Thursday, 18 December 2014

The 10 Worst Songs of 2014


For sheer entertainment value, I’ve decided to look back at the year and round up music’s crème de la crap. It’s not all pop music (most of it is but not all). Enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 17/12/2014: Death Grips, Thumpers, Chief Keef and more...


Once again I round up the best and worst tracks of the week. None of its particularly Christmassy, which is a pity given the time of year, but whatever. DEAL WITH IT.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review of 'The Pinkprint' by Nicki Minaj


SORRY MILEY I STILL LUV U BUT WE’RE GONNA HAV TO CALL OFF THE WEDDING NOW COS NICKI HAS STOLEN MY HEART. ITS NOT U ITS ME. NO HARD FEELINGS MILEY. ALL THE BEST XXX :(

Friday, 12 December 2014

My Top 20 Favourite Albums of 2014

I've listened to a helluva lot of albums this year. As per usual, I'm going to list my favourites, because lists are fun. Feel free to tell me your favourite albums too (not that I care about your opinion because my opinion is the best!). Diehard listophiles can also hit the following links to check out my 2013 and 2012 lists. 

20 – 11
 
20. Self-Titled - PRhyme

Rap veteran, Royce da 5'9", and production wizard, DJ Premier, team up for this tasty slice of old-skool hardcore hip hop.

Favourite Tracks: 'PRhyme', 'You Should Know'



19. So Long, See You Tomorrow - Bombay Bicycle Club

Indie rock, electronic and a bunch of exotic world music sounds come together to create this lively cosmopolitan cocktail.

Favourite Tracks: 'Carry Me', 'Come To'


18. Michael - Les Sins

Ex-chillwave producer, Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, tries his hand at deep house under the alias Les Sins. A refreshing, earthy alternative to the David Guettas and Skrillexes of this world.

Favourite Tracks: 'Bother', 'Call'


17. Bestial Burden - Pharmakon

Quite possibly what Hell sounds like. Margaret Chardiet AKA Pharmakon, makes black metal sound like Disney music on this industrial/noise record. Definitely not for everyone.

Favourite Tracks: 'Body Betrays Itself', 'Bestial Burden'


16. Broke with Expensive Taste - Azealia Banks

Harlem rapper and singer, Azealia, shows other female hip hop artists how it's done. This is fun, catchy, eclectic music suitable for twerkers and voguers alike.

Favourite Tracks: 'Desperado', 'Chasing Time'


15. Nikki Nack - Tune-Yards

A complex but infectious pop album with some African-flavoured melodies thrown in and bizarre lyrics that make no sense but are adorable regardless: 'A two pound chicken tastes better with friends!'

Favourite Tracks: 'Find A New Way', 'Real Thing'


14. To be Kind - Swans

These experimental rockers have mastered the eerie build-up. Some songs are a tad long (one track extends the 30 minute mark) but the creepy atmosphere and killer suspense makes it all worthwhile.

Favourite Tracks: 'A Little God In My Hands', 'Oxygen'

13. The Church - Mr. Oizo

The complete opposite of my last entry. This is snappy, schizophrenic EDM from intuitive French house producer Mr. Oizo for AD/HD listeners. Likely to irritate as many people as it impresses. 

Favourite Tracks: 'Bear Biscuit', 'iSoap'




12. The Physical World - Death From Above 1979

This Canadian drummer-and-bassist rock duo return after ten years with more catchy riffage and groovy percussion that's just as loud and gritty as their debut. 

Favourite Tracks: 'Cheap Talk', 'Government Trash'



11. No Mythologies to Follow - MØ

A fun nocturnal dance-pop album from Danish songstress, MØ, whose name I still don't know how to pronounce. Moo-ee-er? Moi-ea-eu-ai-oo-ee-eih?

Favourite Tracks: 'Red in the Grey', 'Waste of Time'



10 - 1

10. You're Dead! - Flying Lotus

Instrumental hip hop producer, FlyLo, delivers some crazy, impressively-detailed jazz-electronica featuring guest appearance from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Herbie Hancock. 

Favourite Tracks: 'Never Gonna Catch Me', 'Descent Into Madness', 'The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep'


9. Pom Pom - Ariel Pink

A lo-fi pop record brimming with 80's inspired instrumentation and odd love songs told from the perspective of the romantic loser. Its campy, sleazy, hilarious and creative.

