Sunday 3 April 2016

March 2016 - Things I Didn't Miss

March Playlists: Spotify / Deezer

I've been slack, I know. And I really don't like it, it's not a lifestyle I want to lead. There's so much new music being pumped out at the moment too and I'm just letting it slip right through my fingers. This month I've spent a lot of time on New Roots Magazine, who put out an issue a couple of weeks ago and the April issue should be out some time early this week. It's genuinely such a cool little zine with a really passionate team behind it, so if you could check it out, that'd be great.

Anyway, I have actually managed to listen to a load of albums this month, here's what I thought of the ones I liked.

Baauer - Aa

You're foolish if you thought that 'Harlem Shake' was all Baauer was good for. Truly and utterly foolish especially because we've heard enough from the New York City based producer to know that that is simply not true. Aa is Baauer's debut full length and it may not be mindblowing but it is really good. 'GoGo!' and 'Body' are so reminiscent of tracks I was listening to when I was 18 and getting more into "underground" dance music. It's a really nice touch that the first half of Aa is entirely free of any featuring artists and it's proof that Baauer can pull off these releases singlehandedly. 'Temple' starring M.I.A. is my standout track on the album though. The Novelist feature on 'Day Ones' is excellent too, especially alongside Leikeli47 who goes unbelievably hard. On reflection, I'd pay good money to see Baauer live.

Blood Youth - Closure EP

I reviewed this for New Roots. Yay! You can check it out right here. Spoiler, I thought it was great.

Ducking Punches - Fizzy Brain

I'd never listened to Ducking Punches prior to March and I certainly hadn't realised that Fizzy Brain was their third album. Folk punk (they said it, not me) is not something that I was into growing up, hell, I don't think it's something I'm into now, and I'm fairly sure that if you'd played me anything from Ducking Punches a year or two ago I would have told you that I didn't like it. Well, I guess this is growing up. I know there are songs on this album that are pretty emotional and full on but I don't have feelings although I'd imagine those who do (most people) will really appreciate tracks like 'JFH' and 'House Guest'.  Meanwhile I'm more than happy to stick to the likes of 'Fun Fun Fun'.

Dustin Kensrue - Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood

I don't rrreally understand what on earth is going on here but Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue has released a live acoustic covers album. There's a Radiohead cover, a Brand New cover and a Miley Cyrus cover on here, but if it weren't for the intro I probably would have made it a fair way into this release before realising these songs were all covers. Somehow Kensrue is able to make each of these tracks sound so original and like his own.


I've lost count of how many times I've listened to this EP over the past week or so, but it's been almost two years since I first posted 'Closer' and to say that the wait for the release of something EP-like has been agonising would be an understatement. 'Closer' features on this EP, as does a shiny new version of 'Shivers' complete with a hairs-stand-on-end string section. I like brand new things though so 'Found My Religion' is my favourite track on this release, and it's also the one that furthest from "ballad" and that's always something to bear in mind. For real, this EP is great though, if you like vibey pop RnB stuff in a similar vein to Thomston, you'll dig this.

Kiiara - low kii savage EP

Kiiara took #theblogs by storm last summer and her rise to internet buzz stardom was way too fast for her songs to be as purposefully contrived as some may think. Take 'Feels', for example. This is a genuine display of a teenager's emotions and the fact that the lyrics are so "internet" ("I got like way too many feels") works to Kiiara's favour. The production on this EP is absolutely flawless and not one ounce of me wants to think about what these songs would sound like without Felix Snow behind them. If I'd had this EP in my late teenage year I think I probably would have tweeted lyrics from it on a daily basis and that's the bottom line of the situation really.

The Knocks - 55

Going into this album I wasn't sure how well I'd fare just because some songs I really like ('Classic', 'Comfortable') and some songs I really don't ('I Wish'). But it quickly became apparent that it wasn't really going to be a problem. Past the first track this entire record is so feel good, enhanced by how easy it is to just press play on and not really need to think too hard about what's going on. 'Kiss The Sky' has become an early favourite for me on 55, then we hit 'The Key' in the middle and I just long to one day hear this in the club so I can "drop it, take it down low, make it touch the floor". This stomper is followed by 'Tied To You' and it's at this point that I'm not longer even mildly concerned for the future of The Knocks as pop/electronic masterminds.

Miike Snow - iii

iii is an undeniably great album, and I'm not sure whether one could definitively say that it's their best work to date, but it's definitely very good. Although, I say that but the opening trilogy of 'My Trigger', 'The Heart Of Me' and 'Genghis Khan' is probably the holiest of trinities you're going to stumble upon. The Charli xcx collaboration is a bit of a disappointment for me, I just expected something a little more, and it's followed by a ballad which completely loses me. The rest of the album is good but the real gem is the bonus track and unlikely collaboration with Run The Jewels on this remix of 'Heart Is Full'.

Muncie Girls - From Caplan To Belsize

This is another strange one for me, Muncie Girls are definitely not a band I would typically listen to, in a very similar vein to how I felt about Ducking Punches. I mean, for the past however long I thought they were called Munice Girls... which is not the case. But no matter how much I try to be indifferent towards From Caplan To Belsize, it's an objectively great little punk album. The only criticism I have is that the mixing can come across as a little strange at points with the vocals being quieter and harder to hear clearly, but that doesn't detract from how good the songs themselves are.

Poliça - United Crushers

From what I recall, I wasn't a big fan of Poliça's last full-length, Shulamith, so I was more than skeptical going into their new album. It turns out that United Crushers is actually really great and Channy Leaneagh's vocals are as strong and prominent as ever. To be fair, I think I need to put a lot more time into this album. Musically, Poliça are a lot more complex than it may appear on the surface; there's a lot going on throughout this record. With only a few listens I'd confidently say that 'Baby Sucks' is a definite standout though.

ZAYN - Mind of Mine

I think we're all okay with this album being okay. And it's definitely not outstanding and we all know that nothing ground-breaking happens during these 18 tracks, but it's alright. 'BeFoUr', 'sHe' and 'wRoNg' are genuinely good pop songs, and 'dRuNk' is a genuinely bad one. And that's how it goes really. There is one thing I take issue with though. I feel as though if your CV lists that you were previously of pop group with very young fanbase, One Direction, I'd be more cautious about lyrical themes and use of language. I get that he's 23 years old and wants to do his own thing. I'm 23. I get it. But there's some level or duty of respect towards the humans who are going to be listening to this album and it's just been completely ignored. But hey, at least now we know that ZAYN's gonna "fuck her right" even if she don't love him.

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