10 Worst Albums of 2017

You’ll be happy, or sad, to know that this list is the last negative one to drop all year though all that means is that the team are gonna blow their collective loads over the worst music we’ve been subjected to all year.

Of course, this is entirely subjective and if you find any joy from the below albums then we’re glad you did: we didn’t. If you do have any grievances with our choices then you know where to send them so let’s batter on, shall we?

10. Wonderful Wonderful
by The Killers

If you’re familiar with The Killers, you might know that they have released their first album in five years in 2017. If you’re not, you might have not even noticed they were gone. Wonderful Wonderful picks up as if they never left, neither improving nor maturing upon their last effort, Battle BornWonderful Wonderful does not act as an improvement in The Killers’ discography, but instead, plays the same formula they’ve been following for the past 13 years.

Wonderful Wonderful would have sounded better had it been released in 2013, back when Get Lucky by Daft Punk was the biggest song in the world. Maybe then, The Man could have stood as a decent radio single. Almost every element of Wonderful Wonderful sounds incredibly stale in the current genre of indie rock. Making songs like Rut, fueled by frontman Brandon Flowers’s distress with trying to help his wife’s PTSD condition, feel passionless. Like Rut, most of the songs off Wonderful Wonderful try to sound like the grand stadium-closer track that electrifies the crowd and instead sound like the deep cut off their new album that nobody knows the words too.

The Killers lack a certain element that makes their songs sound as grand as they want them to sound. What made songs on Hot Fuss sound as exciting and fresh as they did at the time, and endless revisable as they do today, has been poorly executed throughout their following studio albums. Wonderful Wonderful, not acting as an exception, but further proving the point that The Killers are not as great as you would like them to be. – Ryan Martin (@ryanmartin182)

FULL REVIEW HERE

9. Going Grey 
by The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms have been one of the biggest stars of the underground indie community of this decade. Originating as a duo of simple acoustic power chords, provocative lyrics, and catchy melodies, TFB have managed to retain their dedicated fan base since the release of their self-titled 6 years ago. Surely, fans must expect the raw, emotional, amateur sound of the early releases to evolve and mature over time.

This was hinted at with 2015’s Back On Top, which incorporated a fuller and more mainstream sound to what fans were used to expecting from the New Jersey duo. TFB’s latest, Going Grey, takes a strong lead into the direction Back On Top foreshadowed. With heavy synths, trap hi-hats, and minor use of the acoustic guitar, it’s leaving day one fans scratching their heads.

Going Grey plays front to back much less like an album but more as a collection of songs. There are too many skippable songs for an 11-track record and not enough heartfelt moments for it to even feel like a Front Bottoms record. The only consistent element throughout TFB’s discography is the vocal range that Sella has kept throughout the years. It’s the only thing that still feels in place about the band but also sounds so out of place when backed by a sound that sounds desperate for radio play. 

Going Grey may have added more elements, instruments, and layers to TFB’s early minimalistic approach, and there are definite highlights to be found in Vacation Town, but the result sounds less like an evolved, matured version of the band than a sell-out, cheapened version. – Ryan Martin (@ryanmartin182)

FULL REVIEW HERE

8. Reputation
by Taylor Swift

When following up a successful record, 2 of an artist’s main goals should be not to repeat what they did on their previous LP, and for this progression to make the new record better as a result. However, on new album Reputation, Taylor Swift did neither of these things.

In short, her tacky new trap sound found on roughly half of the record’s tracks (…Ready For It?) was so hideous that it saw insufferable lead single Look What You Made Me Dovoted as Blinkclyro’s worst track of the year. On top of this, Swift made the bizarre decision to unsubtly write all her beef into her music for the first time, literally beating listeners over the head with the knowledge of how detestably petty she is.

To be fair, there were 2 excellent tracks on Reputation: Getaway Car and New Year’s Day. The only problem? Getaway Car sounds exactly like what Swift did on 1989 and New Year’s Day is a bizarre hark back to her Speak Now days.

