Top 20 Tracks of 2017 (So Far)

While the end of year lists tend to give albums the most significance, these records are nothing but the sum of their parts which, in this case, is the songs. It doesn’t matter what the purpose of these tracks are, some are deep layered entities while others are just straight up lovable bangers, all that needs to be considered is that these songs have made 2017 one of the most exciting and interesting years of music that many of us can recall. Without further ado, let us go down the list of all the singles that we’ve had on loop and may or may not have been signing in the shower every morning for the past few months.

20. Royal Blood – Lights Out

While the album this track appeared on didn’t go down a treat with us, it’s undeniable that Lights Out hit a chord with one or two members of the blinkclyro team. It has all the traits that made Royal Blood one of the surprise big acts when they dropped their debut back in 2014 – that’s really all that needs to be said.

19. I Don’t Wanna Waste My Time by Joji 

No one was really expecting the mind behind the disgusting and ludicrous Filthy Frank to hit out with one of the most beautiful tracks of 2017 but Joji has went and surprised not only us but a lot of the music community.

REVIEW HERE

18. Manchester Orchestra – The Gold

An artist exploring two themes (heartbreak and family qualms) that have been done to death in an intriguing way (using the metaphor of mining work) isn’t something we expected to see pop up on this list but when the band in question is Manchester Orchestra, we really can’t complain.

17. Amber Mark – Lose My Cool

With Amber herself commenting on this track representing the stage of anger in the grieving process, Lose My Cool delivers this catchy yet simple production that lets the lyrics be the star while giving your ears something lovely to relax onto as well. A lot can be happening at once but considering the reaction of  bottling feelings up in this sort of situation, it couldn’t be more perfect.

16. The Kite String Tangle – Selfish

With a stylistic and extravagant use of synths and beats on display, The Kite String Tangle’s return seems to stand out even more with the recent surge of humility and stripping back. Transparent lyrics give the track an extra edge, helping it to differentiate itself from the countless others artists in the IDM genre. 

15. Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Without even considering the tearful story behind the track, this was the last song Sampha played to his mother and was fitting performed at her funeral, Sampha uses nothing but the piano, his voice and a handful of near silent beats to deliver one of the greatest ballads not only of this year, but of this decade.

REVIEW HERE

14. Pronto Mama – Bottom Feeder 

Any of the 13 tracks that appear on Scottish rockers Pronto Mama‘s debut LP could appear on this list though it just so happens that it’s the intro track that we’ve happened to choose. Visceral lyrics, varied instrumentals and one of the best vocal performances you’ll hear all year, it’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the Glasgow act.

REVIEW HERE

13. Sorority Noise – Disappeared 

Euphorically upbeat, yet meshing perfectly with the lyrical themes of mourning and death, Sorority Noise exercise their impeccable ability to approach a variety of situations in a way that only they can. Much like many of the tracks on YNA_AYT, Disappeared is gone as fast as it appears yet leaves an imprint in the few minutes its around.

REVIEW HERE

12. Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever 

Starting off with one of the best yet weirdest lyrics ever conceived (Bedding Taylor Swift/
Every night inside the Oculus Rift/
After mister and the missus finish dinner and the dishes), Father John Misty makes his mark right out the gate on Total Entertainment Forever, one that he definitely cemented on his recent LP Pure Comedy. Full of social commentary about technology and more, the track proves to be a witty, funny but equally smart song: something that, in this age of turmoil and tyranny, is definitely needed.

REVIEW HERE

11. The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness 

The final refrain of System, “I can’t explain it any other, any other way”, sees Berninger stretched to the limits of his vocal capacity, similar to his end-of-performance outbursts on stage. If any of this is a reliable indicator, Sleep Well Beast, the band’s upcoming LP, threatens to be their best recording yet.

REVIEW HERE

10. Radiohead – I Promise

Both one of the oldest and most recent tracks from Radiohead, the song is one of three previously unreleased from OK Computer, I Promise easily nests itself into the band’s discography with Yorke’s haunting vocal performance and stripped back instrumentals. It’s a track full to the brim with devotion, leading to one of the band’s most romantic songs to date – whether or not that was Yorke and co’s intention.

9. Alt J – In Cold Blood

Channelling a lot of what has made the band’s past releases so great, In Cold Blood is brash, sleek and beautiful all at the same time with an unshakable familiarity to Alt J‘s sophomore LP. It’s just one taste of the unique cohesion of their various pop styles that Relaxer does so well.

REVIEW HERE

8. Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

Venturing into mostly new territory vocally, Rowsell is known for the occasional scream on tracks such as Giant Peach, but on Yuk Foo, she is all out aggressive; the track relies on her to pull off the sentiment of frustration and she nails it. Wolf Alice deliver one of the most frustration fuelled songs of the year – the band may finally be shaking off the indie rock label for a more punk heavy one and we couldn’t be happier.

