GR8 MUSIC M8: January 2017

A new segment where I’ll be taking a look at any albums, EPs and singles that were my favourites of the past month. Want something reviewed? Let me know via twitter.

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Albums

Run The Jewels – RTJ3

“We’re in sync so much now, after two records and several tours – and this new one felt like we hit that point in the Rocky training montage when he’s just killing shit,” said El-P in an interview with The Guardian and RTJ3 very much feels like the point where both him and Killer Mike have managed to catch the chicken. Showing sincerity, awareness, and aggression all at once, RTJ are the epitome of every liberal’s worst nightmare: they’re an answer to the intolerance that has infected America since its birth and do not give a fuck who disagrees. Their music is sure to be the soundtrack to the revolution and what a fucking soundtrack that is.

FULL REVIEW HERE

10/10

Code Orange – Forever *

Having had no prior knowledge of Code Orange or any previous interest in metalcore, it came as a total surprise to me that Forever would be one of the first music gems of 2017. Managing to balance off the hardcore punk sound that appears on the vast majority of these tracks by dipping their toes into some alt-rock waters as heard on Bleeding In The BlurForever is a true tour de force, putting aside any worries fans may have had after the act moved onto a major label. If there were any doubts about Code Orange being on their best form then Forever puts them all to rest, under a tsunami of sheer fury.

9/10

The XX – I See You

While there are many changes that are apparent on I See You, what’s utterly remarkable and something that should be commended is the fact that The XX are simultaneously pushing themselves out of their comfort zone while staying true to their humble roots. The sampling on display and subsequent alterations to the sound make it feel like an R&B album more than an alt rock one but the emotional voices that manage to project both passion and insecurities feel so quintessentially XX. There are tracks that feel like they could have been ripped straight off of their debut like ‘Performance’ while others like ‘Dangerous’ and ‘On Hold’ feel like they’ve landed from a parallel universe where the band are far less timid.

FULL REVIEW HERE

8/10

Wiley – Godfather *

Even though he may hit out with the threat of retiring as frequently as Donald Trump tweets out a potential World War 3 catalyst, Wiley has still continued to make music and Godfather may be his magnum opus. Most members of the public no doubt know of the grime artist via his chart hits such as Rolex and Heatwave but it does the artist a complete disservice not to recognise the impact he has had on the genre, being there from practically the beginning and surviving both the boom, death and subsequent revival of Grime. Featuring some of the darkest production to appear on a grime record in quite some time, Wiley offers up a variety of different sounds as well as some amusing and hard-hitting lyricism. Speakerboxx may very well be 2017’s Shutdown as it packs in an Arabic sounding flute, which feels like it was taken straight out of Banjo and Kazooie’s Gobi’s Valley, alongside a dominating and intimidating Wiley who chats about his youth selling drugs while comparing himself to the Bob Marley of Grime. With an output and influence as huge as Wiley’s, it really says something when an album such as Godfather can do him justice.

9/10

Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life *

While it may not be as groundbreaking or solid as their past releases, Japandroids have avoided falling into the pitfall that many bands do after taking a break of half a decade away with their third record Near To The Wild Heart Of Life. There are some obvious complaints: there’s a clear lack of witty lyricism from King and it feels far too polished, not a granule of grit to be found. That’s not to say that what is on display isn’t ambitious as the American punk act do all they can to push themselves out their comfort zone and bring new life to a genre many have said is stagnant. Dig beneath the surface and you may find the rock record that you’ll be comparing every subsequent release this year to.

7/10


EPs

David Bowie – No Plan *

Ever wondered what it would sound like if David Bowie had written a James Bond theme tune? Then look no further than No Plan, an EP that marks what would have been the artist’s 70th birthday. Featuring the aforementioned Bond-esque Killing A Little Time as well as the beautiful title track, No Plan manages to display all different facets of Bowie’s musicianship, reassuring all that his legacy will live on.

9/10

Cabbage – Young, Dumb And Full Of… *

Acting as a compilation of all the band’s work thus far, Young, Dumb And Full Off…demonstrates the prowess and sheer energy that Manchester rock outfit Cabbage possess this early in their career. Not just a release full of sad romantic songs about girls, Cabbage touch upon a wide array of political and social matters such as the monarchy, NHS, Austerity and a certain tangerine president with whimsy and appeal, making Cabbage not only one of the most exciting bands in the UK but one of the most aware too.

