Monday, June 11, 2018

Loosies Of The Week, June. 5-11

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. There's sure to be something you enjoy. 

Death Grips - Ha Ha Ha

Numerous online theories sparked from Death Grips' rabid fanbase were proven accurate: Year Of The Snitch's release date will be June 22nd. Formally announced alongside the release of the album's fourth single 'Ha Ha Ha,' the lead-up to this album has been oddly un-Death Grips-like. There doesn't seem to be a speciality or mystique surrounding it, which leaves the power and discussion directly on the music. And thankfully, they've backed it up. With Bottomless Pit and Steroids, fear was burgeoning that unpredictability was becoming a secondary thought for a group that championed it. However, with each of YOTS' four singles, a new entity has emerged. Whereas 'Streaky' took safe Hip-Hop precautions and 'Black Paint' visceral Industrial Rock ones, the last two have reverted back to fickle beings of genre-busting. 

'Flies' the darker side, 'Ha Ha Ha' the lighter, more comical one. MC Ride's lyrics are the filthiest they've ever been for the grief-stricken rapper ("tryna dick you mom and shit / I'll do anal in the pit" is just one of many examples). The over-the-top nature of his character translates to the production, one that's erratic and chockfull of "what the fuck" moments, the first being a pierced opera singer. It's an extremely fun and trivial track with no cohesion or semblance of structure. Perhaps its peak moment comes in the hook, where cheap guitars awfully similar to Andy Morin and Zach Hill's psychedelic side group The I.L.Y. match Ride's manic yelping of "hahaha bitch." Sure it's a memeified track, but there's enough heart and childlike humor to find it appealing.

Interpol - The Rover

Interpol's one of the few prominent 2000's bands I've yet to invest time into. Their debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, stands alongside The Strokes' Is This It, Radiohead's discography, and Arcade Fire's Funeral as pivotal influencer for this generation's Indie Rock. With 'The Rover,' I figured a three-minute taste test was in order. Considering the recently-announced Matador lands towards the back half of their career, the decent quality presented isn't a total dismissal. For near-Dad Rock to come equip with this level of energy is appreciative, even though comparisons can be drawn to The National, TV On The Radio, Spoon, and virtually any aging Indie Rock outfit. Still, even though the instrumentation lacks in variety and confidence, 'The Rover's' spirit powers it through. The mixing is questionable at best though, as everything, especially Paul Banks' vocals, feel muddled and deeply compressed. Also there's a faint, latching choir hum in the chorus that's mimicked from the ending to Radiohead's fantastic 'Karma Police.'

Idles - Danny Nedelko

In short order, Idles' leader Joe Talbot has become one of my favorite Punk Rock voices. He oozes energy, charisma, and chic, spewing what initially seems like rusted Punk cliches, only to invert them with clever dialogue worthy of artistic merit. That was seen clearly on Joy As An Act Of Resistance's lead single 'Colossus.' With secondary single 'Danny Nedelko,' Idles confirms that not every song's going to be a daunting Art Rock opus, shifting their focus on the fun brevity of the U.K. Punk scene. It's not seen until the chorus but 'Danny Nedelko' is quite the catchy affair, feeling like a unification of Jeff Rosenstock's Power Pop and Titus Andronicus' Pub Rock. Talbot's harsh cockney accent works wonders, as his personality shines whilst describing the lifestyle of Danny Nedelko, the lead singer of Heavy Lungs, an underground Punk band. It has just the right level of curiosity and irrelevance to have fun without ever taking itself too seriously, unlike its bigger brother 'Colossus.'

Gorillaz - Sorcererz

Quality aside, The Now Now is going to be seen favorably in the eyes of Gorillaz's fans regardless. That's due to Albarn's retreat from Humanz's largest criticism; the abundance of features. Through three singles, only one name has appeared and that was George Benson on the lovable 'Humility.' And unlike Humanz, each song thus far has a uniform identity that revolves around modest Synth Funk. Nothing that grasps for attention, no left field features. That does, however, make it difficult for individual songs to stand out, as is the case with 'Sorcererz.' It's easy to discredit The Now Now's third single as being average, meek, and harmless. Those definers are true. There's nothing inherently wrong with 'Sorcererz,' it just makes no attempt to stand out. Along with the typical dancing synths, Art Pop projections make their way into the fold, giving the entire track a pedantic, retro 80's feel. As part of a concise album 'Sorcererz' could work, but isolated it has few attainable merits to praise.

Jay Rock - The Bloodiest

Expectations are fleeting when it comes to Jay Rock's third studio LP Redemption. Previously unbeknownst to me, the TDE gangster rapper signed a deal with Interscope Records early in 2018, and now we're bearing witness to the fruits of that labor. First there was 'WIN,' a paltry cut that felt like a soulless celebration of assumed successes. Then there was the reveal that Redemption's version of 'King's Dead' does not feature Kendrick Lamar's final verse, a foul decision given Future's abhorrently out of place verse on the same track. And now we've received 'The Bloodiest,' another street-certified anthem overloaded with manufactured bass and empty hi-hats. Unlike 'WIN,' Jay Rock's lyrics are much improved here, even if his flows bare resemblance to Ab-Soul. That being said, the hook features no redeemable qualities, especially thematically speaking given 'The Bloodiest' is Redemption's intro, and the autotune-driven outro reeks of the wincing era of late 2000's Ringtone Rap.

Armand Hammer - Vindeloo

Over the past year or two Elucid has gotten really abstract with his music. Gaining prominence in underground Hip-Hop through his aggressive politics over hardcore Boom Bap beats, projects like Horse Latitude and Bernadette transitioned his focus to Plunderphonics and Sound Collage. However, despite distancing himself from the generalities of rigidly-structured Hip-Hop, through Armand Hammer (his collaboration with Billy Woods) he returns to get his kicks. Similarities can be drawn to Lil Ugly Mane in that respect. Unfortunately, there isn't much depth to be drawn out of 'Vindaloo,' the lead single to Armand Hammer's third LP Paraffin. What begins as a promising intersection to his previous Plunderphonics thanks to an African chant, turns into a moody, percussion-driven East Coast Hip-Hop beat that's looped ad nauseam. As per usual, Woods' verse is filthy and littered with street-wise quips on the state of affairs, whereas Elucid embarks on explaining grander ideas with abstract thought. It's a well-rounded track, but not all that different from their last album; 2017's Rome.

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