Top 10 Tyler The Creator Tracks

words fae ryan martin (@ryanmartin182)

Who exactly Tyler the Creator is, has always been up for debate. He started as the driving force behind hip-hop collective Odd Future that made superstars out of Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, and more recently, The Internet.

The group’s aggressive image attracted the media’s attention instantly and Tyler’s bizarre antics, as well as interviews, helped land him a show on Adult Swim with his buddies joining him on Loiter Squad. Tyler’s music reflected his behavior in the public’s eye when he released Goblin in 2011: critics pointed out the absurd number of times Tyler uses homophobic slurs throughout the album but failed to mention the immensely dark and troubled tone of the album itself. There is a track near the end of the album where Tyler metaphorically kills his friends, and the album itself deals with Tyler talking to a therapist named Dr. TC (Tyler’s Consciousness.)

Following up Goblin was Wolf, the second effort from the face of Odd Future still retained the jagged edges from Goblin but featured much more tender production and a theme centered around summer camp, love, and jealousy. It would be the last album Tyler would put together while Odd Future was still active. Cherry Bomb followed almost exactly two years later and contained some of Tyler’s messiest and most beautiful tracks he has ever released. Altogether, it made for a cluttered release that most die-hard fans will defend but the public has forgotten.

A little over two years later, Tyler emerges as a confidently bloomed bud. He releases Flower Boy, a personal album that references his sexuality for the first time and his relationship with friends and family. Long gone are the jagged edges of Goblin, in its place rests a perfectly crafted album with memorable tracks, excellent production, and amazing features from the likes of up-and-comers Rex Orange County, Kali Uchis and Steve Lacy, in addition to established acts like Frank Ocean and Lil Wayne. Now proving himself as a creative genius after fashion shows, a successful collaboration with Converse’s One-Star, grammy nominations for Flower Boy, we wonder where he will go from here.

Revisiting Tyler’s old discography can be fairly nostalgic despite being less than a decade old, memories of watching him evolve being particularly rose-tinted but it’s difficult to argue that a good chunk of his early material hasn’t stood the test of time. It took a bit for Tyler to find his footing as a musical artist and though he may have had a certain vision for all of those albums, it doesn’t mean that every song in its own way fits or is actually good at all. There is quite a number of duds on his first 4 albums (if you include mixtape Bastard). With that being said, where there is darkness there is light and Tyler is responsible for some of the best rap music of this decade. He should not be viewed as anything but a monumental inspiration to this generation and an artist to watch for years to come so, without further ado, here’s the cream of the crop when it comes to Wolf Haley’s list of tracks.

10. Treehome95

Treehome95 is just a taste of the potential Tyler had in jazz when it was released. While the cut may have been off-putting to a lot of fans when it showed up on Wolf, it still shows a connection to his current work. The gentle side of Tyler that didn’t often come out was a change of pace that much desired and this cut was only something that amplified it. Erykah Badu and Coco Owino lend gorgeous vocals to help fill out the track. By the time it ends at its 3-minute mark, it’s too soon.

9. Answer


Tyler speaks bluntly to his father on Answer with a fiery flow that resembles early Eminem.  The production on this track is easy to love: the drums sound incredible paired with the guitar tone and sure, Syd could have done really well with a bigger role than background vocals on this cut, but there’s a reason why it’s appearing on this list regardless.

8. Where This Flower Blooms


The ‘proper’ introduction to Flower Boy, Tyler sounds fearless on this track with Frank; like they have both come into their own. Tyler brings the listener into his world with great production and even better verses. 

7. She

She doesn’t really seem like it’s a stand-alone Tyler track. Frank Ocean takes such big strides at the beginning of the track that Tyler quickly falls behind. With that being said, the hook is something most Tyler fans will never forget. Infectious, unsettling, and oddly beautiful. The unfortunate part about revisiting this track is thinking about how Tyler’s early lyrics will affect the replayability of his music in the already-quick pace our culture is moving at.

6. IFHY

When the music video for this came out, it was hard not to be blown away. Tyler standing in an enormous doll-house plastered is prosthetics captured the creepy vibe that this song gives off. Released during a peak in Tyler’s aggressiveness, this cut also came off Wolf, which is also the first time we are able to see any vulnerability from Tyler. It’s an excellent blend of the two in this song especially, the brash opening lines compared to the exquisite performance from Pharrell to end things off.

5. November

This beat can really fuck you up on first listen, featuring some of the best production on the album. The theme of the song and the features from his friends that lead into the beat switch up make it an easy one to adore, seeing Tyler deliver one of his best performances in the first verse with an incredible flow.

4. OKRA

A standout cut after the release of Tyler’s most popular album, Flower Boy. Tyler unexpectedly dropped OKRA with a fantastic music video in 2018 after staying relatively quiet, retaining the lyrical elements of Flower Boy by keeping it real and bluntly rapping from a personal perspective. The production elements are very thick with a quick tempo, making it one of Tyler’s most hard-hitting songs ever.

3. Smuckers

A fan favorite, Smuckers was a huge standout on Tyler’s most polarizing effort, Cherry Bomb. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Tyler all bring their writing chops to extreme highs and pays off in one of the best posse cuts of this generation. For die-hard Kanye fans, his verse is one of the best he has dropped this decade. Lil Wayne is able to bring the song to a satisfying close with his verse towards the back end of the song. Smuckers is a song so well put together that it will age like wine.

2. See You Again

See You Again is the prime example of the current Tyler era and the best way to be able to pin down his current sound. Kali Uchis takes a chance to really shine on this track and even though she and Tyler have collaborated, nothing they’ve done has ever sounded this grand. The hook is infectious, and the flow of Tyler’s verses is something we come to expect from him. It could very well be debated that See You Again helped break down the doors for stars like Rex Orange County and Steve Lacy to bring this “anti-pop” sound into an underground mainstream audience.

1. 911/Mr. Lonely

This is one of Tyler’s best examples of when everything comes perfectly together in his head. Steve Lacy’s vocals, the Frank feature, the seamless transition into Mr. Lonely, the energy that flows from the funk of the first track into the bangin’ second. The grasp this track has you is scary, making itself an immediate favourite for many fans and a welcoming update to any listeners or critics that had written Tyler off early in his career.

Jake’s Top 20 Movies of 2017

by jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Hey, Jake Cordiner here. 2017 was fucking shite eh? I appreciate that this sentiment has been beaten to death but it really was. The only shining lights were found in yer music, games, TV, wrestling (shouts to Kenny Omega) and, perhaps the most important, film. So many fucking unreal films came out in 2017, I struggled like fuck to narrow down this list.

PLEASE NOTE: I haven’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, I’m fucking sorry, ok? There are loads of films I haven’t got around to seeing yet but I guaran-damn-tee that I’ll get the most hate for having not seen Homecoming. Right, honourable mentions:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Ramped up everything that made the first film so refreshing, but sadly felt a bit by the numbers in the process. Still worth a watch.
  • The Ghoul – A good wee British horror that I reviewed earlier on in 2017, mind-bending af, in the same vein as the likes of Coherence and Timecrimes.
  • T2 Trainspotting – To be brutally honest, this film had absolutely no right to be as good as it was. Danny Boyle used all the directing tricks he’s learned in the 20+ years that had passed since the original Trainspotting to create a film that manages to stand on its own merits.
  • Mayhem / The Belko Experiment – Both have very, very similar plots (shit goes down in an office building) so I’ve lumped these two together. Go for Mayhem if you want over the top schlock, go for The Belko Experiment if you want something a bit smarter, but more subdued.


Right, here goes. The 20 DEFINITIVE best films of 2017!!

 

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20. Brigsby Bear

An absolutely dynamite film, this. It stars Kyle Mooney and Mark Hamill and that’s literally all I want to say. I implore you, don’t watch any trailers or clips. Go in as blind as possible and let this wonderful piece of cinema sweep you away.

 

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19. I.T

I.T is a film that, I think, defied all expectations. It shouldn’t have been this good, but boy oh boy am I glad it is. It oozes humour and genuine dread from its every pore, in no small part thanks to some stonking performances from the central children, and of course Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. Not every joke/scare hits, but when they do, fuck me do they deliver.

 

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18. Baby Driver

I wasn’t as head over heels in love with this yin as a lot of other people seemed to be, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great film. An utter masterclass in song choice and editing, Baby Driver is nothing but straight up fun. Add another worldie to Edgar Wright’s repertoire.

 

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17. Thor Ragnarok

Without a doubt the most fun I had in the cinema in 2017, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok managed to capture the humour and wistfulness of his previous works (Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows, both fantastic films), AND on top of that he made a damn fine action film. I now want Taika to direct every film that will ever come out. I’m not sure of the logistics but I think it’s probably possible.

 

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16. Mother!

I’m still not entirely sure what the fuck I watched, basically. One of the most batshit insane films I’ve ever seen, Mother! Is Darren Aronofsky making a film that is kind of about everything and kind of about nothing all at once? It is fucking mad, and it’s brilliant.

 

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15. The Love Witch

The Love Witch is an incredibly strange film. A surreal horror/romance/60s throwback with deliberately(?) wooden acting and strange transitions between scenes. I’m genuinely not even sure if I liked it that much, but I’ve watched it willingly three times so that must count for something. A bizarre, but must-watch film.

 

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14. Dunkirk

What Dunkirk lacks in the story department, it more than makes up for visually. Some of the shots in this flick are utterly staggering. A palpable sense of dread and tension hangs over each and every scene. Whilst sitting in the cinema, I genuinely felt anxious at points, so this definitely isn’t one for the faint of heart. One of Christopher Nolan’s weakest pictures, but then again, a weak Christopher Nolan joint is still better than most directors best efforts.

 

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13. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE LAST JEDI: I fucking loved this film. It has more heart and soul in it than any Star Wars film before it. Some of the scenes are stupid, some of the motivations for the characters are stupid, but it is an utter joy. The new characters introduced all had their place, and the way Rian Johnson decided to treat the force as a religious allegory like the original trilogy did was a wonderful touch. Do not listen to the hate, this is a wonderful, wonderful piece of cinema.

 

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12. Logan

One of only two good things to come out of 2017 with the name Logan attached (here’s looking at you, Logan Lucky) Logan is one of the best comic book films of all time because it didn’t feel like a comic book film (for the most part). It’s gritty, moody, violent as all hell, sad as fuck and, maybe above all else, it’s human. Who’d have thought all it would take to make a great stand-alone Wolverine film would be to make him weaker? A blinder.