REVIEW HERE

7. Stormzy – Big For Your Boots

The best grime track on Stormzy‘s debut LP is lead single Big For Your Boots, which opens with a sample guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. This precedes the chorus which crashes in with Stormzy reminding any challengers that he has size 12 feet and “your face ain’t big for my boot” with a lightning-quick flow in the verses guaranteed to send festival crowds into raptures.

REVIEW HERE

6. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – The Lord Of Lightning vs Balrog

You would think with the band’s ambitious feat to release four to five albums in 2017 alone that King Gizzard would run out of ideas or fuel by now. Lead single for Murder of the Universe titled Lord of Lighting is enough to put those worries to rest, delivering the most insane song of the band’s career so far, referencing past releases not only by name but style as well.

5. Remo Drive – Yer Killin’ Me

Instrumentation from the intro of this Remo Drive track is reminiscent of bands like Gnarwolves or a heavier The Front Bottoms, the middle of the song sounds like it was influenced by Foals, the end sounding NOTHING like the rest of the song and vocal lines influences from bands like FIDLAR. However, the song still breaks down to be an emo anthem in the end: there aren’t many bands who could throw all of that into an album, let alone one song, but make it sound so effortless and downright beautiful.

REVIEW HERE

4. Frank Ocean – Chanel

Even though Chanel is suspected to have been written post-Blonde it still plays with the same themes, a lack of conventional ‘verse-chorus-verse’ song writing (with the exception of returning lyrics and motifs) and lush instrumentation. The most interesting part about this song is that even thought it was written within a year of the release of Blonde, it feels like it wouldn’t fit on the last album. The song from the start is a beautiful mix of piano, bass and jazz-influenced percussion, (drums and percussion being absent for the majority of Blonde, showing a progression in instrumentation).

REVIEW HERE

3. Francis & The Lights feat. Chance The Rapper – May I Have This Dance?

Remember during the intro when we mentioned that some tracks are just straight up tunes that don’t need analysis to shine? Well, here’s the track that inspired that: sounding like something straight out of a Disney Movie outro, May I Have This Dance is one of the purest songs to drop all year with one deliciously wholesome verse by none other than Chance The Rapper.

2. Lorde – Green Light

One thing that should always subtly remain with you when listening to Lorde‘s music is her age, and what she’s achieved by it. Around the age of 13/14, she was laying the groundwork for her debut album, Pure Heroine, and by the age of 16, she smashed into the face of the earth, becoming an instant success. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Green Light is an utter tune.

The chorus has a dancy, nineties feel as she’ll “get [her] things, but [she] can’t let go”, before segueing back into the sombre, minimalist piano beat as Lorde sometimes “wakes up in a different bed, too”, with the lyrical theme subtly, maturely and perfectly covering the protagonist’s heartbreak & the route to mending that patching up that poorly ticker.

Closing out with a beautiful, yet simplistic synth-style solo with the energetic choral backing vocals weaving in between it, Green Light offers a frank and honest account of a break-up, with the partying that comes as part and parcel of setting yourself right with a maturity, depth and energy that only someone like Lorde can offer you.

REVIEW HERE

1.Kendrick Lamar – Humble

Comparing yourself to a religious symbol is usually bound to result in you becoming an infamous figure. If you need an example then just take a look at Kanye‘s Rolling Stone Cover where he not so subtly recreated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Unsurprisingly this made Mr West public enemy number one in the eyes of many Christians, something which has continued when he repeatedly announces himself as a god.

So as Kendrick Lamar donned pope robes for the music video accompanying new single Humble, his second track in the space of a week following The Heart Part 4, you would have expected him to maybe take a second to reconsider his attire. Throughout this track, though, Kendrick isn’t concerned with the thoughts of others as we get an abundance of braggadocious bars that the Compton rapper hasn’t really channeled since his second studio album Good Kid, m.A.A.d city. 

Accompanied by the punchiest 808 bass line you’ll hear this year along with a catchy piano riff, this is the first witnessing of Kendrick‘s departure of the jazz-fuelled sound that can be found all over To Pimp A Butterfly and untitled.unmastered. Not only this but the lyrics seem to channel a lot more of the narrative that carried the aforementioned Good Kid, m.A.A.d city with Kendrick spouting lines about his youth surrounded by gang affiliations and cheap grub before he begins to brag about money and sex with one of the wittiest albeit cheesiest lines of the year so far (parmesan where my accountant lives).

While some may feel a bit light changed by DAMN., though not us, Humble cements Kendrick as not only the greatest rapper of the 21st century but a serious contestant for the GOAT title.


