PARTYNEXTDOOR’s self-titled album/mixtape is easily one of the most underrated projects this year, and whilst Break From Toronto was recently given the video treatment, it’s probably fair to say that amongst those who did enjoy PND’s project, that track gets a little underappreciated as it’s rather short. Nonetheless, MeLo takes it for a spin here, and gives some extra shine to what is an excellent production.
No surprise with the formula: the atmospheric yet bassy sound of the original is completely intact, and MeLo just chooses to kick some rhymes over the top, throwing forth some fairly solid work that works well with the slow pace of the production. Whilst it’s missing that mix of both rapping and singing that PND offers, MeLo’s raps are generally clever and he switches through a handful of flows to offer a little variety. Nothing complicated, but a good remix and nice appreciation for an overlooked gem. MeLo’s GOD: Pièce de Résistance is available now.
It’s weird and trippy, and yet hilariously brilliant. The National’s slow, sombre song is given an animated twist by the creators of the excellent Bob’s Burgers (if you don’t watch it, cancel your subscription to life). Watch the video here.
If you close your eyes and just listen to this first, there is absolutey no way you can expect this to be the video. The vocals are sombre, the instrumentation is downbeat and morose, and there’s a general moodiness that seems more suited to sitting alone in a field of snow rather than accompanying one of TV’s finest animated comedies. That being said, a closer listen reveals the lyrics to be rather well-suited to the video, given that they’re focused around gravy and other food, and it’s a fun, slightly brilliant contrast with the vibe of the instrumentation.
As good as the song is (and it is good), the video is the highlight, featuring the band as the gravy sailors who gradually make their way into Bob’s mouth. They do so in an expresionless, dour manner that again makes for the most hilarious contrast, before performing slightly more emotionally inside his mouth. The attempt at seriousness is great fun, and the video closing with the kids frolicking in the gravy (except for Tina, who steals the show by doing nothing) finishes off what is an utterly ludicrous and clever effort. Very fun video, and a surprisingly good song too.
Every track that lands from Childish Gambino’s upcoming because the internet suggests we’re in for a late album of the year contender. He seems to really have settled his sound down a lot (just listen to the variance between Camp and Royalty), going for a sound akin to the former, but with much improved lyrical and vocal work- you sensed that he felt obliged to deliver something “harder” around the time of Royalty, and hence it’s nice to see him shed that pressure and get on with making good music that suits his skills.
There’s something about this track that has a So Far Gone vibe about it, and that’s definitely not a bad thing at this time of year. The production is a fantastic combination of atmospheric synths, thunderous bass and light, airy melodies, creating an easygoing vibe yet one with enough intensity to stop it becoming too laidback. That classic versatility is on show too, as Gambino moves from gentle, distorted vocals on the hook to a hybrid delivery on the verses, and throws in a rapped verse towards the end- such is the difference between the cadence and softness of the two styles, it almost feels as though he’s a ‘guest’ on his own track. It’s really just an excellent all-rounder that will most definitely be a favourite with CG fans. Free download, including the uptempo Ta-Ku remix below, available here.
Yeezus was a pretty hit-and-miss album by all accounts, but this seemed to be the sole track that garnered universal praise. It clearly evoked memories of Kanye’s older, more soul-driven work (I daresay it would have slotted in smoothly on Late Registration), and whilst I wasn’t massive on the track at the time, it’s one of the very few that I can endure listening to from the LP these days.
The wild roaming horses, motorcycle ride in front of expansive scenery, windy portrait shot and so on add up to a generally positive video, though one that is immeasurably corny. It exclusively features Kanye and Kim Kardashian essentially engaging in some heavy petting on a motorbike, whilst the screen behind them shows a range of classic rural American scenery (Monument Valley, if I’m not mistaken)- Kanye will pass this off as super creative and so forth, but it’s hardly the case. Instead, it’s just a bit boring in truth, and whilst Ye’s ability to hold back a little on the snarling, brooding expressions helps create a more feelgood vibe, it’s still not the most inspiring or engaging work he’ll ever release. Nonetheless, I’m sure many will be glad to be reminded of the track’s qualities, and I doubt many will complain about seeing Kim Kardashian writhing around, so at least it serves some purpose, whether intended or not.
