Thursday, June 16, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, June 10-16

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. The grand return of Rap's zany clown, a second self-titled return, and a handful of random singles fill out this week. 

Preoccupations - Anxiety

They're back, and if you didn't know any better you'd think they were never here to begin with. But alas, with a new name guiding their future creations, Viet Cong, now known as Preoccupations, have dropped the lead single to their second self-titled album. It's called 'Anxiety,' and it's exactly what you'd expect. Dark, brooding Post-Punk that's scathed through an upbeat, catchy filter, giving it enough diversity to fit in both the Punk and Indie scenes. Truth be told, the lyrics and topical content are a bit too on the nose, centralising around anxieties fits Preoccupations sound a bit too well, but it's how Matthew Flegel's voice glides like a looming shadow over the production that it all begins to work.

It's also set to be the album's opener, so it may give a clue as to the ongoing struggles Preoccupations will face when it drops in September. We'll see what direction the band takes then, and honestly speaking it's tough to gauge what sound that may be from 'Anxiety.' In that sense it's mysterious, fitting both a more sinister and vibrant approach, the former brought on by seething guitars that drone insistently in the background, the latter by minimal synth work that chimes in and out of the echoes like something Deerhunter might do. A solid beginning to what will slowly become one of my most anticipated albums of the year.

Danny Brown - When It Rain

First things first, let's give some credit where it's due. 'When It Rain' was produced by frequent Danny Brown collaborator, and jack of all trades but equally under-appreciated producer Paul White. That's right, the same guy who made the entirely of Hella Personal Film Festival, one of 2016's best albums, and Open Mike Eagle's best, if we're judging solely off my opinion. Take a gander at any song on that LP and compare it with the wildly ferocious and experimental 'When It Rain,' and you can see why I value his talents highly. That being said, as he's prone to do, Danny Brown steals the show here, only partly because it's been almost three damn years since we've seen any solo material from him.

The time away has clearly not affected his ability to provide that much-needed spark to the Hip-Hop scene. Hell, he seems to be the only one doing so, because any time a new Danny Brown track drops nothing else at the moment seems to compare in terms of vitality. And this, coming just a day after clipping.'s latest EP dropped. That seriously says something, with much of it being attributed to that wacky voice and flow that just compares to none other, in the mainstream or experimental scene. 'When It Rain' sonically sides with the latter, borrowing more from his XXX days than the slightly more structured Trap of Old. Both LP's I enjoy, and judging from this track the next one in his arsenal should be no different.

Deakin - Harpy (Blue)

A secret bonus given to those who ordered Deakin's shoe he designed for the company Keep. What a world. And no, this isn't some shoe-in (holy crap I'm sorry, unintended), where the artist makes an entire song centered around a shoe, 'Harpy (Blue)' could easily be placed as a B-sides to his fantastic Sleep Cycle. Stylistically, it wouldn't have fit on the LP, bearing the brunt of its similarities to 'Golden Chords,' the Folk-centric opening that worked off Deakin's sheer emotions and personal touch. This one's a bit more distant, and as the rest of the LP slowly falls back into Animal Collective territory, 'Harpy (Blue)' would have fit less and less no matter where it went.

As far as the sonics go, this one is straight Contemporary Folk. Deakin brings along his voice and an acoustic guitar, nothing more, out in the woods to capture the essence of his being. No wonder he was so fearful of how many perceived his voice, he was making music where it is the most important instrument. The production strikes similar chords as a Fleet Foxes work, a quieter one, moving a bit frantic, sounding a bit Western. Lyrically, Deakin continues his streak of building emotional tension through challenging lines and concepts, coming at the listener, but more importantly himself, to try and quell their worries and fears. On the hook, Deakin cries "it's just a song, let it go," a clear knock at himself and his inabilities to move past something. Moving as they come for throwaway tracks.

Tory Lanez - Luv

I don't know too much about Tory Lanez sans 'Say It,' so I'll refrain from being too judgmental, but everyone, the second 'Luv' begins to find its footing, is believing the same thing. It sounds like Drake. Not him overall, just the Dancehall-inspired smash hits he, and his frequent collaborator in the matter Rihanna, have been putting out lately. I'm not one for trend-hopping, but it's tough to ignore something in its early stages and want to latch on before it goes over and out. Problem is here, Lanez has repeatedly showed his disdain towards Drake, taking constant shots at him for ignoring his rising success out of Toronto. To everyone outside the feud, it's a bad look for Lanez, who can't be expected a handout and for Hip-Hop's biggest artist to publicly notice him. 'Luv,' while a decent song, does not make matters any better.

'Luv,' in many respects, could be compared to his most famous single 'Say It.' Not in sound or style, but for the fact that both contain rather bad lyrical content, failing to advance R&B or say anything that wouldn't go safe down the middle. Thankfully 'Say It' was saved with a tremendous beat and a wonderfully used sample, on 'Luv' there's nothing of the sort. It's a nice autotune Dancehall track that has an okay chorus, okay beat, and some okay singing. There's a chance it could be a grower, in the same vein as Drake's 'One Dance,' its closest competitor, but where that one features a constant string of catchy moments brought on by Drake, Kyla, and Wizkid, here it's just Lanez, and the only thing worthy may be the hook's melodic moaning. And even that's pushing its luck.

Offset & Lil Yachty - Truck Loads

I hate filling up my loosies with Lil Yachty but man this dude does not stop. And truth be told, I didn't do it this week because of 'Truck Loads,' I did it because someone's been supposedly leaking upwards of a dozen songs of his this week, which prompted a response from the Boat on Twitter. Of course, I haven't checked out every song, but I'm pretty glad I checked out this one. 'Truck Loads,' which is mostly an Offset (of Migos fame) track, delivers a side-swiping banger that doesn't feature any of Yachty's weirdness, while simultaneously showing that he can adjust to the sound beneath him.

Only thing really dragging down 'Truck Loads' is the chorus, which features Offset singing "beep beep." Just no way in hell you can make that sound good. Reminds me of a nursery rhyme, and yes I hear people calling foul already cause Yachty does too, but that's because his are refined and unique, this is literally something you'd hear in a nursery rhyme. Apart from that, this is a pretty strong Trap track, surprising considering it's Offset who carries it, unleashing a seriously fine verse. Yachty starts off strong but starts to wear thin about midway through when his rather ordinary flow (by his standards) begins to show wear and tear, with some holes in his rhymes. But hey, the beat, an absolute killer, makes up for this.

The bulk of information I know about Phantogram comes from their work with Big Boi. Being one of the only Hip-Hop artists working with Indie acts puts Big Boi in a curious space, one that allowed him to make Big Grams a collab EP with Phantogram, along with a handful of feature spots on his Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors LP. The final product is okay, but more than that I appreciate him even trying. That being said, he could be doing better, as the bands he typically associates with are rather bland, Phantogram included.

'You Don't Get Me High Anymore' only seeks to confirm that. It's fun, hyper-paced, but really diluted and dry, barely escaping a straight up Pop tag thanks to an intense focus on instrumentation. Sarah Barthel's vocals, unfortunate as it's not by her own doing, are extremely straightforward and simplistic. In other words, it's exactly the voice you'd come up with if you were told to create the prototypical SynthPop song. On 'You Don't Get Me High Anymore,' Barthel sings about the falling out between companions as the spark begins to fade. The honeymoon phase of every relationship where you feel it'll last forever, Barthel finds herself moments after the realization that that chapter has ended.

No comments:

Post a Comment