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Looking back at…Acid Rap by Chance The Rapper

By Ryan Martin (@RyanMartin182)

Even better than I was the last time baby

From the moment those words hit, a wave of nostalgia and good vibes will cover you entirely. The opening track off Chance The Rapper’s breakout and sophomore mixtape has a radically positive sound, filled with gang vocals, horns, and Chance’s signature playful rhyme schemes. It’s truly the best introduction to who the Chicago artist truly is.

Before Chance The Rapper was the pop icon he is today, he was just another kid in Illinois. A kid that loved making music and hanging out with his friends. A product of too many hallucinogens, a strong influence from Kanye West and a style of uniqueness the rap game was missing, all helped shine the spotlight on Lil Chano from the 79th and change his world forever.

Acid Rap comes off as playful and poppy but isn’t afraid to get dark and real, touching upon some of the deeper issues Chance battles with, such as losing adolescence and the untouched issues of violence in Chicago. While his debut mixtape 10 Day helped bring him the attention he needed, Acid Rap is what launched him into the public eye. Following it up with his most recent effort, Coloring Book, Chance’s catalog has solidified him as one of the most promising rap stars of this generation. All without selling one song.

Acid Rap’s instrumentals are trippy, bouncy and sometimes dark. The mixtape’s second track Pusha Man/Paranoia starts out as a light-hearted pop-rap record with an addictive chorus complimented by a funky organ and rattling hi-hats. The second half of the track is the listener’s first glance at Chance’s acid-fueled anxieties. Speaking of the dangers of living in Chicago during the summer time and the absence of news on the subject, Chance drops haunting bars like “They murking kids, they murder kids here / Why you think they don’t talk about it? They deserted us here / Where the fuck is Matt Lauer at? Somebody get Katie Couric in here / Probably scared of all the refugees, look like we had a fuckin’ hurricane here”.

Cocoa Butter Kisses, one of Chance’s bigger hits off this mixtape, includes rapid fire verses from Vic Mensa and Twista, backed up by a twinkly pop beat and a boom bap drum beat, all tied up by an air tight hook from Chance. Juice is another big hitter that sounds like it was made to be performed live: the way Chance shouts out the chorus makes you want to lose your mind as well as this being one of the first mainstream songs that really showcased his impressive flow as well. Lost includes Chance’s favorite feature on any of his releases thus far, done by the impressive Noname. Noname and Chance met when they were 15 while both pursuing music careers. Their musical chemistry is undeniable with Noname’s vocals and wordplay on high display in this track, gaining her a lot of exposure.

A hard-hitting boom bap drum beat is the backbone for one of the many fan favorites off Acid Rap, Everybody’s Something. The song centers around a positive theme about acceptance and diversity. Chance’s wordplay works well with the trippy beat as well. The chorus is reminiscent of what is to come in his catalog, almost sounding as a prequel to Blessings (Reprise) off Coloring Book. Arguably the most popular song off the album appropriately titled Favorite Song features killer verses from both Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino. One of the three songs the duo have done together showcases their brilliant chemistry together. The rapid paced chorus matches up with the summery beat perfectly.

Image result for chance the rapper 2013

NaNa features a smashing sample from A Tribe Called Quest’s Sucka Nigga and a hilarious verse from Action Bronson. The chorus is probably the weakest one on the album with Chance sounding half-drunk on the hook but still fits the loose swaying vibe of the song perfectly. Another fan favorite, Smoke Again is backed by a thumping bass and playful horns. Ab-Soul is featured on this track and delivers a solid verse while Chance drops some slightly controversial bars: “She like when I rap raps, but better when I sing songs / No Drake, but I get my Trey on / killin’ in the hood like Trayvon”.

One of the deep personal cuts, Acid Rain delivers more of Chance’s drug-fueled honest spurts. On the dark trippy beat, Chance mumbles of losing his adolescence and how much his life has changed as he becomes a young adult. The vibe feels as if you’ve fallen down an acid-induced rabbit hole as he hammers you with honest bars. On the last track of the album, Chance wraps it all together nicely with interpolations of previous tracks and a touching voicemail from his father. The positivity theme comes into play once more as he reminds the listener that although there may be violence in the streets and doubt in the mind, everything’s good.

While Acid Rap may be considered a poppier mixtape as it appeals to a mainstream audience, there’s no denying this mixtape’s brilliance in lyricism, samples, and vibes. Chance created a mixtape that became the theme music to those who overthink, those who just want to party, and those who are still trying to keep it real. While the mixtape does have its flaws and can seem off centered at times, it’s one of the most important and impressive mixtapes of our generation today.

9/10


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Top 50 Songs of 2016

 

 

 

 

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

It’s here! Chuck those negative opinions aside as for the next week we’ll be counting down my musical highlights of the year. While 2016 was full of many negative events (US election, multiple celebrity death, suicide squad, damn daniel etc.), on the other side of the coin music was as entertaining and fascinating as ever. Hip-hop continued to demonstrate its creative power while rock and other genres revitalised themselves to provide us with some of the best singles of their respective artist’s careers.

