Friday, 23 February 2018

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 24/02/2018: Higher Brothers, Father John Misty, All Hail Hyena! and more…

This week I explore popular genres such as Chinese hip hop and queer hardcore punk.


‘Trickery’ – Higher Brothers

If you’ve ever wondered what Jamiroquai would sound like with Chinese rapping over the top, well, it’s your lucky day. Backed by a deliciously funky bassline, these fun-loving Far East rappers deliver some smooth bars and a catchy hook (I say ‘catchy’, although I’d probably struggle to sing along to it).  If you like this song, you should definitely check out some of the other Asian acts currently being pushed by music marketing group 88rising. I predict an Asian invasion of western hip hop in the imminent future.

 ‘Black Professional’ – N.ave

Philly artist N.ave works in a professional office environment by day, whilst crafting hip hop music by night. There aren’t many rappers who’ll admit that. In fact, I’m sure few upcoming rappers can make such a claim. With his new track ‘Black Professional’, the title track from his new EP, N.ave confronts the obsession with wanting more from life. It’s a track that many of us can relate to, accompanied by a gorgeous beat.

‘Mr Tillman’ – Father John Misty

Josh Tillman (AKA Father John Misty) has written a new song about himself seemingly going through a mental breakdown, delivered from the perspective of begrudging hotel staff: ‘oh, and a reminder of our policy/ don’t leave your mattress in the rain if you sleep on the balcony’. The lyrics contain Tillman’s signature mix of humour and depression. It’s definitely got Elton John vibes too.

‘Capitulate’ – Hit Bargain

Self-proclaimed queencore act Hit Bargain hail from LA and write songs that confront queerness and sex. This new dark and urgent song tackles consent, sung from the desperate voice of someone reluctantly giving in to sex whist frantic dissonant guitars play out sinisterly in the background.

‘Stranger’s Song’ – All Hail Hyena

The pyjama-wearing indie punks are back with a new drummer and a new video for their single ‘Stranger’s Song’. Short bursts of guitar make up the catchy verses, accompanied by typically barmy lyrics.


‘Bastards’ – Machine Head

Political folk metal is a bold new direction for Machine Head and one that I never hope to hear again.

Friday, 16 February 2018

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 16/02/2018: Topaz Jones, Mabuta, Natalie Portman and more…

Some fresh new music to consume with your pancakes and Valentines chocolates.


 ‘Zoom’ -  Topaz Jones

I’m loving the soulful way in which this New Jersey rapper rhymes ‘voodoo’ and ‘tutu’ and then ‘couscous’. He may well be the only hip hop artist I know spitting bars about couscous. It beats rapping about codeine. The groovy beat’s pretty cool too.

‘In My Dreams’ – Show Clothes & Gavriella

This tune with its symphonic strings is so sauve that I feel like I ought to be listening to it dressed in a tuxedo whilst playing blackjack. It’s made all the more gorgeous by Gavriella’s jazz-pop cadences. Some nonsensical perfume ad needs to use this song in the background and give it the recognition it deserves.

 ‘Tree of Love’ – Auramancer

The moody QOTSA-like vocals and carnivalesque guitars kick this track off to a great start. But the song really hits its stride with that soaring chorus. The Belgian rockers have an EP out titled ‘The Only Way To Fail’ for those that love this song and want more.

‘Welcome To This World’ – Mabuta

Mabuta is Japanese for ‘eyelid’. This is the length that people go to nowadays to find original band names. Sadly I couldn’t find any more ‘eye-opening’ facts about this jazz quintet. I don’t usually dig jazz instrumentals, but this gliding track is absolutely hypnotic. I can almost imagine myself flying when I close my eyelids.

 ‘Natalie’s Rap 2’ – Natalie Portman


I would pay good money for a whole rap album from Natalie Portman. Following her 2009 Lonely Island collaboration, Natalie has decided to return with another hilarious single this time making Black Swan references and defending Jar Jar Binks. Also, Andy Samberg is back dressed as a Viking.


‘Whiteboy’ - Tom Macdonald

This dude is brave, I’ll give him that. But a rap song about ending white guilt seems a bit insensitive given that hip hop was born out of black struggles.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

INTRODUCING: Dopest Gringo Alive

Meet DGA (Dopest Gringo Alive).

He’s a Latino DIY noise-rapper from California who self-describes himself on his Bandcamp page as ‘the last son of Krypton and the patron saint of blast-out rap’.

Whilst there are lots of rappers out there currently barking over noisy beats, DGA’s idiosyncratic style is totally his own. His self-produced beats comprise of murky samples and distorted drums, but carry a mood more similar to extreme metal than trap rap. His bars meanwhile are a mixture of punky sociopolitical commentary and grungy personal anguish, whilst others are comically berserk. Take 'Fuego Sus', which sees the rapper uttering lines like ‘Hold my Prozac, let me go bust a nut on my soul’, before breaking into a dark interpolation of the Cha Cha slide. You can stream his latest album Fuego Sus below.

Eager to get to know this eccentric rapper, I decided to arrange this interview and ask lots of ridiculous questions about pizza and what it would be like to wake up as Ariana Grande.

If DGA was a pizza, what toppings would it have?

Figs and bacon maybe.

Alright, so we know you’re the first dopest gringo alive – who is the second dopest gringo?