 

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11. Brawl In Cell Block 99

Just missing out on my top 10 is the devilishly pulpy Brawl In Cellblock 99. S. Craig Zahler is one of the most exciting directors working today, and he only has 2 films under his belt (the other being 2015’s gory western horror Bone Tomahawk, also a great movie). The premise is simple: Big scary man (played by Vince Vaughn, in a career-best performance) goes to jail, has to do something in jail to save his pregnant wife. What follows is a journey documenting how far people will go for the people they love (hint: REALLY fucking far). If gore is your bag, look no further. Brawl… will knock your socks clean off.

 

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10. Moonlight

Here we go MY DUDES, tenth spot goes to the utterly gorgeous Moonlight. Barry Jenkins’ touching portrait of a young black man’s entire life as he grapples with topics ranging from sexuality to what it means to be black in modern America.

There’s almost nothing you can fault with this film, Jenkins’ writing and directing is masterful, as are the performances throughout, in particular, a star-making turn from Mahershala Ali as Juan. This film can go from melancholic to harrowing in the space of a scene, but it never feels jarring or poorly paced.

To put it simply, this is a masterpiece of cinema, and it’s a testament to how good a year 2017 was for film that it’s only ranking at number 10 on my list.

 

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9. Colossal 

What an absolute gem of a film this is. Starring Anne Hathaway (in probably the best performance she’s ever given), Colossal tells the tale of Gloria, an out of work alcoholic who leaves her apartment in the big city and her, to be frank, total wank of a boyfriend Tim (played with aplomb by Dan Stevens, who is fucking great) to move back to her hometown and try to “find herself” (so far so bloody cliche).

After Something decimates Seoul overnight, she slowly but surely begins to realise that she might have something to do with the destruction of one of the world’s largest cities. That’s as much as I can go into without spoiling anything, so I’m instead going to gush about how fucking incredible Jason Sudeikis is in this film. Like, he SERIOUSLY knocks it entirely out of the park. He knocks whatever “it” is into the stratosphere, in fact, “it” probably landed on the surface of Mars. Where the fuck did this performance come from? He’s always been a serviceable enough comedic actor, but my man has LAYERS. He’s warm, cuddly and intimidating all at once.

I can honestly say this is one of the most surprising films of the year, for me. I stumbled upon the trailer by accident whilst traveling downwards through a youtube rabbit hole and it instantly got my attention, but it just seemed like an artsy wee weird, low budget / high production value romcom. How wrong I was, this blew me away and I can almost guarantee it’ll blow you away too.

 

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8. The Big Sick

God this film made me cry. It made me cry more than I think any film in recent memory has. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s story is one that needed to be heard (or in this case, saw). Kumail stars as himself, doing shitey wee stand up gigs in a toilet venue in Chicago, a toilet venue that Emily (played with an effortless charm and venom by Zoe Kazan) happens to attend one night. What follows is a journey that is heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, as a mystery illness leaves Emily’s life hanging in the balance. Kumail casting himself as himself is nothing short of genius, and it allows him to give one of the most believable performances of 2017.

You feel every moment of elation and despair Kumail, Emily and Emily’s parents, played by Holly Hunter (Mrs. Bloody fucking Incredible!) and RAY ROMANO (who is genuinely all sorts of fantastic in this film) go through.

The Big Sick is one of the funniest films of the year, it is dripping with Kumail’s signature deadpan humour. Nanijani and Gordon have written one of the most stunningly human films of recent times, and for my money, the best romantic comedy ever.

 

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7. The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)

Jesus H Christ this film’s a journey. Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories follows three siblings who are trying and failing to escape the shadow of their father. The siblings are played beautifully by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Jean Marvel. All 3 are nothing short of fucking incredible in this film, Sandler especially, who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that when he tries, he can be a stunningly good actor. Dustin Hoffman plays their father, Harold, a neurotic retired artist who was, for all intents and purposes, kind of a really shitty dad/husband/person in general. He’s onto his third wife, Maureen (hammed up to perfection by the ever impressive Emma Thompson). As his children try (and fail) desperately to strike up some form of connection with Harold, he takes ill. And THATS AS MUCH OF A SYNOPSIS AS YIS ARE GETTING!

Noah Baumbach is the king of writing films like this, emotional gut-punches wrapped in wittily written monologues and dialogues, and his run of form continues here. This is an oftentimes bleak peak into dysfunctional family life, and it is a vital watch.

 

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6. Get Out

Jordan Peele, take a fucking bow, son.

This racially driven horror/thriller/comedy(according to the golden globes) is nothing less than a slice of fried gold. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, who is about to go to his girlfriend’s family’s house upstate for the weekend. He hasn’t met them yet. Bad shit is going to go down. Everything starts off innocently enough, niceties are shared between all family members (with a bit of seemingly unintentional casual racism thrown in the mix), but soon things take a turn for the incredibly sinister.

What follows is one of the most uncomfortable films I have ever watched. I squirmed, almost non-stop throughout this films entire run time. The performances from Rose (played by Allison Williams) and her family are staggeringly good, with a real tenseness and a sense of underlying evil intentions soaking almost every line of dialogue they have. Catherine Keener as Missy especially oozes an aura of uncomfortableness throughout. But this is very much Kaluuya’s film, with a perfectly weighted performance that has seen him gain a BAFTA nomination, and rightly so.

It’s staggering that this was Jordan Peele’s first foray into feature-length film, and as I’m sure anyone who’s seen Get Out will agree, he’s placed himself firmly among the ranks of the most exciting young directors working today.

 

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5. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos is a mad fucking genius and I adore him. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a very hard film to categorise. On the one hand, it could be construed as a pitch black comedy, on the other it’s an eerie and skin-crawling horror. But that’s the true beauty of Lanthimos’s work, it simply refuses categorisation. The film’s advertising campaign was a masterstroke, revealing almost nothing about the film’s plot apart from the bare essentials. Colin Farrell is a surgeon. Nicole Kidman is his wife. Barry Keoghan is a weird as fuck teenager and Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic are Farrell and Kidman’s children.

The rest is left purposefully vague, and it’s all the better for it. It may seem like a cop-out to say this but the less you know about The Killing of a Sacred Deer going into It the better, but it’s genuinely true. This is a film that requires your full attention, many wee details may slip through the cracks on your first view so multiple viewings would also help. A lot of people don’t care for Lanthimos’s style after his last two films (Dogtooth and The Lobster), but those who do know exactly how talented this man is. Belting stuff.

 

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4. Raw

The best way to describe this film is Mean Girls meets The Silence of the Lambs. What starts off as a simple coming of age fare turns dark very, VERY quickly. Julia Ducournau French language directorial debut is a masterclass in slow burning dread. Justine arrives at college to become a vet like the rest of her family, and upon arriving is subjected to a hazing ritual along with the rest of the new starts. This ritual includes the consumption of RAW (HE SAID IT) meat. There’s one wee problem, though: Julia’s been a vegetarian since birth. This hazing ritual is the catalyst for awakening a previously unknown love of meat. RAW ( there he goes again!) meat specifically.

There were horror tales surrounding this films showing at the Toronto film festival, with the usual (more often than not bullshit) stories about “PEOPLE VOMITING IN THE AISLES” and “AMBULANCES RUSHING TO THE THEATRE TO ATTEND TO CASES OF MASS FAINTING!” But I’ll give this film the benefit of the doubt, some of the scenes throughout are genuinely fucking vile. But at the same time, a lot of this film is gorgeous, with a lot of striking camera work throughout.

It’s that balance that makes Raw so great in my eyes. Garance Mallier (this is also her first feature-length film) plays Julia with just the right amount of nervous energy and (eventually) sassiness that it’s hard not to be sucked into this film. A bloody slobber knocker, and another film that showcases the trend of genuinely smart horror that we’ve been blessed with over the last few years.

 

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3. La La Land

The film I’ve seen more than any other on this list, La La Land is, in a word, dazzling. At its heart, La La Land is a film about sacrifice. Be it sacrificing relationships, morals or dreams, sacrifice is the running theme throughout Damien Chazelle’s sun-drenched musical masterpiece.

Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling pianist and jazz connoisseur (we’ve all met one of them, bloody annoying dicks) who dreams of owning his own jazz club. Emma Stone’s Mia works at a coffee shop, but she dreams of being an actress. They fall in love, he teaches her about jazz, she tries to teach him about film, but a copious amount of roadblocks stand in the way of the relationship. From their own egos to job opportunities, to timing. It’s never really clear if the relationship will work out. And that is absolutely fine because not everything works out. Sometimes things aren’t meant to be, and La La Land excels in conveying this message. Maybe the person you think is your soulmate never really was.

The music throughout La La Land is genuinely on another level. From the jaunty and energetic opener Another Day of Sun to the slow and brooding City of Stars, not a note is wasted throughout. Performance wise, Gosling and Stone are electric together, their chemistry is through the roof and I can’t imagine this film being as good with anyone else in the starring roles. The choreography deserves a mention as well, each and every extra in the big dance numbers pops out of the screen. This is partly thanks to the costumes and partly thanks to the choreography itself, which is stellar throughout. This film simply drips class, beauty, and sadness, and it is absolutely fucking astonishingly good.

 

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2. A Ghost Story

I haven’t stopped thinking about this film since I seen it. It is, seriously, one of the most stunningly beautiful films I have ever seen. It explores such heady topics with such a deft hand that it is almost difficult for me to talk about without tearing up, this is not hyperbole. David Lowrey deserves a Nobel peace prize for this film.

Starring Rooney Mara and White Male Shitbird, A Ghost Story tells the tale of C (man) and M (woman). C & M live happily in a lovely little home in an equally lovely little town. C is a music producer, who is happy with the house. M is not happy, she wants to leave as soon as possible. Something about the house troubles her, she feels like something will soon go horribly wrong. Hesitant of change, C laughs off these claims but soon, something does go very wrong. C is killed in a car accident. It wasn’t his fault, it never usually is the fault of the person who loses their life. M goes to identify the body, it’s him. She’s completely and utterly lost, she can bare to see the lifeless body of the man she loved, still loves. She runs away. C rises out of his body as a ghost, wearing a sheet, with wee holes cut out for eyes.

In any other film, this depiction of a ghost would be seen as pretentious and asinine, not here. C goes back to his house. He watches M live her life without him. Struggling to find meaning, she binge eats and vomits it back out. She is a husk. She leaves, C can’t. He’s stuck in this house. The next family moves in. And the next. And the next. You see where this is going.

A Ghost Story tackles time, love, loss, grief, the meaning of fucking life and treats each question with the weight they deserve. There’s barely any dialogue for over half the film. There doesn’t need to be. The imagery conveys the messages this film takes on effortlessly, arguably far better than words ever could. I’m aware I’m gushing, and I’m genuinely sorry but this film seems to have flown under a lot of people’s radars and that’s quite simply a fucking crime.

