Saturday, 30 July 2016


Toronto jazz act BADBADNOTGOOD have abandoned the spooky melodies and pig masks and decided to put on their bow ties and get classy.

The result is one of their brightest and cleanest records to date, loaded with punchy drums, slinky basslines, twinkly mellotrons and a ton of hot and steamy sax (so hot and steamy you’ll be stripping down to your bath towels like the boys above). Resident sax player Leland Whitty for one has turned into a full time member and sax guru Colin Stetson even gets invited to lay down some noodling on one of the tracks ‘Confessions pt II’. Sax addicts like myself will be in their element.

Sure there are some potholes along the way – Sam Herring’s shaky soul singer impression on ‘Time Moves Slow’ being one of them – but the bulk of the album is carried out with elegance and finesse. ‘Speaking Gently’ has all the sparkle of a chandelier, revolving around a gleaming keyboard riff that builds into a triumphant climax. ‘Chompy’s Paradise’ meanwhile features some woozy detuned chords and a matching drunken sax, playing out like the sad breakup scene to some sixties romance movie (who is Chompy anyhow and why is it his paradise?).

All in all, the album is calm and sophisticated lounge bar music of the highest calibre. The only issue is that BADBADNOTGOOD’s appeal has long relied on them not being a lounge bar jazz act but instead a dark and dusty gutter jazz group. In cleaning up their production and brightening up their melodies, they’ve eliminated a lot of what made them edgy and unique to begin with, on a lot of tracks blending in with the traditional sound of every other Miles-Davis-tribute-act.

Of course, that isn’t to say this album is entirely boring and old-fashioned. A few urban guests such as electronic producer Kaytranada and rapper Mick Jenkins ensure the album still feels trendy and modern. Jazzheads may certainly appreciate the noodling more (it’s not my cup of tea), but the band refrain from going full bebop, not getting carried away with studious complexity. My only hope is that they won’t get any more prim or cheery in the future. And as gorgeous as the guys look posed topless in towels, pig masks are undeniably much cooler.  


Friday, 29 July 2016

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 29/07/2016: Mac Miller, serpentwithfeet, Sun Kil Moon and more...

This week I bring you Mac Miller, monobrows and Michael Jackson disses.


'Dang!' - Mac Miller ft. Anderson Paak

Mac and Paak! On the same track!!! ‘Dang!’ is certainly an appropriate title. And that summery beat they’re riding is so spine-tinglingly beautiful that I damn nearly slipped a disc.

'Social Politics' - Yassassin

It sucks that this is the London rock chick quartet's only available single because I desperately want more of these playful vocal harmonies and rugged riffs. May the group continue to deliver such a bouncy and anthemic rock sound in the future. Long live Yassassin (their band name 'Yassassin' is actually Turkish for 'long live' I believe)

'blisters' - serpentwithfeet

Lured in by the monobrow and multiple piercings, I was relived to find out that Josiah Wise (aka serpentwithfeet) was more than just a wacky image. Straight off of the artist's upcoming EP, this single 'blisters' (this dude loves all-lower-case) features an eerily enchanting instrumental produced by The Haxan Cloak, topped with some beautifully trembling-but-totally-controlled vocals. The suspense is unreal, especially those lonely claps in the middle of the track.

'Sweet Sound' – Sylvette

If Morrissey was to embrace Iberian guitars and operatic strings you might get half way to approaching the unique sound of this Manchester group’s debut single ‘Sweet Sound’. They describe their 'band interests' on Facebook as 'being full of angst', which is a regular past-time of mine too.


'Not Nice' - Party Next Door

Nice cover of Drake’s ‘One Dance’. Wait, this is a different song???

'He’s Bad' - Jesu/Sun Kil Moon

US folkster Mark Kozelek (aka Sun Kil Moon) clearly isn’t a Michael Jackson fan. In fact, as this song reveals, he absolutely loathes the king of pop. I guess he got bored trolling The War on Drugs. Sorry Mark, but this is 2edgy4me. 

Listen here.

Friday, 22 July 2016

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 22/07/2016: Duke Dumont, Jagwar Ma, Rich Chigga and more...

