Sunday, May 28, 2017

Loosies Of The Week, May. 22-28

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. An interesting week of loosies that finds a solid mix of unique singles, all with their own story to tell. 

Chromatics - Shadow

Give me a minute to gush, okay? Twin Peaks, the legendary cult show from David Lynch, has happened again, for the first time in 26 years. The first two episodes of the new season were a whirlwind of Lynchian madness, a breath of fresh air for legitimate weirdness on television today. Now, to those unaware, you may be questioning why I'm bringing this up in reference to the Chromatics' newest single 'Shadow.' Well, that two-hour opener culminated with the Chromatics quite literally performing 'Shadow' on stage in the town's rundown bar. The language pouring through 'Shadow' is clearly centered in Twin Peaks' universe, the atmospheric Synthpop vibe is as well. Lynch's decision to use the Chromatics as the modern day version of 1991's Synthpop was amazing, and capped off a magical night for TV viewers everywhere. 'Shadow' gleams with meaning in the show, but supersedes that by equipping itself with some wonderful production that finds plodding percussion and a collage of synths flowing in unison. Great stuff from a band that's essentially gone MIA. Maybe they've been in the Black Lodge all along?

Burial - Subtemple / Beachfires

Burial's truly an original musician. Little of that has to do with his music, despite the fact that the aura is sensed from a mile away. More than anything, it's the mystery behind the evasive William Bevan, and the frequency at which he releases music. Three earth-shattering EP's in the span of a year in 2012 and 2013 led to years of silence, only to reemerge occasionally with a disappointing single here and there. This all after his last LP in 2007's Untrue. The man's discography follows no pattern, nor uses an preexisting one for a basis of operation. Last year's 'Young Death' and 'Nightmarket' lacked that iconic Burial touch, as the two singles found him retreating further into Ambient territory. Naysayers towards those singles won't be swayed with 'Subtemple' and 'Beachfires,' two entirely Ambient works that remove any Future Garage touch of percussion and bass that Burial once had.

It's a distinct shift that may actually extend his life and career past a genre that may be short-lived, but it's still hard to not call these works disappointing after the sheer audacity, creativity, and greatness of Kindred, Truant, and Rival Dealer. However, I find a fair bit to enjoy on 'Subtemple' and 'Beachfires,' at least compared to 2016's efforts. For the most part, the Ambient is solid. Burial clearly has a way with atmosphere; he may be the best at creating it post-millennium. While 'Beachfires' tends to recede into typical Ambient territory, with numerous vinyl cracks, chimes, and loud, eery synths, 'Subtemple' creates something a little more intriguing. It takes a while to get going, certainly a key negative given the beautiful pacing found on his EP's, but the sinister, brooding palate here, mixed in with those classic Burial vocal samples makes for something that invites suggestions on just what the hell is going on. Still, minor improvements aside, 'Subtemple' and 'Beachfires' still can't hold a candle to his great works.

Shabazz Palaces - Since C.A.Y.A.

While not entirely surprising, it's sad to acknowledge both of Shabazz Palaces' two upcoming LP's have leaked months in advance. This is par for the course for Sub Pop, a label whose yet to figure out how to sidestep albums from reaching the audience before their intended release. It's soured the inevitable build-up for the Quazarz pairing, but maybe Shabazz did that themselves a bit too, releasing three singles already despite nearly two months in the wake. However, this time around might be their best effort of the three. 'Since C.A.Y.A.' is Born On A Gangster Star's opening track, and the ultra-swagadocious attitude of Ishmael Butler gleams here like it never has before. His flow is astounding, dripping with personality around every corner like Andre 3000 at his most alien-like. The production matches his tone with a constantly-shifting edifice centered around a Thundercat bass. An excellent single that perfectly captures the duality of weird and catchy found in much of Shabazz Palaces' music. There's so many hidden sounds and ideas in 'Since C.A.Y.A,' it'll be interesting to see how the LP elaborates upon it.