Favourite Tracks: 'Put Your Number In My Phone', 'Dinosaur Carebears', 'Black Ballerina'



8. Reality Testing - Lone

Chilled-out electronica from UK producer, Lone, filled with chords that are as warm and bright as a childhood summer's day. Less dancey than his previous releases but just as vibrant.

Favourite Tracks: 'Meeker Warmer Energy', '2 is 8', 'Airglow Fires'


7. LP1 - FKA Twigs

A hypnotic vocal performance from rising underground London pop singer FKA Twigs, accompanied by slow and spacious 808 instrumentals that float in the air like incense. 

Favourite Tracks: 'Preface', 'Lights On', 'Numbers'



6. It's Album Time! - Todd Terje

Norwegian electronic producer delivers this epic instrumental disco odyssey. Its unashamedly nostalgic and charmingly feelgood. 

Favourite Tracks: 'Svensk Sas', 'Strandbar', 'Inspector Norse'


5. RTJ2 - Run the Jewels

A solid follow-up to the rap duo's 2013 debut. If the fiery disses and speedy flows don't leave you floored, the cinematic seismic beats will.

Favourite Tracks: 'Oh My Darling Don't Cry', 'Early', 'Crown'


4. Benji - Sun Kil Moon

One of the most powerful folk albums I've ever listened to. The record is pretty much just a middle-aged man rambling nonchalantly about his life for an hour, but his method of storytelling is so tragic, so funny, so genuine and so beautiful.

Favourite Tracks: 'Carissa', 'Truck Driver', 'Ben's My Friend'


3. Clppng - Clipping



Cali experimental hip hop group, Clipping, pair rapping with industrial/noise beats. The album's extreme relying on violently dark lyricism and a palette of deliberately unpretty audial textures (white noise, drill sounds, the ringing of an alarm clock for a beat!). However, whilst being extreme, the group still manage to inject a fun catchiness into the record. Daveed Diggs is also an exceptional emcee - delivering hyperspeed flows and a knack for vivid storytelling.

Favourite Tracks: 'Body and Blood', 'Get Up', 'Story 2'

2. Sacred White Noise - Thantifaxath



Too many black metal albums sound like they were recorded with a potato. Sometimes this makes the music sound old and scary, but a lot of the time it just sounds shit. Thantifaxath's sound is polished but still monstrously evil. Alternating between disorientating dissonance and bleak melancholy, the band create a demonic landscape more rich in atmosphere than anything else I've heard this year.


1. Self-titled - St. Vincent



This album finds the perfect balance between wild eccentricity and easygoing fun. The US artrocker's sound here is bizarre - guitars are distorted to sound like synthesizers, melodies often border on dissonant and the lyrics include such strange images as snorting pieces of the Berlin wall. However, the experimentation and weirdness is all made accessible through tight grooves, catchy earworms and an extremely polished production quality.

Favourite Tracks: 'Rattlesnake', 'Prince Johnny', 'Digital Witness'


HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Alt-J - This is All Yours
Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo
Bent Knee - Shiny Eyed Babies
Arc Iris - Self-titled
Big KRIT - Cadillactica
Mastodon - Once more 'round the sun
Kasabian - 48:13
Jamaica - Ventura
The Marmozets - The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 10/12/2014: Frank Ocean, The Vengaboys, Earl Sweatshirt and more...


Time to round up my favourite and least favourite new tracks from the past seven days. Its all a bit poppy and electronic this week so I apologise if that's not your cup of tea.

THE BEST:


'Running Behind' - Holy Child



I’ve got a soft spot for these cheeky, buoyant female pop singers. Holy Child, Charlie XCX and modern Taylor Swift seem to be bringing back that girl power rebelliousness that pop’s been missing since the Spice Girls. Out of the three, this Cali duo definitely go for the less commercial/more interesting instrumentals. The marching band 808 snares in this track give it an awesome primal feel.

'Saturn Pulls Me Apart (Death of the Unconquerable Night)' - A Sunny Day in Glasgow



Buried under a wall of trippy synths, I was just able to make out the word ‘Christmas’ around the two minute mark, so I guess this is a Christmas song, although you wouldn’t automatically assume it given the style of music and the psychedelic track title. I doubt this will be this year's Christmas number one, but its still pretty interesting. A great song for anyone planning to spike this year's turkey with LSD.