Whilst you’ve been busy hunting down last-minute holiday deals and Pokémon, I’ve been busy hunting down awesome new music – on top of last minute holiday deals and Pokémon. This week, I talk fanny-packs, corrugated roofs and vomit.


'Be Here' - Duke Dumont

Warm synths, bubbly trumpets and some smooth chopped female ‘mmm-mmm’s come together in this new Annie-Mac-approved banger courtesy of deep house producer Duke Dumont. A listener at the end of the radio rip describes it as ‘digital sunshine’ –  I couldn’t put it better myself.

'O B 1' - Jagwar Ma

The ‘I Feel Love’-inspired pulsing synth will make you want to hit the dancefloor. Meanwhile the psych rock guitars and vocals will make you want to hit the bong (that's the second week in a row I've mentioned bongs - I'm not a complete stoner I promise). Either way, you’ll want to hit the replay button afterwards.

'She' - Episodes

The 1975 wish they had grooves like this. Most corrugated roofs don’t have grooves this deep. That’s right, this Brighton band have got grooves. And their frontwoman has a super voice.

'Chew Toy' - Vomitface

We've all experienced waking up face-first in a pool of vomit before. Well maybe not all of us. FOR ME ITS JUST ANOTHER REGULAR MORNING. Anyhow, that invigorating feeling of waking up in a faceful of vomit is the feeling that NY rock trio aptly-named Vomitface certainly seem to have nailed down. The Nirvana undertones are strong – frontman Jared’s vocals taking inspiration from Cobain, only more tortured and dejected. The screamed line ‘Hooray for Me!’ couldn’t sound any less jubilant.

'Dat $tick' - Rich Chigga

Rocking a polo shirt and a fanny-pack and coming up with the word ‘chigga’ either make this 16-year-old Indonesian rapper the coolest or least cool human being ever – I haven’t decided yet. He’s certainly got flow and a mean beat behind him. His Youtube video teaching audience members how to microwave bread is also highly insightful.


'Make Me' - Britney Spears

Britney has arguably influenced most female pop stars today. Now she sounds like she’s playing catch-up. Not that I was ever a Britney fan anyway. Aqua and the Baha Men were more my thing. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Review of 'You Will Never Be One of Us' by Nails


Californian powerviolence platoon Nails don't want to comfort you. Their aim is to make you feel as downright uncomfortable as possible, sonically and lyrically. In the best possible way of course.

Following the band's two previous brutal releases, You Will Never Be One Of Us somehow manages to surpass and be even more brutal - transporting the listener through an angry vortex of blast beats, slam riffs, dissonant Slayer-esque guitar solos and barked inhuman vocals, each track separated by barely a split-second’s breathing space, hurling the listener from one song to the next like a ragdoll. Non-metal fans will be hammering the mute button faster than a whack-a-mole machine. Most metal fans will be trying their hardest not to flinch under the ten ton guitar tone. Nails aren’t for pussies.

That said, they're not a joke band either set on being extreme to the point of being unlistenable (see Last Days of Humanity) - they understand the importance of dynamics. The aggression may be permanently jammed in sixth gear for the entirety of the record, but the pacing isn't, Nails knowing when to counter breakneck speed with headbangable grooves. The fact that most of the songs average one minute certainly makes them more digestible. However, the group go out of their way to prove that they can also do longer songs when they so desire, eight minute closer being the perfect example switching sonic schizophrenia for a slow and suspenseful progression of sludgy riffs.

A few more playful touches like the Gojira-esque pick slides and feedback usage as found on 'They Come Crawling' might have made for an even more fun album. Even so, You Will Never Be One of Us is quite the thrill ride. 


Friday, 15 July 2016

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 15/07/2016: Jaden Smith, Crystal Castles, De La Soul and more...

I never know what to write in these introductory segments, so I'll just leave you with this inspirational quote from topical artist of the day Jaden Smith: 'How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren't Real'


'Labor V2' - Jaden Smith

No, I haven’t lost my marbles. Not all of them anyhow. The-Karate-Kid-actor and deranged-Twitter-yogi (he also happens to be the son of The Fresh Prince of Bel-air) has also been trying his hand at rap in recent years, the result of which has been largely awful, but now he’s delivered this all-bars-no-hook genuine gem titled ‘Labor V2’. Reminding us that he’s ‘only eighteen’, the young emcee proceeds to spit some confusing-but-amusing rhymes over a beautifully cinematic string-based beat. I’m especially liking ‘your banana flows they don’t appeal’.