The risks she took on Reputation flopped just about as badly as they could have, and anything good about the record heard her merely repeating what she’d done before. – Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

FULL REVIEW HERE

7. Low In Highschool
by Morrissey

Not since Breaking Bad can we recall the descent of a man quite like Morrissey: starting off in one of the most iconic bands of the 20th century, the quiffy man seems unable to close his big mouth and as he’s got older, the more he starts to resemble UKIP’s key demographic.

This bleeds into his latest album Low In Highschool, a record full of idiotic choices in terms of instrumentals & production (Spent The Day In Bed) to the idotic appraisal of war mongerers while…criticising warmongerers (Israel)?

The question of separating the art from the artist has come up time and time again this year but this Morrisey LP goes to show how near impossible it is to do so: it’s an insult to your brain as well as your ears. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

6. Memories…Do Not Open
by The Chainsmokers

A wise man once said: The Chainsmokers are the musical equivalent of those weird twenty-year-old guys studying photography in college who message sixteen-year-old girls stating they’re “fascinated by their minds lol xD”. That man is Josh Adams and he owes me a fiver, so if you see him, break his legs.

Memories…Do Not Open is enough to make me feel the anguish those who regularly slate chart music must feel as they exclude themselves from pop bangers: unfortunately, said bangers will not be found in this album. On all levels apart from physical, this album is sheer shite.

If you’ve ever heard an EDM song in your entire life then not only will you get deja-vu but you’ll get the unshakeable feeling that you’re witnessing a murder scene as this duo show off the drained remains of anything that could be considered “a tune”. In addition to the lacklustre production, the attempts of singing on this record are utterly laughable: Break Up Every Night is the manifestation of everything bad about this LP, featuring some of the poorest vocals to be put into an album all year along with some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard in my life;

She wants to break up every night / Then tries to fuck me back to life

“She got seven personalities, everyone’s a tragedy.”

If their name is anything to go by then it’s only a matter of time until The Chainsmokers quit the cigarettes, pick up a vape, lose their cool cred and fade into obscurity like they should have after that dreadful selfie song.  – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

5. SCUM
by RAT BOY

Finally dropping their debut album SCUM, the album everyone wanted in 2015, Rat Boy added to the pile of mediocre indie rock to populate the British music scene. The only unique thing each track has is a different band or artist to rip off; think of any significant British act in the past 30 years and no doubt rat boy will have mimicked them with abysmal results on their debut album.

Any potential that the band had is buried in their influences and their desire for popularity has produced a safe and tedious effort that brings nothing fresh to the table at all. Even older songs such as Left 4 Dead have been butchered to death for the studio album and all the energy that the band could have had is replaced with cringe-worthy lyrics, forced themes and forgettable instrumentals.

Oh and if for some reason you actually still want to listen to this PLEASE don’t listen to the deluxe version; it has these radio “skits” that are just awful and make the entire thing even worse (if you can imagine that). – Ethan Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

FULL REVIEW HERE

4. As You Were
by Liam Gallagher

If there’s one positive thing I can say about Liam Gallagher, it’s that he’s got the marketing game down to an absolute tee: amassing a cult following thanks to his trademark Twitter ramblings, exposing a new age of fans to his erratic behaviour, it’s definitely helped him get back on his feet after the disaster that was Beady Eye and his media portrayal over the past few years.

That being said; why is his debut LP so painfully dull? I will admit that it was a clever move to get Greg Kurstin of Adele production fame on board to allow his songs to mutate into some earworms but there are delightful earworms and then there are the terminal ones that are injecting some sort of toxin into your membrane without you realising.

As stated, the biggest gripe I have with this album is just so by the numbers it is though unlike a coloring book, which provides some sort of vibrance, As You Were works with greys, dark greys and some slightly lighter shades of grey. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

FULL REVIEW HERE

3. Erratic Cinematic
by Gerry Cinnamon 

What can be said about this Scottish upstart that hasn’t been said already? Plenty, apparently. Everycunt and their dogs seem to love Gerry Cinnamon and his HASHTAGRELATABLE songs. To be fair to the lad, they do cover a plethora of topics. From getting drunk to taking drugs… to girls… to… taking drugs and getting drunk! Truly a poet of our times.

