Saturday, 28 October 2017
Lo-fi music videos and creepy crawlies feature in this week’s belated track rundown.
Everytime’ – Boy Pablo
This frontman has SWAG! Short shorts and a pink hoodie are my outfit of choice when seducing the ladies. In fact, this whole music video is a sight to behold – especially the close zooms of the band members’ faces as they squint into the sun. The Norwegian kids could have won me over with the satirical goofiness of their video alone, but to top it all off the song itself is bloody phenomenal. Their dreamy sound is like shoegaze without the sopping wet reverb. It sounds oddly nostalgic, even if I haven’t heard anything like it before.
‘Time’s Been Reckless’ - Marika Hackman
Marika Hackman’s new upbeat rock single is accompanied by a music video full of creepy crawlies. Is she getting us in the mood for Halloween? Are they a visual representation of the decaying love depicted in the lyrics? Whatever the reason may be, there are bugs in the music video, so get ready to squirm in your seat.
‘Always a Secret’ – Charlotte & Magon
Ever wondered what a combination of Talking Heads and Kate Bush would sound like? Probably not. Well, this French-Israeli duo have gone ahead and created that very concoction. They call it ‘cosmic pop’, which they describe in their own brilliant terminology as ‘psychedelicious’.
‘Gud Tymes’ – DoM
The pounding drums, spooky church chimes and creepy visuals all make this an excellent tune for this time of year. The bright synths during the chorus caught me off guard, but thankfully the track doesn’t go too cheery, returning back to its menacing verse. I want to call it punk-pop – not to be confused with pop-punk which is a genre miles apart from this song.
‘One Chance To Dance’ – Joe Jonas & Naughty Boy
‘I’m no Michael Jackson’. I can’t argue with that.
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
WARNING: this is not one of those lists of campy Halloween classics like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bobby Pickett’s The Monster Mash. This list is for pure fear-chasing sadists who are ready to surrender their bowels and suffer endless nightmares for years to come. You’ll want to exorcize your speakers after listening to these records – not that Satan had any part in the creation of these albums; in fact, he’s still rocking back and forth in the corner of his bedroom after listening to these monstrosities, muttering to himself ‘Why? Why did I scar myself by reading that terrifying list on Music Related Junk?’. Basically, get off this list now if you’ve got a weak heart. You have been warned.
5) Nature Unveiled - Current 93
This 1984 cauldron of Gregorian chanting, pitched-down pianos and trippy effects-slathered chants still sounds absolutely terrifying to this day. It’s like playing with a Ouija board on shrooms. The substance of David Tibet’s incantations is difficult to make out. He could be reading off a shopping list for most the album for all I know. Not that it matters as the warped delivery would still be disturbing enough.
Amount of bricks shat: 13
4) Suicide – Suicide
There’s one track on this 1977 album titled ‘Frankie Teardrop’ which earns Suicide a place on this list. You can listen to it above if you dare. Vocalist Alan Vega narrates the twisted story of an overworked man driven to murdering his family, which would have been creepy enough itself – but then he goes and throws in some blood-curdling jump-scare shrieks. The whole album’s a little dark, but this track takes the cake.
Amount of bricks shat: 666
3) Outre - Portal
Portal make every other extreme metal band sound like Disney music. Outre is their magnum opus horribilis (basically, it’s truly harrowing shit). You know it’s going to be a bad trip as soon as those atonal murky guitars come in like some giant Frankenstein slug made of sewn-together corpses rising out of a swamp. What follows is a lightless, unforgiving descent through the audial abyss. As you claw onto any sense of hope, the album responds by dragging you deeper into its horrifying depths. Portal claim to be from Australia, but I think they may have mistaken 'down under' for the ninth circle of Hell.
Amount of bricks shat: ENOUGH TO REBUILD THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
2) Bestial Burden - Pharmakon
After an emergency operation led her to have an unspecified organ removed, noise artist Margaret Chardiet (AKA Pharmakon) decided to release this visceral and utterly fucked-up ode to bodily mutilation. Synth drones as cold as the chopped up limbs in a psychopath’s freezer and industrial clangs darker and more distorted than a dusty VHS snuff film make up the backdrop to Margaret’s vocals, which are a mixture of tortured screams, breathless gasps and even the sound of her vomiting on one track. You’ll be listening through one headphone.
