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. 

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.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Review of 'Motion' by Calvin Harris


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

My Top 10 Favourite Album Covers


I’ve always appreciated album artwork. I still buy physical copies of albums, sometimes just for the record sleeves. In fact, most of the time I throw away the CD and just keep the case.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Review of 'Sonic Highways' by Foo Fighters


When you accompany your album with a HBO TV series and proclaim it as an ‘ode to American music’ you set the expectations bar pretty high. Sonic Highways would have had to be the next White Album for it to have lived up to the stupendous sea of hype surrounding it. No-one can carry that off, not even the Foo Fighters, and they’re the biggest modern rock band we have.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Review of 'Pom Pom' by Ariel Pink


This album is essentially a dude rambling sleazy nonsense over a bunch of lo-fi instrumentals that sound like they’re straight from eighties TV commercials. It’s cheesy. It’s silly. It's, for the most part, terribly uncool. It’s also among one of the best records I’ve heard all year.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 12/11/2014: Mark Ronson, T-Pain, Lupe Fiasco and more...


It's time again to round up the weeks hits and misses. Don't forget to check out my recent album reviews of the new releases by Les Sins, Azealia Banks and Mykki Blanco. Album reviews of Foo Fighters, Ariel Pink, Pink Floyd and Big Krit still to come...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Review of 'Broke with Expensive Taste' by Azealia Banks


I was convinced I’d be retired and in a care home by the time this album got round to dropping. How long’s it been since this album was first scheduled to be released? Ten years? Twenty years? Fifty???

Friday, 7 November 2014

Review of 'Michael' by Les Sins



Ex-chillwave-producer Chaz Bundick has dropped the ‘Toro y Moi’ pseudonym in exchange for ‘Les Sins’ and is now making more up-tempo, dancey stuff. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 05/11/2014: Jam Baxter, Labrinth, Taylor Swift and more...


It's weekly round-up time again where I single out the singles that made the best and worst impression on me. I hope you all had a happy Halloween/Guy Fawkes Night/Diwali/belated-Easter.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review of 'Soused' by Scott Walker & Sunn O)))


There are some people who understand the appeal of drone metal and good for them, they’re clearly more open-minded than I am. Personally, Sunn O)))’s schtick - playing one guitar note over and over again at a glacial speed – strikes me as a waste of a fretboard and a waste of my time.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Review of 'RTJ2' by Run the Jewels


There’s no place for heroes in hip hop. It’s a villain’s world and El-P and Killer Mike are out to be the meanest and most cartoonishly evil rappers in the history of the game.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review of '1989' by Taylor Swift


It’s been barely a week since this album’s release and already it’s turning platinum.

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 29/10/2014: Foo Fighters, Les Sins, The Chuckle Brothers and more...



What a week for music! Taylor Swift’s been shaking up the album charts with the first platinum record of the year. Young Fathers have surprised everyone with a Mercury Prize win. Daniel Radcliffe has been dropping bars on The Tonight Show. Plus, RTJ2 - my most anticipated album of the year - has dropped (a review will be coming later, don’t you worry).

There’s been barely enough time to listen to new singles. Fortunately, I haven’t had to do much digging around. The tracks have been coming to me and here they are - the best and the worst.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review of 'Hell Can Wait' by Vince Staples


What do you look for in hip hop? Catchy hooks? Tight flows? Head-bobbing well-produced beats? Realness? 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 22/10/2014: Chance the Rapper, Eminem, Mr. Oizo and more...



It’s been a fairly depressing week for new music. Not a bad week, just a depressing one. Songwriters worldwide have been coming down with the blues, crafting some beautifully moody and misanthropic material. I guess it’s just that time of year. Winter is coming.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Review of 'Bestial Burden' by Pharmakon

Well, that's certainly put me off my steak and chips...

I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to listen to this for the first time at 1 am.  I should have guessed from the rather gristly album artwork and prior exposure to Pharmakon that this wasn’t going to be half an hour of cute and fun bubblegum pop.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Review of 'STN MTN/Kauai' by Childish Gambino


Childish Gambino is the musical alter-ego of Community actor, Donald Glover. I was a big fan of his last album, Because the Internet, (review here) and after hearing the single ‘Sober’ was pretty excited for this new release, ‘STN MTN/Kauai’.

As it turns out, this is essentially a double album. The first half, ‘STN MTN’, (shorthand for Stone Mountain) sees the actor-turned-musician donning his swag and trying to be a trap rapper, spitting over bassy instrumentals made of 808s and club synths. The second half, ‘Kauai’ (named after a Hawaiian island), in contrast is a selection of red-wine-and-slow-dance soul jams, reminiscent of Frank Ocean and Pharrell Williams. The two sides are polar opposites musically. Some people have been calling this a double ep, a double mixtape, a half-ep-half-album. Honestly why does this record terminology to be so complicated? Why can’t we call everything that’s longer one track an album and be done with it.

Talking of complicated, the supposed storyline that took place on Because the Internet continues on this album. I never did follow the narrative on the last album. Apparently, there’s a script available for fans to read who are struggling with the whole storyline thing, but quite frankly I don’t know who’s going to read that shit. Personally, I don’t listen to music for a plot. That’s what novels and films were made for.