If I hadn’t made it abundantly clear, I hate Gerry Cinnamon’s music and especially his latest album Erratic Cinematic. I really, really do. It’s the exact opposite of what I would choose to listen to regularly, but I saw Twitter ranting and raving about this man and his guitar, so I lamented and had a wee listen. This was all after I seen his “Legendary” set at TRNSMT festival this year, which I absolutely fucking hated every second of. But I thought it was only fair to give his studio album a wee try, see what the craic was.

I have now decided to never be fair again because honestly and truly, this is one of the worst albums I’ve heard in years. I’ve been known to be hyperbolic from time to time, but I genuinely mean it. It’s so bad that I can’t bring myself to listen to it again. Just listen to Sometimes and Belter and if any part of you enjoys it, let me know so I can entirely block you from my life.

The only slightly redeeming quality of this album is Gerry’s vocals, which are fine. But on record, they sound like they were recorded when he was trapped in a fridge that’s orbiting Jupiter. So tinny and manufactured sounding. To be honest the entire album was recorded piss poorly.

Who knows, maybe if Gerry stumbles into an actual working studio one day, he might do a Jake Bugg and end up maturing into a decent artist, but for the moment this is by the numbers, utterly forgettable, “for the people” lad-folk that will leave a bad taste in the mouth of any self-respecting music fan. – Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

2. Pacific Daydream
by Weezer

When I listened to Pacific Daydream, Weezer’s 11th(!) studio album, I wasn’t angry or even disappointed, I was sad. Genuinely, actually sad. Coming off of 2014’s return to form Everything Will Be Alright In The End and 2016’s genuinely fantastic White Album, it was a great time to be a Weezer fan.

They’d gone back to the halcyon days of masterpieces Blue Album and Pinkerton and seemed to have abandoned the overly poppy sheen that saturated albums like Raditude or Red Album. Weezer were doing the impossible, they were winning back the fans they’d lost, and convincingly at that.

Then, earlier this year, they dropped Feels Like Summer, the lead single from Pacific Daydream, and everyone started to worry. This wasn’t Weezer. This was the disgusting, mutated love child of modern Fall Out Boy and naughties Weezer, and it wasn’t even as good as either of them. Transparent, nothing backing vocals. A jaunty wee piano line. Shite lead vocals from the more often than mot serviceable Rivers Cuomo. What the fuck was this? More importantly, why the fuck was this?

They stopped trying, Weezer stopped giving a fucking shit. I don’t know if Rivers and the lads just decided they were bored of writing actual good power pop and decided to just completely pull the rug from underneath all of the OG fans who thought it was safe to go back into the Weezer-infested water for a laugh. I cannot wrap my head around it.

The whole album is just like Feels Like Summer; boring, bland as you like pop-rock. Mexican Fender is a bit catchy, but it just sounds like a song they knew wasn’t good enough for White Album. I’m getting all fired up now so I’m away for a lie-down. I expect a written apology from Weezer for this abomination, and FAST. – Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

1. Divide
by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is a confusing man. Whilst he seems like a genuinely nice guy, his music is so bland and vanilla you’ve forgotten what the song sounds like before it finishes.

Despite the fact it was wholesomely boring, Shape of You seemed to be one of the biggest tracks of 2017, capitalising on a clearly large market of heterosexual couples who enjoy missionary sex, chicken kormas and racially abusing train guards after two mulled wines at the Christmas market.

Can you remember what Barcelona sounds like? Bet you thought Dive was on the last album, didn’t you? Whilst Multiply had a few choice cuts on it, Divide saw the ginger guitar grandmaster dive deeper into milquetoast music for people who just don’t care about what they listen to.

