Monday 27 February 2017

Off Bloom - Falcon Eye

I missed Off Bloom last year when they released their debut EP Love To Hate It. Well, I didn't miss them, but the blog missed out on them because of my much talked about slack nature throughout 2016. But in case you missed them too (I have no idea who this is directed at, I know nobody is reading) Off Bloom are a trio from Denmark making this insane off the wall pop music with an abundance of Eastern-influenced tinges. In addition, if you weren't aware of Off Bloom before now, we did discuss them  on the last episode of The Middle Eight Podcast, which you can listen to here.

'Falcon Eye' demonstrates this to a T, and it's made that bit better with the fact that no one else is making music that sounds anything close to this. Have you ever desired to shake it like you want it all? Because if not, this is the song that will not only unleash your desire to want it all, you might just end up having it all. Nope, I've no idea what I'm on about either. I recently missed Off Bloom supporting Raye in London, I had no idea they were on that show and I'm still pretty cut up about it. However, luckily for me the trio are supporting both LANY and Dua Lipa on their upcoming UK/Euro dates, and they've been announced for both Live At Leeds and Great Escape Festival. Given what a massive party tune 'Falcon Eye' is, I'd say it's probably worth catching them at at least one of those.

Friday 24 February 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: EPstravaganza

As you may have guessed by the title, we are dealing mostly in EPs this week, excluding the Will Heard one because I kind of spoke about that one over on a post about his track 'I Better Love You' which I've had to take down because something about publishing...? Yeah, I'm just as lost as you. (Gonna put it back up in like two weeks time because you can not police me. And also like... I don't get PR'd the vast majority of stuff I post. If you don't have blogs posting about your music, what other free promo you getting?)

Selected Singles Added Last Week:

There are some fairly peculiar songs that I thought were actually not too bad this week, including but not limited to Maroon 5 meets Future, DJ Khaled shouts all over Beyonce and Jay Z, and New Found Glory - who'd have thought? In terms of lesser known tracks and artistes: Noella Nix's 'Bad Girl' is astounding in a great way, The Magician's new one 'Tied Up' is very good, and Human Movement's Kitsune released song 'Right Thing' is also rather notable. Finally, I've completely 180'd on Thundercat and I am very much a fan of 'Friend Zone'.

EPs and an Album Released Last Week:

Asta - Shine From some things I saw on Twitter I assumed Asta was going to be really good. I was thoroughly disappointed with nigh on every aspect of this EP. All five of the songs on it sound so dated and aren't in the slightest be exciting. As pop music goes, they're fine, but nothing you'd even send a memo home about, let alone write home. No tracks added to library.

Bebe Rexha - All Your Fault Pt. 1 I'm definitely not as upset about Bebe Rexha being her own solo artist as some other people but I will admit, I don't think she's that good at it. If anything 'Atmosphere'  and 'Small Doses' sound like a Tove Lo cast offs, 'F.F.F.' is yet another G-Eazy collaboration we didn't need and to be honest, do any of us give a shit that people in Cali are fake? No, we don't. In addition, 'Gateway Drug' is embarrassing from start to finish, and not even my favourite feat artist of all time can save 'Bad Bitch'. Where is the class in referring to yourself as a bad bitch with absolutely no evidence to back that up? Naturally, all of this leaves her greatest single to date, 'I Got You' as the only redeeming factor of this EP. The scariest thing is that this is only part one... 1/6 tracks added to library.

Flume - Skin Companion EP II Look, Flume, Skin was an excellent album, it was a contender for one of my albums of the year for 2016. What we do not need is you then attempting to milk that very good album with extremely sub-par "companion" EPs. What even is a companion EP? You know what, no, I don't even care. The first one was not good so what makes anybody think that the second one might be good? I'm fully lost. All of the intricacies and the quirks and the excitement we heard on the album is completely obliterated on these EPs and I wish they never came to fruition. In saying all of this, 'Depth Charge' is the most okay of these four tracks but it's still pretty bland. There's literally a reason these songs didn't make the album, you know? No tracks added to library.

Maggie Rogers - Now That The Light Is Fading Maggie Rogers is such a strange one for me because I guess it's typically the kind of thing that it sounds like I'd hate. I think with a song like 'Alaska' for example, despite the folk at it's core, it's just pop enough for the typical nonchalant music listener to be able to get into. I really like 'Dog Years' now too but was severely put off by the intro because it does sound mega folk, doesn't it? Just gotta believe that it isn't actually. 3/5 tracks added to library.