My concept of gringo is pretty specific but maybe Johnny Cash? But he’s quite dead. Tom Hardy is DGA’s dream boy so maybe him. BUT - the main point is that I don’t have much competition because - you heard it here first - white people suck! :)

I’m loving your noisy and raw production style. Who are your influences production-wise?

Summing this kind of thing up accurately is a terrifying task because what if I say the wrong thing? No no no, better to say nothing.  (Guerilla Toss, Death Grips, and everything El-P produces are some noisy shit)

There’s some incredible sampling on your album Fuego Sus. Where do you find your samples?

My samples come from a lot of everchanging sources but the mainstay are my friends’ music and demos, with permission of course.  All my best stuff comes from them.

Some of your lyrics are very dark. How personal are your lyrics? Or is more of a case of trying to create a mood?

My lyrics are 100 percent hella personal but I’m mentally unhealthy so their delusionally dramatic darkness is more from that than reality.  Also I just say sicke shit so people can get boo-boos on the edge.  

‘Ariana Grande SEO’ is a bizarre little track about wanting to be Ariana Grande. What would you genuinely do if you woke up and you were Ariana Grande?

I would be perfect.  I wouldn’t have to do anything except be Ariana Grande.  Everything would be A okay.  I would continue to layer sarcasm with continually less meaning!

You’re trapped on a desert island and can only bring three personal items (let’s say, you’ve already got food and the bare essentials to survive). What three items do you bring?

2 15s and something to play out them.  I’ve never had 2 15s but Big KRIT does so I think that’s cool.

You have to share your desert island experience with one of the following people – Donald Trump, Logan Paul or MC Ride? They each have rabies for some reason. Who do you choose?

For the sake of brevity - Stefan can get it.

What music are you listening to right now? What were your favourite songs and least favourite songs of 2017?

I’ve been listening to King Krule’s 2017 album The OOZ a shitton.  Bay area slaps.  Indigenous Mexican music.  Folksy cowboy music.  Grindcore/Breakcore.  Those are just some interesting maybe unique things.  I don’t keep up to date with music very well.  A strange album I recommend is Touchy by Luie Luie.  Its very uncomfortable but I love it - “I made these recordings all by myself!”

What does the future hold for DGA?

A lot a lot a lot of hard work to improve and make something I can call dope without hesitation.  I’m hoping to make a lot more music videos since I loved making the video for “Stitched Up” and for better or worse I made exactly what I pictured.  I’ll say there are a lot of singles coming up because if I tell people there are then there will be.  When I drop another album I promise it will be good or your free download back.  Much love, kiss kiss.

Follow DGA at 

Friday, 2 February 2018

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 02/02/2018: James Blake, Let’s Eat Grandma, Von Sell and more…

Eccentric envelope-pushing tunes from James Blake, Let's Eat Grandma, Von Sell and more...


‘If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead’ – James Blake

James Blake’s atmospheric electropop has always been fairly left-field, but the choppy and distorted vocal editing that he brings to this song is truly ground-breaking. It stutters along in a panicky manner (the lyrics the lyrics repeat repeat like this like this), perfectly fitting the song’s theme of life speeding ahead. Will James Blake be releasing an album soon of similar-flavoured stutter-pop tunes? I hope so (although I can imagine a whole album of this might give me an anxiety attack).

‘Hot Pink’ – Let’s Eat Grandma ft. SOPHIE

Creepily-named alt-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma take things in a more dancey direction on their latest single ‘Hot Pink’, teaming up with banger-crafting producer SOPHIE. In fact, the combo of Brit-inflected vocals and EDM instrumentation remind me a lot of AlunaGeorge.

‘Hell No’ – Von Sell

This Brooklyn-via-Germany musician almost had to give up his career as a vocalist after suffering vocal chord pain and discomfort which left him unable to sing. Fortunately, after over a year’s break from music, Von Sell has managed to make a recovery and bring his dream career back to life. His new single ‘Hell No’ is quite the comeback – it’s a melancholy electropop single with a soaring groovy chorus and unusual progression that keeps you hooked. It gets a big 'hell yeah' from me.

‘Comet Tails’ – Filthy Kitsch

Joe Shackleton is another artist who has had to battle through injuries to keep his music career alive. Once a drummer for several indie bands, the Stockholm musician had to give up after suffering several joint problems. Whilst his days playing percussion in live shows may now be over, this hasn’t stopped him recording new material under a new alias Filthy Kitsch. ‘Comet Tails’ is a stomping triumphant song made up of driving guitars, bright synths and cheery ooh-la-las. It’s an excitingly fresh indietronica sound that proves a debilitating injury needn’t be the end, but instead the beginning of something new.

‘Baby I’m Bleeding’ – JPEGMAFIA

This beat is absolutely bonkers. At first you wonder where its heading with its looped juddering vocal sample. Then JPEGMAFIA starts angrily spitting over it, some bass and a snare come in, after which it turns into a mean head-bobbing banger. The experimental hip hop artist has a new album out titled Veteran full of similarly crazy sampling for those hungry for more.  


 ‘Supastars’ – Migos

Migos are masters at creating middle-of-the-road trap rap. I can't bring myself to listen to their new two hour album. I'd rather wipe my butt with sandpaper.