Monday, July 16, 2018

Loosies Of The Week, July. 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. A wide range of genres this week, with a well-rounded level of quality. There's sure to be something you enjoy. 

Shad - The Fool, Pt. 1 (Get It Got It Good)
Hip-Hop | Listen

The popularity drop-off of Canadian rappers after Drake is really quite substantial. Shad, a long-running proponent of Ontario's positive underground movement, may be the next closest individual. 2013's Flying Colours tackled immigration issues, conflating familial ancestry, and the tenuous American dream. His next project, A Short Story About A War, aims to address similar topics through the lens of music's greatest underutilized art form; the concept album. On the lead single 'The Fool, Pt. 1,' Shad reenters the limelight with his trademark jocularity, administering a healthy dose of merriment to accompany his motivational speeches disguised as Rap verses. A comparison that didn't dawn on me with Flying Colours, despite being moderately true, materializes eagerly on 'The Fool,' and that's Macklemore. While to some not necessarily a good thing, Shad's grave candor leaps over Macklemore's cheesiness due to his elated charisma and buoyant rhyme style. At times the production does feel a bit far-fetched, retching over the same excessive instrumentation that caused Chicago's Juke scene to fall into disrepair, but the pure, unabashed glee of 'The Fool' means it can't fail against a genre trying its best to go dark.

Denzel Curry - Clout Cobain
Southern Hip-Hop | Listen

Right now there's no denying the unavoidable cesspool that is Trap. Rappers can be counted in the hundreds, legitimate ones worth your time on a single hand. Denzel Curry is one of those five, having released the impeccably-brilliant EP 13 last year. An experience like none other, the breathless tour-de-force immediately skyrocketed Curry's appeal after 2016's Imperial left his position inconclusive. Thankfully, the long wait for his follow-up has ceased with the announcement of TA13OO, a curiously-divided LP composed of three acts; Light, Gray, Dark. Singles for the former and latter have already dropped in the form of 'Sumo' and 'Percs,' both hellbent on pushing the definition of banger to new extremes. 

'Clout Cobain' does no such thing, reeling back TA13OO's wild expectations with generic and lackluster Trap formalities. As has always been the case, Curry's quality directly correlates to the length and speed of the track (excluding the exceptional 'If Tomorrow's Not Here'). The blistery 'Hate Government' for example, clocking in at 90 seconds, undoubtedly his best work. When Curry adheres to formulaic structuring, as he does on 'Clout Cobain,' the intensity and intrigue drops off significantly. Oddly enough, there's a tactile Alternative R&B approach throughout, which, in connection with Curry's nasally singing in the hook, draws comparisons to Zombie Juice's slow-moving efforts as part of the Flatbush Zombies. Not to mention the content crux of 'Clout Cobain' - suicidal thoughts - feels insincere thanks to Curry's darting agenda of Trap norms.

Childish Gambino - Summertime Magic / Feels Like Summer
Contemporary R&B | Listen

Over the past few years we've witnessed Donald Glover's far-reaching talents, even if we're to strictly limit things to music. He began as a nerdy tongue-twister who relied heavily on highbrow (and lowbrow) puns before metamorphosing into an artistic savant capable of creating elaborate concept albums (Because The Internet) and genre-skewing historical adaptions ("Awaken, My Love"). And then we receive bold, political, social critic with one of 2018's most impressive songs 'This Is America.' Suffice to say, it's okay to occasionally rest on one's laurels, especially come summertime when anthems are a dime a dozen.

With Summer Pack, a two song EP, Gambino's done just that. If the titles of 'Summertime Magic' and 'Feels Like Summer' weren't indicative enough, Gambino's latest effort panders greatly to the trend-seeking, Spotify-curated playlists that have gained prominence for the beach-going, festival-flocking, road trip-having crowd. That's to say, they're rudimentarily basic, nearly to the point of sardonicism like Gambino's own Kauai. For each effort, Gambino inflects with R&B whimsy akin to Frank Ocean, even though the Tropical House and wholly cliched language of 'Summertime Magic' travels far from those origins. Neither track is particularly memorable, and certainly won't make a case for song of the summer (likely going to who else but Drake, with 'In My Feelings'), as the overtly long 'Feels Like Summer' drags with no defined purpose. In it, Gambino awkwardly tries to combine his curious artistic flavor with something that's always been defined off its simplicity.

