Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review of 'Barter 6' by Young Thug


This album wasn’t the turd I expected it to be. For one there’s no annoying autotune and less dying cat warbles. In fact, the drug-addled metrosexual Atlanta rapper is actually spitting on most of these tracks, some of his flows regretfully impressing me. The trap beats aren’t all bad either – some are generic, but others like ‘Constantly Hating’ and ‘Dream’ have a spacey and atmospheric vibe more akin to Drake’s recent album. That all said, Young Thug’s lyrics are yet to see any improvements, still consisting of the same clichés and nonsense as before. ‘I am a beast, I am obese’ is a genuine line from this record as is ‘I want that neck like a giraffe/ I like fish in water, I’m a bear’. I guess there’s a certain goofiness to it that’s entertaining, but it’s nothing on Riff Raff. Overall, Young Thug just seems to be trying to sound more like his idol Lil Wayne. Given that Thugga has already stolen Wayne’s look, given that the title of this album was originally going to be ‘The Carter 6’, it’s no surprise that Young Thug is now trying to steal Lil Wayne’s sound (all under the influence of evil puppeteer Birdman of course). Fans may praise Young Thug’s originality, but personally I’m yet to see it. He just strikes me as a wannabe-Lil-Wayne - which I think you'll agree is fairer than my previous criticisms on this blog.

TRACK TASTER:

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 29/04/2015: Darq E Freaker, Doldrums, Sepultura and more...


Bring a torch. It's all a bit dark this week. Abrasive synths and metal riffs ensue. 

THE BEST:

'Eight O Clock In The Morning' - Lee Scott


Quirky butter-obsessed UK rapper, Lee Scott, is gaining heat at the moment with his eccentric persona and has just released a new LP, Butter Fly. This new track from the album shows off his darker side. The cinematic strings make for a magnificently raw and eerie beat.

'Gully' - Darq E Freaker ft. Maxsta



Grime producer Darq E Freaker drops this sinister track, featuring vocals from London emcee Maxsta (I’ve been overdosing on UK hip hop this week!). The track title ‘Gully’ is slang for ‘street’ or ‘hood’. If you didn’t know that already, you’re not gully. I had to look it up on Urban Dictionary, so it’s okay, I’m not gully either.

'IDONTWANNABEDELETED' - Doldrums ft. Samantha Urbani



This track is as odd as its title suggests. Canadian electronic producer, Doldrums, kicks things off to a downbeat, melancholy start before bringing in some aggressive industrial noises and a pounding house beat. Brooklyn vocalist Samantha Urbani then turns up and starts screaming. It’s all very unsettling.

'Lovesick- - Maryann (Bae God)



The Californian bedroom rapper and singer’s latest track, ‘Lovesick’, sees her embracing sugary r&b. The hook is sweet and summery and I’m loving the sound of the snare that producer Sbvce lays down.

'DarkSide' - Sepultura



Brazilian thrash metal band, Sepultura, have released this intense one-and-a-half minute song in collaboration with publishing company, DarkSide Books. It may be short but it sure packs a punch.

THE WORST:

'Trap Lust' - Lil Debbie



Absolutely killer beat – but the lyrics are a load of nonsense: ‘I’ll turn into Dracula/ Money flippin with the spatula/ Black Diamonds from Africa’. The bit about her bank account giving her orgasms is also a bit weird.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Review of 'Undertow' by Drenge


I’ve never been to Castleton before. From the pretty pictures I’ve seen, the Derbyshire village seems like a rather quaint place to live, the kind of place where Morris dancing is still celebrated, the kind of place Enid Blyton might have set one of her novels.

Castleton

It certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of a place a band like Drenge would come from. Made up of two brothers who go by the name of Eoin and Rory Loveless, the group first made heat when they dropped their debut album in 2013, a raw and angsty guitar record containing romantic track titles such as ‘People in love make me yuck’ and ‘I want to break you in half’. The I-hate-the-world attitude and rough production made Drenge charmingly uncharming. They had a rock and roll spirit to them that too many of today’s rock bands lack.