Thundamentals - Everyone We Know Remember that time (every time) I told you (I have repeatedly told you) about how much I'm into Australian hip hop? Well, we meet again. Thundamentals are a four piece from the Blue Mountains region outside of Sydney (which largely means nothing to me) and depending on what internet source you look at they've been active for a decade or so. Everyone We Know is the quartet's fourth album and it peaked at #2 on the Australian album chart which quite accurately represents the record's quality from start to finish. This is a fun album with tracks like 'Sally' and 'Milk & Honey' but it's serious when it needs to be, as we (who is we? I mean I) hear on 'Ignorance Is Bliss' - but even then, despite dealing with current and topical issues, the message is delivered in a digestible way. Everyone We Know is really good, give it a spin. 12/15 tracks added to library.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Will Heard - I Better Love You

[EDIT: I was asked to take this down because Will Heard's "team have not yet authorized it being permitted on many blogs for finishing the right of publishing" and I'm still really fucking bitter about it so re-uploading because it's been a month and that quote is some literal bullshit if ever I heard any.]

There must be something in the air at the moment as far as WIIHAMB posts go because hot on the heels of Matthew Koma's single 'Hard To Love' is fellow serial collaborator Will Heard. You'll recognise Heard's name from the song of the summer in 2013, Klangkarussell's 'Sonnentanz', as well as a few works with Rudimental and a track with Kygo. Heard's new single, 'I Better Love You', features on his debut EP Trust, which was released last week and I'll be honest, it's definitely the stand out.

What I love most about 'I Better Love You' is that the vocals during the verses barely even sound like the Will Heard we heard (?!) on those tracks mentioned above. This then leads to the most glorious dual-vocal-esque chorus. Obviously it's just Heard singing but that range is so effortless it genuinely sounds like he's calling back to another vocalist. 'I Better Love You' is the sound of a 2017 love song, and I don't reckon love songs have ever sounded better. (This is obviously an opinion that is mine and that will surely put hotly contested should anybody feel that way inclined.) If you're after some mellow vibes then the rest of Heard's Trust EP is for you, but I just think it needs the edge that we get on the opening track to really make it's mark. Not a bad debut at all though.

Monday 20 February 2017

Youth Club - Are You Wanting It All

You've got to hand it to bands/artists/whoever for not getting stuck in a rut of producing the same thing over and over again, and I think that's something I worried about for Youth Club when I first heard them a couple of years ago after the release of their second EP, Brothers. Between then and now, Youth Club have released three tracks that, whilst staying true to themselves as what I'd call a tropical infused indie-pop band, sound miles apart from their first two EPs. The quartet also appear to have put out a Christmas single that completely passed me by. It's possible that this maybe just didn't make it on to stores in time for the festive period so nobody ever mentioned it? I've no idea, but it exists if that's something you fancy in mid-February.

The reason we are (read: I am) gathered here today is, however, for the band's new single 'Are You Wanting It All'. It's a slow burner for sure but it's probably the most sophisticated sounding track Youth Club have put out thus far. 'Are You Wanting It All' genuinely sounds (in the least contrived and purposeful way) as though it was made for radio; not that their other tracks weren't, because all of Youth Club's songs are radio friendly, but this really feels like "the one", you know? I also can not believe how straight out of the 80's the pre-chorus of "You take all of my time, you take over my mind" is - that's some straight up George Michael stuff right there.

Youth Club are playing a single release show for 'Are You Wanting It All' on Wednesday (22nd Feb)  at Camden Barfly (read: Camden Assembly, but we all know it's really the Barfly) for a mere £6.

Friday 17 February 2017

Matthew Koma - Hard To Love

I was going to post this separately, and then I wasn't, and then it came on shuffle during the week and I thought "this does deserve its own post". I love things that are self-aware and that reference things they shouldn't really reference. Like, you know when characters in TV shows talk about other TV shows? I love that. It's actually one of the main reasons why I'm so invested in Wes Craven's Scream series, all the way through from the original film to the TV series. And for me this kind of thing permeates through to music too but it has to be done with an ounce of subtlety or intelligence or, as in this case, self-deprocation.

Chances are, you'll be aware of Matthew Koma's work because, as he so eloquently puts it, his "voice was on like every fucking house track". Which isn't quite true, although Koma has been dial-a-feat for many songs (that sounds far more like I'm taking shots than I am, I'm not), not all of them can be classified as house; please see The Knocks' 'I Wish (My Taylor Swift)'. Back to the point, Koma's new single 'Hard To Love' is quite the opposite, it's rather endearing actually, hearing someone sing about themselves in this particular manner. The real gem, just when you think you've heard it all, is the sample of Beck's 'Loser' that appears straight out of nowhere at the middle eight. With songs as good as this Matthew Koma will (hopefully) be a star in his own right in no time.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: Fifty Shades Of Bland

This week has gone really quickly and I didn't realise it was Thursday, so yeah, I guess it's fair to say the entirety of this post was a little... rushed. Might edit in some prose about singles from last week at some point in the next 24 hours, might not, we'll see.

EPs Released This Week:

Aaron Carter - LøVë I have so many issues with this EP; first of all how the hell are you even supposed to pronounce it's title, because I don't think that's correct in any European language. The second problem is that this sounds like a bunch of songs written to contend with Justin Bieber, which blows my mind considering that Aaron Carter is almost 30 years old. Who is this written for? Five uninspiring pop/RnB songs begging to be a hit. It's just not good enough. 'Let Me Let You' is probably the best song on here, apart from the fact that it sounds like every other pop/electronic hit from 2016. No tracks added to library.