'Knucklehead' – Lil Herb feat. Earl Sweatshirt



Definitely an unlikely pairing, but one that’s worked out pretty nicely. Chicago rapper, Lil Herb, abandons the thuggish, ‘knuckle-headed’ lyrics and run-of-the-mill trap beats he’s used to and jumps on this mellow piano instrumental produced by Earl. Loving those jazzy chords!

'Fantasy' - Ricoshëi



LA electronic duo, Ricoshëi, drop this laid back track featuring tropical xylophones, a smooth house beat and sensual male vocals. I’m digging the chilled-out beach bar vibe. Whatever genre this is, I want to hear more of it.


'Memrise' - Frank Ocean


This is more of a lo-fi teaser than an official track, but its proof enough to reassure us that Frank Ocean is back and sounding just as soulful.

THE WORST


'Where Did My Xmas Tree Go?' - The Vengaboys




This comeback single from cheesy 90s pop band, The Vengaboys, isn’t as charming as I hoped it might be. The lyrics for one are surprisingly non-jovial for a xmas song: ‘Woke up this morning all me friends were gone/ Because they didn’t get to eat’ and ‘My Uncle John just passed away’. Add on top the fact that it sounds as if their Christmas tree has been stolen and it swiftly turns out that this is really quite the depressant. STOP BEING SUCH SCROOGES VENGABOYS! YOU’RE RUINING MY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 03/12/2014: St. Vincent, Little Boots, Chance the Rapper and more…


I tried my hardest this week to find some shit music to pull apart but came back from my internet travels empty-handed. As a result, it’s all gems this week – no junk. This of course is no bad thing. Feast your ears on these killer tracks!

Review of 'The Endless River' by Pink Floyd


Pink Floyd have had a long and eventful career, which this Wikipedia page can fill you in on. Those unfamiliar with the band’s sound can check out this classic hit below. Floyd at their finest…

Monday, 1 December 2014

Review of 'Shiny Eyed Babies' by Bent Knee

Massachusetts six-piece, Bent Knee, are the type of bananas band that likes to dabble in every genre going. These type of bands don’t come along very often, and for a weirdness-worshipper like myself who adores the Frank Zappas and Mr. Bungles of the world its always exciting when they do.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Review of 'The Church' by Mr. Oizo


Patience is a virtue that I sadly don’t have. Whilst I can see the appeal of atmospheric electronic musicians like Jon Hopkins and the Haxan Cloak, I often find myself clockwatching during the big long build-ups. An artist like loopy French house producer, Mr. Oizo, is much more up my street. He doesn’t allow time to breath, let alone check a watch. Employing AD/HD pacing, he cuts out the foreplay and assaults the listener from the off.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review of 'Bloodstone & Diamonds' by Machine Head


You can always tell a Machine Head track from a number of motifs – namely lots of harmonic notes, lots of beastly grooves and lots of blood-pumping sing-growling courtesy of Rob Flynn. Over time, the Oakland metalheads have also brought in a number of new stylistic features. The Blackening saw them garnering more progressiveness and old-skool thrashiness, whilst The Locust introduced orchestral strings and more symphonic tracks.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 26/11/2014: Wu-Tang Clan, Faith No More, AC/DC and more...



It’s comeback week. Wu-Tang Clan, Faith No More, AC/DC and Gwen Stefani have all returned with new singles. As usual, I divide the good’uns and bad’uns. Is bad’un even a word? Too late, I’ve typed it out now, there’s no going back...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review of 'Cadillactica' by Big K.R.I.T.


Whilst the rest of the southern rap scene have been getting busy riding throwaway trap beats and dropping throwaway punchlines, Big K.R.I.T has been steadily moving away and sculpting his own much more original and quite possibly influential sound. He’s always been a standout character in deep south hip hop, mainly down to his speedily tight and acrobatic flows. He can jump around any beat at any tempo he likes and still perfectly articulate every word.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 19/11/2014: Dizzee Rascal, Screaming Females, Band Aid 30 and more...



It's that time of the week again where I become Simon Cowell and make fun of musicians whilst vaguely complimenting some of them. This week I hate on a charity single and make tasteless jokes about being a child-killer.