Of all the groups that you’d consider an acquired taste, Death Grips have to be somewhere near the top. The sheer anarchy of their sound is somewhere between insane and addictive, with the harsh, discordant combination of punk, electro, hip-hop and alternative being entirely unique and yet with strands of familiarity lying within the chaos.
They famously cancelled many of their live appearances this summer, to the disappointment of their rabid fanbase that had lapped up the two free album releases on 2012. Thankfully, it seems that time wasn’t exactly wasted, with this new album release landing way ahead of its original 2014 schedule. 11 tracks make this one up, and I fully expect it to be another eardrum-tearing, cacophonous ride through their own inimitable style. You can stream and/or download the album below.
Death Grips-Government Plates (Stream)
Death Grips-Government Plates (Download)
Because the Internet is rumoured to land on 10th December, and though this track was only released as part of a tweet to Jhene Aiko (who, contrary to semi-accepted belief, is not romantically involved with Gambino), it’s probably fair to accept it’ll land on the album given that it’s potentially only a month away.
Compared to recent releases (and arguably anything since Camp), it’s much lighter and soulful in nature, featuring Gambino exclusively singing throughout over a melancholy production. A lot of the longtime Gambino fans will be quite pleased to hear this, as it’s much closer to his early work and a departure from the harsher style Royalty came with (and arguably didn’t really succeed with). The production begins with sombre piano notes, before involving a strong percussion line and a little more melody to thicken up the backdrop, and eventually throwing forth a synth-driven, comparatively cacophonous final third. It’s good progression throughout, and despite that last third being far livelier than the first third, it still maintains an air of reflectiveness, which matches up to the desperate, lonely vocals that Gambino delivers throughout. There isn’t much variety vocally, as it’s essentially just Gambino crooning out a hook and a couple of adlibs, but that simplicity works quite well here in synergising with the production to create an atmospheric, introspective vibe, and deliver what is a fairly likeable effort.
Since PND’s self-titled album release in July, I can honestly say that I’ve had no less than 9 of the project’s tracks on a very regular rotation. Given that it’s only a 10-track album, that is an incredible ratio that betters almost any other album this year. Arguably, two of the three efforts he released ahead of the album (Make A Mil, Wus Good/Curious) were the weakest of the bunch (though the latter is still very good), and it seems like a bit of faith paid off as the rest of the LP thoroughly delivered.
Whilst this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it’s still a strong example of what he’s all about. The production has atmosphere in abundance, combined with a thudding bass that adds a strong hip-hop flavour to the otherwise soulful soundscape, and hence the track ends up landing in the hallowed middle ground between laidback listening and speaker-crunching head-nodder. That versatility ends up amplifying PND’s own adaptability, as he switches between the rapped verse and brief sung hook with relative ease- the video’s final third gives his Autotuned singing a little more spotlight too, borrowing a snippet from the aforementioned Wus Good/Curious. The clip plays on the track’s atmospheric vibe with a nightime city setting, whilst the arrogant lyrics are reflected in the various activities taking place. Frankly, it’s good camera time for Drake’s young protege, and hopefully there’s more coming in 2014. For now, get that album.
The Killers have a greatest hits album due out on 11th November (after four albums, is it a little too soon for one?), which is set to feature a couple of new tracks, including this effort.
Admittedly, their last two albums really haven’t struck a chord with me, which is bitterly disappointing as I listened to the first two religiously, but this track does undo some of that bad work. Whilst it does carry much of the electronic influence that was rife in their most recent pair of albums, it’s tempered by enough ‘organics’ to keep it on the right path, particularly the acoustic strums in the verses and the bubbly, instrument-packed hook. That being said, the general vibe of the track has a driving quality that will reel you in, and that ends up being the result of a successful marriage between the electronic and rock elements included, with the end result being a far better synergy of the two than they’ve previously managed. Brandon’s vocals are typically catchy and will rattle around your head for weeks, throwing forth an extremely infectious hook that should set this up for plenty of radio play, and they cap off what could turn out to be a fairly popular song over the next couple of months. Available on the Direct Hits album, landing next week.
If one of the better duos in the rap game want to have a go on an underappreciated J Dilla beat, I’m paying attention. Audio Push are slowly cementing themselves as a force to be reckoned, and given hip-hop’s lack of true duos (and that doesn’t mean two artists coming together for a one-off project), they’ve definitely got a chance of filling the void that, arguably, was last housed by the Clipse.