Two years later, we now have this new record Undertow. It isn’t quite as raw or angsty – which turns out to be both a blessing and curse. The sound is now bigger thanks to the addition of a bassist. As someone who likes rawness and eats their steak with a pulse, I’m not overly happy to see the duo trading in their intimate pub sound for stadium production. However, a greater focus on atmosphere has come as a result with reverb-heavy tracks like the ‘Introduction’ and following track ‘Running Wild’ perfectly capturing the spooky, nightly vibe of the album cover. The riffs are also still meaty, despite not as rough around the edges, and the drumming is still primal as showcased on tracks like ‘Never Awake’.

Drenge

Lyrically, the band have decided to ditch their teenage moodiness for a more grown-up maturity, which is a bit disappointing as it means no funny track titles. However, the rebelliousness is still present in songs like ‘We Can Do What We Want’. The songwriting seems to have also got better – ‘Standing in the Cold’ relying on storytelling and instrumentation that builds and matches the tone. Glumness and anger seem to still be the band’s two favourite emotions, but instead of being blunt and cynical, the band instead use these songs to show the root cause of their moroseness. Heartbreak serves as a common theme, which proves these two brothers might not be as loveless as they claim. Thankfully this heartbreak comes without soppiness – which allows Drenge to still have the same rock and roll vibe that was on their debut.

They may be adults now and they may have more money to spend on production, but on the whole Drenge haven’t lost their charisma. In fact, as musical progressions go, this is pretty encouraging new direction for the band. 

TRACK TASTER:


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 22/04/2015: Rihanna, Run the Jewels, Snoop Dogg and more...


There are no WORST tracks this week. I bring only love and joy. 

THE BEST:


'Joe' - Washer



Featuring some twangy guitars and punky vocals, ‘Joe’ has a similar vibe to the New York rock duo’s previous nonchalantly depressive single, ‘Rot’. Things are tamer this time around, almost pop-punk-esque – that is up until the last twenty seconds when the leash and muzzle are removed.

'Bust No Moves' - Run the Jewels ft. SL Jones



My love for Run the Jewels is unhealthily obsessive. It’s better off we don’t get into it. In celebration of Record Store Day, the US hip hop duo have dropped this new track. Lyrically it’s nothing special from the two emcees – the spacey beat is the clincher. SL Jones does lay a pretty good guest verse. I don’t really know who he is, but he’s got a cool voice – almost like Big Sean if Big Sean could actually rap.

'Water Water' - Empress Of



‘Water Water’ is a dance song logically themed around water, featuring some gloopy reverb-soaked synths and breathy female vocals that reminded me of Bjork towards the end. The mood is bubbly and the whole track flows very neatly. It’s anything but wishy-washy. Stream it above (my reserve of water-related puns has now run dry).

'So Many Pros' - Snoop Dogg



I’m glad to see the back of Snoop’s short-lived reggae career. This new song titled ‘So Many Pros’ sees him delving into funk, accompanied by the coolest music video I’ve seen all year. I can’t say I’m enjoying Snoop’s flat vocals, but the backing vocals and instrumentation (produced by Pharrell Williams) do a great job of masking this.

'James Joint' - Rihanna




It’s very short – perhaps even unfinished – but I’ve been waiting a long time to hear Rihanna employing that beautiful voice of hers over some decent instrumentation. If you liked the soulful beats Kendrick was riding on To Pimp A Butterfly, you should dig this. Check it out here.

'Day of the Rope' - Spray Paint


This dissonant dose of desert punk from Texan trio, Spray Paint, won't be everyone's cup of tea. Even Washer seem like easy listening in comparison. Personally, I love the volatility. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Review of 'Cherry Bomb' by Tyler, the Creator


The eccentric rapper’s new album is either the musical equivalent of a Jackson Pollock art piece or the musical equivalent of something the cat threw up. Either way it’s a mess – but depending on how your ears are tuned and how much of a Tyler fanboy you are, it’ll either strike you as an artistic mess or garbage.