You may think a write up like that should be number one? Well, not necessarily…

 

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1. Blade Runner 2049

This film should not exist. Not only should it not exist, it has the AUDACITY to be one of the best films ever made. Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins have gifted us with one of the most visually spectacular films of all time. EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT is desktop background worthy (high praise, I’m a man who respects his desktop and its background, anyone who knows me will tell you that).

The world building in this film is stellar, helped in no small part by the three shorts released prior to 2049’s release. The acting is second to none, Gosling is on the form of his life as K, Robin Wright shines as K’s commander in chief, a criminally under-utilized Dave Bautista steals the short scene he’s in without breaking a sweat (figuratively, not literally). But the star of the show here is Harrison Ford. I don’t know what Denis and the rest of the crew fed him, but he was a different gravy entirely in this flick. Potentially the best performance he’s ever given.

I’ve sucked enough actor dick for one lifetime, so let’s get to the story. K is a newer replicant who is hired by the police to track down and decommission older replicants (for the uninitiated, replicants are basically androids). An almost botched job leads him on a journey to discover who he is, and if he even is a replicant at all. That’s the basic premise, it goes a lot deeper than that I promise you, but you’ll have to discover the film’s intricacies for yourself.

Villeneuve has taken the concept of big bad Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (and Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and ran with it. He’s Forrest Gump’d the fucker. I think he’s still running as we speak. Though limitations due to the time it was made have to be taken into account, Villeneuve and his crew’s design of near-future Los Angeles is fucking awe-inspiring. It’s all blinding neon advertisements, towering skyscrapers and Neo-futuristic slums. And that’s just the exteriors, each and ever interior location was meticulously designed with so much love that the care that went into the sets is almost palpable.

This is a special, special film. It takes Scott’s original and punts it into orbit, answering questions that the original was either too scared or too up its own arse to answer. It’s beautiful, it’s harrowing, it’s deeply sad and it’s the best film of 2017.

Now, I should make something clear here while I’ve still got you. I might have bigged up some films more than other’s, yet placed them lower on the list. This is because I can appreciate that art is special, and still not enjoy them as much as other pieces of art. That’s a wanky way of saying please don’t hate me. As always, a massive, massive, humongous, to be honest too big thank you to Liam and the rest of the Blinkclyro team for letting me write shite. It’s truly one of the greatest privileges I’ve had in my life. And an equally as big thank you to you, for reading the shite I’ve written. It means more than you could ever know.

2017 was a shite year in a lot of aspects but it was still decent for me. I found my footing in the journalism game and I managed to write a few pieces I’m genuinely proud of.

Let me know your favourite films of 2017, let me know how you are, let me know if you’re doing ok. Follow me on twitter @jjjjaketh, have a wonderful morning/ afternoon/evening/night, and I’ll see you again soon.

 

The Best Gigs of 2017

It’s finally here: no, not Christmas, list season BAYBEE! A culmination of all the good, and bad, that the year has had to offer, we’re kicking things off with some positive content about the live shows that the team loved every second of.

Before we get into each team member’s choice, let’s have a glance at some of the honourable mentions that deserve a shoutout…

The Vegan Leather @ TRNSMT

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At a festival with some of the biggest names in music, it goes to show how utterly impressive this Paisley art-rock outfit were at the debut entry of TRNSMT. “Talking Heads meets Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet LCD-Soundsystem” is the only way we managed to describe their sound yet that still doesn’t do The Vegan Leather justice: if you’re lucky enough to have New Years free from work then be sure to boogie on down to see this foursome kill it at King Tuts.

FULL REVIEW HERE

SWAY @ Tenement Trail

Photo Courtesy of Cameron Brisbane | Twitter | Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Cameron Brisbane | Site |Facebook | Twitter

If our accolade of “Best Band At Tenement Trail 2017“, a prestigious award depending on who you ask, wasn’t enough to do SWAY‘s performance at Nice N Sleazy justice then let this be your final telling off. Presenting a beautiful blend of indie rock finesse with shoegaze and pop influences, the Paisley act put on an amazing show featuring great tunes, inflatable footballs and a bloody nose (#PrayForDanDrennan).

FULL REVIEW HERE

Wolf Alice @ Barrowlands

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Photo courtesy of Jose Ramon Caamaño | Facebook | Flickr |

Hot off the back of providing one of the best sophomore releases of the decade, lovely London lot Wolf Alice treated their Glasgow fans to not one but two shows at the iconic Barrowlands venue. Playing a healthy dose of the old and the new, along with some golden oldies like Blush, the indie rock outfit show that they deserve every morsel of hype they’ve accumulated over the past few years.

And now, onto the team’s top picks…

Isabella McHardy (@isabellamchardy)Strange Bones @ TRNSMT

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I hadn’t heard of them before but a friend suggested we go see Strange Bones – it was by far my favourite performance of the festival and ultimately the entire year. They played the tiny Jack Daniel’s Jack Rocks tent on the Sunday and it was perfect. They played with such an infectious energy, I couldn’t stop smiling the whole set.

The entire tent was jumping up and down and yelling even if they didn’t know the words. They were probably one of the heaviest bands at the festival but they still managed to pull in such an enthusiastic crowd. The band were crowd surfing and running into the audience throughout the show but no one got tired of it. It was the first gig I had been to in a while where I felt completely ecstatic. After their set, I couldn’t wait to get home so I could go through their discography.

Disappointingly, their EP’s don’t live up to how they perform live, but I would still go see them again just for the atmosphere and the ‘Theresa is a Terrorist’ t-shirts.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Callum Thornhill (@calthornhill) – Sorority Noise, Turnover & Citizen @ Camden Underworld

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They say good things come in threes. Wise men. Amigos. So on and so forth. For this ridiculously intimate show; it was American emo icons that arrived as a magnificent trio. Heading to Camden’s Underworld via stunning performances at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival came Citizen and Turnover; ‘supported’ by Sorority Noise.

What made this an incredible line-up was the enthusiasm shared by bands towards other bands, fans to bands and even bands to fans. Splitting the set times evenly, no band took the limelight, however, Sorority Noise were first up to get things going. With third LP, You’re Not as _____ as You Think released earlier this year, it was the first time many fans had heard tracks such as Car and No Halo; Cameron Boucher even recited Manchester Orchestra’s I Can Feel a Hot One ahead of No Halo. These new, heartfelt ballads combined with golden older tracks, e.g Nolsey and Using, made Sorority Noise the perfect opener.

Turnover were next up and thankfully, and I am sure fellow fans will agree, they decided to play a set full of classics rather than cramming their set full of Good Nature tracks. Peripheral Vision dominated the setlist with the crowd singing along to everything from Cutting My Fingers Off to the iconic Dizzy on the Comedown. A mellow atmosphere greeted the Virginia outfit, who took it in their stride to engage in a chilled out yet passionate vibe.

‘Headlining’ for the evening were Ohio/Michigan alt-rockers Citizen. Brutally belting out The Summer instantly showed what was about to unfold. The highlight of the set was How Does it Feel? purely because the dark, moody atmosphere perfectly complemented the pitch black surrounding of the Underworld. Giving Yellow Love and Cement air-time before The Night I Drove Alone closed their slot, Citizen gave a stunning performance to cap off an amazing night of bands from across the pond.

To conclude, good things do come in threes, and this line-up does nothing but emphasise that fact.

Ethan Woodford (@human_dis4ster) – Gorillaz @ Hydro, Glasgow

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In a year where I finally saw some of my all-time favourite bands (Radiohead, The Libertines) as well as seeing some old friends again (Wolf Alice, Basement), every gig stuck out in my mind but none more so than the Gorillaz‘s massive show at the Hydro.

Having been desperate to see them for years, it was such a joy to hear some of my favourite songs sung back by thousands of people in unison. Damon Albarn was in top form, a massive smile barely leaving his face except when he was stood at the edge of the stage trying to look menacing during Clint Eastwood. It’s commendable a man of his talent and success is still so humbled by fans singing his lyrics and his constant gratitude to his many guests and backing band members made for a wholesome sight. 

Speaking of his guests, they only added to the spectacle, from De La Soul to the show-stealing Vince Staples, each guest injected even more energy to the atmosphere and by midway through the set, the entire crowd was bouncing,

A truly mesmerising gig that had me smiling for the rest of the night after, Damon Albarn and his friends deserve the crown of best live show of the year.

Ryan Martin (@ryanmartin182) – Childish Gambino @ Radio City Music Hall

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Photo Courtesy of Bradley Robinson

Seeing Childish Gambino co-headline an event at Radio City Music Hall with Dave Chappelle was truly something special but after his announcement earlier this summer that he would be retiring after his next album, it truly made the concert something to be cherished forever.

Being a massive Donald Glover fan, I had never seen him perform live as Childish Gambino except for a small radio show festival performance where he only did his biggest hits before exiting. Gambino at Radio City Music Hall exceeded my expectations from the multi-talented performer. He performed the majority of his new album Awaken My Love with the help of a full band, backup singers, and an incredible display of lights and visuals.

Hearing AML live without the vocal effects made for an entirely new experience of the album. The album sounded fresher, more exciting and more fun live. Gambino’s performance was incredible, filled with passionate shrieks reminiscent of Prince in his prime. He showcased his dancing skills throughout the set and was all over the stage, even moonwalking at one point.

Gambino’s decision to perform most of AML with exception to 3005, Sweatpants and Sober really showed how much Gambino has matured in recent memory and how he is beginning to grow out of most of his discography. This could be a partial reason for his decision to retire the Childish Gambino moniker and will almost surely affect his future touring schedule. One thing is for sure, if Gambino stops by your area, be sure not to miss out.

Andrew Barr (@weeandreww) – Frank Ocean @ Parklife

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Photos Courtesy of Parklife

Here lies the critical irony; my favourite show of the year, Frank Ocean’s surreal headline slot at Parklife festival could scarcely be considered a performance, serving as more of a glimpse into the elusive star’s psyche.

When Ocean stuttered onto the stage 40 minutes late and restarted opener Solo 3 times, it looked like his long-awaited live return could end in spectacular failure, however, Ocean managed to claw it back in a way only he could. His confidence and stage presence grew throughout the set dominated by Blonde and Endless material, and by the time he walked offstage during the Korean verse on the alt version of closer Nikes, it was clear; this wasn’t a show for everyone, but one that the many diehard Ocean fans will never forget.

Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr) – Run The Jewels & Danny Brown @ O2 Academy

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Photo Courtesy of Ryan Johnston | Facebook | Site

 

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that this gig was a highly anticipated one for myself: Run The Jewels and Danny Brown are both Album Of The Year winners, in our 2014 and 2016 lists respectively, so the prospect of seeing both acts in the one night was too good to pass up.

It was no disappointment (I mean, it’s on this list, isn’t it?) as the Detroit king of rap Danny got things underway, storming through his impressive discography with some running man dancing and what can only be described as an intimate strip show for the thousands in attendance. Tracks from his magnum opus Atrocity Exhibition got just the reaction he must have expected, provoking a wave of moshing and rapping from the enthusiastic crowd.

Not to be outdone, RTJ made their way to the stage (albeit a bit late) and from start to finish, they undoubtedly affirmed why they were a force to be reckoned with. Not only that but there was a great deal of duality on show: Killer Mike is an absolute monster when he’s on the mic but the amount of compassion and love shown between songs, from a speech about mental health to a big fuck you to groping at gigs, the man is like Sully if he had an abundance of sick bars. Don’t worry El, I haven’t forgotten about you; RTJ is a two man show after all and if it weren’t for the bounciness, crassness and sheer bragadociousness of El-P then it just wouldn’t be the same.

Danny even showed up for his verse on Hey Kids, wearing only his underwear as the O2 Academy witnessed not only Mike giving the audience a glimpse of his ass, but two of the best acts on the fucking planet: and the crowd goes…

Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh) – Gorillaz @ Hydro, Glasgow

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Photos Courtesy of Getty Images

 

While I was ever so slightly underwhelmed by Damon Albarn and his band of merry primates’ latest effort Humanz (DO YOU GET IT BECAUSE GORILLAZ?) I still jumped at the chance to see them live at The Hydro when the gig was announced earlier and the year. And I’ll tell you something, I’m bloody glad I did.

Gorillaz live are a different beast entirely from Gorillaz on record. There’s something of a more immediate urgency about them in a live setting, particularly in the vocals of head gorilla Damon “I Love Witches” Albarn. I’ve never seen Blur live in person, but I’ve seen my fair share of their sets from the comfort of my own computer chair and Albarn seems to turn everything up to 11 when he’s performing under the Gorillaz banner. Gone is the subdued, mild-mannered, middle-class Englishman that belts out Tender with a quiet confidence, instead he’s replaced by a grown man doing his best impression of an actual Gorilla. To put it bluntly, when Damon Albarn is in Gorillaz mode, he is a fucking nutter. He jumps around the stage with a reckless abandon, screaming in innocent concert goers in the front row like a man possessed by a pure primal force. It’s a joy to watch.

As are the rest of his band, I was blown away by how flipping CHUNKY everything sounded in a live setting. The bass was lovely and sludgy, both drummers played flawlessly and the keys were whimsical one moment and downright demonic the next. Then came the guests: Bootie Brown, Zebra Katz, Vince Staples, DE LA BLOODY SOUL were all there in the flesh and it was chuffing magnificent.

I’d wanted to see Gorillaz in some capacity for over a decade, and holy fuck me did they deliver. This ranks as not only one of my gigs of the year but genuinely one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. So thank you, Damon and company, you bunch of fucking lunatics. We wouldn’t have you any other way.

Rory McArthur (@rorymeep) – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ Albert Hall, Manchester

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If you know me, this choice won’t come as a surprise; I may or may not have a little bit of a thing for this band. This was my fourth time seeing King Gizzard, but this was the first time it properly hit me how unfathomably incredible they are live. From the tried and trusted old favourites to the, at that point in the year at least, new microtonal tracks, everything went down an absolute storm with a suitably energetic crowd. The electricity inside the Albert Hall that evening was honestly breathtaking. I don’t think there’s another rock band in the world right now that can put on a show quite like Gizz. If they’d have decided to play all night long, I wouldn’t have minded one bit. 

Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon) – Protomartyr & Oh Boland @ CCA, Glasgow

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Protomartyr’s third visit to Glasgow in as many years takes place at Sauchiehall Street’s pre-eminent creative hub, the Centre for Contemporary Arts. Incidentally, this occasion marks their first time playing above ground in the city; apt, considering their meteoric rise from the underground to the forefront of contemporary post-punk, a sort of symbolism that isn’t lost on despair extraordinaire Joe Casey.

Joking that it’s a sign they’re finally moving up in the world, his self-depreciating humour is disingenuous to their cerebral yet deeply enjoyable brand of music. Turning up on stage without further ado, the band launch straight into lead single My Children. Casey’s appearance, grey-suited and formal, carries as little extravagance as his vocal delivery: barking and authoritative, the right level of Angry Da but never unintentionally bombastic. 

Audience interaction is sporadic and generally kept to a minimum, save for a few amusing exchanges; however,  such was the level of quality and electrifying atmosphere that the crowd quickly began dancing of their own volition. In contrast to the chaos of Casey’s performance, Greg Ahee’s guitar work is a controlled explosion of riffs and inventive, often unexpected chord changes complemented by a captivating dynamic between himself, bassist Scott Davidson and drummer Alex Leonard, whose stellar percussion work underpins every track, relentlessly propelling forward. While leaning fairly heavily on their latest material, Protomartyr nevertheless treated veteran fans to plenty of classics including two tracks from their oft-overlooked debut. 

Support act Oh Boland, covering the spot regrettably vacated by Sauna Youth, proved a worthy opener, commendably navigating one or two technical glitches to produce exactly the kind of high-octane introduction needed to prepare everyone for what lay ahead.

Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc) – The LaFontaines & The Dykeenies @ Barrowlands

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Having a gig at The Barrowlands is a massive achievement for any band. Tonight, The LaFontaines were ready to unleash their chaotic, charisma filled live show to the sold-out Glasgow crowd. The buzz in the buildup to the performance was surreal, with fans everywhere eager to see the fonts once again.

The band tasked with getting the crowd ready? The recently reformed The Dykeenies. The band played a good 50 odd minute set, with highlights being Waiting for Go and Sounds Of The City. The fans were ready and The Dykeenies job was done with success and the fonts took to the stage.

Opening up with Slow Elvis and going straight into Junior Dragon, the atmosphere was something else. The bands unique sound works beautifully live and the feeling in the crowd was magical. New songs Common Problem and Hang Fire went down great with the crowd, proving the band are not just a one album wonder and that their second full length is doing wonders.

If anything, this gig proved that The LaFontaines are going to get even bigger than what they already are. If they keep up the work rate and live shows they have going, it’s a bright future for the band that are already seen as Scottish heavyweights.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Tilly O’Connor (@tilly_oconnor) – Gorillaz @ Hydro, Glasgow

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Photo Courtesy of Aidan | Source

With the Autumnal gig season drawing do a close, I saw Gorillaz at the Hydro in Glasgow. As someone who normally consumes live music in dive bars, the stadium’s sheer size was daunting, even if it’s sticky floor felt like home. The crowd was full of groups of families with grownup-kids near my age. My parents got me into Gorillaz young and I credit them with playing a part in shaping my current tastes in music, visual arts and even politics. The group has always been all-encompassing, and their 29th November gig was no different.

The band rattled the room with M1 A1. This was followed by Albarn, mic in hand, asking the 13,000 strong crowd if we were the last living souls. These songs from the band’s earlier work set the tone for the rest of the show, as it would feature hits peppered with memorable album tracks. A high point for me was Dirty Harry. The live performers were accompanied by a disjointed choir of cartoon South Park-esque kids singing the chilling chorus to the delight and discomfort of all watching. The band’s alter egos played a huge part in the engulfing feeling of the show. Carrying out heists and racing games, 2-D, Murdoch, Noodle and Russell Hobs reached deeper into our collective consciousness, pulling out gleefull pockets of nostalgia, providing the perfect backdrop for the night’s music.

Along with visuals, the main band were accompanied by a vast amount of guest performers, most notably the hip-hop trio De La Soul who feature on one of the bands most famous songs – Feel Good Inc.

Hong Kong was the first encore song, and it provided the most haunting musical moment of the night. The song which plays heavily on imagery surrounding neon lights and electricity was spontaneously met with thousands upon thousands of glowing phone lights, bringing the previously black room to an eery yellow which shined down Damon Albarn’s face. Singing to us, an army of smartphone welding fans, with a wry smile “All the people in a dream, Wait for the machine” he brought the night towards its end. This scene felt stunningly fitting for a band who have continuously captured the zeitgeist. From their self-titled debut in 2001 to this year’s Humanz, the group have always painted a vivid picture of the world in the 21st century.

Will Sexton (@willshesleeps) – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ O2 Academy, Bristol

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Photos Courtesy of Ashlea Bea | Twitter

Now I know what you might be thinking, “ooh pick the latest gig you went too” but people who are thinking that obviously have never seen Frank Carter live. The stage presence of this man is electric all in itself and arriving on stage with an absolute roar of noise and appreciation is so magical every single time. Frank has had a bit of a tough year but you wouldn’t have ever guessed, coming back from tonsillitis and taking a small break to help recover from the incredible work he has done over the last three years which was very well respected amongst the fans.

He came back with a total bang and every song from Primary Explosive right to I Hate You were electric. Filled with moshing and inspirational speeches about girls feeling safe at gigs, mental health and just straight up appreciation of us, it was a magical night!

Dominic Cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo) – The Mountain Goats @ The Art School, Glasgow

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The Mountain Goats were awaited by the crowd with bated breath and I’d be lying if I said I was not amongst their number, in terms of the mob or the state of breath. North Carolina based folk rockers The Mountain Goats – consisting of the ever-present singer-songwriter John Darnielle and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas – ascend to the stage accompanied by cries of devotion from the loving Glasgow crowd. Opening with Have to Explode, the cheers and whooping give way to absolute silence. When the song ends so does the hush, the hanging silence expelled with thankful applause.

Honestly, for me the gig was a beautiful exhibition of long-crafted skill and art, showing how well playing to the crowd can be done. The innate crowd interaction from John Darnielle who was loving the little stand-up bits, made the night all the more special. If you have not seen The Mountain Goats live, I can recommend nothing more, and if you have never heard them, I would start now; on The Sunset TreeTallahassee, or Beat the Champ.

FULL REVIEW HERE

List Season Continues…

10 WORST SONGS OF 2017 – 11TH DECEMBER

50 BEST TRACKS OF 2017 – 15TH DECEMBER

10 WORST ALBUMS OF 2017 – 18TH DECEMBER 

25 BEST ALBUMS OF 2017 – 22ND DECEMBER

 

Killer Finales: Albums That Finish With Their Strongest Tracks

Whether your album goes on for an hour or ten minutes, the general rule of thumb is to finish things with a bang rather than a fizzle. Sure, there are a handful of albums that could be considered one of the greatest whose best track is somewhere in the middle (hell, maybe all the tracks are so great it’s hard to pick a definitive one) but that’s not what we’re talking about today. So strap yourselves in folks because today, the good folk of blinkclyro are going to go through a host of favourites that made sure to bow out in the best way possible.

The Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
White Light/White Heat

17 and a half minute long epitome of the legendary band’s sophomore avant garde quest to create something new from the thunderous noise rock they hammer out via tribal drums, buzzing organs and melting guitars – so brutal the producer walked out half way through the recording, but so very good.

Josh Adams (@jxshadams)

The National – Mr November
Alligator

The ultimate send-off for the album which represented a turning point in their careers, the twilight zone of a band on the verge of critical and commercial success. An explosive 4-minute distillation of everything they’ve done up to that point, Matt’s voice nears breaking point as he yells “I won’t fuck us over / I’m Mr November” with steely conviction.

Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

Carly Rae Jepsen – Roses
EMOTION SIDE B

WILDCARD BITCHES! Nothing omitting a cheeky wee b-side album, not as long as I’m running this site, which means the once meme turned queen of Partrician can make an appearance with this stunning track. If you’re gonna title two of your albums with EMOTION then you gotta show it and Roses just oozes heartbreak, whether it be the flower imagery or Jepsen’s vocals that at times sound like she has a legitimate lump in her throat. 

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

The Clash – Train In Vain
London Calling

Initially elided from the track listing and kept as a secret cut on the record, The Clash opted to close out their sprawling, genre-swinging double album London Calling with a modest breakup song. Detailing the dissolved relationship between vocalist Mick Jones and Viv Albertine of The Slits, the band turn their politically keen focus inward. Easily the most personal song on the album, Jones reaches an invaluable epiphany in the throes of his heartbreak: “You don’t understand my point of view/ I suppose there’s nothing I can do.”

-Sean Hannah (@shun_handsome)

Fatherson – Foreign Waters
I Am An Island

Just sums up Fatherson and their debut in every way possible. Slow, sad moments mixing with huge chorus and drum – throw in the addition of the wee 2 minute hidden track at the end and you’ve got a superb finale.

– Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc)

Radiohead – Motion Picture Soundtrack
Kid A

So much has been said and written about the icy atmosphere of that record and MPS continues this to the n-th degree with the chilling organ backdrop, however the twinkling harp that comes in combines with some of Thom’s best ever vocals to bring a beautiful sense of humanity to the record, and “I will see you in the next life” has to be the best album-closing lyric ever.

-Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

Gaslight Anthem – National Anthem
Handwritten

An album that shows so much ‘in your face’ guitar angst is closed perfectly with a delicate, emotional ballad. It shows the versatility of their sound & that they have much more to offer than riffs, hooks & drum fills – for me, this is the peak of the most rounded album The Gaslight Anthem have ever put out.

-Callum Thornhill (@cal_thornhill )

Biffy Clyro – Now The Action Is On Fire
Vertigo Of Bliss

It (somehow) manages to condense everything that made very early Biffy so special into one song. It has a bit of everything, a frantic string section, some of the best vocals the trio had ever and will ever put down, some gloriously heavy instrumentation and weird as fuck lyrics that were fast becoming a signature part of the Biff’s repertoire. It’s bombastic, loud and by all accounts it shouldn’t work but THAT’S why it’s so good. In a word, masterful.

-Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Arctic Monkeys – 505
Favourite Worst Nightmare

At this point in their career 505 was the most emotionally bare Turner’s lyrics had been and still today remains arguably their best song and suitably ends most of their sets with that unforgettable riff sounding better each time you hear it. On an album where the band improved in every way, 505 embodies that change during its climax.

-Ethian Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Muse – Knights Of Cydonia
Black Holes & Revelations

The epitome of bombastic rock and roll grandeur, from the giant opening stabs to the infamous “No one’s gonna take me alive” bridge/ending, it could be used as a blueprint to end an album. It’s overblown, in your face and pompous, making it the perfect song for the credits to roll.

– Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Death Grips – Hacker
The Money Store

Described by cuindependent.com as “the moment when all shit breaks loose and all that’s left to do is riot”, Hacker is the point in Death Grips’ career where they realised that they were the shit and wanted everyone to know about it. They’re in your area, whether you fucking like it or not. 

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
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Top 10 Modern Baseball Tracks

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

The music of Modern Baseball has always been part therapeutic, part cathartic. The emo rockers, hailing from Philly,  have repeatedly fought their inner demons numerous times over their discography that has spanned three albums, possibly one of the finest album trilogies in this century. With the band now on hiatus while Brendan Lukens deals with his personal turmoil, now seems an apt time to look back at the band’s music contributions and determine the best of the bunch.

10. Wedding Singer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJXGscQdKyQ

The second track off their latest LP Holy Ghost, Wedding Singer finds itself in a unique position of being one of the band’s most upbeat songs both instrumentally and lyrically. Appearing on the first half of the record, written by Jake Ewald, we hear optimistic lines about “stamping out the sorry feeling” while a memorable riff twists and turns over the track’s running time. Touching on themes that the band explored on their debut, more specifically @chl03k with quips about social media and dating, Wedding Singer marked the return of Modern Baseball in their most mature fashion.

9. The Old Gospel Choir

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1LKE7kJN88

Featuring some of Lukens’ best lyrics to date, “Sharp as a tack, but in the sense that you’re not smart, just a prick”, today’s first appearance of a sophomore album track comes in the form of The Old Gospel Choir. Often overlooked by fans, this song finds our narrator discussing not only his apathy with other people but himself, often resulting in those around him to leave for that very reason. With this in mind alongside the instrumental shake up after the first verse, The Old Gospel Choir is just one of many gems in MoBo’s discography.

8. Pothole

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W95u98wMlXo

Another You’re Gonna Miss It All track, this time the finale Pothole. Written and performed by Ewald, we find ourselves witnessing the deconstruction of certain tropes in the genre by mocking it, specifically near the start with “romanticising my despair”. The song’s true emotional weight his near the final few lines as Ewald begins to compare himself to cracks in concrete, giving the impression of a man who views his own self worth very lowly but will do anything to give someone the love he himself wants.

7. Everyday

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b_NeMqVXBg

As described by Ewald himself:

Everyday is a short exhibit of those insignificant memories and an attempt at understanding their importance in my life.

Not only this but the song touches on how everyone views, well, every day: whether it’s a gift from god as shown by the song’s female character or a challenge, Everyday finds Ewald at his lyrical peak as well as his most interesting vocally.

6. Cooke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEueoRb1weA

You thought we weren’t gonna include any tracks off Sports? You thought wrong: Cooke is just one of many instances on the band’s debut of the band being incredibly mature very early in their career. Packing one Modern Baseball’s best choruses as well as a visceral rundown of depression, it’s a great example of the emo rock outfit’s ability to etch itself into your head with an infectious hook but leave you thinking about the song in a far more depressing fashion.

5. The Waterboy Returns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nxrKD2hOfA

Now that we’re in the top five it’s time to hit out with the big guns. A cut off the band’s The Perfect Cast EP, The Waterboy Returns seems like an innocent enough track from the title alone, a nod to the appearance of Cameron Boucher from Sorority Noise who shares the same surname as Adam Sandler’s character from the film. However, as the song begins and Lukens begins to sing, you realise the impact this song brings: singing about toxic coping mechanisms and the harsh reality that people are happy to offer support but not give it, The Waterboy Returns stands out as one of the band’s most important tracks.

4. Tears Over Beers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU3UFfTDVY8

While it may be the most conventional or immature song thematically, girl picks jock over geek, Tears Over Beers stands out as a favourite amongst fans for a reason. Turning the whole experience into some kind of masochist experience for the girl in question, the song is backed up by some of the catchiest instrumentals the band have ever crafted. It may not stand out as unique in the genre but is sure as hell holds up as a great track.

3. Alpha Kappa Fall of Troy the Movie Part Deux (2 Disc Director’s Cut)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr_6cF0q5-Q

It may have the biggest title of all the songs ranked today but Alpha Kappa isn’t over compensating. Described by the band themselves, the song is about those who “pretend you don’t care, or just don’t feel. It’s not until you meet someone you can be unabashedly honest with that you realize how half-assed your life has become”. Lyrically the song is great but it’s in the performances where the most enjoyment comes from: moody chugging guitars pace their way throughout with a stripped back bridge evoking more emotion than any band worth their salt would want to provoke through words alone.

2. Re-Done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KM78YAiGWc

What’s even better than the great intro to Modern Baseball’s debut record? A “re-do” of it, using the exact same introductory lines, layering the instrumentals and further adding to the song’s structure until it becomes the epitome of adolescence and maturation. Low self-esteem, depression, relationship problems and attitudes towards young adults makes this the meatiest track not only in terms of what it has to say but how it says it. Somehow, there’s one track that tops this…

1. Your Graduation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbrUzJlTffs

There’s a good reason why the band consistently finish their sets with this track. Lukens often serves as Modern Baseball’s main source of depression, something this list has shown so far and Your Graduation explores this in a different way than usual, pondering how this condition can be brought on more than just internally as he struggles with change and the acceptance of it.

Call it a casual move to rank this as the band’s best song but considering how varied the song gets, going from typical angsty emo to a near hip hop level of flow in the second verse, Your Graduation sprawls into not only the best track of the band’s career but one of the best this decade has to offer.

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Ranked: Tupac’s Top 14 Songs

By Sanjeev Mann (@Ask_Sanjeevs )

Known to many as one of the best and most influential rappers of all time, the legendary Tupac Shakur supplied the world with hits year after year until his controversial death in 1996. The King of Rap has sold over 75 million records in his short career which spanned over 100 plus songs, and still remains one of the highest selling rappers of all time.

After the release of his biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ last week, now is the ideal time to go through all of his tracks to find his 14 strongest songs and pick which one is not only the most important but the best.

  1. Smile
    Producer: Scarface, Mike Dean, Tone Capone
    Album: The Untouchable

The lead single for Scarface‘s fourth album Untouchable, Smile released 3 months after Tupac’s death. It was one of the last songs he recorded, and what a way to sign off. An introspective gem that let the world know more about the late legend, it was the perfect way to end the era of Pac and say goodbye to the world.

  1. Me Against The World

Producer: Soulshock & Karlin
Album: Me Against the World

This track shows the rappers true feeling after a tough life and bad experiences from court cases, shootings, and 18 months in prison while trying to pursue a career.  When all this happens to someone, it’s no surprise you’d get the feeling that the world is against you: it’s definitely a track that will resonate with many and act as a quintessential fight song.