As always we have the staple “this is my opinion” placeholder to insert before we get cracking on so if there are any songs you think are missing or should be placed higher/lower then keep in mind that this is my list. Since there are 50 tracks to go through, I’ll speed through the first 25 or so and go into a bit more detail as we reach the top 20 picks. With that being said, let’s get the ball rolling…

50. Glue 70 – Casin

49. Crywank – Love

48. Vistas – Sign Language

47. Brand New – I Am A Nightmare

46. Boston Manor -Lead Feet

45. Kevin Devine – Instigator

44. SBTRKT – Let Them In

43. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me

42. Fake Boyfriend – Bumtown

41. Parquet Courts – Dust

40. Pale Kids – Not Listening

39. Blink-182 – Cynical

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC97caHUgKk

38. Weezer – Jacked Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJOsRoY-na0

37. Frightened Rabbit – Die Like A Rich Boy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es8wQcKrrhA

36. Jamie T- Tescoland

35. Hovvdy – Try Hard

34. Honeyblood – Love Is A Disease

33. Skepta – Man

32. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone

31. Young Thug – RiRi

30. Enter Shikari – Hoodwinker

29. Touche Amore – Displacement

28. Kendrick Lamar – untitled 03

27. Biffy Clyro – In The Name Of The Wee Man

26. Sweet White – Genine

https://soundcloud.com/sweet-white/genine-1

25. Joyce Manor – Eighteen

24. Death Grips – 3 Bedrooms In A Good Neighborhood 

23. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities 

22. Twin Atlantic – Gold Elephant, Cherry Alligator

21. Mean Jeans – Michael Jackson Was Tight

20. The 1975 – Somebody Else

Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you that The 1975 are making an appearance on this list. Whilst their latest album was a double-edged sword, only just managing to provide more killer than filler, when the band delivered something good it was really fucking good. See Somebody Else for example, a song that dabbles into the topic of modern day romance that frontman, with the hand of some vocal manipulation, executes brilliantly.

19. Charli XCX – Trophy

The ultimate pump up song of 2016, Charli XCX continues her reign as one of the most likeable female vocalists in music right now with a fantastic combination of 00’s club music and peculiar beats.

18. Radiohead – Daydreaming

Beautifully minimalistic and driven solely by piano alongside some glitzy chimes with a Jamie XX flare to them, Daydreaming was the standout track on Radiohead’s triumphant return A Moon Shaped Pool: a calm, borderline lullaby that dips its toes in fearsome waters before diving head first into them during the climax.

17. Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Showing off the majority of 22, A Million’s religious subtext, 33 “GOD” is a showcase of Bon Iver’s experimental take on their latest record packaged alongside the delicate rock they’ve mastered since their debut For Emma, Forever Ago.

16. Blood Orange – Best To You

Providing some of the best R&B in recent memory, Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound hit its peak four tracks in with Best To You. Featuring a stunning vocal performance from Empress Of, Dev Hynes showed off just how good he is at mixing production and songwriting together.

15. Real Friends – Mess

A pop punk song that has lyrics that manage to be fresh for the act due to being about something other than a break up?! Revolutionary! All jokes aside, the crisp production value along with a catchy as all hell chorus makes the track feel like Real Friends have been working hard on their songwriting capabilities since their debut record and, despite what they’re saying in the public eye, are making efforts to progress as a band.

14. Codist – Puddle

Glasgow band Codist came out with their debut record all the way back in January and continued to be one of my favourites throughout 2016. My personal favourite track off of Nuclear Family had to be Puddle that harks back to Blackened Sky era Biffy with some equally beautiful lyrics about “why you can feel your insides glow”.

13. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things

The shortest track by far on this list, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s titular theme tune to Netflix’s surprise hit series Stranger Things is, much like the show itself, a total love letter to 80’s electronica with ominous synths lulling you into a sense of dread.

12. American Football – My Instincts Are The Enemy

Showing that the band still had what it takes to retain relevance in a genre that has long since evolved since their one and only record, American Football showed they deserve all the praise they get with their second LP. My Instincts Are The Enemy is a testament to the intricacy this band can provide with just three instruments, pulling off smooth and satisfying tempo changes and delivering beautiful lyrics as if they had never been away.

11. Schoolboy Q – Groovy Tony 

Schoolboy Q may have given us a pretty lacklustre LP in 2016 but he made sure we weren’t left empty handed with Groovy Tony, drenched in eerie production and driven by one of the most aggressive sounding flows in hip-hop.

10. Frank Ocean – Nikes

WE IN THE TOP 10 NOW BABY! The musical Where’s Waldo Mr Frank Ocean returned this year with his long awaited Blonde that kicks off with one of the strongest tracks of his career. Nikes modifies Ocean’s vocals into unrecognisable territory, delivering lines about lost ones and consumerism with a minimalistic background which needs to be listened to for it to be fully experienced.