Instrumentally, Cherry Bomb sounds like an old warped soul record found in a psychopath’s basement. Beautiful jazzy chord progressions clash violently with noisy, industrial percussion that hints Tyler may have been spending a lot of time listening to Yeezus and Death Grips. The mixing is awful – sometimes clearly deliberate. The title track, ‘Cherry Bomb’, is distorted and overcompressed to fuck, coming across as almost a wall of noise with the vocals buried beneath. At first I dismissed it as cat puke, but slowly I’m leaning more towards Jackson Pollock - this song and similarly produced tracks ‘Pilot’ and ‘Buffalo’ are now some of my favourites on the record. The messiness has an angry, blood-pumping catharsis to it of which my inner maniac is drawn to.

Alternative cover for 'Cherry Bomb'

Sadly, not all tracks have this positive effect. On some songs like ‘Run’, the low mixing on the vocals is just irritating and the beat isn’t noisy enough to warrant how lo-fi it is. Running barely over one minute, the song also feels abruptly short and underdeveloped. Tracks like ‘2Seater’ by contrast don’t know when to end, meandering off until Tyler gets bored and decides to throw in a skit.

Contributing to the messiness is the bad singing from Tyler himself. Some of it is redeemed only by the fact that Tyler knows himself that he can’t sing, as declared at the start of ‘Fucking Young’. There’s a charm to the idea of Tyler doing whatever he wants regardless of what people think, but sometimes the singing is just painful and distracting. Couldn’t he have got somebody else to do it? As proved by features from Kanye and Lil Wayne on this record, Tyler has the connections and could get anyone to croon for him if he wanted.



Part of me thinks that at this point Tyler is simply too at peace with himself to care. After all, there’s no therapist on this record – perhaps Tyler no longer feels the need to spill out his internal troubles. The weird and wonderful multiple personas have also been scrapped – Wolf Haley, Sam, Tron Cat, Ace the Creator, Felicia the Goat, Tiny Tim (I’m making some of them up now) – which is good because I never cared for any of these characters anyway.

Instead, Tyler’s bars are more outward-thinking, straightforward and confident. He marvels the fact that he’s paying a mortgage while his friends are paying tuition. His messages are more positive: ‘spread your wings’. There’s less misanthropy and rape jokes. Saying that, not all the immaturity has faded. His love for the word ‘faggot’ is still present, and the track ‘ Blow my Load’ might be his crassest song to date (were the cunnilingus sound effects really necessary?).

Me during 'Blow my Load'

Overall, the whole album is a bit hit and miss, Tyler’s newfound carefree attitude causing the whole album to feel a bit clumsy. The critics no longer bother him – his cluttered beats, his choice to sing and his choice to rap about going down on the ladies all reflecting this.

His nihilistic outlook is admirable – almost inspirational. The issue is that in not caring about others’ opinions, he’s making music only for himself, and he’s clearly more tolerant of his own bad singing than I am. 

TRACK TASTER:

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Review of 'What For?' by Toro y Moi


What For? sees US producer Chaz Bundick (AKA Toro y Moi) swapping out electronica for guitars. The result is a funk rock record of sorts that makes for perfect breezy summer barbeque music. The problem is that as a focused listen it doesn’t have much to offer. It’s funky but not particularly groovy, retro but not particularly nostalgic, hook-reliant but not particularly catchy. The tinny car radio effect that smothers the record is pretty pleasant but that’s about it. The sexy and danceable intermingling of modern electronica and vintage r&b that made up Anything in Return had so much more charm and replay value. I will congratulate this record on one account, Chaz’s voice has come a long way since his early Chillwave days. It’s still pretty flat but at least it’s in tune this time around. 

TRACK TASTER:

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 15/04/2015: Tyler the Creator, Ratatat, Gengahr and more...


I need to brush my teeth. All the best tracks this week have been far too sugary and sweet. In other words, no angry or mean songs this time around. Maybe next week I’ll have a bad day at work and break my phone and be more in the mood for some dark, depressing shit. For now, I just want to live in a happy world of kittens and daffodils and rainbows.

THE BEST:


'Fun Universe' - Sam Carter



‘Fun Universe’ is the kind of Soundcloud stumble-upon that really makes you feel like you’ve struck gold. The bright fifth chords sound like they’re straight out of a sunny childhood dream, arranged into a short but sweet ravey instrumental. I wasn’t able to find much background info on the man behind the magic. To be honest, I prefer the mystique.  ‘FROG LEARNS TO MAKE MUSIC. WORLD FOREVER CHANGED’ reads his Soundcloud bio.