Billy Woods - Wonderful

Talk about an underground backpacker's wet dream. You know, I'm glad I can still say that exists from time to time in 2017. With the amount of praise and discussion popular Hip-Hop artists get across all forums now-a-days, the golden age of underground prominence due to forums being obscure a decade ago has subsided. Ironic, isn't it? What was once underground now feels like it once again. Anyways, 'Wonderful' finds Billy Woods, Aesop Rock, Homeboy Sandman, and Blockhead coming together for a who's who of the hyper-literate abstract scene. To put in perspective the lyrical skill on display here, Aesop Rock has the worst verse. And that's a man who almost never turns in a poor one, and doesn't here. It's just the flows and intricacies of the other two, both inspired by Rock, surpass him here. While I don't have the time now, I'm sure you'd be rewarded for trying to understand the lyrical complexities sported on 'Wonderful.' Not to mention Blockhead's production, equal parts Boom Bap and Abstract, fits Billy Woods' world excellently. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a scratched MF DOOM vocal sample in there as well, and that's always welcomed.

Daphni - Face To Face

Even though I'm quite a fan of Caribou, the primary moniker of Dan Snaith, I haven't had enough interest to dissect his other material. The secondary name, and one used in the years before Caribou really caught on, was Daphni. Now, maybe in anticipation of a new Caribou album (it has been three years since Our Love), Snaith has announced an LP of unreleased material from the Daphni sessions. Accompanying the announcement was a lead single 'Face To Face,' and let's just say it hasn't really altered my opinion on whether Daphni's worth investing in. Really, I don't know why this was released as a single in the first place, the entirety of 'Face To Face' is really dry, unimpressive, and sterile. In some sense, it reminds me of those weak Daft Punk tracks littering LP's like Homework, ones where the percussion drove everything but felt entirely unfinished and substandard. There's an idea or two here, laid atop one another, with a vocal sample simply chopped up inside, and then Snaith called it a day, brushed his hardly worked hands off, and walked away from 'Face To Face' as if it was a finished project. Not even the instinctual toe-tapping that goes hand-in-hand with a House track can make this single appealing in the long term.

A$AP Mob - RAF

After debuting on Frank Ocean's now-infamous Blonded Radio, 'RAF' finally gets an official release under the A$AP Mob name. This is of note considering A$AP Rocky is the only member of the Mob featured here, calling into question just how much of this single was/is used as a marketing tool for the A$AP Mob's upcoming LP, coming hot off the heels of Cozy Tapes. Because let's face it, a single with Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, and Frank Ocean on one song is clearly meant to salivate the masses without them ever hearing the song in the first place. On its own, 'RAF' is okay at best. The topical nature is poor, with your new age focus on fashion and flaunting wealth, and the beat is largely uninteresting, falling right in line with the Mob's material. As for the verses, Rocky's leads the way with everyone else throwing in the towel for a check, accentuating their stereotypical ad-libs without caring for providing a solid 16 in the process. Yes, this includes Frank who has a sloppy verse that follows no coherent pattern or thought process, both in the lyrics and flow. A shame because I typically love when he spits.

Secret Circle - My Way / Tube Socks

Eh. Two new Secret Circle singles released this past week, and neither have me overly excited for the upcoming LP. If you need a refresher, Secret Circle is the not-so secret collaboration trio of Wiki (of Ratking), Antwon, and Lil Ugly Mane. Of course, I'm mostly interested because of that last individual, although Wiki and Antwon are certainly proven emcees. Problem is, 'Tube Socks' or 'My Way' don't really have anything interesting to say, more so choosing to act as slightly more experimental versions of the Bay Side Hyphy of The Pack or The Cool Kids. On an easy listening basis, that's a good thing, but coming from the boundary-pushing efforts in Lil Ugly Mane's past and present, it's tough to not call these disappointments. In a way, they're LUM's escape to normality, featuring a side of him that wants to stick to the gritty street rapping of Mista Thug Isolation. Out of the two tracks, 'My Way' is more entertaining, as the unoriginality of 'Tube Socks' reveals itself in the boring production and hook. 'My Way's' production actually brings some life that the three work over, giving some life that invigorates the emcees.

1 comment:

  1. Have you listened to the new Brockhampton singles? I find them to be really good.