9. Danny Brown – When It Rain

Not only did Detroit’s prodigal son Danny Brown deliver the best record of his career, arguably one of the greatest hip-hop albums in the past decade, but he managed to shake up his tried and tested sound on top of that. Much like Groovy Tony, When It Rain cranks up that ominous notch up to 11 and packs the visceral imagery to back it up.

8. Moose Blood – Knuckles

Arguably the best track Mooseblood have delivered thus far, Knuckles embodies everything the band have been great at since their debut: providing a killer hook with beautiful lyrics and vocals. While the majority of the band’s sophomore effort is far more grounded in pessimism, Knuckles seems to hit a major realist chord and wonderfully so.

7. PUP – DVP

Unlike other acts of the genre who do a lot of rocking but very little growing up, PUP manage to nail the topic of maturity on DVP which flows seamlessly on from the aforementioned If This Tour… into an even more anthemic style on record The Dream Is Over. Addressing how they handle issues, in this case getting “so drunk that I can’t speak”, as well as others telling them to grow up, the track manages to keep a positive vibe going in its instrumentals whilst juggling some of the darker lyrics on here.

6. James Blake ft Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire

While James Blake’s latest record was sub par at best, there was a diamond in the rough in the form of I Need A Forest Fire. Combining Bon Iver’s beautiful vocals alongside Blake’s versatile singing is a genius concept and is wonderfully executed, managing to explore the .topic of new beginnings with total ease.

5. Chance The Rapper – Blessings

It’s hard to argue that 2016 belonged to anyone but if I had to place a bet on it, my money would be on Chance The Rapper. Colouring Book was one of the most enjoyable listens of the year with bucketloads of optimism and hope in a year that very much needed it. Blessings pretty much embodies the album’s core message better than any other track does. A gospel influence is felt not only in its sound but its lyrical content: lines about redemption, fatherhood and faith are subtle with the main hook from Jamila Woods being infectiously catchy.

4. Childish Gambino – Redbone

No artist this year transformed quite like Childish Gambino. Swapping out hip-hop for funk/soul/R&B music is an impossible risk but Gambino somehow survived the transition, quality intact. Redbone shows this perfectly, displaying a wonderful use of vocoder and the aforementioned funk element that made Awaken My Love one of the most refreshing listens of 2016.

3. David Bowie – Lazarus

The loss of David Bowie was one of many celebrity deaths to occur in 2016 but was the one that no doubt hit the hardest. Lazarus pretty much acts as a foreshadowing to it all with lyrics such as “look up here, I’m in heaven” managing to evoke a tear or two out of even the most casual Bowie fan. While it may be a difficult listen considering the context, Lazarus stood out well before the passing of Bowie, providing the perfect balance of instrumentals and Bowie’s unique vocals.

2. The Weeknd – Starboy

Before we get into the top pick of this list, we have but one more track to praise, that being The Weeknd’s Starboy which features on the RnB superstar’s eponymously titled record. Featuring a backing beat that sounds like a less feisty but equally enjoyable Yeezus feature, the partnership with Daft Punk means it’s no real surprise that Starboy finds itself so high up on a best tracks of 2016 list.

1. Kanye West – Real Friends

While The Life of Pablo was an enjoyable albeit messy release, it undoubtedly features the best song Kanye West has released since Runaway. Real Friends puts Mr West in his most vulnerable position since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as he voices his guilt regarding friends and family over a beautifully tragic sounding beat. Think Aphex Twin entwined with heartbreak. The song ends with a poignant howl that evokes the same sadness and, in a way, isolation that we have become accustomed to with Kanye’s more personal tracks. Sources say that when the track was first released, the title was missing the word “friends”. In a twisted way, it’s both a relief to hear Kanye sounding the most real he has in years whilst it’s also uncomfortable to witness the inner turmoil he’s experiencing that has only since got worse with his recent inauguration into a psychiatric ward.

 

 

 

 

~

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FAV ALBUMS OF 2016 (SO FAR)

As we bid farewell to the first half of the year and set out for a new batch of high quality albums and singles, now is a better time than any to have a little retrospective on what we experienced or, better yet, enjoyed between January and July of 2016. Of course there are plenty that I’ve missed out and it goes without saying that these are personal choices so if there’s any albums that I’ve missed out that you’ve loved, chances are I’ve either not listened to it or just didn’t enjoy it as much as you. With that being said, in no particular order, let’s get on with it…

David Bowie – ★(Blackstar)

Blackstar is a special album for an array of reasons: it was Bowie’s first no.1 album in America as well as being his 25th album. Seen by many, including producer Tony Visconti, as a parting gift to fans before his untimely death, Bowie managed to make art even when fighting for his life. Inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 record To Pimp A Butterfly, Blackstar infuses jazz as well as elements of hip hop and rock to make an album that’s not only worth a listen but one that does the late king of, well, music justice.