The beat is a bonafide classic. Dilla captured a perfect chillout vibe with a bassy hip-hop edge, Common did justice to it on the Finding Forever album, and now Audio Push revive the soulful production for this quick release. Their verses are as solid as ever, with some likeable moments of biographical storytelling laid alongside good raps about their current lives- the latter is actually quite refreshing as rather than focus on the typical ‘bragger raps’, there are moments of honesty and insight that strip away the arrogance and suit the reflective nature of the production. It would be an easy move to stick with the brash, confident raps and just apply them to this beat, but they certainly deserve credit for adjusting their game where many artists in their position probably wouldn’t have bothered, whilst Preston’s soulful hook caps things off smoothly.
If you haven’t already, grab their Come As You Are mixtape now (sadly, this isn’t on there though).
It’s rare, but sometimes I really do disappoint myself. Yuna’s easily one of my favourite vocalists to have emerged in the last couple of years, and I completely overlooked the release of her second album, Nocturnal, late last month. Foolish. There’s something about her voice that’s just inherently mesmerising- it’s incredibly engaging and you’ll rarely give anything of hers only one play.
This single is from the aforementioned album and offers great hope for the rest of the LP, as well as being a good introduction for those unfamiliar with Yuna. It’s much more extroverted and upbeat than some of her previous work, throwing forth lively, island-esque percussion and gentle piano touches for easy-to-digest verses, and a more extravagant soundscape for the hook, with guitar strums, stronger percussion and plenty more entering the fray. Yuna’s vocals are excellent as always, remaining controlled and smooth in the verses, and scaling up to an explosive, soaring style for the hook which you can’t help but get caught up in, purely for the sheer positivity emanating from every note. The heavy anchoring around the chorus is classic structuring that serves to make that section about as feelgood as anything you’ll hear, whilst giving the verses a more lyrical focus. A fantastic piece of pop, accompanied by some good camera time for Yuna, who delivers bright, uncomplicated visuals with a nice touch of fun. Worth a watch, definitely worth a listen, and be sure to get that album now.
After a few short years of releasing mixtapes, EP’s, instrumental albums, collaborations, and traveling around the world, MeLo has finally released an official solo LP for sale. This year has been filled with amazing visuals and a EP series leading up to November 5th. Watch the shift occur.
So, there were several big album releases this week, but in truth, I’ll probably be giving this one priority over most. MeLo’s work over the last 18 months has been representative of a man at the top of his craft, having not only matured as a producer, but also growing as a rapper. Throw his enjoyable pack of videos into that, and you’ve got an artist who has developed every aspect of his game, and that appears to culminate with this release.
The 12 track LP features plenty of new material alongside choice cuts from the preceding three EPs released this year (LoFi, HiFi and WiFi), and features previous collaborators Jesse Boykins III and Cheri Coke, amongst others. Given his excellent work with both in the past, it’s fair to expect big things from those tracks, whilst I’m sure the rest will be thoroughly enjoyable too. Very excited about this one- you can stream it in the accompanying widget below, and be sure to follow that up with a purchase.
There’s something about Mike G’s rapping style that is completely hypnotic. I can’t really figure it out, but almost everything you hear him on, he commands the flow of the track quickly and bounces along it with incredible ease. It’s quite unique in terms of his sheer synchronicity with any production he’s met with, and whilst that might turn some people off, I find it fun listening.
This is as good an example of his rap style as you could ask for. The production itself is pretty easygoing and slow-moving, plodding along with sharp clicks, chunky bass and mesmerising, eastern-influenced string plucks, and generally isn’t too active or in-your-face. That laidback style can often result in quite dour, boring tracks, but again it’s Mike G’s cool, laidback delivery that elevates the track, synergising effortlessly with the production’s tempo to fill out the soundscape’s gaps. His lyrical work is generally consistent and here is no different, with a mix of braggadocios raps and punchlines throughout, whilst Left Brain’s dulcet tones make for a good slice of tonal variety.
All-round, it’s a pretty enjoyable hip-hop jam with a good chillout sensibility, and is one of those that will quietly rack up a bunch of plays in your library. Mike Check Vol. 2 coming soon.
