10 Tracks on Repeat:
1. ooh la la by Run the Jewels (2020)- Coming at the opportune time, alternative/experimental hip-hop duo Run the Jewels have come through with an excellent surprise release. The highlight of the stacked LP is lead single ooh la la, a straightforward yet thrilling rap banger complete with some great verses and thumping production.
2. Dirty Old Town by The Pogues (1985)- Catchy like nothing else, lyrically poetic and delivered in the trademark slurred speak-singing of lead singer Shane MacGowan (who’s notorious substance abuse and alcoholism renders the fact he is still alive an absolute miracle), this Irish folk band’s classic will be instantly recognisable for many. And as it should be, because it is an excellent song.
3. Losing You by Solange (2012)- A love-sick alternative RnB bop by the artsy Knowles sister, Losing You is an excellent break-up song that, despite the melancholy of the subject matter, it tinged with a sense of optimism and joy for the future, complete with some smooth, groovy production that sucks you in from the get-go.
4. White Seal (Shell and Spine) by Candy Claws (2013)- This band’s psychedelia and shoegaze drenched dream-pop album Ceres and Calypso in Deep Time is something of a cult classic in the online music community. This is in large part in thanks to tracks like White Seal (Shell and Spine), who’s fantastical, spacy sound is quite simply irresistible.
5. Something to Rap About by Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist with Tyler, the Creator (2020)- Gibbs and Tyler both manage to thrive in this song, the two MCs delivering carefree yet cuttingly savage verses over some light, jazzy beats. A real caper to enjoy for any hip-hop head.
6. Baptism by Creepoid (2015)- This song probably won’t win any awards for originality, its combination of shoegaze and grunge nothing new. However, I have to give it praise for simply being an incredibly well put together song, progressing so naturally and carefree. A good song for any fans of bands like Pixies.
7. Wild Dogs of the Thunderbolt/’they Cannot Lock Me Up… I Am Eternally Free…’ (from Lips Of Dying Wonder Body #2) by Set Fire to Flames (2001)- By the time you finish reading the title of this song, it will be likely over. However, it is an excellent example of the power of field recordings and spoken word, especially in post-rock, with the Canadian group constructing an eerie yet strangely inspiring musical composition.
8. Pig Feet by Terrace White and Denzel Curry (2020)- Released in response to the current tension in the United States, producer Terrace White and ever on-point rapper Denzel curry construct a punk rock-infused, jazz-based banger infused with the frustration and politics being expressed currently in said country.
9. Echo, Brave by Duster (1998)- A song that thrives on minimalism and warmth, this melancholy yet comforting slowcore jam from genre legends Duster washes by with a distinct fuzz, focusing on instrumentation and texture over the brief vocals, making for a very effective experience.
10. Da Funk by Daft Punk (1997)- If you’re wanting to find out why dance music sounds the way it does today, look no further than electronic superstar Daft Punk’s debut record Homework, and hard-hitting, groovy, beat and synth-driven tracks such as the addictive Da Funk.
Give these tracks a listen here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1AEzzPcG5jXovGtvOTCVBA?si=hjjWOqS9RNy3KTBfI5bjvA.
Sideways to New Italy by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever- 6.9/10:
Hope Downs was easily one of my favourite releases from an Australian artist last decade, with the added addition of The French Press possibly being my favourite EP of all time. I very much love this, so you could imagine my excitement when Sideways to New Italy was announced. One stellar and two decent singles later, I am saddened to say that this is one of 2020’s biggest let downs. Though it is still filled to the brim with great, sharp and tight songwriting and that trademark sunny atmosphere the band is known for, this new LP fails to really extend itself beyond these familiarities. A keyboard here and a brass section there, unfortunately, didn’t do enough to convince me this record had anything more to offer than its excellent older sibling, and while my fellow Aussie indie rockers still serve some great tracks throughout, I was left a tad disappointed by Sideways to New Italy. However, as a passionate Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever fan, I still look forward to seeing what else the band have in store for us in the future.