 

Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost

Modern Baseball have always had a healthy heaping of heart with their witty pop punk sound and Holy Ghost doesn’t stray away from this. Jake Ewald has suffered the loss of a family member and Brendan Lukens has undergone rehabilitation with both artists getting their own halves to experiment and create their own unique music that fuses effortlessly with one another. Holy Ghost further solidifies Modern Baseball as a band to be recognised as well as one to be feared, despite how much they may be scared themselves.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

A Moon Shaped Pool manages to leave a positive imprint on the listener’s mind after every playthrough. Swapping out paramount guitars with ambient keyboard sounds and creating this irresistible, distinct sound makes it clear that you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks but Radiohead will certainly lead the class.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Starting its life off as a mess, The Life Of Pablo has slowly evolved since to become a worthy addition to the ever egotistic Kanye West’s discography. Featuring some of the man’s most adrenaline pumping tunes as well as some introspective gems, TLOP managed to take itself just serious enough without forgetting to have a bit of fun in the meantime.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Death Grips – Bottomless Pit

Best of 2016 so far

With Bottomless Pit, Death Grips have managed to cross past successes with their own creative wit to deliver what is without the long awaited evolution of one of the most exciting acts of the 21st century. Displaying the accessibility of The Money Store, the punk influences of Ex Military and the utter craziness of The Powers That B, Death Grips can’t seem to falter on their golden run.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Kendrick Lamar – untitled. unmastered

untitled unmastered

2015 belonged to Kendrick Lamar. In a year full of police brutality and heated politics, To Pimp A Butterfly stood out as the jazz drenched perspective of a man from Compton who has witnessed both, an album that even now I’m struggling to put into words. Untitled Unmastered is very much an extension of what made Lamar’s last record so great, acting like a sweet piece of musical DLC and managing to stand out on its own merits.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Weezer – White Album

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While there may be a criticism from those who feel like some songs rely heavily on framework that the band have established and used for decades, The White Album undeniably feels like the record that Weezer have been leading up to for years. It won’t go down in history for redefining a genre but such an ambitious feat is one that is stumbled upon rather than sought after. The nerdiness is even more introverted, the romance even more anxious and fleshed out than before, and the grunge pop sound even more satisfying. You can shout it from the rooftops: Weezer are back and better than ever.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall's Emotional Mugger.jpg

It’s an achievement in itself for an artist to still be evolving eight albums into their discography but what’s even more commendable about Ty Segall is how he still manages to sound just as refreshing as ever on his latest LP. Emotional Mugger may have fell under the radars of many but with its garage and noise rock aesthetic worn on its sleeve, it’s definitely an LP worth a listen to.

Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

chance-the-rapper-chance-3-new-album-download-free-stream

“Blessings keep falling on my lap” Chance The Rapper wistfully chimes and he couldn’t put it any better on his first proper foyer into mainstream territory. Acid Rap blew up and got him a shit-load of attention which he hasn’t let go to waste with Coloring Book, a bombastic release that reinforces Chance’s status as one of, if not the most important rapper in hip hop alongside Kendrick Lamar. In a year that has had albums dropped by some of the biggest names in the industry, it’s nothing short of a surprise to have Chance deliver the best hip hop album of the year as well as providing one of the best releases of the decade so far. Chance has a sniper level of accuracy to execute exactly what he sets out to achieve. Alert everyone: we’re living in the golden age of Hip Hop.

PUP – The Dream Is Over

Pup

Although the band have stated that their name stands for “Pathetic Use Of Potential”,PUP have managed to build upon the strong foundations of their debut LP and hone all of their anger and punk influence into one of the most solid records of the year. In the band’s own words, The Dream Is Over is a “rowdy, noisy clusterfuck” and while it may hark to a low point in their personal lives, this visceral record highlights an act who, health warnings or not, are unstoppable.

FULL REVIEW HERE

Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

ALBUM REVIEW: Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

Heart and Soul drives this Gospel Rap encrusted gem

“Blessings keep falling on my lap” Chance The Rapper wistfully chimes and he couldn’t put it any better on his first proper foyer into mainstream territory. Acid Rap blew up and got him a shit-load of attention which he hasn’t let go to waste with Coloring Book, a bombastic release that reinforces Chance’s status as one of, if not the most important rapper in hip hop alongside Kendrick Lamar.

2016 seems to be the year of resurrection for Gospel’s influence on music: While Bloc Party‘s aptly named Hymns featured haunting choirs and Kanye‘s The Life Of Pablo promised to be “a gospel album with a whole lot of cursing on it”, Chance seems to be following the mantra of third time’s a charm quite fittingly. Not only is Coloring Book the Chicago artist’s third official mixtape but it’s the first successful LP this year in terms of seamlessly and effortlessly implementing biblical overtones without alienating the most stern of non believers.