Fyner Things - Casually Hot Obviously Bastien added one of these tracks to his 2017 playlist and I couldn't not get invested. I'm not sure how much I actually like this EP on a personal level, but I think it's really good. This pair only have 176 Facebook likes and six Twitter followers (including me) which has me mildly shook, like what the actual fuck is up with that? Interesting current R&B with exciting soul and electronic quirks ridden throughout to keep you on your toes. 4/4 tracks added to library.

Homebound - The Mould You Build Yourself Around Thank God, we really needed another UK pop punk band. It's something we were really missing. There's absolutely nothing that isn't average about this EP; don't bother unless you really desperately need a pop punk fix this month... but even then, there's got to be something better on the horizon? No tracks added to library.

Nao - For All We Know (Remixes EP) I'm not entirely sure what the point of this EP is, like, I'm not really sure that there's any need for it. Mura Masa confirms that I really don't like the music that he makes, and Stormzy's feature on 'Feels Like' is largely unnecessary. Those aside, as if we needed confirmation that SBTRKT and Kaytranada are two of the best in the game right now. 2/5 tracks added to library.

Rationale - Vessels I am really not a fan of Rationale and I can't put into words as to why. Obviously lots of people like him and what he's doing, and he's doing fairly well for himself, but I just don't like any of his songs in any capacity. Until I heard 'Reciprocate', this one is very good. 1/4 tracks added to library.

Albums Released This Week:

Amber Run - For A Moment, I Was Lost I've never liked Amber Run and right now, the acomplishment will just be making it the entire way through this 45 minute long album. It's just so boring. I'm two songs in and nothing has happened. At parts, they sound like Aquilo if they were an indie band but I don't think that's a route anybody has really wanted Aquilo to take. I found 'Perfect' mildly bearable but not to the point that I'd ever particularly want to listen to it again, you know? No tracks added to library.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Zombies On Broadway We're not off to a good start with the sing-speaking on 'Brooklyn, You're Killing Me', are we? Although, I'll be honest, it's pretty much an upward trajectory from track two onwards. I'm not sure anybody highly invested in McMahon's other projects would be particularly happy with this as an album, but as an indie pop record that doesn't just sound like everything else it does the job pretty well. 5/11 tracks added to library.

Lupe Fiasco - Drogas Light I don't think I've ever been a fan of Lupe Fiasco but he's definitely an artist that I've always been quite intrigued by. From the 'Formation' sounding sample on 'Dopamine Lit' to my fave feat artist ever on 'NGL', Drogas Light kicks off in a positive light. 'Made In The USA' has quite a good sentiment but the "hook" is so aggressive it's a little hard to get on with. The three song arc in the middle which has a total run time of 17 minutes and 46 seconds is something I'm finding daunting though. 'Kill' is good but clocking in at over 7 minutes long, there's just absolutely no need for at least half of it, and it doesn't even feel like it's Lupe Fiasco's track. I have completely 180'd on the chorus to 'Wild Child' though. 5/14 tracks added to library.

Rag'n'Bone Man - Human The "Deluxe" version of this album is one hour and five minutes long. No body of music needs to be that long, let alone this one. I think Rag'n'Bone Man makes music for people who can't be bothered to look remotely hard for alternative-soul-pop anywhere else. There's nothing significantly wrong with Human but there's nothing significantly good about it either. It just kind of... exists for radio, which is a really sad concept when you think about it. At least that's what I thought until he attempts to rap on 'Ego', that was straight up shocking. No tracks added to library.

Various Artists - Fifty Shades Darker (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) It's hard not to compare this to the soundtrack from the first film because not only did that produce two massive singles worldwide ('Love Me Like You Do' and 'Earned It'), regardless of what you think of the film/books etc, the songs were genuinely good. In comparison, I'm struggling to find it in me to even care for this Tove Lo track. I just can't get over how boring all of these songs are; there's absolutely nothing daring about any of them. Isn't that the exact opposite of the point of this series? 1/19 tracks added to library.

Jerry Williams - Velcro

Oh Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. Miss Williams has been one of my low key faves for the past two years or so and back in September she released an EP (technically her third, I think) titled Let's Just Forget It. Unfortunately I was not a fan of this short body of work, which I was really cut up about because I think Jerry Williams is really great and it hurts when you don't like something from someone you do really like. But it's all fine because it's okay not to like everything and it doesn't mean whatever you don't like is bad, it just means you don't like it. Got it? Good. I think the universe should push that point harder.

I first heard 'Velcro' when Jerry played it live around November 2015 time and I fell in love with it. I turned to Ant Gin (friend of the blog, also PRs the lady in question) and exclaimed that "this is the one". As expected, he nodded and continued about his life as if I had said nothing at all. 'Velcro' is completely the opposite kind of vibe to anything that I usually like but it's so captivating. It's the cutest love song you've heard this week, this month, this year, ever. It's almost as if the more you strip something back, the more it gives. That makes no sense but all there is to 'Velcro' is the guitar, Williams' vocals and some finger snaps, it's so pure and serene but still manages to be a catchy pop song. God, I wish every radio station on the planet would playlist this.