Of those who enjoyed Drake’s recent Nothing Was The Same album (and yes, I’m one of those folk), a large percentage cited this as the album’s standout or their current favourite. That widespread praise was heavily indebted to Sampha’s work on the intro, hook and outro, and it appears that was just a taster of what was to come, as he comes through with a full solo version.
Taken from an upcoming double A-side vinyl release, this mastered version of the track (you’ll notice the version on Drake’s album is a little rougher in comparison) is a beautifully gentle piece that will definitely find a home with those who enjoyed the NWTS version. The production is stripped down to the bare bones, swapping out the lavish soundscape of the Drake edition for lonely, isolated piano notes that create a simple, delicate backdrop. They’re perfectly suited to the anguish and emotion in Sampha’s voice throughout too, with his delivery and lyrics throughout being packed full of heartfelt sentiment and a rawness that would have been badly-placed in front of a heavily-layered production. It’s nothing complicated: this is pure ballad territory, and Sampha croons his heart out with great skill and believability.
An excellent listen, and one that could get a lot of play time on these cold winter nights. Look out for the iTunes release on 12th November.
If you’re lacking that little bit of bite on your car playlist, or you just want something to make a screwface too, Lloyd Banks is your man. His mixtape work over the last few years has been impeccable in that sense, serving up powerful, speaker-rattling beats under his gristly, versatile raps on a fairly consistent basis. That being said, he’s quietened slightly this year, but pulls through in the final quarter with this overdue mixtape release.
Features are minimal, and that’s just fine. Appearances from Raekwon, Vado and Styles P are about as far as it goes, and across 16 tracks that gives Banks plenty of breathing space to once again show his worth and remind all who are smart enough that he’s about the only G-Unit member left with any shred of relevance in hip-hop (yeah, I said it). He has a sound, he knows what it is, and that’s to be respected- many rappers get caught up in whatever today’s fad is, and tend to leave behind their core competencies, to the point that they never truly recover them. Banks can’t be accused of that, and hopefully, this project will reinforce that belief whilst providing us with some head-nodding hip-hop jams to unashamedly throw up unecessary gang signs to. You do it. Don’t lie.
As much as I like these guys, they seem to be in a small group of bands that I do really enjoy, but always forget to check out whatever their upcoming album is after its release. I’ll buy into the singles, get on board with the promo, but come crunch time, I’ve forgotten everything I knew. Nightmare customer.
So, let’s do the same dance again. Their newest LP, Rave Tapes, is on the horizon (21st January, for those who aren’t as forgetful as I am), and this single precedes that release in some style. It’s a very slow build, opening in a much less rock-oriented manner than some might expect, and instead relying heavily on dark synth lines, crisp yet light percussion, and a general sense of sombreness mixed with menace. That is, until the second half springs right into life: a bubbly electro melody enters the fray, alongside much more vibrant, lively percussion work, and eventually a hint of grungy guitar can be heard propping up the soundscape in the background. It’s a lovely build that ends up actually becoming quite the head-nodding affair, and as far as I’m aware, seems to be a change of direction for the band- it works for me, and it’s probably going to help me keep better pace with their upcoming album.
Having enjoyed this song on its release, it’s good to see Jhene give the fun single a further push with this easygoing, simple visual that pays homage to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Bed Ins For Peace’.
A gentle, relaxing track of this nature doesn’t need too much complexity to be fully utilised visually, and they’ve got it just right here with a laidback video but with enough subtly happening to keep your interest. The parallels with the Lennon/Ono events are pretty clear, with the inclusion of not only the “media”, but also the little slogans above their heads on the hotel window- it’s a fun throwback concept, but clearly done in a more modern way that doesn’t make it feel overly outdated. The mostly-white colour palette throughout adds further calm to each scene, whilst also enhancing the more ‘innocent’ aspects of the song and much like the production, almost hiding some of Jhene’s more risque lyrical sections.
There are some neat touches and subtleties with the duo’s body language and expressions, with Gambino remaining almost completely serious throughout, whilst Jhene is much more animated and friendly, clearly giving her the video’s focus and a sense of power in the relationship. The occasional shared glances and light-hearted moments make for quite fun watching too- look out for Gambino miming Jhene’s vocals at around 4:20. Worth a watch and obviously worth a listen (I have developed an unhealthy fixation with her voice).