 

  1. 2 Of Americaz Most Wanted

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

One of Pac‘s riskiest songs was this collaboration with the one and only Snoop Dog, recorded while Snoop was facing a murder charge. It also showed the dominance of Death Row Records during the golden age of Hip Hop even at a time when the likes of Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. were on the scene. It was a collab for the ages from two of the genres biggest stars.

  1. They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: Better Dayz

Coming from arguably his most influential and cohesive album, Better Dayz, this defines how he and many others felt when it came to the treatment of black people by police at the time. It also was another jab from Tupac towards the countries elites. The title says it all, and these beliefs were echoed by Michael Jackson a few years prior in his song They Don’t Care About Us.

  1. How Do You Want it

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: All Eyez On Me

Released in 1996 and featuring R&B duo K-C and JoJo, How Do You Want was a club banger, but with a message, including a dig at one of Gangsta Rap’s biggest critics, politician, and civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker. She, at the time, heavily criticised the genre and especially Pac for misogynistic and sexually explicit rap lyrics that degraded women but the case was dismissed. Tupac rapped; “C. Delores Tucker you’s a motherfucker / Instead of trying to help a nigga you destroy a brother” and this certainly sent the message.

  1. Only God Can Judge Me

Producer: Doug Rasheed and Harold Scrap Fretty
Album: All Eyez On Me

I couldn’t trust my own homies, just a bunch of dirty rats” sums it up. Pac couldn’t even trust his closest ‘homies’ at the time especially after the East/West rap divide. Tupac thought Biggie set him up to get shot when he was robbed in 1994, which in turn, began the warfare between the two coasts. Also this refers to Pac being judged his whole life. He also refers to being “trapped from birth” which is a common theme throughout his lyrics.

  1. Changes

Producer: 2Pac
Album: Greatest Hits

Easily one of his most recognisable songs and biggest posthumous releases, Changes made waves in commercial success, as well as socially. He talks about everyday struggle, and the reality of low income for many families in the US, especially the black community. He wanted to represent the poorer and less fortunate sections of society and he certainly did that with this hit. “Thing’s will never be the same” suggests that, even now, this change has been limited.

  1. Hail Mary

Producer: Hurt-M-Badd, Tommy Daugherty, Lance Pierre and Justin Isham
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

Providing quote after quote of great lyricism, this track really hits home the rappers death. The track comes from his first posthumous album, and under a new stage name. Makaveli. Probably one of Pac’s most commercially successful singles, the song shows Makaveli leaving the violence behind him and praying to god with the introduction of Biblical messages, and references. “And God said he should send his one begotten son To lead the wild into the ways of the man“(a quote from John 3:1), ” Follow me! Eat my flesh, flesh of my flesh!” – get what I mean? It incredibly took only an hour to produce.

  1. Ambitionz Az A Ridah

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

The first track on the legendary ‘All Eyez on Me’ album, ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ was according to many the first song he recorded after his time in prison. It shows off some improved lyricism as well as a new record label. Pac had signed for the biggest hip hop label in the world, Suge Knight’s Death Row Records .”This life as a rap star is nothin’ without guard” shows the danger he faced even with women and money by his side, he was never safe. He also rhymes about his own problems such as suicidal thoughts but then talks about death to his enemies. The track also has references  to reincarnation, after making the move to Death Row, as well as leaving prison. He was a new man that had to get things off his chest.

  1. Me And My Girlfriend

Producer: Big D, Hurt-M-Bad, Makaveli
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

This is when things get serious: it’s the top 5! Another track from his post prison album, ‘Me And My Girlfriend’ typified his change in style. From sending social messages, to now rapping about guns (yeah when he says girlfriend he’s talking about his gun). He had now fully embraced ‘gangsta rap’. It was a track with dark meanings of murder and shootings which shows the ‘reincarated’ Pac at Death Row. The metaphors are clever, including “Hands on the steering wheel, blush while she bail out bustin’” referring to Pac shooting out of the car window. Known for featuring one of his best hooks, the tracks chorus was used by various artists including Jay Z’s 2003 version ‘Bonnie and Clyde 03’.

  1. California Love

Producer: Dr. Dre
Album: All Eyez On Me

Arguably Pac’s biggest track, California Love defined the G-funk era. Dre was now the best producer around which made the collaboration between the two stars colossus and, from it, an anthem was born. But the relationship didn’t last long, when the pair fell out because Dre refused to testify at Snoop Dog’s murder trial.  It was released in 1995 as Tupac’s comeback single after prison, and is probably his most known and commercially successful single. The man himself said “I don’t want it to be about violence. I want it to be about money.” The song itself also pays homage to L.A. and especially black neighborhoods such as Watts and arguably the home of Hip Hop, Compton. “In the city, the city of Compton” mirror’s the status of Compton as one of founding homes of the genre. The beat from Dre was energetic, and Pac’s rhyming and rapping was on point. This really was an artist at their best.

 

  1. I Aint Mad At Cha

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

This was Pac again showing his more peaceful and perhaps more ‘real’ self. It is an emotional track telling the story of a fragile and changing relationship (maybe an old friend of Pac) rather than your typical ‘gansta’ tune. It’s sensitivity marks comparison with the likes of ‘Brenda’s got a baby’ yet the opposite of the rebellious and outspoken Makaveli. He talks about how people always change, especially those spoken about in the song: “Change, shit, I guess change is good for any of us”. With the title of the song Pac announces he ‘aint mad’ at his friend for changing. Biggie Smalls also used this line as a diss on pack on ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’: “Slugs missed ya, I ain’t mad at cha”. All this is why Pac is often accused as playing ‘the good guy’ in an era of violence that he was undeniably a part of, but regardless, his gift of telling a meaningful story is  heartfelt.

  1. Hit Em Up

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: B-Side

This was the moment it officially hit the fan between the east, and west coast. The war began with a bang and one of the biggest diss tracks of them all. Pac fired heavy shots and his ex-best friend, the one and only Notorious B.I.G.. The feud between the former ‘homies’ had begun. Pac was mad and felt betrayed by a friend. Most of you hip hop fans will know Pac accused him and Puffy (Puff daddy) of setting him up to be shot at a studio in 1994. It was started off with a royal “fuck yo’” to Biggie and all his family. He now felt he trusted a single person, not even his own crew the ‘Outlawz’. Tupac announced his allegiance to the West coast, and talks about death row killing the East’s most prominent label bad boy entertainment he rapped “West Side, Bad Boy killers“. He not only dissed Biggie, and Puff but his whole entourage too. This was the track that opened the gates to hundreds of disses between the two coasts and in turn created an ill-fated war that Hip Hop would never forget. It was most definitely a game changer.

  1. Dear Mama

Producer: Tony Pizarro
Album: Me Against the World

Here it is then, my no. 1 Tupac track is the incredible ‘Dear Mama’, a track that every single person on the planet can relate to through their admiration of their mother. This was all about his roots and exactly where he came from. Afeni Shakur was key to the Tupac we all knew and loved at the time, and he made sure that everyone knew about it. He was never one to be shy to rap about his own problems and frailties and this was a perfect example. When Tupac started out rapping, he lived a relatively stable lifestyle in comparison to many at the time, and he even got the chance to study at Baltimore school of Arts – on the other hand, his mother was struggling for work and was linked to the infamous black panther political party. Rapping “When I was young, me and my mama had beef Seventeen years old, kicked out on the streets” Pac was forced to move home to California, and this was when he began to live the street life. Regardless, the respect he held for his mother was huge. It was his “Mama” that kept him on the straight and narrow despite her various problems. This was owed to his mother, who was the only real inspiration he had in his life. “‘Cause through the drama I can always depend on my mama / And when it seems that I’m hopeless/ You say the words that can get me back in focus” “I gotta thank the Lord that you made me/ There are no words that can express how I feel/ You never kept a secret, always stayed real/ And I appreciate how you raised me.”


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Top 25 Albums Of 2015

It’s time.

List season. It’s odd how something with such a boring name could cause heated debate amongst many, though that’s nothing new for the internet. So as I’ve always done since 2013, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite albums of the past 12 months, ranging from heavy rock to pop to grime to rap, there’ll no doubt be something here for you. Disagree with me? Well you could always contribute to my Best of 2015 post which is coming next Thursday, just message me on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be sorted!

I hope you enjoy this list which took far too much time to make than I’m proud to admit. So put the pitchforks down for now and let’s dive in.

25. At. Long. Last. ASAP – A$AP Rocky

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Following up his 2013 debut Long Live ASAP, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky gets even more experimental on this sophomore album. While there’s significantly less chart gems present than his last outing, the same charm and production value can be felt on every track.

 

24. Purpose – Justin Bieber

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Time for all those awfully spelt insults and memes we made about biebs to disappear. He is back and with a totally transformed sound as those who once slated him are now praising him as tracks like Sorry are pop perfection. While his vocals might be a bit lackluster and too safe, the influence Kanye, Skrillex and co. have had on the lad has paid off.

23. Back On Top – The Front Bottoms

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While Talon Of The Hawk felt like a AAA version of The Front Bottoms’ self loathing lyric fueled sound, Back On Top feels like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Historic Cemetery just screams Weezer and other tracks like Cough It Out are as catchy as a cold (albeit more enjoyable). A near flawless amalgamation of emo & pop-punk.

22. Every Open Eye – CHVRCHES 

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There’s no denying that CHVRCHES are one of the best new bands to come out in quite a while, breathing new life into the synth pop genre and yet again reiterating how vibrant the Glasgow music scene is. Every Open Eye is like the Empire Strikes Back for the band: more gritty, more epic but faithful to what made the band what they are.

21. For All My Sisters – The Cribs

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West Yorkshire band The Cribs might have hit out with their best album yet, full of the indie punk greatness that put them on the radar in the first place. See Pink Snow for a chaotic crescendo closer that results in another classic album for the band’s discography.

 

20. Currents – Tame Impala

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Despite constantly being compared to the likes of Radiohead for their album rock genius, Tame Impala somehow manage to merge frontman Kevin Parker’s uncontrollable love of pop and their trademark psychedelic sound to craft something truly special. A breakup album disguised as a feel good, funky gem, Currents is only as good as the sum of its parts and those parts are undeniably brilliant.

19. Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett

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Courtney Barnett has proved time and time again why she deserves to be put on a pedestal, despite what she might say on Pedestrian At Best. Sometimes I Sit.. has an unprecedented charm to it and is insanely listenable. Absolutely exceptional.