EDIT: Forgot to say (because I don't actually read press releases) that Jerry Williams is playing  hometown (Portsmouth) and London headlines next month. You should probably get to one of those.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Jocelyn Alice - Bound To You

Today I have suddenly remembered that writing things sucks and is really boring and I pretty much despise everything about physically doing it. So this particular post is far less free-flowing and also less forced than other posts.

Jocelyn Alice is from Canada, which is nice because I don't post many artists from the land of many moose. In fact, it's nice to hear anything about music from Canada that has nothing to do with Justin Bieber and/or Drake. Even Alessia Cara's name is starting to get a little worn out these days, so it's good to have stumbled across ya, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn Alice's new single is called 'Bound To You' and do not be fooled by the first verse; it is not a ballad - thankfully! In fact, I'm quite taken aback by how uncatergorisable (new word) 'Bound To You' is. Jocelyn Alice's voice is super interesting and endearing just to listen to, to the point where I think she could probably sing the alphabet and it would sound mildly exciting. The chorus on 'Bound To You' is one of the best so far this year matching a catchy melody with painfully relatable lyrics.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Ariana and the Rose and RKCB - Love You Lately

This is exactly the kind of sound that made me fall in love with RKCB way back when they were the most illusive duo on the planet. An apt choice of song for Valentine's Day, don't you think? The worst Hallmark holiday of them all is today celebrated through the medium of a dark and emotional R&B injected pop music. It's just quite on brand for me, I think. I don't believe that I've ever stumbled across Ariana and the Rose before, but obviously she is a performing artiste, based both in London and New York, which is exciting. Although, in saying that, I've never been to New York but I essentially imagine it to be exactly the same as London just on a different continent.

As will hopefully be obvious by this point, Ariana DiLorenzo has teamed up with one of my favourite duos, Riley Knapp and Casey Barth, better known by their combined initials, RKCB. Someone on the YouTube video for this song commented that it sounds like 'Love You Lately' was produced by Flume and although RKCB did an in-house job on this one, it really does scream Flume. RKCB have been involved in a few collaborations of late but none of them seem to have affected the duo's integrity or their unique sound, especially when they've put out their own EP in the midst of everything else they're working on. I'd also like to give a nod to the colour scheme used on 'Love You Lately's artwork because that is an absolute dream.

Captain Cuts feat Nateur - Love Like We Used To

I have no idea what my beef with 'Love Like We Used To' was when it was first released three months ago but I can vividly recall trying to force myself to like it. I first came across Captain Cuts just over a year ago, in fact, I think they were my first post of 2016 with their incredible mid 00's emo and pop punk meets current chart hits. If you've never listened to it, you really really need to, it's mind-blowing and you can find it here. They've actually made a more recent one too, but it's nowhere near as good, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Like I said, I'm not sure why I didn't click with 'Love Like We Used To' at first, but since the release of Captain Cuts' first music video I have found myself well and truly obsessed with this song. It's a bit strange actually, because I'm really not a fan of the video. In fact, post-Blink 182's 'The Rock Show', I'm not a fan of any "here's x amount of money, off you pop to spend it all and we'll just film it or something" videos, and unfortunately that's what this is. However, thankfully my opinions on the music video are not the be all and end all, and 'Love Like We Used To' is an absolute jam. Nateur's vocals and that sing-along chorus are made for "the club" like nothing else to grace electronic music this season. There's no way you wouldn't go wild to this at 1AM after a few vodka sodas, amirite? (I am.)

Monday 13 February 2017

59th Annual Grammy Awards Album Of The Year: Adele vs Beyonce - The Songwriters Argument

This year's GRAMMY Awards Album Of the Year Nominees (in case you missed them) were: Adele - 25, Beyonce - Lemonade, Justin Bieber - Purpose, Drake - Views, and Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide To Earth.

Today's most heated debate post-The 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony is "Was Adele a deserved winner of Album Of The Year?" I'll tell you this for nothing, I quite simply could not care less. Hell, I haven't even listened to the thing! But there's one aspect of this argument that has me extremely vexed and it goes something along the lines of "Beyonce doesn't write any of her songs. Beyonce's songs have hundreds of co-writers. Adele is a better artist because she writes all of her songs."

To anybody who has used this argument today, let me break it down for you.

1) First of all, let's dissect the true definition of the phrase 'Album Of The Year'. We'll start with the easy bit, "Of The Year" - Released between 1st October 2015 and 30th September 2016. (I don't believe there's much contention on this point, but you just never know, do you?) Secondly, "Album" - A collection of recordings issued as a single item on CD, record, or another medium.