25465932_10154978412625811_384883043_n
“You know I had to do it to Ed”

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think either in the comments below or beef us over on our Twitter (@blinkclyro).

Advertisements

Top 10 Weezer Tracks

By Karsten Walter (@boc_maxima)2017-10-19

It’s 2017, and Weezer have a new album coming out next week. That’s nearly 30 years on the clock for the band that has divided critique and opinion throughout their career. Certainly, there’s possibly not a more obvious band out there that have had their highs and certainly, undoubtedly, their lows. With Cuomo and crew soon to be back on tour to celebrate the release of new album Pacific Daydream, I thought there’d be no better time to present the top 10 Weezer tracks.

10. Do You Wanna Get High?

To start proceedings is a cut off of Weezer’s 2016 LP, the White Album, which served as a throwback of sorts to the band’s first two records. It still wouldn’t surprise me if this track was a form of an unreleased track from Pinkerton. The aggressive, deep guitar power chords and catchy chorus are reassuring, whilst the honest lyrics reconfirm Rivers Cuomo’s fantastic songwriting skill. This track would have not only fit in well in the 90s, but would have been a monumental success for the band.

9. Island In The Sun

The opening chords of this song can do nothing but calm you, and maybe even really transport your mind to a tropical island, in the sun. Off of their third record, the Green Album, the notable contrast in dynamics between the smooth verses to the destructive guitar chords in the chorus is classic Weezer. This track is as happy as power-pop gets, but also in places, as angry and emotional as possible. It’s an ode to everything summer.

8. Buddy Holly

It wouldn’t be a Weezer list without that song everyone knows. Cuomo and co created their biggest hit on their debut album with Buddy Holly, an infectious and charming cut that purely feels good. The brash guitars clash with the happy-go melody, and the catchy “hoo-hoos” in the background only add to the cheerfulness involved here. Spike Jonze’s iconic video for the track also propelled its popularity and serves the song well.

7. My Name Is Jonas

Definitely the most iconic intro to a Weezer song (and album), possibly one of the most iconic of the 90s completely, My Name Is Jonas was most people’s first experience of the dynamic, moody and cryptic mind of Rivers Cuomo.

6. El Scorcho

One of Weezer’s most peculiar tracks, the piece starts sparse, bizarre and quirky, before turning into a classic harmonious love song in the chorus. And then, just to spice things up in the standard Cuomo way, the track explodes into a frantic frenzy of the frontman speaking heart to heart to the girl of his dreams, begging and pleading for her to make a move as he’s too shy to do it himself. It’s crazy, but it’s Weezer crazy.

5. The Good Life

This one isn’t exclusively a fan favourite by any means but is a personal one. A celebratory and reminiscent song of the good old days, and running away from the monotony of real life, this track is escapism at its best. Cuomo is lamenting at the briefly disadvantaged life he lived in his 20s and adapts it to the average listener.

4. Undone (The Sweater Song)

The band’s first single, and the first one Cuomo wrote is a slow and melodic burner about a failing relationship, that takes all the energy from you and drains your body, drip by drip, into the depressing world of Weezer. It starts with that dissonant guitar lead in the introduction, and by the end finishes with a cacophony of huge, sweeping chords, and rumbling cymbals. It’s the perfect power pop song.

3. Tired Of Sex

Pinkerton was an unusual record  – it took every Weezer fan’s expectations, and for some, ripped them up and threw them in the bin, and others excelled them. This all started with the LP’s opener, Tired Of Sex, an aggressive, in parts animalistic, but honest banger, that definitely made some fans take a step back and go “wait, what?”. From a group that was famed for their nerd culture, their hopelessness with girls, and probably in parts their diminished sex lives, this song is literally about one thing – Rivers Cuomo having too much sex. Sex that is too casual. Sex that confused Cuomo on who he actually is himself. It marked a massive stylistic and contextual change for the band, and a substantial one at that.