 

 

18. Art Angels – Grimes

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As abnormally appealing as they come, Grimes returns with a record which is far more pop orientated than anything she’s ever made before yet it still retains all her trademark characteristics. California is a radio friendly hit that never verges into sell-out territory. She may have scrapped an entire album before this but when the replacement sounds this good, we’re not losing any sleep.

17. Cherry Bomb – Tyler The Creator

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While the ever controversial Tyler may have had a bad 2015 (OFWGKTA is no more, fall out with best pal Earl Sweatshirt, banned from UK), he can end the year knowing his latest album is arguably his best yet. A Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, Cherry Bomb fuses Tyler’s influencers (N.E.R.D, Stevie Wonder) and his own own dubious rap style to make a distorted masterpiece.

16. Another One – Mac DeMarco

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It really is testament to how talented Mac DeMarco is that a mini album manages to stand above full LPs. In his own words, Another One is about “different kinds of facets of being in love, being out of love, wanting love, not wanting love”. This concept never grows tiresome over the record’s eight track length and further refines his already sublime laid back sound.

15. Happy People – Peace 

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Peace know what they are: floppy haired indie royalty, just like Arctic Monkeys before them. They’re not ashamed of this in the slightest though as they embrace this wholeheartedly. Happy People has exactly what you’d expect from the guys who brought you bloodshake as well as some even heavier tracks like I’m A Girl, showing the band are still as capable as ever to fire out some more indie-rock gems.

14. What Went Down – Foals

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It’s hard to recall an album this year that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordial little tracks all on the one LP. Foals have proven yet again that it’s not in their DNA to make a bad album.

 

13. Are You Satisfied – Slaves

81rIWd69XNL._SL1417_The debut album is often a record which most bands would play it safe on to be more approachable by the public. This isn’t the case for Kent punk duo Slaves who showcase their silliness on Feed The Mantaray while also trying to get their message across of “doing something with your lives” to listeners. Regardless if they succeed in doing so, the boys manage to stand out from every two piece band around at the moment, no small feat at all.

12. The Mindsweep – Enter Shikari

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2015 was undoubtedly one of the most important years for UK politics and no band knows and represents this better than Enter Shikari. From the feedback heavy track Anaesthetist dealing with the privatisation of the NHS to the unsubtly commentary on the corruption of bankers on Bank Of England, the band make their voice well and truly heard and it’s never sounded so good.

11. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Drake

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For a man who is worth millions, if not billions, Drake’s latest album is surprisingly minimalistic in comparison to other rapper’s records. However, this surprise release benefits from this, managing to hit out with the anthems you’d expect from Drizzy while managing to be retrospective. A man that can’t be stopped.

 

10. Too – FIDLAR

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Los Angeles band FIDLAR love drugs (despite just getting out of rehab), drinking and self loathing. They lay all their cards out on the table so that they and the listeners can get down to business and have a good time. Wouldn’t you know it, they do exactly that. Heavily inspired by the 90’s teen angst bands like blink-182, Too is a 42 minute record that is all about having fun and provides just that. Simple yet amazing.

9. My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice

Wolf-Alice-My-Love-Is-Cool

Is it any surprise that Wolf Alice are the biggest new act of 2015? The band have built up a hype hurricane since their very first EP which hasn’t been helped by the likes of NME naming them a “band that will change your life” and being nominated for multiple awards. Thankfully this hasn’t derailed the band who deliver a record bursting with heart and grunge-lite sound. One of the greatest debuts of the past decade.

8. Life’s Not Out To Get You – Neck Deep

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Pop punk has had its own sort of renaissance this year with Knuckle Puck mixing the emo sound of American Football with the appeal a genre like this brings. Neck Deep have filled the converse of blink-182 with an album that is full of the same polish and emotion as Enema Of The State. A band that are worth keeping your eye on.

7. Positive Songs For Negative People – Frank Turner

Positive_Songs_for_Negative_People

You’ll struggle to find a solo artist with the same raw passion as Frank Turner. After constructing a record about heartbreak that was enough to make the toughest person feel second hand remorse, PSFNP does exactly what it says on the tin. Any self professed cynic will find themselves drawn in by the snarling guitars and folk rock genius of certain tracks, showing that Frank is arguably the most talented Turner in the business.

6. The Powers That B – Death Grips

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Sacramento experimental hip hop band Death Grips are…weird to say the least. This statement proves to be the most true when listening to Jenny Death, the second half of TPTB, which came out of fucking nowhere in traditional Death Grips fashion. It serves as a reminder to why many fell in love with the band: pure uncut anarchy with the staple MC Ride delivery. Although it isn’t as tremendous as The Money Store, it’s the perfect combination of rap and rock, especially on tracks like On GP.

5. Integrity > – JME

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Just like pop punk, Grime witnessed a second wind this year, solidified by artists like Skepta breaking into the charts and a flamethrower extravaganza at the Brits when many artists from the genre joined Kanye on stage. While it may not have topped charts, JME’s latest record is the best record in the genre since Boy In Da Corner. Independently released, JME preaches about keyboard warriors, veganism and his disinterest in others opinions. Over the 16 tracks and countless video game references, it’s painfully clear that JME is loving what he’s doing, not having to answer to a boss and in the process he’s stumbled upon one of the most refreshing albums of the year.

4. Get To Heaven – Everything Everything

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Bare with me here. Yes, if you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever enjoy an Everything Everything album I would probably have laughed you off. However, the Manchester act aren’t regarded as genre defying for nothing and their latest release is proof of that. Full to the brim with infectious pop and insanely danceable tracks, Get To Heaven is unlike anything to come out this year. It has political commentary so well hidden by its 60’s beats and weirdly catchy alarm clock samples that even if they were stripped away, the album as a whole would still stand on its own. Imaginative and unique, Get To Heaven can be three genres at once but still be described with one word: exhilarating.

3. That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon

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After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disappointed about the transition, there is no denying the layered and evolved synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. Without a doubt, the best rock album of 2015.

2. In Colour – Jamie XX

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It’s hard to fault Jamie Smith when it comes to his skills as a producer. Many felt like working with The XX was limiting his range, musically, and whilst members of the band make appearances throughout, In Colour not only stands on its own two legs, it stands out as an absolute juggernaut of a record. The brilliant thing about In Colour is how difficult it is to pigeon hole. It’s been described by some reviewers as a rave album and some tracks like the aforementioned Gosh could imply that it is such an album. However each track can be interpreted in so many and the term “electronic” is so vague that it’s almost insulting. Whether you think it’s a rave album, a techno one or even a semi reggae one for some reason, you’re both right and wrong. One thing is for sure though and that’s that you’ll definitely be in the latter if you decide to give this album a skip.

 

And the best album of the year is…

To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

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What else was it going to be? Let’s all confess for a minute: we were all worried. How on earth could Kendrick Lamar top the move-esque masterpiece that was Good Kid m.A.A.d city? We were anxious as fuck but once To Pimp A Butterfly dropped out of nowhere, all those worries were laid to rest.

Criticise me if you wish but Lamar is the new king of rap as his scope reaches a ginormous scale you’d expect from a firearm. Showing the rage of Kanye (Blacker The Berry), romantic nature of Drake (Complexion) and the unpredictableness that only Lamar himself can provide, TPAB could have been a lame, safe follow up. Instead it tackles integrated racism in America, staying true to yourself by turning down stardom and…talking to Tupac. Seriously though, Kendrick is a man who knows where he stands in the music world. He knows he’s one of the biggest artists in the world and he uses this position for good, asking for gangs to reconcile, calling out rappers for being shams and telling the listener to love themselves.

There’s not much I can say about To Pimp A Butterfly that hasn’t been said already but what I can say is this: it’s not only the best album of 2015, it’s arguably the best album to come out this century.

Big love, Liam x

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Rewind: Best Of 2014

2014. What a year. It may have the blockbuster nature of 2013 but that’s what made it all the better as new artists that were previously unknown to the masses made a name for themselves with some of the most impressive records in their retrospective genres. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any big names releasing albums this year. If 2013 was a AAA film directed by Tarantino then 2014 was a Zach Braff film with Bill Murray and who could deny the appeal of both of them.
Albums
  1. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End

1996. 5 Californian boys in an alt rock band write what’s been hailed as one of the greatest albums of the 90’s. The band in question is Weezer and for the past decade or so they’ve suffered from the success of Pinkerton. With every new release, fans are expecting a worthy successor to the album and are regularly disappointed but this was all changed with the release of Everything Will Be Alright In The End. Featuring some of the best songs that the band has produced in recent memory, arguably their whole career, EWBAITE is an apology letter to the fans and one that makes it hard not to forgive Rivers Cuomo and co.
  1. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
“I feel sort of weathered and beat down and grown up all of a sudden. I’ve always had some kind of plateau that I wanted to reach, and now I just can’t see the next one.This is how Canadian musician Mac DeMarco felt after his extensive touring that lasted over a year and you can really hear it. Salad Days , recorded in DeMarco’s apartment, is laid back and relaxing, drawing you in with unwinding melodies like Let My Baby Stay and Blue Boy. It’ll be a hard feat to find any other album that can calm and entertain you as much as this psychedelic pop beauty.
  1. Aphex Twin – Syro

2014 wasn’t just the year of the up and coming, as proved by the return of this borderline insane genius. Announcing his return by flying a small blimp over London carrying the trademark Aphex logo, master of ambience Richard D. James came out of nowhere to clinch the bronze with an album full of a sound that is brand spanking new yet quintessentially Aphex Twin. Starting off with what is arguably the best song of the year, Syro manages to captivate its audience from beginning to end with lovely minimalistic piano solo aisatsana [102] delivering an amazing end to an amazing album.