We have All We Got, a glorious track that packs a punch in not only its drill beat but the accompanying Chicago Children’s Choir who somehow manage to overshadow Kanye’s feature on this opening track who does adds very little. Then there’s Blessings that’s gospel influence is felt not only in its sound but its lyrical content: lines about redemption, fatherhood and faith are subtle with the main hook from Jamila Woods being infectiously catchy. It may be rather obvious but Chance has never been ashamed of showing his love for his faith and it’s refreshing to see an artist show a bit of a deflated ego rather than have them claim to be a god themselves.

Coloring Book isn’t a one trick pony though. It’s a layered hip hop gem that manages to deliver a consistent, ever enjoyable sound while never losing its integrity. Even with some features from the biggest artists in the world right now like the aforementioned Mr West and Justin Bieber, none of the tracks which they appear on are totally reliant on being cameo pieces. Arguably the best track on Coloring Book, Same Drugs further touches upon this subject by using an allegory to the classic Peter Pan tale to reminisce about the past and question the present. It’s an endearing song that acts as a nice change of tempo from what can only be described as “bangers” as solidifies Chance’s future by displaying his versatility.

In a year that has had albums dropped by some of the biggest names in the industry, it’s nothing short of a surprise to have Chance deliver the best hip hop album of the year as well as providing one of the best releases of the decade so far. Chance has a sniper level of accuracy to execute exactly what he sets out to achieve. Alert everyone: we’re living in the golden age of Hip Hop.

– Liam Menzies

9/10

~

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BCAYMI: November 2015

When I attempted, and failed, to make my series Blink (Clyro) And You’ll Miss It into a monthly thing, I kinda fucked it up. Despite being one of my most popular posts, there was something about it that just didn’t sit with me right, like the potential it had just wasn’t being used. Now after a few months of procrastination  careful thinking, I’ve brought it back! *insert one person clapping*

Not only will BCAYMI (see, it just rolls off the tongue) cover music but it’ll also feature film, TV and gaming content that means you’ll constantly be in the loop. Think of it as a smaller, less indie NME except my head isn’t lodged up Arctic Monkey’s arse and people don’t write bitchy tweets about me. Well, as far as I know.

Music

Featured Artist Of The Month

Codist

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To quote the world renown author Me, Glasgow trio Codist’s sound is like “if you put Biffy Clyro’s gritty, stripped back tone from Blackened Sky in a blender with Weezer during their blue album era”, not a small compliment for someone with half of one of those band’s name in their website name. With Chris Curry now joining the band to raise the number of members to 4, it’s exciting to see how the band will shape their sound of their upcoming album in addition to their upcoming gig at Glasgow’s The Hug And Pint this December. Codist 2.0, here we go.

Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

Top 5 New Tracks

1.Modern Baseball – The Waterboy Returns

If their Sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All was about being in denial about your problems then Philadelphia based band Modern Baseball’s new track is about admitting these issues and trying to move on from them. Full of sombre, personal lyrics, Brendan Lukens’ trademark nasally vocal style has never sounded so good.

2. Weezer – Do You Wanna Get High

Returning from the critical acclaim of their 2014 release Everything Will Be Alright In The End with a sound more reminiscent of their Pinkerton days, Weezer bring the crunchy guitars and ridiculously good lyrics the band built their name on.

3. Aphex Twin – avril altdelay

With Avril 14th being one of British electronic musician Richard D James’ most famous tracks, it was only a matter of time until he revamped his iconic song which has only made it even more pleasant. It won’t be long until Kanye begs for the chance to sample this again.

4. Chance The Rapper – Angels

Since the release of his second mixtape Acid Rap, Chicago born rapper Chance The Rapper has collaborated with the likes of James Blake and Donald Glover. Now he’s got fans in a frenzy as he teases his third mixtape and Angels hasn’t dampened their spirits, full of references to Kanye West and gospel hooks, this track is not only a homage to Chicago but a testament to the potential Chance has.

5. Guy Garvey – Angela’s Eyes

Owning one of the finest voices music has ever witnessed, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey has released his first solo album to showcase his remarkable vocals and new found sound. While not unfamiliar, there’s enough changes to justify a release and Angela’s Eyes is an excellent example of this.

Album of the Month

Grimes – Art Angels

November is a huge month for female artists with the great return of pop powerhouse Adele returning with her third album 25 and the likes of Drake collaborator Tinashe and *shudder* Ellie Goulding, girl power is very much in the air. November is also huge in terms of the return of an electronic wizard: Grimes.

Her unusual yet pleasing style of vocals and synths are ones that just shouldn’t work yet every time they just seem to get better and better. Thankfully the same can be said about tracks off her upcoming follow up to 2012’s Visions as EDM influenced Realiti and the catchy Flesh without Blood are comforting proof that even with the lack of substance abuse on this release, the canadian artist can still deliver.