'God Emoji' - Silicon



I’m reminded of a more danceable version of Thundercat whilst listening to this new gorgeous tune from Kiwi multi-instrumentalist, Silicon. The charm is all in the groove and jazzy vocal harmonies. If God Emoji doesn't make you feel :), you're deaf.

'Fucking Young' - Tyler, the Creator


The cockroach-eating, straight-edge, highly-immature, highly-creative, highly-entertaining hip hop star of Odd Future fame has a new track out – and it’s about being in love with someone who’s too ‘fucking young’. Tyler’s singing is pretty awful (although self-awarely so) and lyrically he still can’t help himself when it comes to juvenile punchlines: ‘my dick is longer than my attention span’. However, instrumentally the track is made up for with some of Tyler's lush layered signature soul.  It’s so pretty you almost forget what's being sung about.

'Cream On Chrome' - Ratatat


UK instrumental duo, Ratatat, add some exciting duelling rock guitars to their groovy sound on this new track. It comes with what I think is a music video. 1:22 made me jump.

'Heroine' - Gengahr



Sure, you can be my heroine’ the London indie rock band’s frontman sings almost reluctantly. This is matched by the grudgingly breezy tone of the guitars. There aren’t enough subtly twisted love songs like this any more.

THE WORST:


'The Wolf' - Mumford & Sons



This band have gone from being a watered-down folk act to a watered-down rock band. Give it a listen if watered-down is your thing.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Review of 'Carrie and Lowell' by Sufjan Stevens


We’re all gonna die,’ sings Sufjan.

Depression is a fashion accessory in the music industry. You only have to look at the Yung Leans and Lana Del Rays and Earl Sweatshirts of this world (plus every emo band that’s every existed) to realise that it’s cool to be sad. It’s been that way since The Smiths.

This new album from Sufjan Stevens is a reminder of what true, raw tragedy sounds like. Stripping back his sound and spilling out his guts, the American singer-songwriter leads us through the darkest chasms of his psyche following the death of his mother.

There are no bells and whistles, no crocodile tears, no acting. Sufjan lays his emotions bare, delivering his vocals as sweet sighs over percussionless instrumentals consisting largely of a single folksy guitar. The lack of drums gives the album a peacefulness and an ambience that feels like a welcome countryside break from the busy, urban world of dubstep drops and party tunes. The whole Earth seems to stop whilst listening to these songs – particularly ‘The Fourth of July’ in which Sufjan feels at his most exposed. Usually I’d dismiss the line ‘we’re all gonna die’ as gimmicky melodrama, but in this song when Sufjan utters it, describing it as the only thing he’s learnt from his mother’s passing, there’s a true conviction to it that had me feeling chills.

Me whilst listening to 'The Fourth of July'

Shockingly, there is no life lesson on Carrie and Lowell. Sun Kil Moon’s similarly-themed Benji (which I seem unable to stop talking about on this blog) seemed implicitly to be a celebration of life’s tragedies as useful character-defining moments in his life. Sufjan, by contrast, doesn’t seem to have any positive advice to give his fellow sufferers. Track 7, ‘The Only Thing’, is borderline suicidal (he goes so far as to question tearing out his own eyes!). ‘Faith in reason, I spent my life playing dumb’ seems to be his only solution, giving his listeners some small solace that he isn’t about to slit his wrists any time soon.

There are also some flecks of humour in amongst the bleakness that stop Carrie and Lowell from being a total downer. In recounting past memories, he tells the tale of his old swimming instructor who couldn’t pronounce his name, and hence resigned to calling him ‘Subaru’ – a moment that did make me chuckle. Sufjan’s efforts to entertain with rich imagery also gives the album much needed colour amongst the greyness. References to folklore and mythology are particularly prevalent throughout the record. There are vampires and dragons, mentions of Medusa and Pegasus, references to Perseus and Poseidon. Casper the ghost even make a cameo.

