Sunday, July 30, 2017

Loosies Of The Week, July. 24-30

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. A wide range of genres this week, with a well-rounded level of quality. They'll be sure to be something you enjoy. 

Chelsea Wolfe - Vex

Visceral is a great word to describe Chelsea Wolfe. On the outside, while her demeanor and look may frighten onlookers, she isn't a caricature of the antichrist like Marilyn Manson. However, when it comes to the music, especially our latest taste 'Vex,' she totally is. The grueling sludge of Doom Metal is just indescribably dark, to the point where her angelic vocals feel as if they're summoning a demon. And guess what? On 'Vex,' she quite literally does that, joining forces with Aaron Turner, known widely as the lead singer for Isis. Don't pretend like I didn't just have to look that up, we both know I know nothing when it comes to Metal. With 'Vex,' maybe I should? Or maybe I should stick to Wolfe herself, as the simultaneous aesthetic of being pure and impure is wholly intoxicating to me. The drums in particular are thunderous and apocalyptic, pounding away with reckless abandon. Actually, the guitars are just as hell-raising, switching between droning measures and two-string battles. Nothing but atmosphere and emotion here, and with Wolfe, I'd want nothing else. 

Milo - Sorcerer

Milo's success as an artist can be summed up by understanding the appeal of abstract lyricism over conventional production. The days of Busdriver, someone Milo's rapping side embodies in nearly every facet, are long gone. Zany instrumentation that's as non-complacent as the waning poetics it bounces behind just isn't playing anymore. In recent years, Milo has provided that spark for Abstract Hip-Hop, proving that it can still live under separate circumstances. He philosophizes over material that's not far removed from well-respected artists pions above him in notoriety. Kenny Segal, who handles the production here, did just that on 2015's So The Flies Don't Come with 'Re: Animist.' Unsurprisingly, that beat mixed with Milo's unusual aggression made it my favorite track. While 'Sorcerer's' not as extreme, the elegant piano medley slathered in bass and Trap hi-hats is, oddly enough, the perfect compliment to Milo's lyrical complexities. Why? Because with past Abstract Hip-Hop, I only had one form of enjoyment; picking apart line meanings. Here, there's two. I can do that, or I can relish in the frenzied production that Milo flows gracefully over.

Alvvays - Dreams Tonite

Alert! First listen of artist! Alert! Turns out, while doing my minimal research here, I haven't missed much with Alvvays, as they only have one album. This comes as quite the surprise, as their name has been presented to me as a group of interest for quite some time. With 'Dreams Tonite,' I can see why. No, it's not some earth-shattering sound that forces me to decontextualize what Pop music actually is, but the flawless combination of Indie Pop, Twee Pop, and Jangle Pop is fascinating. It's simple and pure. Naive and longing. Whimsical and sincere. Although it's a bit robust by comparison, 'Dreams Tonite' reminds me of Japanese Breakfast's Pop perfection 'Everybody Wants To Love You.' That song has a style so unashamedly straightforward that I've been longing for something similar ever since. With Alvvays I may have found it. I'll be dipping my toes into their debut album before Antisocialites releases, that's for sure. The blissful combination of Molly Rankin's vocals, that don't sound too far removed from Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, and the near-psychedelic instrumentation is a pairing that can rarely go wrong.

The Roots - It Ain't Fair

Detroit is an upcoming major motion picture directed by Kathryn Bigelow set in the year 1967 amongst racial riots in the aforementioned city. It's already garnered favorably reviews for using a past revolution to commentate on today. So, with that being said, when you think of Hip-Hop artists who'd fit swimmingly on the soundtrack, who'd be the first to come to mind? That's right, The Roots. No matter how cliche by now, The Roots' ceaseless interrogation of political upheaval is necessary for our turbulent times. On 'It Ain't Fair' they're joined by Bilal for a hefty, near seven-minute monolith that doesn't shy away from the cinematic nature by which it was produced. Soft tones accompany BIlal's despondence, while harsh horns leap in unison when Black Thought emerges. The balance is 'It Ain't Fair's' best aspect, as it cuts straight to the core of government unrest. On one end, you want to give up. On another, you want to rage against the machine. Here, Bilal is just as pivotal as Black Thought, even though the latter's words cut deeper to the core. The production, primarily using orchestral arrangements to create thematic pressure, works well in uniting listeners to interlock arms. It may be stereotypical, but 'It Ain't Fair' still excels.

Purity Ring - Asido

Needless to say I was not pleased with Purity Ring's last effort, 2015's Another Eternity. Hell, I'm still not sold on Shrines, their notable record and one of modern day Synthpop's most cherished projects. My reasoning doesn't go much further than the clashing of Megan James' vocals and Corin Roddick's high-octane production. Her voice rarely fits, and in reality, isn't that noteworthy in the first place. Especially when she's often compared to Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches, who is leaps and bounds better. 'Aside' aims to prove that wrong, but again, doesn't really succeed. On one end, it's better than the bulk of Another Eternity. On the other, it should be considering it's the lead single. The same thing happened two years ago when 'Push Pull' released and nothing after the fact was better. Here, Roddick goes even further with his over-the-top programming, reaching considerably into the Trap fold. There's even some hints of the Dubstep/Pop crossovers of years past. When all these come together, Synthpop itself becomes secondary. 'Asido' doesn't really entertain, from the hook to the verses to the bridge. Best part about it? James' lyrics, which center around longing loneliness. That's not good news.

Macklemore - Marmalade

Macklemore did it again. And by it, I mean biting the style of whomever's featured alongside him. On multiple occasions on This Unruly Mess I've Made, Macklemore (and Ryan Lewis more precisely, with the production) simply curated the track in question for the feature and not Macklemore. This resulted in songs like 'Need To Know,' 'Buckshot,' and 'Growing Up' that sounded more like Chance The Rapper, KRS-One, and Ed Sheeran cuts than Macklemore. Believe it or not, 'Marmalade' might be his best example yet of coattail-snatching, bringing in Lil Yachty for a song that sounds exactly like Lil Yachty. What's even more hilarious is that another artist already achieved this, that being D.R.A.M. with 'Broccoli.' Therefore, 'Marmalade' sounds exactly like 'Broccoli.' There's no discernible way around it, those elementary piano notes mixed with the dirty bass is pulled straight from that hit record. Originality just isn't in Macklemore's repertoire. Lil Yachty conceding for a free, promotional verse doesn't help either.

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