Amount of bricks shat: ENOUGH TO BUILD THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA AND THE TRUMP WALL COMBINED
1) Projekt Misanthropia - Stalaggh
Stalaggh shouldn’t exist, but it does. These bastards took it too far. ‘Stalaggh’ is a combination of the word ‘stalag’ (a Nazi concentration camp) and GH (which apparently stands for Global Holocaust). The vocals are actual screams from mental asylum patients (supposedly). It’s a cesspool of harsh noise, extreme metal and pained screeches. The same group of musicians have actually created another project titled Vorkuta under the artist name ‘Gulaggh’, which is arguably worse as it incorporates children’s screams. I’ve only listened to a couple minutes of each record and that was enough of an endurance test (you can listen to one of the tracks above as a sweet taster). This is, after all, music to be endured, not enjoyed - if you can even call it 'music'.
Amount of bricks shat: *currently still shitting*
Friday, 20 October 2017
Get your jazz hands at the ready. Lots of jazz-inspired fun this week.
‘Keep the Devil Off’ – Big K.R.I.T
Hallelujah! Praise the lord! The speedy-spitting Mississippi rapper is back with a track that can only be described as ‘gospel rap’. Over wild organs, choir harmonies and 808s, K.R.I.T bellows bars with a passion of a Pentecostal preacher. A new album is set to drop soon, the first since 2014’s Cadillactica.
‘Mosquito’ – Kode Maya
This genre-defying Finnish duo make music that’s both somehow experimental and poppy, cheery and dark. It’s not often you get a hook like ‘there’s a killer on the loose’ over washed-out synths that could appear on a Disclosure record. Then, just as you’ve got the song figured out, it completely changes direction, making way for some jazzy guitar chords, wacky pitch-shifted vocals and a beat that’s practically hip hop. It’s a true adventure into the unknown.
‘Butterfly Effect’ – Abbi Press
This New York singer’s wistful vocals are like spa treatment to my ears. But it’s the instrumental that sets this apart from everyday lounge music, starting as chilled electronica and then morphing into some glitched-out house beat.
‘Candygram’ – Valipala
Valipala dub themselves a ‘progressive r&b’ act, which is exciting as it sounds. Frontwoman Lauren Scales delivers belting Whitney-like inflections over an everchanging jazzy instrumental sporting everything from trumpets to electric guitars. The big apple band have an EP titled Mango City out today which is full of equally bananas jazz-pop hybrids ( I got carried away with the fruit references there) available to listen on their Bandcamp page here.
‘It’s Okay To Cry’ – SOPHIE
SOPHIE’s strength is claustrophobic bangers, not soppy Europop-style ballads devoid of percussion. Also where are the digital vocals? Is SOPHIE a real person now? It’s all too human.
‘I Love You Jesus’ – Trisha Paytas
Youtube’s most annoying vlogger has made a corny Christian song. Jesus wept.
Friday, 13 October 2017
BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 13/10/2017: All Hail Hyena, St. Vincent, Django Django and more...
Dogs in spacesuits, trippy ghost train rides and nursery-rhyme-style choruses about popping pills. This week has it all…
‘Sabbathian’ - All Hail Hyena
All Hail Hyena have been snorting all kinds of substances as their new video for ‘Sabbathian’ demonstrates, featuring dogs in space-suits and grinning Buddha statue representations of the band members and all other manner of off-the-wall shit. It fits the frantic guitarwork and chanted vocals perfectly. ‘Sabbathian’ is straight off the nutters’ brilliant EP S T I C K € R S released earlier this year and has been entered into a competition held by Salute Music Makers – which you can check out here.
‘Pills’ – St. Vincent
St. Vincent continues to go full-on pop. The nursery rhyme style chorus and Taylor Swift vibes at the beginning had me pulling out the hair in my hipster beard yelling ‘SHE’S GONE MAINSTREAM! NOOOO!’. But wait, it’s okay – as the track progresses, St. Vincent makes it clear that this is no ordinary pop song. The instrumental morphs more times than Flubber and the final two minutes may as well be an entirely different song, evolving into some epic chamber-pop outro complete with a sax solo.
‘Tic Tac Toe’ – Django Django
Life can end up being repetitive and dull if you’re not careful. The latest upbeat twangy anthem from electro-indie cowboys Django Django centres around this theme, complete with a music video that sees the band taking a trip to the seaside and experiencing all the attractions with a routine sense of boredom. Are we all just telling ourselves that we’re having fun, but actually just living life day by day? Is it time to break the cycle? Should I quit these bloody weekly track roundups and this blog, sell all my possessions and hitchhike the world? Is that what you’re telling me to do Django Django? *MUSIC RELATED JUNK IS NOW ON HIATUS*
Shoffy – Fake Friends
With its creative blend of rapping and singing and its woozy sugary chords, this new chirpy single from LA artist Shoffy will make you truly believe life can be better without those fake friends in your life. I’m going to cut ties with all my fake friends today. But wait - what if I don’t have any friends? WAAAAAAAAAAAAH
‘And Saints’ – Sleigh Bells
This song gives me a serious case of blue balls. Those synths sounded like they were building up to something, but the whole track just kind of goes nowhere.