'Deep Blue Sea' - Eleusia

Brilliantly describing themselves as ‘4 talented procrastinators who come together to get intoxicated and jam some tunes into a delicious sandwich’, Kent quartet Eleusia meld the groove of Steely Dan and the wah-wah-addiction of Jimi Hendrix into a solid piece of funk-rock psychedelia that’ll have you air guitaring your mate’s bong.  

'SP' - Big Jesus

How can a song sound both incredibly lively and yet incredibly chilled? Atlanta rock group Big Jesus are clearly capable of miracles. The grungy guitars and zen vocals make for a heavenly combo.

'Char' - Crystal Castles

Don’t get angry, but I’ve never listened to Crystal Castles before. Just never got round to it. Until now. A similar clash of ying and yang to that Big Jesus track above, Ethan’s violent synth arpeggios and new vocalist Edith’s choir-like singing make for a single that’s pretty but equally spooky. Is it as good as their old stuff? Better, definitely. (I haven’t listened to any of their old stuff, but I’m going to pretend I’m an expert on the matter, because that’s what us music bloggers do).

'Action!' - De La Soul

What is this corny-ass shit?’ was my first reaction to this new bouncy goofball track from Hip Hop old-timers De la Soul. ‘It’s kinda funky and adorable though, especially that beat’, was my second reaction. ‘Oh no, it’s for that loathsome new Angry Birds movie isn’t it?’, was my third reaction. ‘There must be a reason I keep returning to this track …’ was my reaction on my fourth listen. In other words, this is dope.


Fergie - M.I.L.F. $

To be honest, it’s not that bad on mute.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Review of 'The Getaway' by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The once wild Californian funk-rockers have slowly got more sleepy and tame over the years – once a pack of jumping leg-humping Jack Russells, now a mass of somnolent salivating senior St Bernards. What a sickening amount of alliteration I just used there.

Yes, RHCP have always been just as lovable, but not nearly as playful in recent years as proved by their utterly unmemorable last album I’m With You and previous two-hour slog Stadium Arcadium. Now releasing The Getaway, it seems the band have decided to make a getaway from Rick Rubin and the formulaic alt rock sound that’s been dragging them down for the last decade.  Upping the funk but being careful not to simply imitate their Blood Sugar Sex Magik glory days, they’ve instead decided to excitedly reinvent themselves bringing in spacey synths such as on ‘Go Robot’ and psychedelic guitar effects as found on title track ‘The Getaway’. Some dude called Elton John contributes some pianos, adding a new dimension. Frontman Anthony Kiedis meanwhile proves to be as nutty a lyricist as ever delivering lines such as ‘two centipedes stuck in one glass jar’ and curiously telling listeners to ‘do the avocado!’.

Indeed Flea could have tried to write a few less familiar basslines, but otherwise the album is teeming with fresh ideas. It’s just a pity that the band have continued to sound more like fresh bell peppers rather than chillies. Despite the big bearded bloke not being around to produce the album, the guitars still sound thin and the vocals still sound flat. All in all, everyone sounds half-asleep, Indeed, they’ve got more playful, but they aren’t packing that spicy kick any more that made them so hot in the beginning.

Time to call it a day’ sings Kiedis on ‘The Longest Wave’. Thankfully I don’t believe this sentiment to be true. Whilst the Chillies are getting older, I don’t think they’ve lost all their energy just yet. In fact there are teasing glimpses on this album such as the boisterous end of ‘Goodbye Angels’ and the raw guitar riff of ‘This Tinconderoga’ that show the group have heaps energy stored away.

All the band need are a few coffees to get them sounding lively again. A creative album, The Getaway just feels a little too laid back in its delivery for the guys who once wore nothing but socks on their cocks. 


Sunday, 10 July 2016

INTRODUCING: False Advertising

Meet False Advertising.