2. Only In Dreams

I still think the bassline of this song is imprinted on my mind since the first time I heard it years ago. I also think I could keep humming it for the whole song if I was forced to at gunpoint. It’s maybe a cliche, but it’s also debatably Weezer’s core audience – the geek liking the girl, wanting the girl, dreaming of the girl, but in the end, not getting the girl. It’s slow, melancholy and crushing, but is one of the most memorable album closers to date.

1. Say It Ain’t So

As a teenager, Rivers Cuomo discovered, in the most innocent of ways, his father was an alcoholic. What spawned from it immediately was his family being torn apart, but in the long run, Weezer’s most emotional, agonizing and demanding song was written. It describes the very moment he realised his father’s problem, and his personal inability at dealing with it himself, and takes the top spot for me because of how raw, connecting and powerful it is.

TRACK REVIEW: Feels Like Summer by Weezer

By Fraser McGovern (@FraserMcGovern)

In 2009, alternative rock outfit Weezer released their seventh album. It was called Raditude, and it was not good. The band had already started to shift in a more commercial direction with their recent (at the time) hits Beverly Hills and Pork & Beans, but this new album alienated fans with its over-egged production and flat, cheesy songwriting.

Now, after two great albums that harked back to the band’s heavier roots while still bringing new tricks to the table, Weezer releases a new track. The internet grumbles through gritted teeth that it sounds like a cut straight off RaditudeA great many music fans with ‘alternative’ tastes can enjoy pop for what it is: accessible, catchy music with more focus on surface than substance. Feels Like Summer is all surface and that’s okay.

This single is essentially a simple four-chord pop song. We begin with a sampled “na na na” hook reminiscent of Fall Out Boy’s Light Em Up, and then go into a verse that consists of simple, plinky piano chords and even simpler vocals from Rivers Cuomo underpinned by pounding electro bass. After a Calvin Harris EDM-style buildup, we come to a chorus that proclaims in falsetto that “Yeah it feels like summer”. Fair enough, it’s pop.

More to the point, it’s catchy pop. We all know that Cuomo is capable of writing great hooks when it comes down to it, and this chorus is certainly single-worthy. After a fun middle eight, we have a brief whistle interlude that’s reminiscent enough of Flo Rida’s 2012 hit Whistle for you to be a little bit sick in your mouth. It’s worth reminding you at this point that this song is by an actual band with proper real instruments. The meager total of two seconds of distorted power chords in the track sound like they were played by a robot.

The lyrics aren’t great, obviously. “I’m holding on and I don’t want to let you go”? That’s what could be called an ‘autopilot line’: songwriter Cuomo probably began to feel his fingers writing the words before he’d even thought them. You may have heard that exact string of words in three pop songs just today, but verses are the stage for Rivers’ trademark lyrical quirkiness. (I’m spiritual, not religious / I’m a libra, if it matters”)

Image result for weezer feels like summer

If feel-good, disposable radio songs aren’t your thing, Feels Like Summer is not for you. The solid production, infectious melodies and Cuomo’s unconventional lyrics push this track firmly into the ‘good’ category of commercial pop music, but not quite into ‘great’. This could become a mainstay in your summer jams playlist, but only if you let it envelop you in its warmth.

What most find so offensive about this song is not what it is, but rather what it isn’t. In the eyes of fans, time spent creating this song could have been spent on tracks more like those found on last year’s acclaimed self-titled LP. With Weezer, though, you have to take what you’re given. Or leave it.

6.5/10


CONTACT US 4 REVIEWS

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

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.

 

 

 

 

~

CONTACT US 4 REVIEWS

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

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

12469508_10153200271817273_3330131475669335283_o

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)

Best Of: April 2016

A lookback at this month in music, listing the greatest albums and singles that April had to offer.

ALBUMS

5. Drake – Views

While it may go on a bit longer than necessary and hit a few dud notes in the process, the highlights of Drake’s fourth LP far outweigh these gripes and result in Views being another strong entry in the Toronto rapper’s discography.

