10 Songs on Repeat:
1. money machine by 100 gecs (2019)- One reaction many have when hearing music duo 100 gecs for the first time is “really?”. It’s hard to even describe the bombastic sound of this group, with it needing to be heard to be believed.
2. Halve Life by Rav, Kill Bill and Scuare (2020)- This trio’s latest LP is the best abstract hip-hop release so far this year, this smooth, wonderfully produced track the standout on an album where each track could easily stand on its own two feet.
3. Wake Up by Soft Kill (2016)- This Portland-based band have been an overlooked yet still influential group in terms of post-punk in the 21st century, this track being an alluring and hypnotic staple of the group’s discography, infused with elements of dream-pop and shoegaze.
4. Dreaming of You by The Coral (2002)- This short, sharp pop-rock number is equal parts 90s brit-pop as it is early Beatles, the results being an incredibly infectious, lovesick number.
5. Smiley Faces by Gnarls Barkley (2006)- This collaborative project between Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse are best known for the mega-hit Crazy; however, a deeper dive into the duo’s debut album St Elsewhere will uncover other infectious, lyrically existential moments such as this.
6. After the Flood by Talk Talk (1990)- The evolution of this Mark Hollis led band from British New-Romantics to the founders of modern post-rock is sensational, with the jazz-infused After the Flood being their ultimate statement of this growth.
7. Hang Me up to Dry (2007)- Though the discography of blues-influenced indie-rockers Cold War Kids could be considered inconsistent; it is full of dramatic cuts such as this off their underrated debut Robbers and Cowards.
8. Make Some Noise by Beastie Boys (2011)- The best cut of the legendary alternative-rap group’s final album, Make Some Noise is loud, catchy, driving and an excellent send-off for such an influential group in modern hip-hop.
9. Sheila by Jamie T (2007)- This British singer-songwriter’s career has been characterised by his ability to effortlessly flow between genre and style, with emotional rap tracks such as this being one of his many specialties.
10. Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst by Kendrick Lamar (2012)- This 12+ minute epic sees Kenrick at his narrative and lyrical best, this lengthy number allowing the MC to flaunt his abilities as not only a rapper but as a story-teller, with the jazzy production a sign of even better things to come.
you can find this week’s tracks here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Q19i99V0kNVtRwojTdx1N?si=hWjWxwnYT6aLgL-bWxD34Q
Heavy Light by U.S. Girls- 7.0/10:
In a Poem Unlimited was easily one of the standout art-pop records of not only 2018, but the decade in general. Its ability to feel nostalgic yet driven and innovative was satisfying and addictive. Which is why I am left scratching my head a little with Heavy Light. Two brilliant singles released in the run-up to this album, unfortunately, don’t set the standard well enough. Like its older sibling, Heavy Light is a well written, eagerly performed record that obviously has far greater and numerable strengths than weaknesses, however, there are too many inconsistent moments scattered throughout. I really, really do hope this album grows on me more, but for now, I am left a little disappointed.
Best track: 4 American Dollars
Skin by Rav, Kill Bill and Scuare- 8.6/10:
Skin plays out like a meeting ground between Tyler, the Creator, BROCKHAMPTON and Earl Sweatshirt. The three rappers on this project play wonderfully off each other, delivering flows that feel indebted to their influences, but manage to carve their own identity. Production-wise, this album is pretty damn good. Smooth, abstract, detailed and lo-fi, it’s almost as if the trio asked me exactly what I want and like to hear in abstract hip-hop. I also admire the fact this record is short and concise, with each song being the perfect length for what the group are wanting to achieve with it and nothing ever overstaying its welcome. I would want to give this a higher score; however, the deep connections this record has with its influences does make it feel a little unoriginal at times. But an overall excellent album nevertheless.
Best track: Halve-Life
Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert- 6.0/10
Lil Uzi Vert’s long-awaited record has many things to get excited about. The production is slick and futuristic, pushing the boundaries of trap-rap from minimalistic 808s to sci-fi influenced and expansive musical compositions. Uzi’s flows are also strong, so why does this album not have a higher score? Simple, the lyrics are pretty awful. Lil Uzi Vert seems incapable of rapping about anything other than money and sex, this feature of the album becoming incredibly grating, with the beats and delivery of Eternal Atake deserving far better. An album that could’ve been sensational thanks to excellent production and delivery, but falls flat due to weak lyrics and bars.
Best track: Futsal Shuffle 2020
This Week’s Feature: Great Music Videos
Since the rise of the MTV, music videos have become an essential aspect of many great songs, with an excellent visual often elevating a song to new heights. So, here are a few examples of music videos that I have loved over the years.
Toy by Young Fathers: Though the song itself might feel like a quasi-breakup track about a boy who treats love like something he can play with, the video re-contextualises the meaning to reflect broader issues such as war, with a group of charming and funny young actors imitating world leaders bickering and fighting and behaving like… well… children.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lH1jC9Eb3w
Undone- The Sweater Song by Weezer: Filmed in slow-motion, this video radiates chaotic energy, similar to the song itself. From the constant panning camera, to the dogs (of which one relieved itself on the kick-drum pedal) to the clearly fake nature of the band playing their instruments, it really is a joy to behold.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHQqqM5sr7g
The Less I Know the Better by Tame Impala: The video for Tame Impala’s now-iconic track depicts the story of a man watching the woman he loves live life without him, similar to the tale found within the lyrics. What makes it so good is the humorous yet sensitive way the story is told with extreme visual flair.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBzrzS1Ag_g
EARFQUAKE by Tyler, the Creator: This dark, strange yet absurdly funny video perfectly summarises the wild personality of Tyler, the Creator.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmAsUQEFYGI
Around the World by Daft Punk: In 1997, Daft Punk revolutionised dance music with tracks like Around the World. To accompany this hypnotic track is an equally hypnotic video that despite having very little happen, is still engrossing and a joy to watch.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKYPYj2XX80
When You Die by MGMT: The perfect set of visuals for this psychedelic pop number. Its dark, mind-bending and engaging, just like the song it is paired with.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmozGmGoJuw
Paranoid Android by Radiohead: This animated accompaniment for Radiohead’s 1997 classic is menacing and disturbing, depicting dreary scenes of modern living. It is because of this that it helps enhance the themes of isolation and fear found throughout the song as well as the album it is found on, OK Computer.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHiGbolFFGw
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd: Taken from the movie made based off of Pink Floyd’s 1979 rock opera The Wall, this imagery packed music video is the perfect visual representation of the abstract, politically loaded world of Rodger Water’s era Pink Floyd.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U
Hard to Explain by The Strokes: There is nothing like a good montage video, and this one is probably the best. Simple as that.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXkm6h6uq0k
Oblivion by Grimes: It is the context behind the song itself that makes this video so fascinating. Oblivion recounts a time when Boucher was assaulted at night in the streets, with her being open about the great fear it caused for her not only being in public but around men in general. With this in mind, it is enthralling to watch her film this video in open public spaces, surrounded by men, with the tone of this clip coming across as almost a form of shock therapy for the singer-songwriter.
Watch the video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtH68PJIQLE