Thursday, June 9, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, June 3-9

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. After a monster week last week this one's seems relatively calm. Some Southern Trap, an Alt Rocker returning to his roots, and an famous producer attempting a comeback. 

Beck - Wow

So, yes, I'm the guy who's favorite Beck song is 'Loser,' and it's largely the only one I care for. This, interestingly enough, puts me in a place to judge 'Wow' off Beck's past Rap-dabbled endeavors rather than the Alternative Rock he typically resides in. At the end of the day though, I can't really decide what the hell he wants to do with this song. I'm in a predicament. On one hand, the chorus is catchy and the beat is actually pretty freaking cool, with the flute guiding over some layered percussion. On the other hand, Beck isn't a rapper and doesn't know what to rap about. On 'Wow,' he's the white dad trying to stay hip, rapping any words that go together, being leeeeee randommmmm as all hell, posing in an awkward B-boy stance. On 'Loser,' he was a kid who didn't care.

But seriously, what is Beck talking about on this song? For fuck's sake, this is a lyric: "Standing on the lawn doin' jiu jitsu, girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini shih tzu." I thought we moved past all the corny 90's Rap Rock artists. 'Wow' is also insanely sporadic, never choosing to settle down and focus on one thing, so much so that the finale sounds like his feature on M83's Junk. This, also, is a classic example of the trend to make everything loud because apparently loud equals good. It does not, obviously, but to a festival-going crowd, you can't just sit motionless when this song inevitably comes up in Beck's next performance.

Travis Scott & Young Thug - Pick Up The Phone

It was right around Rodeo that I started understanding and appreciating Trap, as I felt that LP was a clean and easy segue between something I could understand (the sounds of Kanye West, Kid Cudi) and ones I couldn't (Young Thug, Future). But then again, the amount I enjoy Scott and Thugger pails in comparison to the Internet's obsession, one I feel is a bit high-strung, especially with Scott. With controversy surrounding the release of this track, and the importance of the first pairing of these two, 'Pick Up The Phone' was undoubtedly going to scorch Hip-Hop forums.

It did, and thankfully the track is okay. Certainly doesn't feel like album material though, more like another loosie spun out of the ever-evolving cobweb of the Atlanta music scene, where a vault does not exist. I think the vocals are a little mishandled, cluttered, and unorganized, especially taking into account the nauseating amount of ad-libs. But that beat, whew. The ridiculous cover with flames spewing from both artists does not bear any similarities to this one, cause while the track is still fire, the beat almost entirely centers itself around an aquatic sound, with bubbling synths playing off a nice, looping melody. Obviously less polished and more Southern-influenced, but it actually reminds me of some of Jamie xx's work on In Colour. Fun track to say the least.

Sleigh Bells - Rule Number One

Never thought a simple Sleigh Bells single would leave me so conflicted. Apart from their more famous tracks in recent years all I've heard from the group is Treats, an all-around awesome album. Seeing many feel meh towards their two follow-ups, along with the fact their sound to begin with had very little variation, meant my disinterest towards checking out their work post-Treats. 'Rule Number One,' initially, is exactly as expected. Seering guitars, the exact kind on Treats, shows me that they haven't evolved much at all. Alexis Krauss's vocals are more Punk than ever though, despite the lyrics and singing being rather poor.

However, two things make 'Rule Number One' intriguing. For starters, there is absolutely no structure to speak of. It bounces between whatever the group thinks works best. That's a negative, it's too disorienting. About midway through the track though, just as you're about to give up wondering how in the hell it could be double this length, the entire track flips once again, turning into a more ordinary Indie Pop tune that actually thrives off a seriously catchy melody. Krauss vocals shift too, becoming more dreamy and relatable. The product is something I'd love to hear from the group, and while it may be a bit narrow-sighted as well, it's something different and that's always appreciated.

Jurassic 5 - Customer Service

Apart from a few standalone tracks back in my heyday of snagging random Underground Hip-Hop joints on my way to being a super selective teen who always failed to see the greater works, Jurassic 5 hasn't really ever been on my radar. I know who they are, who they're composed of, including one of my favorite DJ's Cut Chemist who made one of my favorite DJ albums The Audience's Listening, but other than that Jurassic 5's two most well-regarded albums have eluded me. One of those is 2002's Power in Numbers, this 'new' joint, 'Customer Service,' a vault dweller from those sessions.

Not surprisingly it's pretty dope, but lacks depth, as much of West Coast Underground Hip-Hop did in the early 2000's (Living Legends, I'm looking at you). It's a funky joint that pumps with life, DJ scratching, samples, bass guitar, and street-based percussion fill the production. On top of that we get lyrics so engrained in their time and space that looking back it's somewhat laughable. It's the same response I had when Mannie Fresh randomly dropped 'Hate' earlier this year, it reminded me of a time Hip-Hop was more basic, giving me nostalgia that makes the track itself, unintentionally, enjoyable. On 'Customer Service,' Jurassic 5 foretells trivial daily struggles of low-income workers in a silly, almost cartoonish way. It's catchy, fun, and self-effacing.

DJ Shadow - Bergschrund

Another single from DJ Shadow's forthcoming The Mountain Will Fall. My relationship with Shadow has been distinctly one-sided, as I've only dared to check out Endtroducing..... and The Private Press. The former is one of my all-time favorites, the latter a really solid album that at one point graced my top 100 albums of all-time chart. And then he evidently fell off horribly, the closest touch I've had to that sound is 'Enuff' with Q-Tip and that track was abysmal. 'Bergschrund,' a rather standard Electronic-laced bombastic beat, features Nils Frahm and is solid, albeit a bit unoriginal.

First things first, I've heard of Frahm vaguely but didn't know where from. Turns out, he created Spaces, an Ambient album I'll soon be checking out. Considering that's my only knowledge of him, his appearance here is perplexing as 'Bergschrund' is anything but quiet, restrained, and structureless. Spacey synths dart in, over, and through tightly-wound drums as rapid malfunctions in product occurs to disrupt the fabric. The basic backbone of the track is rather boring, it's rudimentary for Electronic DJ's to make something like this, so the real joy comes from when Shadow and Frahm sidestep ordination, causing the normalities to fall into booby traps. None of this happens in the first half mind you, so while 'Bergschrund' keeps excitement by detouring, it loses it by ending all too soon.

A quality joint. Unfortunately, and completely unintended, '4pm In Calabasas' revealed just how unspecial Views is, considering this was a random drop on his OVO Sound Radio broadcast and it comes with the same level of quality promoted on his self-prescribed 'classic' album, one that supposedly underwent a lot of wear and tear. I don't deny that, I just see Drake hitting a wall, presumably left by 'Hotline Bling,' where he can't go any higher. While Drake's never been a lyricist, '4pm' is actually one of his better works, certainly better than something like 'Pop Style' that appeared on Views.

The beat is also well put together. Nothing special obviously, but it doesn't detract from Drake at all, giving him enough room to boast and attack those who feel he doesn't deserve the heights he's reached. Mind you, those who feel that way are simply ignorant purists like Joe Budden who can't see the value in anything besides lyrics. But I digress. '4pm' largely succeeds off Drake's confidence, with his vocals taking force over the beat, knowing his words and rhymes are up to snuff this time. Not that he needs to, but this time around Drake isn't hiding behind an amazing hook (my favorite aspect of Drake), instead choosing to riff for three minutes, further implying his trust in himself. Wanna be a confident, notable lyricist? Never tell us, show us, and that's exactly what Drake does here.

But Wait There's More!

Antwon x Lil Ugly Mane x Wiki - Secret Circle
Clams Casino - All Nite

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