling red mist.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Review of "Altered State" by Tesseract

Complex and yet beautiful, Tesseract's style of prog metal is really quite captivating.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Review of "Settle" by Disclosure


I've heard people trying to classify this album into a neat genre. Is it garage? Is it deep house? Is it dance-pop? Is it UK Funky? What even is UK funky?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Review of "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" by Alice in Chains


I didn't expect this album to blow me away. The passion-filled grunge/metal vocals of ex-lead singer, Layne Staley, were what made Alice in Chains so damn good and I saw little chance of the band resurrecting him for an album.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Review of "Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk


The French, electronic, robot duo have put aside their turntables in exchange for raw instrumentation, taking on a more laid-back disco vibe. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Review of "Reincarnated" by Snoop Lion


Gangsta Rapper and pot connoisseur, Snoop Dogg, has recently discovered Rastafarianism and now he thinks he's Bob Marley. 

Review of "Wolf" by Tyler, the Creator

 “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school”. The lyrical shock value on Tyler's previous album was cornily over the top. The young rapper has now returned with, Wolf, his third album. Whilst by no means sweet and innocent, the album feels so much more, dare I say it, “mature”. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review of "Comedown Machine" by The Strokes

Change is very much a marmite concept. Some people like change. Some people hate it (mainly old people). 

Review of "The Terror" by The Flaming Lips

Psychedelic rock band, The Flaming Lips, have always had experimental tendencies. But this album sees them venturing onto a whole new plain of reality. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Review of "Target Earth" by Voivod

There's always been something strangely enjoyable about the face-scrunching discomfort invoked by this Canadian prog/thrash band's dissonant riffs and ugly chords. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

My Top 10 Albums of 2012

10. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Forget the long-winded, pretentious album title. Put that aside. Sweep that under the rug. Musically, this album feels anything but overblown. Alternative rock/pop singer, Fiona Apple, has stripped down her sound to create a beautifully minimalistic, piano-driven record full of dynamics and soul. Fiona's voice shifts dramatically in each song from a whisper to a bellow in a Bjork-like fashion. There is a fragility to her voice that is almost appealing, as if she won't quite hit the next note, and yet each syllable comes out perfectly in tune as if by surprise. Just this vocal tone alone is a wonder to listen to. The beautiful piano arrangements and masterful lyrics are an added bonus.

Favourite track: “Every Single Night”

9. Periphery – Periphery II: This Time its Personal

Periphery is one of the founders of the prog metal sub-genre, “Djent”. It is a musical style known for employing polyrhythms, unusual time signatures and other technical pieces of jargon, and as proficiently impressive as it is, I have always found the genre to be somewhat lacking in the important aspect of melody. Fortunately, Periphery have clocked on to this. This album sees some twiddly instrumental work mixed with moments of audial beauty: jazzy guitar solos and pretty interludes of electronica. The band's lead vocalist meanwhile brings in some sweet vocals similar in style to Linkin Park's, Chester Bennington. Although relatively poppy-sounding, I think they're perfectly suited to the music and there are enough hardcore vocals to add a brutal contrast and keep things metal.

Favourite track: “Have A Blast”

8. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes

This is a smooth, lucid, acid trip of an album. The songs are mostly short and flow dreamily into one another, consisting mainly of reverb-drenched, freestyle jazz-electronica, occasionally layered with snippets of singing. The vocals are produced to sound beautifully distant and ambient and they are performed predominantly by guest musicians including Niki Randa and Thom Yorke. At times, the album feels heavenly tranquil. At other times it is almost jarring and spooky. Its a hazy whirlwind of sounds and emotions that altogether might be a bit too obscure for some people. I say, let go and ride it out.

Favourite track: “me Yesterday//Corded”

7. Plan B – Ill Manors

London rapper, singer, actor and director, Ben Drew AKA “Plan B”, is one of the most talented men in the entertainment industry at this point in time. This album accompanies a movie of the same name, Ill Manors - a nitty-gritty, London-based crime drama. Both the movie and the album follow the same dark storyline and both are incredibly gripping. The album, Ill Manors, serves as a soundtrack for the film, but it is a masterpiece in its own right. Its vivid imagery and descriptions of characters trying to make it through a broken Britain are both engaging and inspirational. Ben Drew's flow is meanwhile more impressive than ever before, delivered rapidly and relentlessly but still clear and crisp enough for each word to sink in and play on the mind.