2) This award IS NOT about the artist/the performer, or the songwriter(s). It is about the body of work in question. It really is that simple. Adele and Beyonce, as human entities singing the songs on these two albums, by and large mean absolutely nothing.

3) Both Beyonce and Adele have a songwriting credit on every one of the songs on the albums in question. Yes, that's correct, Beyonce wrote every single one of the tracks on Lemonade, whilst Adele wrote every single song on 25.

4) Neither of them were the sole writer of any of the tracks on their respective albums. Yep, you heard, Adele didn't write any of those songs on her own. Between two and four songwriters are credited on each of the songs on 25, whilst between three and 15 songwriters are credited for each of the songs on Lemonade.

5) "HOLD IT! Between three and 15 songwriters?! Stop right there." Yes, I guess 15 songwriters does sound like quite a lot, doesn't it? However there are just some simple facts worth noting. Lemonade has four separately credited featured artists (Jack White, The Weeknd, James Blake, and Kendrick Lamar) whilst obviously there are no other artists who feature vocally on 25.

6) "But that's four people across the entire album - where the hell do the rest of them fit in?" Well, that's an interesting point you raise. You see, producers on a song/album are given (what I am referring to for ease as) a "songwriters credit", whereas mixers and engineers on a song/album are not. This comes quite heavily into play when comparing two bodies of work that contrast in genre as much as 25 and Lemonade do. As you can see from the screenshot below, the lists of those involved in the creation of both albums are very similar in length. This is because there are far more mixers/engineers who worked on 25 (for all of the orchestral bits and what not) than there were on Lemonade. But at the same time, there are far more production elements on Lemonade (think of all the electronic and sampling aspects) than there are on 25, therefore leading to more producers.

7) If you truly believe that Album Of The Year is about the songwriter then Sturgill Simpson runs away with the award without a shadow of a doubt. Simpson is the sole songwriter throughout his entire album, A Sailor's Guide To Earth, with the exception of his cover of Nirvana's 'In Bloom'.

8) Unfortunately for Sturgill, it's not. Adele has been crowned the winner, she tore that crown up like she was Cady Heron at Prom and she's shared the award with Beyonce. We, as nobodies in the presence of greats, should respect that decision and quit arguing amongst ourselves about it.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: Everything Is Not About U

New month, new library. Are you ready? Are you even reading this? I highly doubt it. If you weren't already aware, I still listen to albums but often they're too long so this is where I cut out the rubbish tracks and make albums great again.

Here's the playlist, give it a follow or just hit shuffle play and let's get started.

Selected Singles Added This Week:

The most exciting one of these is by far Cold War Kids who are back with new single 'Love Is Mystical' from their forthcoming sixth(!) album L.A. Divine. There are some real surprises this week too, Mastadon's new single 'Show Yourself', Nickelback's new track 'Feed The Machine' and also a new song from brooding actor Ansel Elgort, 'Thief'. We've also been treated to a new William Singe cover in the form of 'Rush', and a surprising but welcome change in musical direction for Liv Dawson on 'Searching'.

Albums/EPs Released This Week:

Big Sean - I Decided. I was really surprised that I actually liked this overall. I have no idea what I expected but this was definitely not it, so that was cool. Big Sean's lacklustre features on other artists' tracks really don't do him any favours with those who haven't heard any full projects he's worked on, which is really silly because is that not the point of featuring on somebody else's track? Anyway, the album overall is a little taste of everything where hip hop is concerned but 'Jump Out The Window' and 'Owe Me' were my favourites. I thought the track featuring Eminem, 'No Favors', had potential too but I just didn't really like it that much. 4/14 tracks added to library.

Fenech-Soler - Zilla I actually can't believe how disappointing this album is. When Fenech Soler released their debut self-titled record seven years ago I fell head over heels in love for it. I was excited for their return towards the end of last year but Zilla feels like such a lacklustre effort. 'Kaleidoscope' is a good single but it's nowhere near amazing. I loved the sound of the first verse of 'Undercover' but the rest of the track just amounted to nothing and that is essentially this album in a nutshell. 1/10 tracks added to library.

Kevin Garrett - False Hope This is a good EP, the end. I can't pinpoint who Kevin Garrett sounds really similar to which is something I am finding terribly frustrating. It could be JMR but that seems like quite a niche reference and not quite the connection I want to make. It's probably actually quite tricky to nail the guitar based alternative R&B thing but Garrett does it very well. 'Little Bit Of You' is a song that is something wondrous. 3/5 tracks added to library.

The Knocks - TESTIFY Ah *deep sigh* The Knocks... this EP... why?! Well, I can make assumptions as to why, and those begin and end with the fact that their debut album took so long to come out, the duo already have a plethora of more recent material to unleash. The problem is that... it's not all that great. Obviously MNEK collaboration 'WORSHIP' is everything anyone could have hoped for and 'HEAT' meets similar expectations. It's just all four of the other tracks that let this EP down; they aren't the pop bangers we dreamed of or wanted. Let's hope this is just a filler between records, I still have a lot of time for The Knocks. 2/6 tracks added to library.