‘Straight Boy’ - Shamir
Before the SJWs come at me, I’m not angry at the subject matter. Straight men can be douchebags. The issue with this track is that it’s a wishy-washy two-chord snoozefest that sounds like it was recorded on a phone. Where are all the groovy dance tracks like ‘On The Regular’? A social message can still carry a groove.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
The lo-fi loving lunatic’s new LP is a celebration of the obscure.
Back in the 60s, a folk artist named Bobby Jameson rose to fame. He seemed set on being the next big pop sensation. However, instead of continuing his course for stardom, he instead chose to disappear into obscurity. He died in 2015, at which point indie cult weirdo Ariel Pink decided to create this tribute album.
To be honest, this isn’t really a tribute album at all, at least certainly not to Jameson's music. Dipping into genres as diverse as 80s synthpop and 70s prog, most of these sounds are nothing like the folksy tracks that Jameson wrote. Perhaps what Ariel Pink is really celebrating is Jameson’s defiance to go mainsteam - the fact that he deliberately chose the shadows over the limelight. Pink is a pure-bred outsider – not your average cool-dressing hipster-type like all the other acts paraded on Pitchfork. He’s genuinely weird, and this album is all about embracing his obscurity, just like Jameson, and refusing to fit in.
Pom Pom was arguably Pink’s catchiest record, with singalong anthems like ‘Put Your Number In My Phone’. He must have felt it was too poppy, because now he’s reined in the catchy hooks. The production meanwhile is much grainier like some damaged cassette tape you might find in your parent’s attic. It’s like he’s tried to drill his sound back into the underground.
That said, for the most part, it also feels less daring than Pom Pom did. The parping electronica and radio jingle choruses and risqué lyrics of tracks like ‘Black Ballerina’ and ‘Dinosaur Carebears’ made Pom Pom feel bravely goofy and uncool. On Dedicated To Bobby Jameson, the sounds are all much cooler – whether he be borrowing from The Cure or Steely Dan. It’s the stuff we’re used to hearing indie bands pay tribute to.
Take ‘Feels Like Heaven’ for example. It’s a dazzling reverb-slathered song with Smiths undertones, but when you listen to your lyrics you realise it’s your average nostalgic love song. There’s nothing smarmy or pitiful or creepy about, which has always been Ariel Pink’s shtick.
That isn’t to say he hasn’t lost his maverick charm altogether. ‘Time To Live’ is a noisy, utterly bonkers potpourri of metal riffs and trumpets before settling into a more easy-on-the-ears Adam-and-the-Ants style anthem. ‘Dreamdate Narcissist’ is utter lyrical gibberish with lines like ‘netflix and chill and we pick some dogs’ and ‘protein shake oooh’. And then there’s acting which see’s Ariel Pink offering digital warbling over smooth-ass funk. All of these are enough to satiate one’s fix of bizarre. Although not as unapologetically freakish as he was on Pom Pom, Pink’s still got a long way to go before he could ever be considered boringly normal.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
It’s all pop this week. Don’t worry, it’s mostly weird-ass pop. Music Related Junk isn’t selling out quite yet.
‘Drink I’m Sippin On’ – Yaeji
I don’t understand a word this South Korean chick is singing, but I’m hooked. Over glossy synth swells and steady punches of distorted bass, Yaeji’s whispered rap-singing hypnotically pulls you in. The cool aesthetics in the video help. Not many people can pull off circular-rim glasses like that.
‘100◦’ – Zoology
Glitchy acoustic pop shouldn’t work. Glitch music is cold and digital, whilst acoustic music is warm and rustic. Nonetheless this enigmatic duo make it work – the cracks and fizzles seem to add to the fragility of the guitars, whilst also adding a dreamlike quality to the singer’s already gorgeous voice.
‘Rabbit Hole’ – CHMBRS
Halloween is round the corner. Where are all the creepy songs at? Enter CHMBRS. Set to a dark backdrop of pulsing synths and accompanied by freaky visuals set in a cage, this Aussie electropop artist’s new anxiety-fuelled song ‘Rabbit Hole’ is satisfyingly unsettling. It also succeeds at being pretty damn catchy.
‘Waitin’ – Kelela
Kelela has just dropped her debut album Take Me Apart - a gauntlet of futuristic r&b anthems. ‘Waitin’ is the third single from it and sounds like some sci-fi take on UK garage. I’m even getting Craig David vibes from her breathy inflections.
‘Pray’ – Sam Smith
Sam Smith squanders his incredible voice yet again with another soulless soul track that could have been released fifteen years ago.