They’re a self-proclaimed ‘twisted grunge-garage trio’ from Manchester. Their latest EP ‘Brainless’ is a tasty raw slab of angst, made up of fuzzy guitars, angry percussion and some gorgeously moody hooks including ‘I hope my head don’t fall out’ and ‘I’ll let you have a piece of my mind’ (dismantling of heads seems to be a theme, hence the EP title I guess).

A couple weeks ago, I featured a track of theirs titled ‘Give it Your Worst’ on this blog. Utterly infatuated, I decided to stalk the band down and interrogate them with questions about gig stories, TV ads and, as always, pizza.

First off, if your band was a pizza what toppings would it have?

Chris: Well it wouldn't have cheese, so it wouldn't be that great hahaha. It would definitely have onion, cos onions have layers innit. The choruses would be thick chunks of salami whilst the verses would be anchovies.

Josh: Nah, one topping. KFC. Our band and the colonel have a very healthy relationship and we have every intention of keeping it that way.

Jen: I agree, we trust in the colonel and onions are disgusting.

False Advertising as a pizza

How did you three meet?

Josh: Well Chris and I grew up in the same hometown and had mutual friends in various bands together when growing up. So even though we were aware of each other, we weren’t actually mates until a messy night in the pub happened. 

Jen: I made friends with some of Chris’s friends when I moved to Manchester, then we ended up doing open mic nights and seeing each other around the place. Chris then introduced me to Josh.

Chris: Yeah I guess we were all friends of friends initially, then gradually we ended up deciding to start a band.

'Give it Your Worst’ is a phenomenal song. I can’t tell if the lyrics are brilliantly defeatist or brilliantly positive. Was this intentional? 

Jen: The initial idea of ‘Give it Your Worst’ came from watching someone very optimistic going through something truly terrible. So I suppose it’s both of those things in a way. It sucks when you’re too aware of time passing - you know that feeling on summer holiday where it’s like you regret every minute that’s passed because you should have made more of an effort to have fun? No one likes regretting lost time. We worked on the lyrics together though…

Chris: I’m personally fascinated by the apparent dichotomy of life, people tend to think that if you're not one thing, you’re another. Like, if you're not happy then you must be sad. I've noticed in myself and others how their opinion of things can change so drastically just because of the mood they're currently in - so I suppose the lyrics play with that notion of optimism and pessimism. It’s a theme that’s become a big influence.

Where did you film the music video? I’m loving the fish-eye lens by the way. And the groovy shades!

Chris: Manchester's northern quarter. You can say what you like about it being full of hipsters or whatever but it is a our spiritual home.

Jen: Haha, it’s around Sacha’s hotel. We always wondered what it was like inside so filming the video there killed two birds with one stone. I want to go back for their steak night (think it’s on a Wednesday?) and to do karaoke.

Josh: The décor in there is hilarious, its worth going just for the cringe! The fish eye lens is just a little phone accessory.

Manchester has always had a pretty decent music scene. Any local acts right now besides yourself that you think people need to know about?

Chris: Flesh and The Hyena Kill.

Josh: Agreed - you need to listen to Hyena Kill; they’ve just released one of the best albums of the year in my opinion, I’m so stoked for them. Also Horsebeach are sounding particularly fresh too – worth checking them out for sure. 

Jen: I really like the sound of Thing - who we’ve actually just booked a big Manchester show with in November alongside Horsebeach and Narcs (cough cough!). Narcs also have a sweet new album out which you need to check out right now. Then look out for Mums’ new album which is going to blow your face off in the Autumn too.

What are False Advertising gigs like? Any funny gig stories?

Josh: High energy, sweaty, and pretty damn loud to be honest haha.

Chris: It's basically all three of us trying desperately not to fuck up. There are many but Jen walking onstage without her guitar and having to run off backstage to get it sticks out as a corker.

Jen: They can be confusing as Chris and I swap instruments mid-way through the set. Sometimes people think we’re two different bands I think.

On a vaguely related note regarding your band name, let’s talk about advertising. Favorite and least favorite TV ad of all time?

Josh: Favorite ad? Hmm not sure if it’s the best, but the FIRST advert ever I remember was when I was 3 for Lucky Ducks . 
I just remember it being the first time I ever saw something and realized it was something that was meant for ME!. I never got it though... I sadly, was not a Lucky Duck :’(
Least Favorite? Probs lucky ducks because I never got it.