Lower Than Atlantis - Safe In Sound Here's my beef with LTA: You see this time last week, I was writing about Deaf Havana's most recent album and how it was a welcome surprise to hear them return to somewhere between some of their earlier material, but from a more mature stance? Well, Lower Than Atlantis seem intent on doing the opposite. With every record the four piece seem to become less original and less interesting overall which is a real shame. Go back and listen to Far Q instead of listening to Safe In Sound. 2/10 tracks added to library.

The Menzingers - After The Party I don't like The Menzingers so I didn't like this album, which is absolutely fine. However, it's totally an album I would pretend to like if a boy I liked liked it. One of those. No tracks added to library.

Muna - About U I don't like Muna, so as you can imagine this album was not particularly enjoyable to listen to. In contrast to my feelings towards The Menzingers, I don't really understand why people like MUNA, like, I super super don't get it at all. It's the vocals, they grate on me. I can not be apologetic about this. I can't imagine anybody thinks MUNA are a thing that I like or would like anyway, so this is all pretty by the by. No tracks added to library.

Sampha - Process I was concerned going in to Process as we're all aware that Sampha is no stranger to a ballad, however there is not an overwhelming amount of that on this album at all. Process is a record that keeps you on your toes, with a myriad of different sounds, themes and ideas. It's the kind of album that makes you want to hear the songs live, which I think is quite an achievement. 6/10 tracks added to library.

Syd - Fin Everything that I was worried about happening on the Kehlani album last week happens on Syd's album. I was so excited for a full length solo effort from Syd but nothing exciting happens on Fin at all. Every track just blends into the other in a sea of beige, to the point where picking out songs that I actually enjoyed became a genuine struggle. I'm really perplexed. Syd is so much better than this so why is this this? 6/12 tracks added to library... which is quite a high proportion given those thoughts, isn't it?

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Sälen - Heartbreak Diet

Hi, sorry, am I in a band and nobody told me? Are we sure that I am not Ellie Kamio from Sälen? Can we be 100% sure because I don't think that I can. Sälen are a three piece based in East London making kooky off-the-wall yet easy to listen to alternative pop - and that is the best description you are going to get out of me for anything this week. Other than that we don't seem to know a whole lot about this trio but when your songs are good, what use is data?

I used to (years ago) absolutely hate vocals like this but now that I'm older and wiser, I have come to realise how much they compliment what's going on around them. I've also realised that paying attention to actual lyrics is a thing that is important. Has a lyric more relatable than "I used to dream of dying so you would cry at my funeral" ever been written? No, it hasn't. Sure, it sounds morbid, I guess, but it's definitely something I've done. I've also been thinking about the video for 'Heartbreak Diet', or more, what my concept for the video for 'Heartbreak Diet' would be. Largely it reflects the pastel colours used in Sälen's artwork, and it would feature these plastic looking zombies and thick pink blood and really cartoony looking food and drink labeled with diet puns. It looks great in my head, might sketch something up...

Carter Reeves - Fresh Fruit

For a hot second I was confused as to where I'd picked this song up from. Obviously it was another track from Bastien's 'Songs I Never Skip' playlist. He has this amazing knack for discovering funk/jazz infused R&B pop. If that's what you're into, along with dashes of other things, give that playlist a follow. I have no idea who Carter Reeves is, what he does or what his own personal #brand is like so this morning we are implementing a classic case of research while I write. (We/I... what are pronouns anyway? Y'all know it's just me.) Strap yourselves in.

First of all, might I say that Carter Reeves has some fire #content going on over on his Twitter. It mostly revolves around fresh fruit, because duh, this single is called 'Fresh Fruit'. But that's great. More artists should take things they are promoting literally for the purposes of social media. 'Fresh Fruit' is Reeves' debut solo single and what a first taster it is! His Facebook bio (one of the lengthiest I've ever read, might I add) describes the song as "sunny but not sugary, a smile in your ear" but I'd say it's more of a smirk than a smile, something a little (please forgive me) cheekier. I really like that there's almost a hip hop edge to 'Fresh Fruit' too. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm surprised that Carter Reeves isn't Australian because this is exactly the type of thing that I'd expect to come out of there this time of year. Reeves reportedly has an EP on the way so that's something nice to look forward to, isn't it?

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Stormzy - Big For Your Boots

Apparently Stormzy is returning from a "nine month silence". I'll be honest, I didn't notice, not that it really matters. I find anyone involved in any strand of hip hop/rap never truly disappears, they're always around, lurking somewhere - for example, more recently he's featured on P Money's album and both Raye and Ray Blk's EPs. So it really hasn't been nine months at all. We'll leave that, though, as Stormzy is back with his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, set for release in a mere three week's time. The record features guest appearances from Kehlani, MNEK, and Raleigh Ritchie, as well as breakout single 'Shut Up', alongside the album's lead single 'Big For Your Boots'.