[FULL REVIEW HERE E.T.A 3/05/2016]

4. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
Parquet Courts - Human Performance

One of the finest rock records of the year, Parquet Courts provide smart lyrics which, whilst not inherently political, make the listener think whilst simultaneously delivering entertaining raw and rugged music.

3. Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack

It’s no coincidence that, five albums into their career, Scottish rockers Frightened Rabbit have crafted their most mature album yet. While it doesn’t have as many anthems as previous records, the heartbreaking and emotional nature of Painting Of A Panic Attack is one that will resonate with you more than anything the band have ever released.

2. Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

In traditional Death Grips fashion, Bottomless Pit was leaked in advance and thank god it was. Displaying the accessibility of The Money Store, the punk influences from Ex Military and the utter craziness of The Powers That B, the Sacramento act have one again resurrected to grace us with one of the most enjoyable listens of the year.

[FULL REVIEW HERE E.T.A 3/05/2016]

1. Weezer – Weezer (White Album)
12469508_10153200271817273_3330131475669335283_o

The callbacks, both lyrically and instrumentally, aren’t just brief bits of fan service, instead they’re reminders of what the band can do and will immediately top just a few seconds after you recognise them. 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]

SONGS

5. Holy Fuck – Xed Eyes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peG6ZeBk_BE

4. Schoolboy Q – Groovy Tony

3. Skepta – Man

2. Moose Blood – Honey

1. PUP – If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You Then I Will

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IM472k0Md8

~

CONTACT ME 4 REVIEWS

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER

LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK

ALBUM REVIEW: Weezer – Weezer (White Album)

Weezer really do love naming their albums after themselves, don’t they? From their humble beginnings on their eponymously titled debut, referred to as the blue album, the L.A act have released three other albums with the same title, each as different as the next. However, on their latest use of self titling, this time called The White Album, Weezer seem to have grabbed a blank canvas and merged all of the band’s greatest attributes, resulting in the band’s best album since Pinkerton.
“Now where have I heard that before?” you may be asking yourself and reasonably so. After all, this was the same acclaim that the band’s last album Everything Will Be Alright In The End received upon its release which threw out the electronic, modern pop production of previous albums and returned to a sound more reminiscent of their earlier work. Thankfully The White Album isn’t any different and builds on this, nosediving  unapologetically into what made the band a roaring success in the 90’s.

Thank God For Girls is more of a dip in the pool rather than cannonballing into it but as a first single it definitely lured listeners in with its sweeping guitars and all out wackiness. Analysis of the lyrics will have any old school Weezer fan overjoyed with their trademark nerd rock ways, digging into the culture of D&D while also having some fun with the hot topic that is feminism, playing with some stereotypes and going as far as to re-enact Genesis 2. The band members may be nearing their 50’s but they still have a way with words.

The fact that The White Album is a concept album is one that can be realised from the get go and one that never feels too obvious. Following front man River Cuomo’s personal experiences with L.A, this is very much a record that manages to recreate a location through sound alone and tell a story alongside it with relative ease. Whether you’re tired of Weezer singing about geeky romance and heartbreak is up to you but it certainly gives some cheesy lyrics a pass when you consider the nature of the protagonist.

We’re not here for a story though the inclusion of one certainly makes it feel like less of a cash grab by exploiting their old sound and rather a more ambitious release. In fact, the best songs on here are one that are built on the aforementioned tales of Cuomo, most notably Do You Wanna Get High that kicks off with a snarly grunge strum before kicking into some obvious subject matter. As Cuomo described it, it’s “a really yucky and intentionally uncomfortable portrayal of the addict’s life. There’s nothing sexy, fun or funny about it” though thankfully it results in one of the best tracks on display here.

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 callbacks, both lyrically and instrumentally, aren’t just brief bits of fan service, instead they’re reminders of what the band can do and will immediately top just a few seconds after you recognise them. 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.

9/10

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/blinkclyro?lang=e…

LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/blinkclyro/?…