Mickey’s debut LP The Achievement, is due in February, and to get things moving he lets this single out. It’s an interesting situation he’s in: the massive buzz from a few years ago has quietened down, and yet arguably his work has actually improved since then. An example: Mickey Mause was released around 18 months ago to less fanfare than previous works, and yet plenty of it still gets regular play in my world, which is as indicative of a time-tested mixtape as you could want.
On to this one- it’s a promising track, and will definitely get a few casual fans interested again. The production starts off in an upbeat, jazzy manner, before quickly moving to a thunderous, atmospheric beat that builds an intimidating soundwall out of bassy percussion, spacy synths and distant, light melodies. It adds a ton of gravitas to the verses, whilst the slight speed-up on the hook helps inject a touch of energy to proceedings, and finishes off what is a strong backdrop. Mickey’s raps are delivered with a quiet intensity throughout, working well with the beat for a focused performance that packs in a couple of typically-smart lines, along with the self-confidence that he’s rarely short of. his half-sung hook has a catchy, rather anthemic vibe to it, whilst Yela closes out with a good reminder of what he’s capable of, tongue-twisting his way through a solid contribution, and both finish off what is a very solid all-round jam. Worth grabbing, which you can do here.
A (presumably) unintentional consequence of Snoop changing personas more than he changes underwear (we’re at Snoopzilla now, after Snoop Lion) is that when he reverts back to hip-hop under the regular Dogg guise, it’s almost a relief and has much more of an appeal than it did before the name-switching.
This project is seemingly a bit of a pit stop before he launches into the Snoopzilla project, as Snoop and DJ Drama come together for an unexpected burst of 19 tracks, packing in features from Method Man, Erick Sermon and Suga Free. The list of features certainly hints at a more old school direction, and fingers crossed Snoop has got all the genre-blending out of his system with his alter egos, and this project packs in some good old fashioned rap work. Either way, 19 free Snoop Doggy Dogg tracks aren’t usually something you’re going to pass up, so head below for the stream/download.
Snoop Dogg-That’s My Work 2
Can you believe Hybrid Theory came out 13 years ago?
LP’s decision to remix that entire album for the Reanimation project was an interesting one at the time that I slightly struggled with. The years have been kind though (puberty eventually passed), and some of its highlights have become top tier pieces in the Linkin Park back catalogue. The band are revisiting the concept with Recharged, an album of Living Things remixes- for fans who have strayed, it’s worth noting that Living Things was a huge improvement on its predecessor and half of the album before it too.
This effort is the remix album’s first single, and features hip-hop’s man-of-the-moment with a good contribution. The original track was a strong effort with powerful, rousing instrumentation, and here those guts are removed and replaced by a glitchy, electro-style backdrop that packs in plenty of energy of its own, though it does retain some of the melodies from the original as well as fragments of its pacing. Chester’s vocals initially don’t quite have the raw, primal effect over such a beat, but the inclusion of more edgy work for his final hook towards the end works well, whilst the production does certainly lend a hand to Pusha and Mike Shinoda’s rapped verses. A decent effort, and probably a good indicator of how that album will shape up in terms of sound.
Assumedly, this is the latest release from his upcoming Because the Internet album, and it’s one longtime Gambino fans should quite enjoy.
The production has an interesting rawness to it- the melody for the first third is almost (this isn’t meant negatively) amateurish in nature, and creates a throwback vibe. The beat’s progression to a more lavish style for the hook ends up being a clever contrast (see, I went somewhere with the amateur thing), and makes Gambino’s vocals on that chorus far more impactful by completely filling out the soundscape with crisp percussion and airy synths.
The lyricism is introspective, as much of his more recent work has been, and has Gambino again demonstrating an in-depth self-awareness that often flirts with sadness and depression, and has a nice structuring: as the verses continue down a downbeat route, they pick up toward the end as he recalls the lady of his affections, seguing into the relationship-focused hook. It may seem like obvious structuring, but a quick listen to 90% of mainstream hip-hop tracks will reveal verses that have almost no tie-back to the hook that anchors them, and hence that lyrical juxtaposition is a subtle and welcomed touch. Throw that all in with Childish heading back to a sung hook, and it’s a good all-rounder that should keep fans satiated for the meantime.