Let me tell you how unprepared I was for this song: Very. I can categorically state that I was by no means expecting for Stormzy to release anything that could even come close to being on par with the likes of Skepta's recent actual chart hits, for example. It's fair to say, I was shook. The beat is fast, the vocal sampling is impeccably spot on and Stormzy goes so hard on a first listen I could barely keep up. But let's focus on the real star of the show, the Daps directed music video. Could anything more iconic have possibly been created? I think not. The opening shot of Stormzy amongst an all star cast of badass looking females, including the aforementioned Raye and Ray Blk as well as Julie Adenuga and more, is absolutely amazing. My personal favourite location is Stormzy and his girlfriend Maya Jama in Morley's. Morley's! I mentioned (somewhere) a couple of weeks ago that I couldn't imagine growing up in an area without Morley's on street corners - you know they even do mozzarella sticks now? Learning that The Chicken Connoisseur was asked to be in this video as well is something quite incredible.

R3hab feat VÉRITÉ - Trouble

As it so happens, I'm really not a fan of VÉRITÉ's own solo efforts. The first and last time (prior to now obviously) I posted VÉRITÉ on WIIHAMB was way back in the summer of 2014 after the release of her first song 'Strange Enough', which went on to open her debut EP Echo released later that year. Since then I've seen VÉRITÉ live at The Great Escape 2015 and amongst other things including a new EP last year titled Living, she released a cover of The 1975's 'Somebody Else'. It went kinda #viral over on that there Spotify, and rightly so because it's landed itself firmly in my Undeniably The Greatest Covers Ever playlist. More recently, a mere few weeks ago, in fact, the New Yorker (I have no idea why I thought she was Canadian) put out a new single called 'Phase Me Out'. As I alluded to, I am not a fan but no worries as her even newer collaboration with R3hab was right around the corner.

R3hab's new single, 'Trouble', featuring Miss Kelsey Byrne is an addictive pop/dance crossover track apt for any occasion. The Dutch DJ/producer, real name Fadil El Ghoul, has been hot on the pop remix trail throughout 2016 with fresh takes on tracks from Zara Larsson, Calvin Harris, and Rihanna, so it's really nice to hear something similar that his name is at the forefront of. The other thing that is very nice about 'Trouble' is that it's not overpowering or overwhelming in the slightest. The verses and the choruses are, generally speaking, pretty chill, and the drop isn't too in your face either, with a really nice use of VÉRITÉ's sampled vocal. The likes of DJ Snake and Martin Garrix better watch out because it sounds as though R3hab is going to give European producers a run for their money this year.

Thursday 2 February 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: An Average End To January

Oh would you look at that, a change of format already.

A final update to January 2017's library. I know you've all been hooked on it.

Selected Singles Added This Week:

Singles were really strong this week and I've given a fair few of them their own posts but my favourite popstar of the moment Zara Larsson is still waiting for her first proper WIIHAMB post. Her new single 'So Good' featuring the greatest "feat." artist ever, Ty Dolla $ign, self-professes itself as good but not much more than that. 'Quit You', Lost Kings' new collab with Tinashe, also made the cut but I was hoping for so much more. In addition to those songs we have Chinah's new grower of a single 'Even Love', a cool upbeat jam from Frances titled 'No Matter', and another benefit of the doubt for Syd with 'Body'.

Albums Released This Week:

Aquilo - Silhouettes I'm not sure why I quite so naively convinced myself this wasn't going to be packed full of ballads. It is. And I like Aquilo, they seem like nice guys, you know? But I find this kind of thing so fucking dull. It's boring. I am bored. It's not that this album doesn't sound nice though, it does, but it's a drrrag. That's not fair, it's not the whole album, but it's far more of it than I would desire. 'Good Girl' AKA "The Forgotten Single" was my favourite Aquilo work, and 'Complication' (co-written with Amber Simone who I have posted previously!) is a nice nod to that. I really like 'Always Done What You Say' as well just because it sounds so different to everything else on Silhouettes5/14 tracks added to library.

Deaf Havana - All These Countless Nights Regardless of how much I, personally, don't like Deaf Havana, this album is probably one of their best collections of music so far in their career. I'm not really sure where they stand within rock music anymore and I think a lot of people have become bored of them and written them off by now. That's a bit of a shame because I think the majority of people would be surprised with the calibre of the songs on All These Countless Nights. 'Like A Ghost' is probably one of the best songs Deaf Havana have ever released and I'll be very disappointed if it doesn't surface as a single. 2/12 tracks added to library.

Erik Hassle - Innocence Lost This album has been a long time coming but prior to pressing play it's already a bit of a disappointment on paper. 'No Words', 'Missing You' and 'If Only Your Man Knew' have already been released as singles over the last two years. Alongside those, 'Pathetic', 'Talk About It' and 'Innocence Lost' all appeared on Hassle's 2014 EP Somebody's Party. So that's literally half the album we've already heard. Overall, this record is fine but I only think two of the previously unreleased tracks, 'TKO' and 'Silver & Gold', are any good. 6/12 tracks added to library.