Favourite track: Ill Manors

6. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid MAAD city

This is how modern hip hop should sound. The album follows a day in the life of Kendrick, discussing the problems of growing up in Compton in an honest and realistic manner. The tracks are interspersed with humorous skits of Kendrick's mother leaving him answering machine messages, with his father hollering on about his dominoes pizza in the background. Instead of acting as fillers, they help build upon the story of the album. Each track seems to take a different style of hip hop and portray it perfectly. There is a mixture of modern beats and smooth backing tracks reminiscent of gangsta rap from the 90s. Kendrick meanwhile explores a variety of rapping styles. Consequently, the album never has a dull moment.

Favourite track: Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter

5. Gojira – L'enfant Sauvage

Gojira are a French progressive death metal band, their music a blend of beauty, brutality and groove. This record sees the band simplify their sound for a more straightforward heaviness, with the progressive elements less prominent. The drumming is truly monstrous on this album, complex but incredibly rhythmic. The production is tight but does not feel too artificial, instead sounding naturally vicious, washing over the listener like a tsunami. Gojira seem to have dropped their lyrics about environmentalism, flying whales and plastic bags in the sea for a more spiritual, philosophical approach. This is something I'm very glad of. The preachy treehugging of their earlier albums could be a little grating at times.

Favourite track: Planned Obsolescence

4. Django Django – Django Django

I recently saw these guys live, missed my train back home afterwards and was forced to wait outside Brighton station all night in the cold snow until the morning trains started running, but it was all worth it just to see this awesome band in the flesh. Django Django are a brand new psychedelic indie rock band. They combine Dark Side of the Moon style Pink Floyd with a spaghetti western vibe and video game synths, layered with Beach Boys vocal harmonies containing bouncy, catchy hooks. They're a fun, fresh unique group and I excitedly look forward to whatever they plan to do next with their sound.

Favourite track: Firewater

3. Lone – Galaxy Garden

This UK electronic musician has managed to bottle the sound of nostalgia. His tunes have the aura of an early 90s Japanese video game soundtrack mixed with lounge music and 90s ecstasy-induced rave and House. The synths are warm and soothing and are glossed with bright keyboard solos. In the background soft interesting percussion patterns carry the music gently along. There are a few touches of vocals but for the most part, the album is instrumental. It is a celestial, mesmerising album that gave me an outer body experience the first time I heard it.

Favourite track: Crystal Caverns 1991

2. Death Grips – The Money Store

Death Grips are a new musical act that have taken hip hop and all its negative associations and revved them up to a dizzying level to create something so abrasive and over-the-top it takes on a whole new mood. This is not hip hop to dance or chill to. Its aggressive, adrenaline-pumping, thrill-seeker stuff, similar in tone to hardcore punk or extreme metal. Its use of raw samples, thick phasered bass and pounding beats assault the ears. Vocalist, MC Ride, screams his lungs out into the mic, his lyrics dark, manic and paranoid. However, amongst the ugliness, there is a catchiness and a variedness that makes this album hard to walk away from. Death Grips released another album this year, No Love Deep Web, that is also worth checking out, equally as hard-hitting. They have a sound that's certainly not for everyone. I personally love it. Approach this with an open mind.

Favourite track: Punk Weight

1. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

In recent years, r&b has grown lyrically obsessed with clubbing and sex to the point that it has now abandoned all other subject matter. The melodies are mostly contrived and the emotion is non-existent. Frank Ocean, a member of the hip hop collective, Odd Future, has came in to bring some much needed soul back into r&b. I won't lie and say he's revolutionised the genre or even saved it from its impending doom, but he may have prolonged it by brandishing this flawless gem of an album. Starting off very prettily, Frank's lyrics take us to a Californian beach with white sands and cocktails, but there are some dark undertones that poke through. The track “Pyramids”, a 9 minute epic r&b odyssey, marks the transition to the second half, which is less about mood but emotion. These later tracks each depict a trouble in Frank's life, his sexuality and his newly achieved fame, conveyed powerfully and poetically. 

Favourite track: Bad Religion