Astroworld – Travis Scott
Travis Scott’s auto-tuned drivel doesn’t really do much for me, although I must say this is the most sophisticated auto-tuned drivel I’ve heard. The glitzy production and the star-studded array of guests shows that Travis is definitely a good orchestrater – few hip hop artists can rope together Stevie Wonder, James Blake and Kid Cudi all onto a single album, let alone a single track. The whole album feels like one big party – I just don’t care for the man at the centre of it.
Dummy Boy - 6ix9ine
This album is a crime against music and 6ix9ine deserves to get his jail sentence extended for it. The SoundCloud rapper has shamelessly sold out – whilst there are some shouty trap rap numbers here, there are also auto-tuned Latin pop tracks like ‘Bebe’ that seem like a complete betrayal of his original sound (not that I liked his original sound, but it’s a lot better than auto-tuned Latin pop). There was clearly no effort put into the album. In fact, I can guarantee I put more effort into writing this mini review.
Self Titled – KIDS SEE GHOSTS
Personally I preferred Ye to this. I have issues with the vocals - and no it's not Kanye's gunshot sounds on 'Feel The Love' that are the problem (I actually found them quite entertaining). The issue is Kid Cudi's constant moaning inflection, which I can only endure for so long. Nonetheless, the guitar-infused instrumentals are pretty fun and are proof that you can rap over rock beats without the whole thing being corny (looking at you Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven).
Care For Me – Saba
I’m a sucker for a jazzy beat and Chicago rapper Saba offers a surfeit of these beats on this album. His introspective storytelling meanwhile is exceptional – if ‘Prom/King’ doesn’t give you goosebumps, you’ve either got no ears or no skin.
Negro Swan - Blood Orange
Dev’s last album Freetown Sound had its highlights, but for the most part he sounded like nothing more than a poor man’s Prince. On Negro Swan, he’s developed more of a unique style made up of self-produced detuned instrumentals and hybrid sing/rapping, whilst his lyrics intimately tackle black depression, making the whole album feel a lot more holistic. The generous servings of steamy sax soloing are a bonus.
Dirty Computer - Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is at her raunchiest when she’s reviving retro styles of music as on ‘Take a Byte’ and ‘Make Me Feel’. Her attempts to jump on modern sounds as on ‘Crazy, Classic, Life’ and ‘Pynk’ end up sounding like Fifth Harmony songs. Still, Janelle Monae has put together some enjoyable sex anthems – I look forward to having sex to this album some time in the distant future when I next get laid.
Geography - Tom Misch
Tom Misch has been teasing us for too long with singles on SoundCloud, so I’m glad he’s finally got his act together and put out an album. It’s thirteen tracks of his signature style, which consists of jazzy guitars, electronic beats and smooth vocals. There may not be many surprises here, but every track is gorgeous enough that this doesn’t matter.
Slide - George Clanton
George’s last album borrowed sounds from the 80s and felt quite experimental, whilst this album borrows from the 90s and is a lot more poppy. It’s got a lot less standout tracks, but those few songs that do shine through such as opener ‘Livin Loose’ and title track ‘Slide’ are mesmerising.
Twisted Crystal - Guerilla Toss
The cartoony art-rockers went more psychedelic on this new album. It’s not as hooky as GT Ultra but the music if still very fun with its layers of squelchy bass, funky guitars and bright synths - plus Kassie Carlson’s incanted vocals are still as unhinged. If you're a nutter like me, you'll appreciate it.
Anthem of The Peaceful Army - Greta Van Fleet
Fans are heralding these guys as the new Led Zeppelin. The problem is that they sound EXACTLY like Led Zeppelin. It’s okay to be influenced by another band, but when you model you sound entirely off theirs, you may as well be a cover band.
Ion - Portal
A good Portal album makes you poop your pants out of fear. I completed this record with poop-free pants, so I guess they failed this time around. It’s partly because they’ve swapped out their harrowing atmosphere for a more Gorguts-esque proggy vibe. Tracks like ‘Phreqs’ are still nightmarishly dissonant and creative, but overall it’s not the same thrill ride.
Errorzone – Vein
There’s really not much to this album – it’s basically a bunch of brutal blood-pumping metal riffs with the odd sprinkle of breakcore thrown in. It’s this no-nonsense approach that makes this album so satisfying. The breakcore is a bit jarring and it’s enough to rile up the metal elitists, but personally I think it gives the record some flair.