So let’s ignore the storyline in this review and just discuss the sound of STN MTN/Kauai. Does this ambitious one-side-trap, one-side-soul concept work? Is Childish Gambino sounding as good as he was on his last record?

Sadly no. There are a couple big issues with this record, one being the severe lack of wit in comparison to his last release. Gambino’s punchlines and social commentary were a major factor in getting me into liking his material. Here, it all seems not up to scratch. On the trap side, Glover seems too busy getting his swag on to throw out anything intelligent and on the soul side he’s too busy getting soppy. This is a shame as it doesn’t give this album quite the personality his last record had.

The other big problem is the second half feels unfinished. There’s a demo track here called Retro (granted, it doesn’t sound like a demo, but I’d rather here the complete song). There’s also an unnecessary rehash of ‘3005’ from Because the Internet. It feels like Glover just chucked it in last minute to pad the Kauai side out.

The third big problem is that Jaden Smith makes a guest appearance on this record. Pretty self-explanatory.

Saying all this, there are some good moments here that do prevent this from being utterly bad. The instrumentals are by and large pretty damn good. No Small Talk is a banger and The Palisades features a funky beat that could be air supply. When it comes to the technical side, Gambino’s also dropping some of his best flows to date on this record and his singing is like velvet on the ears. The overenthusiastic DJ skit is also hilarious. 

TRACK TASTER:


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 15/10/2014: Sun Kil Moon, David Bowie, Mike Will Made it and more...


A weekly rummage through the music blogosphere has revealed these awesome and not-so-awesome tracks. I honestly can't believe Bowie's released another single. Somebody slap me, I'm feeling dizzy #BowieFan4Life #MarryMeBowie. Okay, well that was kinda gay. Let's move on, shall we?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 08/10/2014: Azealia Banks, Mr. Oizo, Clipping and more


As the weeks go by I find myself discovering less and less crap and more and more good stuff. For this reason, there are five tracks in 'The Best' category this week, and only one track in 'The Worst'. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 1/10/2014: Childish Gambino, Mastodon, Meghan Trainor and more...


Its been another fantastic week for singles. I've chosen to select four of the best tracks and two of the worst, as will hopefully become the standard from now. Picking the 'best' tracks of the week proved pretty tricky considering there were so many good singles dropping.

Review of 'The Physical World' by Death From Above 1979



Anyone who was starting to fear rock n roll was dead should check out this record. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Review of 'Cheek to Cheek' by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga


Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga prove an unlikely but remarkable pairing on this selection of jazz standards and covers set to some fantastic big band instrumentation. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Review of 'Unknown Memory' by Yung Lean


Meet Yung Lean. He’s a white kid from Sweden whose musical style has been described as ‘sad rap’.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 24/09/2014: Run the Jewels, Jessie Ware, Lil Dicky and more...


I’ve been listening to some more music on my gramophone this week and here are my findings. Enjoy :) You can check out last week’s track reviews here.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review of 'This is all Yours' by alt-J


This is all Yours kicks off with some choppy, octave jumping ‘la-la-la’ harmonies. It then dives into some brief singing and pounding, sharp drums. This sets the scene for the unique indie-folk-electronic sound that is alt-j.

Review of 'Songs of Innocence' by U2


U2 are clearly getting worried that they’re starting to lose relevance and hence fans. As a result the Irish rockers decided to dish this album out for free to everyone – fans and haters combined. Over 500 million iTunes users worldwide woke up to find that this album had been unwillingly downloaded onto their computers. The reactions have been mixed:

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 17/9/2014: Flying Lotus, Craig David, Calvin Harris and more...



So, this is what’s going to be happening every week. I’m going to listen to a bunch of new songs and then I’m going to collect the best and the worst and serve them up to you, splitting the songs into two categories - 'good’ and 'bad'. There is no lukewarm category here. There is no ‘ugly’. I spend too much of my life sitting on the fence. It’s been starting to give me haemorrhoids.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review of 'Pale Communion' by Opeth


Swedish ex-Death Metal band, Opeth, continue their evolution as a prog rock band. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review of 'LP1' by FKA Twigs


I was in the lobby of Colombo airport at 4am when I first listened to this album. I don’t usually listen to albums in such exotic and strange locations, and maybe the setting had an effect on me, but this record truly mesmerised me from start to finish.

Review of 'Green Language' by Rustie


Rustie's latest EDM album feels excessive.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Review of 'Jungle' by Jungle


Two male singers, one of whom has mislaid his testicles and sings entirely in falsettos, the other of whom mutters a couple octaves beneath, harmonise together accompanied by some sweet and punchy 70s grooves and Disclosure-esque synth splashes. 

Review of 'True That' by Michael Cera


Hollywood actor, Michael Cera, shows off his musical side, serving up a selection of strange jazz and folk instrumentals. It’s a creative little album, I’ll give him that. Unfortunately, the whole thing sounds like it was recorded with a potato. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review of 'Neon Icon' by Riff Raff


Forget Eminem. Forget Nas. If you want expert lyricism, look no further than Riff Raff’s Neon Icon.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review of '48:13' by Kasabian


I understand that there are a lot of people out there who dislike Kasabian's style of 'lad rock', because I guess that's the cool thing to do. Well, screw all you haters - I point-blank refuse to ride the hate train.