Greywind - Afterthoughts I really liked Greywind when they first surfaced a couple of years ago but I've become progressively far less fussed about what they do. It might just be the case that I've grown out of them, I'm not sure. As far as pop rock songs go, there's absolutely nothing offensive about Greywind but Afterthoughts feels very dated. No doubt I would have loved this ten years ago but it's just not exciting enough in 2017. No tracks added to library.

Kehlani - SweetSexySavage The deluxe is 19 tracks long and it all kicks off with a spoken word 'Intro'. Will I make it through this? It's unlikely. I actually think it's going to get to a point where all of the songs kind of roll into one. Even now, at seven tracks in, I can't really differentiate between the songs I've heard. Nobody needs an album this long, really, do they? And it's not good because never before heard album tracks just get so so lost. 'Too Much', for example, is excellent and I can't believe it hasn't been released as a single yet. 11/19 tracks added to library - essentially an entire album's worth of songs, you see where I'm coming from?

Migos - Culture There's absolutely no way I'm getting through all of this one, is there? I really appreciate that other people are extremely into Migos, and they seem like nice guys but their music means absolutely nothing to me. No tracks added to library.

Chase Atlantic - Part One

Good afternoon everybody, I'm afraid that I am shook, and not in a good way. The past week has caused me to stumble across an Australian three piece named Chase Atlantic and I have some extremely mixed feelings towards this band of brothers and their mate. (I've assumed that the two with the same surname but have not actually confirmed it with any legitimate source.) The brief version of it is: God they're terrible but I really don't hate it and the last ten years have taught me not to feel embarrassed about this kind of thing anymore. The long version... well, that's as follows:

I'll provide a short history of Chase Atlantic via the means of their Spotify page. The three piece released their debut EP Dalliancé (nope, I haven't a clue either) back in 2014 and it's the standard indie-pop-rock to be expected from anybody's first release to be honest. Nothing to shout about but also definitely not a cause for concern. At some point between then and the release of their second EP, Nostalgia (a weird name at this point in their career, but whatever), at least one of them must have heard The 1975 and thought "this is popular, let's do this". And so they did. Oh but why stop at just one EP? The most perplexing part of Chase Atlantic's journey thus far is stand alone single 'OBSESSIVE', a straight The 1975 rip off. The video is equally as embarrassing and screams an Australian version The Hunna. One Hunna is more than enough.

But let's not dwell on the past, it's 2017 and Chase Atlantic have found a new muse in The Weeknd and his Trilogy. It's a strange move but let's see how it goes, eh? The trio are clearly trying to brand this as a fresh chapter too, titling their new three-track EP Part One. Apart from the blatant The Weeknd pandering, there are some really redeeming features to Chase Atlantic and their music. Opener 'Right Here' is the most forgettable but the chorus hints that there might be more to Mitchel Cave's vocal range than first thought. Alas, he's back to whining on 'Into It' although it sounds like one of the other two takes over for the second verse which is short refreshing break. By far the best thing about Chase Atlantic as a band is Clinton Cave's ability to play the saxophone and slot it effortlessly into songs that would be sub-par without it.

Finally, there's their new single 'Church'. Someone's splashed out on a budget for the music video and whilst it is still fairly embarrassing, it's a vast improvement from the mess that was 'OBSESSIVE'. There's very clearly a specific target audience demographic for Chase Atlantic, which I obviously do not fall in to, but for that audience, as frustrating as it is to say, they do what they do quite well. Of the three songs on Part One, 'Church' seems the most carefully thought out; I wouldn't imagine that coming up with a chorus this big happened overnight. And alongside that, it actually sounds the least like they're trying to imitate other musicians! Good for you, Chase Atlantic.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Au/Ra - Kicks

The last time I heard a song called 'Kicks' it was from Lauren Aquilina and I was severely underwhelmed and for a reason that makes very little sense indeed, that permeated through to this new song, called 'Kicks'. "Oh, it's got the same name as that other song? Well it probably won't be that good." WRONG. This is an atmospheric, alt-pop (is that okay? are you allowed to call things "alt" now? not sure, I've done it anyway) jam channelling Lorde and Halsey with some pretty cool looking artwork. Sounds good, huh?

I read somewhere that Au/Ra is fourteen years old but I can no longer find where I read that and to be quite honest that just seems like the most absolutely insane thing to me. So we'll call it an alternative fact, for now. 'Kicks' is also only her second single which is another pretty insane thing to contend with. 'Kicks' feels so current, like, if pushed in the right places, there's absolutely no way this song couldn't be a massive hit, especially with a chorus as huge and catchy as this one. I'm also not sure I can continue without mentioning how stunning Au/Ra's hair is. Considering she was born in Ibiza and raised in Antigua, I'm very unsure of Au/Ra's heritage (I mean, not that it matters at all) but it's worked absolute wonders for her mermaid like aesthetic.