Subaru Stevens looking mythical

As described when featuring the single ‘No Shade In The Shadow of The Cross’ on this blog, this use of folklore and mythology seems to me to be an attempt to escape the reality of his depression: ‘Amethyst and flowers on the table/ is it real or a fable?’ That, and it also spruces up the landscape, which instrumentally is very barren.

In fact, this is my only gripe with the record – sonically it’s stripped back, but almost too far. Illinois really showed the instrumental talent and melodic diversity that Sufjan could bring to the table, sporting flutes and string sections and big horns. This record is all lonely subtle guitars, which is pleasant for the first few tracks but a little stale towards the end. I’m not saying Sufjan should have added drums or brass sections like there were in Illinois – that would totally take away from the raw vibe. However, a few bare piano numbers could have added some diversity. The slow synth passages feel like attempts to vary things up, but most of them are a little too samey. The interlude at the end of ‘Drawn To The Blood’ sticks out as the only moment where Sufjan tries to get in the listener’s face instrumentally. Subtlety has its charm, but it also has its limits.

Lyrically, Carrie and Lowell has enough substance to make up for this, and if you’re one of the few naysayers who thinks that this album is boring simply because of the instrumentals, then you’re clearly not focusing your ears in the right direction. There’s a reason this album is getting such high praise from critics and that’s because the words coming out of the Sufjan’s mouth have more heart and brain behind them than most artists you’re likely to hear this year.  

TRACK TASTER:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 08/04/2015: D.R.A.M, Tame Impala, Between The Buried And Me and more...


Eaten through all your Easter eggs already? Why not sweeten up your evening by listening to some of these new tunes. Avoid the last track though. It’ll leave a sour taste in your mouth.

THE BEST:


'Excessive' - D.R.A.M



D.R.A.M’s dreamy lyrics about money and bitches are made relatable by the fact that the Virginia hip hop artist doesn’t try to paint them as a reality. That being said, such as lifestyle is probably in his grasp if he continues to turn out these solid tracks. Even if you’re not feeling the lyrics, the wavy beat is definitely worth lending your ear to. Fans of his sound should check out his 2014 trap/latin banger ‘Cha Cha’.

'Cause I’m A Man' - Tame Impala




Kevin Parker sings about being a man. A manwoman? Take your pick. Either way Aussie indie rockers, Tame Impala, have me psyched with their new psychedelic sound. This might be a very /mu/ thing to say, but the groovy bass and plodding beat are almost vaporwave. 

'Memory Palace' - Between The Buried And Me



At first a metalcore band, BTBAM have slowly transformed over the years into a prog metal group, and now they’ve finally ended up as a pumped-up version of Dream Theater. The noodling and melodrama here is a bit over the top, but I can’t say I didn’t dig most of the riffs and the crazy na na na bit in the middle reminded me of something awesome Devin Townsend might do. A sense of humour is always welcome in prog. Nobody likes soulless guitar wankery.

'Helios' - Darius ft. Wayne Snow



French producer, Darius, drops this hypnotic r&b ballad featuring guest vocalist, Wayne Snow. If you could hear moonlight it would sound like this chord progression.

'Puppet' – Of Embla




It’s time to crack open the Martini. This smoky ballad from Swedish artist, Of Embla, could be the theme to a Bond movie. Apparently, Greece are playing it on commercial radio. The UK airwaves need to get their act together and follow suit.

THE WORST:


'Fresh Out' - French Montana



Overall, about as fresh as green bread. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Review of 'The Powers That B' by Death Grips


The Californian experimental hip hoppers continue to push sonic boundaries on their supposedly final album, but is it an explosive enough ending to make up for their unpredictable and action-packed career?

When friends, family members and random elderly strangers in the street ask me why I like Death Grips, my response is usually something illogical and vague like ‘because they’re nuts’. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure myself as to why I love Death Grips. Their music is largely unmusical. Vocalist MC Ride sounds like a hobo whose stubbed his toe and even with a lyric sheet, it’s hard to make out whether he’s spurting out dense poetry or simply nonsense.

'I'm epiphanic amnesia! I'm in Jimmy Page's castle! I'm off the planet!' - MC Ride
In many ways, it is simply the mystery of not understanding Death Grips that is the appeal – that and the fact that their raw aggression is so primal and thrilling.