(P.S bonus points for that amazing japanese inspired artwork, which perfectly captures the atypical nature of Grimes.)

Upcoming Gigs 

  • U2 @ Hydro – 6th & 7th November | Tickets
  • Bloc Party @ O2 ABC – 9th November | Sold Out
  • The Prodigy @ Hydro – 23rd November | Tickets
  • Slaves @ O2 ABC – Thursday 19th November | Sold Out
  • FIDLAR @ Garage – 12th November | Tickets
  • Bring Me The Horizon @ Edinburgh Corn Exchange – 25th November | Sold Out
  • Frank Turner @ Barrowlands – Friday 13th November | Sold Out

Kent punk duo Slaves visit Glasgow’s O2 ABC this month
 Upcoming Albums

  • Justin Bieber – Purpose (13th November)
  • Adele – 25 (20th November)
  • Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE (OUT NOW)
  • Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 (November 6th)
November marks Adele’s triumphant return with new album 25

Film + TV

Film of the Month

The Good Dinosaur
Released: 27th November

Yes, I’ll look like a big waine for choosing this over Spectre but bare with me. Since Spectre was released last month and has been praised to no end (which it totally deserves) , I thought I’d go for a film that’s actually released this month and what better than Pixar’s next film. The Good Dinosaur is about an alternate timeline where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs narrowly missed, meaning that the giant creatures still exist. What follows is the tale of Arlo as he suffers a major loss (not hard to guess what happens, it’s Pixar after all) and tries to find his way back home.

This film has a chance to fail as it seems like it’ll be cliched and it’s directed by someone who’s only ever been behind the camera one times: for a Pixar short. However, it also has the opportunity to surprise everyone and become what the incredibles was to superhero films. In addition to this, the film has already been praised for its photorealistic visuals, meaning regardless if the film’s a flop, it’ll be a beautiful one. Who knows what will happen but regardless if it’s bad or fantastic, I’ll be there to see it.

TV Show of The Month

Peep Show
Starts: 11th November

What else was it going to be? Ranking alongside The Inbetweeners for being one of the most quotable British comedies of all time, Peep Show has kept us waiting in anticipation for 3 years for what is now the show’s last season. To avoid giving anything away to those who have avoided all previews and interviews, the ninth season will consist of “Mark trying to sell a loan to a gullible idiot while Jeremy is living in a bath”. The premise alone sounds hilarious and it’ll be worth it alone to see Mark, Jeremy and Super Hans for the last time before they fade away into Channel 4 fame. With this and Catastrophe, Channel 4 can rightfully call itself the home of Comedy.

Will it be worth the wait? No idea. Will it be quoted relentlessly by hundreds of users on Twitter? You bet yer arse.

Gaming

Game of the Month

Fallout 4
Released: 10th November

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In a month full of blockbuster game releases, Bethesda have their work cut out for them. Not only are they up against two juggernaut FPS going by the names Star Wars Battlefront & Call of Duty but there’s also the return of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Are they worried? Of course not.

Regardless if this game flops like a fish out of water, millions of gamers will still pick up Fallout 4 because, well, it’s Fallout. It’s an immersive post apocalyptic wasteland, full of radiation inflicted monsters and other humans just as desperate as yourself for supplies, safety and, most importantly, power. Its predecessor, unsurprisingly called Fallout 3, is one of my favourite games of all time and the sound of returning to the franchise with better graphics, more customisation and even greater gameplay, is too good to pass up. If you pick up one game this month, make it this.

BLINKCLYRO

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Cheers for sticking all the way to the end and I hope you enjoyed what I hope to be a regular thing! Any feedback is more than welcome and if you have any suggestions, whether it be a new track you think deserves more attention or you’re part of an up and coming band who want an opportunity to get their name out there then email me @ liammenzies96@gmail.com.

Over the past two months BLINKCLYRO has accumulated over 2,000 views and I couldn’t be more thankful for that! Here’s hoping I can keep you lot entertained for the rest of 2015 and beyond, perhaps even venture into different outlets *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* . You can follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro and over on my facebook page here. What follows is a wee schedule of what you can expect from the site this month!

Schedule

  • Life Is Strange review – Sunday 8th November
  • Bloc Party gig review – Tuesday 10th November
  • Frank Turner – Saturday 14th November 
  • First week with Fallout 4 (sort of review) – Tuesday 17th November
  • Slaves gig review – Friday 20th November
  • Bring Me The Horizon gig review – Thursday 26th November
    + even more tbc!!!!

After releasing the best album of their career, Bring Me The Horizon come to Edinburgh with their fresh new sound.
After releasing the best album of their career, Bring Me The Horizon come to Edinburgh with their fresh new sound.
Big Love, Liam x