A lot of readers won’t like this at all, but there’s something about the retro funk take on the ubiquitous Drake single that’s quite endearing. It’s not technically perfect or the cleanest cover in the world, but instead is a rough-around-the-edges slice of bouncy alt pop that makes for fun listening.
Stripping out the R&B-styled production, Holy Ghost! throw in a set of chunky synths, some airy and some disco-esque, taking the track from being geared around a teenage girl’s alone time listening (not criticism as I listen to it too, but then I’m essentially a teenage girl) and to a teenage girl’s pre-night out listening. The vocal work is fairly laidback, though opts against the whispery tones Drake went with, and instead for a clearer, crisper style that plays off the buzzing synth work well.
Worth a go if you liked the original, but not one that will exactly convert those who don’t like the track as it is.
I heard this for the first time about a month ago, but didn’t really pay proper attention. Having recognised I didn’t seem to dislike it, I still downloaded it but added it to my mountainous backlog- I happened to make a dent in said backlog this weekend, and rediscovered this frankly brilliant piece from a wonderful upcoming talent.
Snoh is currently under the tutelage of the legendary No ID (and assumedly, the Cocaine 80s team), and this first release as part of that relationship is one that really does warrant attention. The production is beautifully structured, opting for a subtle progression between the verse and bridge, before making a rousing, comparatively energetic leap up to the thoroughly addictive hook. The track’s melodies are a sombre combination of lonely guitar plucks and atmospheric synths, which provide the backdrop for Snoh’s haunting yet powerful voice- her performance very quickly wrestles control of the track, keeping things relatively introverted for the verses before matching the hook’s thunderous percussion with a suitably rousing set of vocals. She looks great (comparisons to Eva Mendes aren’t far off the mark), she sounds fantastic and is backed by one of music’s most versatile and talented producers: Snoh Aalegra is most definitely one-to-watch.
Yuna’s self-titled debut album was an excellent piece of music, combining laidback soul sounds with rousing pop numbers, all held together with her wonderful vocal set.
This effort is taken from her upcoming Nocturnal album, set for release on 29th October, and again demonstrates those addictive, near-hypnotising vocal qualities, with a gentle, mostly mellow performance that actually ends up softening some of the harsher, more rebellious elements of her lyrics. When read on paper, her writing is much more aggressive and ‘jilted’ than much of her back catalogue, making for a nice touch of progression and diversity, and it’s a credit to her inherently relaxing voice that those frustrations can easily go quite unnoticed on first listen.
The production is helmed by the masterful Chad Hugo, who serves up a production that straddles the line between uptempo and chillout very skilfully, pairing a warm, reflective melody (that’s very similar to the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind theme) with a high-speed yet light percussion line for a good blend of styles that comes off as nimble yet delicate. Worth a go, and look out for more from Yuna soon.
On paper, this is everything an OTU fan could want. Lupe’s first single from the upcoming Tetsuo and Youth album, and a feature from longtime OTU favourite (and once interviewee, of course) Ed Sheeran.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t on paper. This will be really, really divisive.
Ed’s hook is delicate and heartfelt, and realistically that doesn’t stack up to what older Lupe Fiasco fans want from his material. Lasers proved that. On the surface, Lupe’s raps appear similarly ‘emotional’ too, and when combined with this light, easygoing beat, there will be a whole host of people immediately throwing this out. Not necessarily the best move: Lupe’s raps are more self-directed than they first appear, and act more as internal monologues than heartfelt excalamations. Equally, the soft, childlike production clearly fits with the ‘discussion’ he has with his younger self, and of course matches the old school motto in a manner somewhat different to hip-hop’s default perception of old school (hard beats, street raps and such). This is not me claiming I’m a huge fan of this though- frankly, it’s just not the best use of Lupe’s ability and at times, Sheeran’s hook holds the track together so well that it feels more like his song than Lupe’s. That being said, give it time and it might be a grower.
There isn’t a damn thing wrong with recapturing that Californian punk/skater vibe, especially given that I’m part-way through a rediscovery of the punk genre. SKATERS bring those sounds right back to the fore, blending them with a sense of British indie that will surely give them a much more universal appeal.
It’s energetic, loud and fast-moving, but remains all of those things without compromising on catchy melodies, watertight instrumentation and a sense of wholesome fun. Both the percussion and guitar work is edgy, gritty and progressive, moving from consistent calmness in the verses through to sudden explosiveness in the hook, giving the track a very natural anchor point and allowing the vocals to rely more on a drawn out, singalong delivery and less on lyricism. The vocals follow a similar path too, opting for a grungy, downbeat style in the verses that contrasts well with the pop-punk and indie crossover found in the rousing hook.
