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. 


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.