Iglooghost - Clear Tamei
Wonky | Listen

It seems to be the case that with each and every Iglooghost single going through my ears, my interest and appreciation of the UK-based producer rises. On August 8th, two EP's are slated to drop from Iglooghost; Clear Tamei and Steel Mogu. We've already seen 'Niteracer' from the latter and now, with an elaborate and colorful music video alongside it, 'Clear Tamei' is next. Whereas 'Niteracer' embraced predictable patterns meeting highs and lows, 'Clear Tamei' brings with it an unusual concept. I'll let Iglooghost's words do the talking: "'Clear Tamei' is a song about some floating beings called Mogu and Tamei that I sometimes accidentally invite into my room when I'm trying to make up words for songs." Yeah, it's cheesy. But it's different. As are the words both rapped and sung here, being entirely incoherent and indecipherable, composed of the language Mogul and Tamei share. The necessary structuring that emerges when voices are present actually helps Iglooghost steer his Wonky-laced ship, ignoring the fickle indecisiveness that mares his Progressive Electronic works. Case in point, the two best efforts on his 2017 LP Neo Wax Bloom were 'White Gum' and 'Infinite Mint,' two tracks entirely centered around vocals.

The Internet - La Di Da
Neo-Soul | Listen

The Internet's latest affair Hive Mind is right around the corner, and with Syd The Kid and Steve Lacy both finding their groove as solo artists, this record might be the group's make or break. 'Roll (Burbank Funk)' started things off right, with a new, Funk-driven direction that allowed Lacy a turn in the limelight, whereas 'Come Over' stagnated The Internet's sedative R&B as Syd tripped over relational tropes. 'La Di Da' settles comfortably into the middle ground by being not as ambitious as the former but not as regressive as the latter. Syd handles the verses while Lacy takes care of the hook and Andre 3000, Love Below era-inspired outro. Again, the pattern continues to consecrate as Lacy's calming coolness rises past Syd's mitigated vocals and uncreative lyrics. As for the backing band, the grooves displayed on 'La Di Da' feel encompassing enough for any inured listener to nod along unconditionally, incorporating a plethora of Funk and Soul instrumentation that relies heavily on percussion and bass.

Mac Miller - Self Care
Pop Rap | Listen

Earlier this year Mac Miller dropped three singles unassumingly; 'Buttons,' 'Programs,' and 'Small Worlds.' They were okay, a description that has stuck with Miller through a handful of his most recent projects; Faces, GO:OD AM, and The Divine Feminine. That is to say, after surprising an entire Hip-Hop community with the matured and tasteful Watching Movies With The Sound Off, Miller hasn't been all that effective since. 'Self Care' marks the promotional start of Swimming, his upcoming LP, and much of the same dialogue rings true. Through a woozy, nautical beat that depicts the mental anguish discussed with, 'Self Care' aims to be polished and precise, positioning Miller as a lyricist able to characterize state of beings. Unfortunately, his range is severely limited as the routines that bring about many of his tracks is becoming egregious. He really seems stuck in Hip-Hop no man's land. The one gleaming positive of 'Self Care' comes at its apex with a sublime beat switch that bears resemblance to Kendrick Lamar's best efforts thanks to its theatrical take.

Ty Segall & White Fence - Body Behavior
Psychedelic Rock | Listen

'Body Behavior's' the second single from Ty Segall and White Fence's upcoming LP Joy. The two California garage rockers teamed up six years back on Hair, a tandem project released amidst each artists' most prolific stages. However, whereas Segall continues to gain a cult following through his frivolous, psychedelic niche - seen most recently on the surprisingly well-rounded Freedom's Goblin - White Fence's Tim Presley hasn't released a project since 2014. That being said, if there's one thing to know about nonchalant performers it's that playing the guitar and penning meaningless lyrics about everyday oddities comes as natural as riding a bike. Presley doesn't appear here vocally, allowing Segall to spook with his trademark capricious quiver over janky guitars highly inspired by the zany Psychedelic Rock of the 60's. Truth be told, on its own 'Body Behavior' doesn't have much to applaud, other than being yet another brisk refinement of quality from Segall.

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