8/10

Boosegumps – on the way to meet you*

While certain seconds on this EP would give you the feeling that this Heeyoon fronted project had been recorded in a bedroom then swiftly left in the loft for a few years, this only adds to the utter enchantment on the way to meet you offers. Concluding track Happy embodies this EP’s message, with the lines “I am so positive/ I am so happy/ I tell myself every day/ I’m starting to believe me,” being both relaxing and resonant. Lasting only a brief few minutes, Boosegumps EP is very much like its artwork: alluring, soft and calming, full to the brim with positivity.

8/10


Singles

Sleaford Mods – BHS 

With their follow up to Key Markets set to drop in March, Sleaford Mods dropped another tease as to what to expect from English Tapas. BHS, which is clearly in reference to the now defunct UK chain of stores, takes a stab at the 1% and offers the politically aware alternative that Fat White Family constantly slated various other indie rock acts for. On top of that, the rather stripped back drum machine and guitars gives the track the serious vibe needed to carry the duo’s message across and does so wonderfully.

FKA Twigs – Trust In Me

It may have only appeared in the latest Nike ad for what feels like a few seconds but it’s truly a testament to FKA Twigs that this brief amount of time is all she needs to make an impact. While details on her upcoming album are scarce, if the vocals are as beautiful as they are here and the instrumentals just as jarring, unsettling yet alluring then it’ll no doubt be one of the best releases of the year.

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Father John Misty’s latest eponymous cut off his upcoming third LP Pure Comedy is a relatively simple piano ballad that holds no punches when discussing its subject matter, delivering some particularly beautiful and thought provoking lines like only Misty can. With 2016 being infamous to say the least, it’s a relief to see that something can come of it and Pure Comedy is sure to be one of many pieces of art that stands as a reflection of what has been and a glimmer of hope of what is to come.

Joey Bada$$ – Land Of The Free

Dropping around the time of President Trump’s inauguration, Joey BadA$$ has undoubtedly provided the best political track of the year so far which touches upon topics of mass incarceration and racism, delivered witfully such as the line on his first verse “Two A’s, Three K’s in AmeriKKKa”. Finish that off with some killer production from Kirk Knight and you have yourself a track that cannot be slept on. 

Mac DeMarco – My Old Man

Making sure to leave fans with more than enough music to keep them content until the album’s release in a few months time, DeMarco dropped the reflective title track My Old Man. While not as stripped back as This Old Dog, My Old Man incorporates some simple synths that, in the context of the album’s concept, shine through as utterly delightful, showing that less can indeed be more. The lyrics, which are usually DeMarco’s strong point, are as touching and introspective as always, in no small part due to the different way he went about writing this album.


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MOST ANTICIPATED ALBUMS OF 2017

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Welcome to the very first post on blinkclyro.com in 2017! Feeling hungover? Full of regret already? Don’t worry, you’ve got the next 365 days to make things even worse.

Having had the month of December to reminisce about the best and worst of the last year in music, it’s now time to get aboard the hype train as we take a look at what albums we, more specifically I, are most psyched about hearing in 2017. As always, my choices are purely subjective and there’ll no doubt be a few albums from my list last year making an appearance seeing as some artists actually want to take time with their music? What a bunch of selfish assholes. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road…

Run The Jewels – RTJ3

Image result for run the jewels 3

ETA: Out Now (STREAMING) / 13th Janaury (PHYSICAL)

Let’s start off with what is undoubtedly going to end up being an album of the year contender: Run The Jewels 3. Whilst technically it did drop in 2016, it was originally slated for a 2017 release and the physical release is set to come out in just over a weeks time so its inclusion is more than deserved, especially since so far RTJ3 is the most polished and politcally charged record the hip hop duo has dropped. Don’t Get Captured manages to approach topics of genrification and police brutality exceptionally with EL-P and Killer Mike’s expert storytelling and flow being displayed. With RTJ2 being my favourite album of 2014, expect RTJ3 to be on repeat for the duration of 2017.

Kanye West – Turbo Grafx 16

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Kanye West attends Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2016 in New

ETA: TBA

When you have the late, great Lou Reed praising you then you must be doing something right and the ever egotistical Kanye West looks set to continue his golden run with his new gaming inspired record Turbo Grafx 16

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/703447172050788352

With the record set to feature sampling from the likes of No More Heroes and Super Mario Galaxy in addition to hosting appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper and Young Thug, Kanye may be set to deliver the oddest record of 2017.