Jen: Favourite, probably the road crossing one with the hedgehogs where they sing about being King of the Road. Classic. Also, it’s not strictly TV but the recent House of Cards campaign was on point.
Worst, at the moment - 'I see you baby, chicken madras’. Oh god. 

Chris: I always liked the Levis one where they were running through walls but lets face it most are bad - I hate being advertised to. If I want something I’ll research it and then buy it.

What does the future hold for False Advertising?

Jen: Well seeing as we released our album and EP in quick succession (it’s not even been a year yet since our self-titled album came out!). The immediate plan is to gig as much as possible throughout the remainder of 2016. We are running out of singles to release though, so we’re definitely looking ahead to making a killer next record which will obviously change the world.

Josh: We’re all really keen to progress into a bigger place with our next record. We want to push ourselves to do everything better, musicianship, feel song-craft etc. But without losing the core character that makes us sound like us.

Chris: We’d be lying if we said we’re not ambitious.

Follow False Advertsing at @falseadv

Review of 'Wriggle' by clipping.

Clipping (stylised ‘clipping.’ but for punctuation’s sake we’ll call them Clipping) continue to make music out of the most unmusical ideas conceivable, this time centreing their creepy lyrics around sex. The result is Wriggle - an EP that will either get you wriggling uncomfortably in your seat or wriggling with masochistic joy.

The hare-brained hip hop group have always been challenging even to a liberal-minded listener like myself. Rapping over Merzbow-esque harsh noise on their debut Midcity, and then graduating to dentist drills and alarm clock bleeps on their follow-up Clppng, the group have now worked up to making beats solely out of scary gunshot noises on Wriggle (as showcased with the track ‘Shooter’). The nutty inventiveness and head-bobbing sense of rhythm is back, but so is the frustrating lack of melody. Daveed Diggs’ rapping meanwhile both takes away and adds to the intensity, each word conveyed with a crisp and clean clarity that serves as a warm blanket against the cold dissonant noise, but delivered at a dizzying speed that might as well be an extra punch in the gut.

As for the lyrics, they’ve now taken on a less psychopathic tone, going for a pervy vibe instead. Diggs’ isn't quite the urban bard he was on Clppng, no longer sitting down his listeners for stories, but crafting songs out of unsettling stream of consciousness garble. Thankfully the imagery is still vivid and clever, even if I’m not sure what to think of an image like ‘wriggle like an eel’ or Cakes Da Killa’s beautiful contributed line ‘golden showers on white sheets’. It’s certainly not music to play at your 8-year-old nephew’s birthday party, but if you’re struggling for something to spin in your sex dungeon, this is definitely the record for you.

One of Clipping’s messiest projects to date, Wriggle’s lyrics and song structures can often feel directionless. Whether this is an intentional way of further disorientating the listener or a song-writing flaw is up for debate. ‘Shooter’ has clear verses and a hook, but the snaking synth in the background refuses to settle into a cosy harmonious riff – probably intentionally messy. Meanwhile, closer ‘Our Time’ aims for an epic crescendo only to settle into a clunky chorus from guest vocalist Nailah Middleton that couldn’t be less catchy if it tried – probably unintentionally messy.

Of course, Wriggle is still a solid EP, and sure signs that full-length album is in the works. Technically impressive, creative and still packing a groove, Clipping may be just as head-scratching, but they’re also just as engaging, still pushing hip hop forward to new daring places and remaining ahead of the curve.


Thursday, 7 July 2016

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 08/07/2016: Blood Orange, Sampha, Goblin Cock and more...

We've got every flavour to accommodate your need this week from Blood Orange to Goblin Cock. Wait, why am I saying 'we'. I'm the only dude writing this blog!!! 


'Augustine' - Blood Orange

Even in spite of the pulsing drum machine beat, there’s something gorgeously organic about this new power-pop anthem from Dev Hynes (AKA Blood Orange). It’s got a soulful Prince-vibe to it. Can you believe this man used to be in a dance-punk band called Test Icicles? And didn’t he have an indie rock career under the name Lightspeed Champion at some point? You certainly couldn’t criticise Dev for not trying new things.