Last year, scrawled apathetically on the back of a napkin as is their style, the band announced their breakup, stating: ‘We are now at our best and so Death Grips is over’. Assuming it’s not just another publicity stunt, The Powers that B is the group’s final album.

Essentially it’s two records disguised as a double album. The first half, Niggas on the Moon, was released before the band’s breakup and I rambled briefly about it on this blog. Having listened to it a few times, I’ve grown to appreciate it. It’s the band’s most proggy album yet, consisting of complex songs with changing time signatures, interspersed with random chopped-up Bjork vocals. MC Ride’s voice meanwhile is at its most clearest, whilst his lyrics are some of his most impenetrable: ‘melanin pewter cellophane/ arms as long as their legs/ even the greys can’t/ voila’.


The second part of The Powers that B was released a couple weeks ago and is titled Jenny Death. Unlike its counterpart, there’s less progginess, less word salad and less chopped-up Bjork vocals. In fact, the glitchy Bjork vocals have been traded in completely for a new motif – guitars. Many of the songs contain distorted hardcore punk riffs – namely ‘Turned Off’ and ‘Why a Bitch Got A Lie’. Whilst Niggas on the Moon is the band’s proggiest release, Jenny Death can be viewed as their most punky.  

Prog and punk are essentially ying and yang musically – one celebrating depth and complexity, the other celebrating rawness and simplicity. Consequently, the two halves of The Powers That B don’t feel very cohesive as a whole. Maybe it was Death Grips’ intention to show how schizophrenic they can be stylistically. Personally, I feel I’m tempted to listen to one at a time rather than both as a whole, suggesting they should be two separate albums.

The album is certainly their most extreme work to date by all definitions of the word, which is something Death Grips have always tried to achieve with each release and hence would imply that this is a suitable finale to their career. The title track, ‘The Powers that B’, is their loudest and most abrasive banger since the opener to Government Plates.  ‘On GP’ meanwhile is their most depressive, containing some explicitly suicidal lyrics and ending rather powerfully on the line: ‘I’d be a liar if I sat here claiming I’d exit in a minute/ but I can’t say I wouldn’t have my limits.’. This itself is a heavy statement to end the band’s career on, and is further explored in the closing instrumental proceeding it entitled ‘Death Grips 2.0’. This closing track is the group’s fastest and most sinister sounding track so far and the ‘2.0’ in the title helps to end the album with an air of mystery – are Death Grips going to one day reform as more advanced version of themselves? Or have they reached their ‘limits’.

Most of these standout moments happen in the second half, Jenny Death, which leaves the first half, Niggas on the Moon, feeling a bit redundant as part of the climax. That being said, the first half is still enjoyable and flows better than Jenny Death. The topic of sex is also explored more deeply on Niggas on the Moon than any previous release, with tracks like ‘Fuck me out’ and the hilariously titled ‘Have a Sad Cum’ painting it as a depressive subject. It has always been Death Grips mission to turn hip hop clichés on their head, and this itself seems like an attack on sexual braggadocio. Arguably, Jenny Death contains the most blatant example – ‘Pss Pss’ being a charming trap-flavoured number about pissing on a girl’s face.

Overall, The Powers That B succeeds at doing what all Death Grips albums have done before it – it raises more questions than answers. Death Grips could never give us an explosive ending as this would require destroying the air of mystery that is so essential to their appeal. They’d have to reveal some major plot twist – ‘Death Grips were One Direction in disguise all along’ or something along those lines. Sadly, I don’t think the band have anything nearly as impressive to reveal, no dark hidden secrets, no grand plot to overthrow the music industry. However, I do believe there is more to their music than simply spontaneous noise for the sake of being noisy, and the desire to decipher this is what makes Death Grips so engaging. 

TRACK TASTER:

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review of 'The Day Is My Enemy' by The Prodigy


It’s time to test those subwoofers and annoy your conservative elderly neighbours. UK rave veterans The Prodigy are back and they’re not about to go all ambient on us any time soon. In fact, this might just be the group’s loudest and most aggressive album to date. Sadly, it’s also their most forgettable.