The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

Image result for oczy mlody flaming lipsETA: 13th January 

Despite their recent collaboration with Miley Cyrus being one of the worst listens of 2015, The Flaming Lips seem set to return to the glory days of 2002 with their upcoming record Oczy Mlody. Lead vocalist Wayne Coyne described the record as sounding like a drug and second single How is the embodiment of this, sounding like a vapourwave acid trip that reaches the airy heights that the band have previously achieved on Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Any album being built up as “Syd Barrett meets ASAP Rocky and they get trapped in a fairy tale from the future” is one worth being on the radar of anyone with even a tiny incling of interest in music.

The XX – I See You
Image result for the xx i see you  

ETA: January 13th

Being indie darlings since their mercury prize winning debut record dropped in 2009, The XX’s third album I See You has been a long time coming with nearly five years passing since we last heard anything from them. While previously being apprehensive about the band becoming stagnant, it’s a relief to see Jamie XX being given more creative control after his dazzling 2015 record In Colour which is shown masterfully on lead single On Hold, having the classic Jamie XX sampling expertise with Hall and Oate’s I Can’t Go For That making an appearance. With the band stating that I See You will have a more distinctive sound and a more positive, open and “expansive” concept than the previous two albums, it’s hard not to get a bit excited about the band’s triumphant return. 

The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings

Image result for terrible human beings the orwells

 

ETA: February 17th 

While other garage and punk bands such as FIDLAR seem content with spitting lines about drugs and drink at the moment, American rock outfit The Orwells seem to be using their third LP Terrible Human Beings as a maturity stepping stone.  “The whole cute, punk, beer thing—it’s so uncool now,” vocalist Mario Cuomo said in an interview to Spin. “There’s nothing cute about getting head in the back of some parked truck. You know?”. Buddy seems to be the only track that touches on their immature former selves with singles such as Double Feature showing signs of a band who are ready to make their mark this time around, this time not puke related.

Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

ETA: January 27th 

Much like the XX, Canadian rock act Japandroids have been kept fans waiting for nearly half a decade with their unique part classic rock, part punk sound finally making a return on Near to the Wild Heart of Life. 2012’s Celebration Rock is one of the most cohesive records of the decade so far alongside Joyce Manor’s discography and the title track seems to be contiuning this trend while tweaking the formula slightly. Singer Brian King has cemented the excitement for many, saying:

The idea of what intensity means is evolving. It doesn’t necessarily mean screaming or jumping around or flailing about or being really loud or playing really fast. In some ways, we’re approaching this like it’s our very first record. We’re removing all the self-imposed rules that led to the songs and the sound of our whole career up until now. When you do that, you can try anything.

Mac DeMarco’s New LP

ETA: TBA

While information on the new LP by the oddball that is Mac DeMarco is relatively thin, its existence has been confirmed with the man himself going onto instagram to say “that’s a wrap motherfucker!”. We haven’t heard a full length piece of work by the canadian artist since his 2014 record Salad Days with only Another One managing to satisfy fan’s cravings. Expect warbled choruses and capoed guitars a plenty when it inevitably drops.

The National’s Untitled New Album

Image result for the national

ETA: TBA

Having been relatively quiet since 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, Ameircan rock outfit The National have been busy further disecting and rearranging their sound for LP7. Frontman Matt Berninger has stated that it’ll be a huge departure from their last record with reports saying that the band are set to go electronic. Speaking to NME, Berninger said: 

We could probably crank out a great National record in a weekend, but none of us are interested in following up with another record that sounds like ‘Trouble Will Find Me’. That record was a great accomplishment and I’m so proud of it. A lot of songs are going in completely different directions. But that’s a really fun place to be. We’re in the middle of the wilderness, in a rainforest full of really fun noises.

Gorillaz LP4

Image result for gorillaz

ETA: TBA

What better way to finish off this list than with a record many have been eagerly anticipating since 2010. Gorillaz are arguably one of the best bands to come out the UK in the noughties and the Damon Albarn lead project is rumoured to have finished their fourth LP in late october. Not much else is known about the album thoug Gorillaz are yet to disappoint and something tells me that the animated outfit will continue their golden run come LP4’s release.


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