'Plastic 100°C' - Sampha

Some of you may know Sampha from a Drake-collab he did a couple years back. Personally, I’d forgotten about him. After this poignant performance, I doubt I’ll ever forget this UK singer-songwriter again. This is the kind of raw performance that gets your hairs standing up, the kind of performance that makes the whole world stop, the kind of magical performance that makes you believe there is hope and a God and a heaven. Basically, summed up, some dude plays piano on a roof.

'Bold Ego Fledgling' - The Inconsistent Jukebox

The mix of industrial glitchiness, distorted guitars and weird echoed vocals may well freak you out at first. But as the song progresses, a sense of order does begin to form, and what initially sounds like a broken jukebox playing every song simultaneously slowly turns into beautiful organised chaos.

'For Real' - Mall Rat

You make me smile for real’. Cheery lyrics and bouncy pianos make up this stupidly happy song from Aussie pop songstress Mallrat. Some days stupidly happy is all you need in life.

'Something Haunted' - Goblin Cock

Alternatively, some days all you need is a good bit of Goblin Cock. Initially lured in a couple years ago by the band name, I was happy to discover the group’s sound was just as awesome, made up of sludgy guitars and some kickass clean vocals as showcased in this rugged stoner metal riff-fest. Supposedly these guys broke up, and yet they’re still clearly making music, but I guess that’s simply the trend nowadays.


'Hell No' - Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson seems like the kind of overly clean, safe and calculated indie-pop singer found accompanying every baby product ad. She’s probably dabbled with ukuleles at some point in her career. In other words, ‘Hell No’ is nauseatingly twee. And the less said about the music video, the better. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 02/07/2016: Arc Iris, Trim, Fallout Boy and more...

I had a smashing time in Ibiza… thanks for asking. A lot has happened since my last Tracks of the Week instalment, although not much musically, unless you count that little festival in Glastonbury. And oh yeah, an underground rapper named Kanye released a music video. But I’m not going to talk about any of that, so let’s move on…  


'Give It Your Worst' - False Advertising

Cool sound. Cool shades. An all-round cool fucking song. And I can’t even tell if the lyrical sentiment ‘give it your worst’ is brilliantly depressing or brilliantly upbeat. The grungy-yet-bubbly guitars and vocal harmonisation that this Manchester trio plays with seem only to make things more ambiguous.

'Kaleidoscope' - Arc Iris

Arc Iris are hands down the best broadway/folk/jazz/country/rock band around, I’m sure you’ll agree. And this new creative single definitely has me hyped for their new album Moon Saloon. With its boom-bap drums, drowsy guitars, fluttering strings, shuffling bass and dainty vocals, it’s tricky to think of a genre that this isn’t’ influenced by.

'Prayers/Triangles'  - Deftones (Com Truise remix)

For no reason at all, I tend to avoid covering remixes on this blog. However, this was simply too good/obscure to pass up. When was the last time you heard an eighties-style electro remix of a Deftones song? Who knew Com Truise had an interest in metal? And who knew that the result could be so dazzlingly brilliant?

'Before I Lied' - Trim

DAT BEAT THO! These harsh metallic synths really do suit Trim’s paranoid bars: ‘Be careful who you laugh amongst’. The UK rapper has also released another track ‘Man Like Me’, which you can take a gander at here.

'S2E3' - Bill $aber

DAT BEAT THO! From what I can tell Bill $aber makes menacing trap rap numbers with Princess Peach thumbnails. Eerie synths tease up to some gut-rumbling 808 kicks in this badass track produced by William $ Charming (lot of $ being thrown around here). The contrastingly sweet thumbnail of Princess Peach somehow makes it all the more unsettling.


Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid) - Fallout Boy ft. Missy Elliot

I guess this isn’t all that awful. I mean compared to the UK leaving the EU, compared to England leaving the Euros, compared to my current holiday blues, compared to the trauma of seeing that Kanye video … well … this song really isn’t that bad. Fall Out Boy aren’t as melodramatic as I imagined they would be, and Missy lays down some passable bars. They make for a pretty unusual combo, one that doesn’t sit very well in the stomach, but I can just about swallow it. Ah … who am I kidding? THIS COVER IS HORRIBLE