Best track: Cars in Space
Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist- 7.1/10:
At this stage his career, those familiar with Freddie Gibbs know the rapper to be one of the sharpest in the game right now, his elastic flows and wittily hedonistic lyrics rarely missing a beat. And that form continues onto Alfredo, which despite Gibbs not really exploring too many new themes that he hasn’t already covered before still has him lay out some truly excellent bars from back to front, steeped in gangsta imagery and delivered with a keen eye for detail. For me personally, it’s the Daniel Manam (aka The Alchemist) and his production that drags this project down a bit. Though I didn’t find myself overtly hating any of the beats throughout this project, I found some to be a little too bland and generic, not really challenging Gibbs to the level he would be working with the likes of Madlib. Overall, Alfredo is a good, short and concise LP from an undoubtedly talented rapper and producer, however, its habit of playing it safe did stop me from loving this project just that little bit more.
Best track: Something to Rap About
RTJ4 by Run the Jewels- 8.8./10:
I will preface this by saying I have never been a massive fan of Run the Jewels. None of their albums so far have ever properly clicked with me, and while I don’t think anything they’ve done has been at all bad, I would be hesitant to give anything over an 8/10. This fact, however, has most definitely changed with the release of RTJ4. Could it just be the current politically charged atmosphere around the world that made this album so enjoyable for me? Potentially, but I would definitely like to say no. Instead, I want to point to the outrageously good chemistry between MCs Killer Mike and EL-P, as well as the way they seem to bring the best out of a lot of their guest features. Their lyrics are cutting, focused, hold no punches and often hilarious, laying out the political groundwork that has defined the Run the Jewels discography. The production on this record is also my favourite out of any RTJ project I have heard so far, being experimental enough to please the abstract hip-hop fan in me while managing to create a sound that wouldn’t be too isolating to an individual only just beginning to explore the duo’s discography. In summary, RTJ4 could not have come at a better time and could not have been executed in a better way, resulting in an exciting yet accessible hip-hop record.
Best track: ooh la la
This week’s feature article- Musical Burnout: What it is and How to Deal With it.
For any passionate music fan, the thought of a day where music seems tiring and boring may seem totally absurd. Yet, often, listening to lots of music almost all the time can have an unexpected impact.
Music burnout is a phrase tossed around music communities that is used to describe the feeling one gets when a little too much music leads them to feel dissatisfied and bored, losing their general desire to listen to anything for a time. I would liken it to the feeling one gets when they become highly invested in a particular TV series, only for it to end and leave a strange hole in your life. Musical burnout is a totally normal thing, and unless it is linked to some broader issues in your life (which if it is, I would beg you to go get help) is nothing to be afraid of or concerned about. Having gone through a bit of burnout recently and feeling inspired after watching British YouTube Deep Cuts do a similar video on the issue, I would like to offer you guys some ways in which to deal with the dreaded feeling of ‘musical burnout’.
1- Revisit music that you know and love:
A common and annoying feeling I often find associated with a bit of musical burnout is that nothing I will listen to will impress me. A good way I have found to overcome this is to listen to those songs, artists and albums that are tried and tested favourites in your musical diet and are the reason why you love music in the first place and reignite that passion. For me, Pink Floyd is often my go-to medication for this method, albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here reminding why I love listening to music so much. After a while, you’ll hopefully be able to find the motivation to start listening to new music again.
Another good way I think to overcome musical burnout would be to pick a sound, genre, artist or label you are either vaguely or totally unfamiliar with and binge the music they have to offer. Though it mightn’t seem like the most appealing thing to do at the time (the whole point of musical burnout is that you feel unmotivated to listen to anything new), exposing yourself to a new world of potentially exciting and interesting music might just end up leading you to some great new discoveries, giving back that desire to find out what is new and exciting. One of my personal favourite binge discoveries was exploring the sounds of independent music label The Flenser. Known for underground and experimental artists such as Street Sects and most notably Have a Nice Life, this label has a reputation for taking risks and chances on artists whose sound might otherwise be considered too dark, difficult or underground for a more prominent label. Going on a musical binge, in my opinion, is the best way of dealing with a bout of burnout, as you never know where the path of discovery may lead you. You may even find something that sticks to you forever.
3- Just… don’t listen to music for a bit:
That’s right! How radical! Yes, you may love music, but like other, more serious types of burnout, it is sometimes best just to have a break from the thing that has caused it. During this time, you can watch some movies, read a book, play a good video game and even talk to your family! Music is something that every human alive love to some extent, but like all good things, we have our limits. So, at times, we must take a step back from what we love and focus that energy elsewhere. And, hopefully, with a bit of time, your burnout will pass, and your passion comes to the fore once more, allowing you to enjoy what we treasure once again.