You can easily imagine cutting loose to this on your favourite sticky dancefloor (I’ve never been to a rock/indie club that isn’t sticky), and that should give it every chance of making a big impact. No idea when the single is released, but the debut album arrives next February.
“I’ve been exploring the idea of remixing other people’s music recently and I’m really enjoying it. You can be a lot less precious about things. I turned what is a rather sombre ballad into a jacked-up early ‘90s house track”.
When artists remix their own tracks (and I don’t mean in the hip-hop sense, by adding a new verse), I find it quite interesting. There are always compromises made, and often it can be an outlet to see how a band (or particular member, in this case) envisioned the track originally, or simply just acts as a measure of the adaptability the original piece has. Either way, the transformation undergone here is quite surprising: Kele takes a very slow, downbeat song and flips it into a potential dancefloor favourite. If you’re unfamiliar with the original, click above to understand just how it sits at the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum to this remix.
It’s pretty much old school house done well. The progressive, percussion-heavy build and frequent peaks and troughs are hallmarks of the genre, whilst the distorted vocals add just enough connectivity to the original to make it a remix rather than an entirely new track. Realistically, you don’t need to know or like the original- this is a fun dance number that could concievably be a big club favourite if given the chance.
Whilst I’ve proclaimed I’m listening to very little hip-hop these days, one act has endured this and remains a fixture within my go-to playlist. That man is Lloyd Banks, whose mixtape work gets regular play in my car and house, and though he’s been very quiet this year, this release is hopefully a sign that more new work is on the way.
The production is a great mix between opulence and speaker-rattling, throwing together rather gentle, easygoing piano work and bassy, driving percussion for a contrasting blend that works rather well. Not to say either of them suffer with any particular type of production, but it’s the sort of beat that really does suit both acts, allowing them to play up their lavish lifestyles whilst giving them enough hard-hitting elements to still have the gritty factor that sets the two apart. Whilst Banks’ raspy tones are indeed a good fit for the production, it’s probably Rae that swings this one, purely for his slightly offbeat flow and more dulcet tone adding a controlled sense of ‘I literally do not care about you’, and hence makes for entertaining listening. Hopefully, that A.O.N. Vol. 1: Failure’s No Option mixtape is coming soon.
In the weeks leading to Quadron’s Avalanche album release, I was certainly excited about it. However, I got somewhat distracted (probably a shiny light or ball of string) and have only got around to giving it a proper listen in the last few weeks. What it proved was that I’m self-sabotaging: it’s a superb LP that will improve anyone’s day/week/life/girlfriend.
Amongst its highlights was the first single, Hey Love, which has lost none of its addictiveness in the intervening months since its release, and here serial remixer Ryan Hemsworth gets his hands on it for a slightly darker twist. The funk is mostly pulled away from the body of this track, leaving a carcass of only Coco’s vocals, with Ryan substituting in a production built up of atmospheric synths, isolated clicks, and intermittent blasts of samples and effects for a more downbeat, but still wholly laidback effort. It’s a unique take on the track, and plays more on the bittersweet lyricism than the positive nature of the actual vocal delivery and original production, working to make this feel like an entirely new track rather than a rework- that’s definitely a compliment, as for better or worse, at least it shows a modicum of creativity and effort. Worth a go, and might appeal to those who found the original a little too upbeat.
There are several good contenders, but Archer is definitely up there as one of my favourite modern-day comedies. None of the 4 seasons can really be considered weak, and unlike most animated comedies, it doesn’t rely on the format for its laughs- it could easily be adapted into a live action series, and be just as funny.
With the 5th season heading over in January, a fun clip emerges from the show’s creators, and of course, it revolves around the show’s most enduring phrase: DANGER ZONE. Not only that, but they’ve also managed to grab the actual song the phrase originally referred to, Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone, and partly parody the video’s Top Gun clips in the way only Archer can.
Worth watching for a few laughs, particularly the ending, and it’ll definitely get interest in the series revved back up ahead of that series premiere. If you’re not familiar with the show, get a damn Netflix account and get familiar.