  1. Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Fans of Bombay Bicycle Club can relax knowing that the boys have cemented themselves as one of the best in the current wave of British indie bands with such a tremendous album, infusing everything from synth pop to RnB that transfer to their live performances seamlessly. It’s odd to think how a band could create a record that has every single track bringing something new or tremendous to the table but Bombay Bicycle Club have managed it and from the looks of things, it’s not set to be the last time.
1. Run The Jewels – RTJ2
Hip Hop was a dominating force last year with Drake, Kanye, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and A$AP Rocky just a small slice of what the genre had to offer. However no album last year could prepare you for what Run The Jewels have to offer. You need proof? Take Blockbuster Night Part 1, a song true to its name as Killer Mike and El-P rap over a Godzilla-like beat, rap’s equivalent to the Jaws theme tune. Every track is dark and fresh, I could honestly write page after page on why I love this abum. I’ll save you all the earache and just tell you to go pick up Run The Jewels 2, it’s in a whole fucking league of its own.
4.Sun Kil Moon – Benji
Mark Kolezek, love him or hate him, is undoubtedly one of the best songwriters of all time. And Benji (his 6th record under the Sun Kil Moon moniker) has cemented that claim. Benji isn’t an easy ride, but it’s a vital one. All of the album’s 11 tracks are heartbreakingly sad, from album opener Clarissa (which tells of one of Kolezek’s relatives who died in a freak fire at the age of 25) to closer Ben’s My Friend (Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie being the Ben in question), each and every song paints a vivid picture of a man who doesn’t truly know how to express himself outside of his music. Look past the public beefs and media bullshit and lose yourself in the mind of the 21st century’s finest solo artist.
3. La Roux – Trouble in Paradise
If you’d have told me that the girl who sang Bulletproof would one day write one of my favourite pop albums of all time I would have laughed right in your face, yet here we are. Trouble in Paradise is a pop masterpiece. It’s 9 tracks are nothing short of pop-funk brilliance and I urge anyone and everyone to listen to it as soon as possible if you haven’t. The departure of founding member (and Elly Jackson’s former boyfriend) Ben Langmaid was, at the risk of sounding like a dick, the best thing that could have happened to La Roux from a creative standpoint. It gave Jackson more freedom to experiment with funk, afro-pop and Caribbean sounds, and these influences compliment Jackson’s voice greatly. Songs like Kiss and Not Tell and Sexoteque will instantly put a smile on your face, and remind me of Prince at the height of his powers. In short, this album is absolutely essential.
2. The Xcerts – There is Only You
Ah, the Xcerts. Hailing from my hometown, I couldn’t help but feel a wee twinge of pride when listening to their latest LP “There Is Only You”. This record is an absolute monster. It’s relentlessly catchy (I can say with complete honesty I get at least one song from the album stuck in my head a day, and I’m still not sick of it) but underneath the catchiness lies real lyrical heart. Songs like Pop Song and Kick It, while feverishly memorable, are truly sad at their core. This, from an outsider’s perspective, sounds like the album the Xcerts have always wanted to make. Heavy, poppy, sad, brilliant.
1. Taylor Swift – 1989/The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pick between these two albums. I tried, so hard to make a call and I just couldn’t. They’re both the best albums of the artists’ respective careers and they’re both absolutely stunningly brilliant. Content-wise, however, these albums couldn’t be any more different from each other.
Taylor Swift has perfected the art of the pop song. She’s 100% the best pop star of the 21st century, and she may well end up being the biggest pop star ever. Songs like I Know Places and Blank Space solidify this, some of the best pop songs to come out in YEARS. I could have used any song on the album to make that point thought: from start to finish it is nothing short of pop perfection.
Now onto the Twilight Sad, the polar opposite to Swift’s bubblegum sweetness. The Twilight Sad are gritty, raw. Their songs have no happy endings, and they couldn’t give a fuck. There’s more heart and sadness poured into this album than there is in all the album’s released this year put together. From the devastating Drown So I Can Watch to album closer Sometimes I Wish I Could Fall Asleep and all the songs before and after, you’re grabbed by the throat and taken on a journey. It’s not an easy album to listen to, it’s a harder album to truly enjoy, but it is crucial to listen to.
Favourite albums of 2014:
FKA twigs-LP1
Although Britain can boast about its electronic success stories like James Blake, Jai Paul and Jamie XX, female artists in the genre are few and far between. However this year, Tahliah Debrett Barnett, aka FKA twigs, served the U.K (and the rest of the world) a plate of female electronic goodness with her debut album LP1. The album is an absolute beauty, combining experimental pop, R&B/hip hop beats, and layered whispery vocals to create an original, almost angelic sound. LP1 undoubtedly features the newest sounds I’ve heard in British music in a while and is definitely the coolest, most weirdly seductive release this year.
Favourite track: Give Up
Nicki Minaj-The Pinkprint
Nicki Minaj is easily one of the most hard working women in mainstream hip hop at the moment. Throughout 2014 she created buzz for the follow up to Roman Reloaded, releasing single after single, controversial video after controversial video and presenting the MTV EMAs. After all the hype I was worried that The Pinkprint wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but if anything, it exceeded them. Minaj is no one trick pony. The record is full of variety, going from emotional looks into her past, sultry duets with the likes of Beyonce and Ariana Grande, heart breaking ballads, pop bangers and impressive examples of her sheer rap talent. Trash talking Nicki is old news. The Pinkprint is fierce, fantastic; and makes her numerous skills absolutely undeniable.
Favourite track: Feeling Myself
Warpaint-Warpaint
Warpaint are talented ladies. As impressed as I may have been with their debut “The Fool”, this follow up is so, so much more mature and developed. With production and mixing assistance from the likes of Flood and Nigel Godrich, and a new band line up, it seems Warpaint has truly allowed the girls to find their sound. As the songs were written mostly during jamming sessions the record has a raw, experimental feel to it, and as expected the vocals feature heart stopping harmonies that are hauntingly atmospheric. Alongside the indie dream pop vibes there are also aspects of shoe-gaze, electronic music, and most notably hip hop and R&B which gives the album a feel of originality. It’s a stunning release that can be left on repeat and still somehow manage to leave the listener fascinated.
Favourite track: Biggy
Sonic Highways by Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters’ eighth studio album received mixed reviews but you can’t deny they’ve still got it. The theory behind Sonic Highways- recording each song in a different city- flaunts the creative ideas of the band. Using the influences of each location, each track is distinctive but the classic Foo’s clash of guitars and strong vocals is still recognisable.
Most of the mere 8 songs are on point and carry a punch, making up for the limited length. As a stand-alone album, the music is more important than the concept, but the Sonic Highways documentary provides a deeper insight into the record.
Listen by The Kooks
From the first time hearing Listen, it felt like a world away from The Kooks’ earlier albums. They’ve gone in a completely different direction, experimenting with a variety of ideas. No more indie rock, although the guitars are still there, disguised under layers of funk, tambourines and claps. If you don’t want to sing along then you’re not listening properly. Each track is individual, standing out from the others, making their fourth album the most diverse one yet. Their older fans may not like the big change but some may be pleasantly surprised by this fun, upbeat release.
There Is Only You by The Xcerts
You can’t help but keep coming back to this album. The Xcerts put so much passion into their music and There Is Only You is no different. Blending rock with a small amount of pop, they’ve found the perfect balance of not-too-heavy but still rough enough. Even from the first listen, the songs leap out and don’t all mix into one. Catchy? Definitely. And the elegant title track is an unusual but beautiful finish. Touring recently with fellow Scottish band Twin Atlantic helped to boost their popularity along with this energy-filled album.
Royal Blood by Royal Blood
You only need to listen to this to see why Royal Blood have become so popular in such a short space of time. This self-titled debut has propelled their career- going from small shows to supporting Foo Fighters next year. It’s incredible how full and heavy the sound is for just bass and drums. Every song is epic in its own way, whether it’s for the pounding drum beat or the killer riffs. This album is filled to the brim with energy and it would be amazing to see them play live for it to come to life.

Big love, Liam x

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Top 5 Peep Show Moments

For a lack of a better term, Peep Show is generation defying. While most would point out something like Friends or even Game of Thrones would usually be the first guess, the unlikely successful sitcom introduced us to Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb), the most loveable pricks on television. Nowadays it’s hard to go anywhere without hearing a quote or trying to match the same laid back attitude as Super Hans which makes it all the more difficult to not only face that the show’s final season is about to air but that we have to cut its greatest moments to just 5 entries.

Jezed up the interview – Season 1, Episode 2

Where better to start off than an episode straight out the first season, an important one not only for the introduction of the hated Jeff Heaney but also the hilarious scene where Mark tries to get Jeremy a job at his work.

What follows is an absolute train wreck of an interview where Jeremy’s trademark ego comes out to play, trying to sell a pyramid scheme to his hopeful employer and calling out Mark for “pissing on my bonfire” and “fancying elves and pixies.” So if you’re ever in the same situation, just know you can’t screw up nearly as much as Jeremy. I hope. 

Best quotes #1 – “I like you, and if you can’t handle it, you can just..you know…fuck off.”

Too close for comfort – Season 5, Episode 2

If you’ve ever watched The Inbetweeners, another successful Channel 4 sitcom, then you’ll know how cringy protagonist Will and his antics are, especially anything sexual. Before Will though there was Mark, a slightly older yet just as awkward guy whose pursuits with women bring the show some of its most hilarious moments, the most notable probably being this office foreplay moment that includes a…chat about cheese? As Mark leaves the cupboard with post it notes and a stain on his trousers, viewers also leave with something gross etched into their minds.

Best quotes #2“Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. If she fucks him, I’ll kill myself.”

Gotta hans it to him – Season 3, Episode 2

The aforementioned Super Hand is arguably the show’s best character, providing some of the best laughs with Matt King putting on such a brilliant performance in his audition he managed to beat Russell Brand for the role! This moment showcased this perfectly, teaming up with Jeremy to try and get Mark sectioned to get the rights for a pub. “There’s a pigeon in Catalonia that’s in control of his legs” is all he has to say to make chaos ensue, showcasing the amazing chemistry between all the characters.

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Best quotes #3 – 

“Jez, can you tell me, yeah, as a mate, someone that knows me really well, is the bottom half of me on fire?”

Bark bigger than his bite – Season 4 Episode 5

I remember watching this episode when it aired, back in the days before Netflix was your number one stop for binge watching. The thing about this entry though is it’s pretty much the whole episode since it’s so eventful yet hilarious. From running over and killing the pet of a girl Jeremy is trying to hit on to trying to burn said evidence to then EATING said pet in front of said girl, the episode is so ridiculous in its premise yet I can’t stop laughing when Jeremy just tries to play it off as “undercooked, disgusting turkey”.

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Best quotes #4“This is like watching a porno. Except I can’t see anything, I haven’t got a hard-on and I want to cry.”

Did nazi it coming – Season 1, Episode 4

Making friends is difficult. All your worries before college or uni weren’t about surviving on £2 ready meals for a month, it was “will I have any friends”. Mark struggles just as much as anyone. Hell, the bloody episode is titled Mark Makes A Friend. While Daryl seems all lovely at first, just a minute into discussion he turns out to be, well, a nazi. “Oh bollocks. Of course, I can’t just make a nice, normal friend, that would be too simple” Mark says before his new pal shouts “Heil Hitler”. Could be worse I suppose…

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Best quotes #5“Jeff’s doing a joke, Jeff’s doing a joke, everybody quiet ’cause Jeff’s doing a joke!”

 

Big love, Liam x

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