Let’s get one thing clear first - this album is forgettable by Prodigy standards. The Day is My Enemy doesn’t contain any cheap house beats. There are no airhorn-loaded trap numbers. Compared to most EDM artists out there, these guys are still clearly attempting to be innovative and in some ways succedding. The percussion rhythms for one are reliably creative, the key ingredient in many of the group’s prior bangers such as ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Firestarter’. The beats on 'Rebel Radio' and 'Medicine' made me want to move and brandish glowsticks and rip my shirt off.

ME RAVING HARD TO THE BEATS ON THIS ALBUM

Hence, the issue with this album clearly lies elsewhere. Personally, I see the band's forgettability (if such a word exists) as being largely down to the texture of this album.

The synth tones deployed on this album are abrasive, but they’re simply not fresh. They’re essentially the same synth tones that were being used on Invaders Must Die. In fact, they’re the same synth tones that Pendulum were playing with a decade ago.

Clearly the griminess of these synth tones plays a large part in the aggressiveness of this album, but overall the moments that truly stand out on this record are the moments in which these abrasive synth tones take a break. Such moments include the 8-bit Nintendo-esque keys on ‘Wild Frontier’, the rave stabs on ‘Destroy’ and the driving guitar on ‘Invisible Sun’. Here, The Prodigy expand the sonic palette. Sadly, these moments are too few and far between, resulting in the remainder of the album feeling very samey.

Lyrics prove to also be a problem on The Day Is My Enemy. Whilst I can’t say I look for much introspection from The Prodigy, hooks such as ‘nasty nasty!’ and ‘Ibiiiza!’ do feel uninspired, especially when compared to the edginess of a past hook like ‘Smack my bitch up’ or ‘Take me to the hospital’.

‘Ibiza’ arguably redeems itself when it is revealed that the track is a jab at many current EDM artists’ live shows that involve plugging a USB stick into a laptop and waving their arms around for a bit. Here, The Prodigy prove their relevance in today’s music scene – they’re still the best live band in EDM.

It’s just a shame that as an album band, the same can no longer be said. 

TRACK TASTER:

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 01/04/2015: Lapalux, Janelle Monae, My Morning Jacket and more...


Nothing too macho or hardcore this week. A lot of my favourite tracks this week are smooth, classy numbers you’re likely here down your local wine bar. Music for wearing a Burgundy smoking jacket to.

THE BEST:


'Spring (Among the Living)' - My Morning Jacket


Speaking of jackets, US rock band My Morning Jacket have a new track out – a seasonal ode to Spring accompanied by psychedelic visuals of Yosemite’s Vernal Fall (the group’s upcoming album is set to be titled ‘The Waterfall’). It’s a sprightly piece with some vaguely Southern-flavoured vocals and steadily evolving guitars that weave in and out of one another.

'Not Like Here' - Mar



With its synth swells and seductive male vocals, ‘Not Like Here’ sets itself up to be a slowjam for serenading the ladies to. But then in comes the pitch-shifted vocals followed by a surprise spacey synth-bass breakdown. Now even I want to make babies with Mar.

'Young Black Mind' - Dolphin


I don’t feature many jazz songs on this blog because it’s not really my forte, but this new track from Baltimore artist Dolphin about his mother’s influence on his life is sentimental and beautiful enough that any music listener can appreciate it. Impressively, the dude is a one-man band, singing and performing all instruments on the track as well as producing it.

'Puzzle' - Lapalux


UK electronic artist Lapalux is starting to sound a lot like Flying Lotus, which is a good thing so long as he doesn’t end up completely hi-jacking the producer’s sound in the future. British singer, Andreya Triyana, provides some sweet soul amongst the sparkly chords. Listen here at Soundcloud.

THE WORST:


'Pilates' - Donmonique

This chick tries to rhyme Honda with Sunday and the result is ‘Honday’. That’s unforgivable.

'Yoga' - Janelle Monae & Jidenna


I’m a huge fan of Janelle Monae but this naughty ass-shaking anthem just isn’t for me. ‘Bend over. Let me see you do that Yoga’. I love how coincidentally the worst tracks this week are named 'Pilates' and 'Yoga'.