Friday 3 March 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: A Pleasant Surprise

I'd really like to find some time this weekend to properly get back into this whole blog thing. Basically, I started a new job last week after almost three months off work so you'll forgive my tardiness. Here's the final update to February's library.

Selected Singles Added Last Week:

The real surprise of this week in terms of singles is that there are an entire two new versions of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’ and I don’t hate either of them. Whilst Stormzy is well and truly ruling the roost his new verse is more than welcome, and Major Lazer’s remix is also very good. In terms of things and people we’ve (collectively, you and I) never heard of before, Baynk’s (is that just pronounced like Bank?) ‘Poolside’ is very good; the same can be said for DAVID44’s ‘Stay’. Even more so than Ed Sheeran, the song I really didn’t expect to like this week comes from Billie Eilish and her unfortunate, but fortunate for us, ‘Bellyache’.

EPs and Albums Released Last Week:

Bea Miller - chapter one: blue What’s up with Bea Miller? Somebody needs to burst in on her in the studio, take control and give the girl some direction. Her single ‘yes girl’ which came out last year was so promising, but this three track EP is a mess. ‘song like you is so bog standard, ‘burning bridges’ has the makings of an excellent pop song but the chorus sample of ‘London Bridge is burning down’ is beyond dire, and ‘i can’t breathe’ is a Ruth B-esque ballad. No tracks added to library.

Brayton Bowman - 22 Minutes Later I guess this is fairly well known but Brayton Bowman and MNEK were previously an item, and thus MNEK has co-written and produced this entire EP to the point where it literally sounds like it could be a covers EP. The latter three tracks (WHAT'S REALLY GOOD?', 'Kustom Made', and 'Feel You') are quite good either way, but one cak only hope Bowman distances himself musically from MNEK on new material just so we can hear what kind of an artist he actually is. All of the spoken and interlude bits are straight up terrible though. 3/7 tracks added to library.

Guillotine - Sapphire I'm finding this EP really hit and miss personally. Sometimes I think parts of it sound great, and then other times I think those exact same parts don't sound great at all. Opener 'Butterflies' is definitely the standout but I guess everything just plateaus a bit from there. Guillotine do undoubtedly have the makings of a good band though and I have only positive expectations for whatever they put out next. I was sad to miss their first show last week though, but they're supporting The Maine soon which is wild. 1/5 tracks added to library.

John Mayer - The Search for Everything - Wave Two So John Mayer is putting out his new "album" via a series of four track EPs, is that right? If not, the situation is something similar. 'Still Feel Like Your Man' is alright but I will be zero percent fussed if I never hear it again. 'Helpless' is good. One of the other tracks is called 'Emoji of a Wave'... like come the fuck on, man. 1/4 tracks added to library.

Albums Released Last Week:

Decade - Pleasantries Album of the year so far, basically. This is by far the best material the Bath five piece have produced to date. I wasn't a fan of their debut album but Joe Marriner assured me that I'd like the follow up, and he was not wrong. Decade have melded the summery and upbeat elements from their earlier material with gloomy lyrics and a "current"/popular sound and pulled it off exceptionally. I genuinely think this is an album for any rock fan, it truly hits the nail on the head throughout. They're also on a headline tour next week, check it. Every single one of these songs added to the library.

Horrorshow - Bardo State Going into this album I'd only previously heard two tracks, 'If You Know What I Mean' (which I absolutely love) and new single 'Ceiling Fan', but I was so uncontrollably excited to listen to this record and not one iota of it disappoints. 'Astray' featuring much hyped (by me) Dan Caplen is one of my favourite songs of the year so far. It genuinely soars and I love it so much that I frequently struggle to get past it when listening to the album in full. (As frequently as is possible in under a week.) Cherry Blossom is also a stand out, I love that Horrorshow can pull off a song as sappy as this whilst still managing not to sound lame. All of these tracks added to library.

Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer I'm really torn over this album. When it's good, it's excellent but when it's not good, it's really boring. There are two issues with this album that kind of intertwine: 16 tracks is too many, and there are a lot of ballads. Whilst I appreciate that a change of pace is important, 'Velvet' does this really well', and wall to wall bangers might result in a headache, there are points where GSAP slows down to almost an entire halt at some points. It goes without saying that 'Big For Your Boots' is probably one of the greatest songs of our generation, but 'Don't Cry For Me' is the real gem tucked away towards the end of the record. Personally, I think it's one of the best vocal performances we've ever heard from Raleigh Ritchie and he is the perfect feature on such an honest song. 10/16 tracks added to library.

THEY. - Nü Religion: HYENA I don't like THEY. I haven't since their inception really, and the grammatical nightmare that their name induces is just the tip of the iceberg. As it goes, I wasn't expecting to enjoy any aspect of their debut full length, however, I have. That being said, we have heard a lot of these songs on the lead up to this album, including the three tracks from the duo's debut EP released two years ago. When they're good THEY. do enough to break apart from their RnB/hip hop peers to put their own stamp on the genre, but at other times, they're just a more mature Rae Sremmurd. 4/14 tracks added to library.

Thundercat - Drunk This album is a slog if ever I saw one. Imagine having 23 tracks on one singular album yet so many of those tracks being peculiar jazz interludes. Is this what jazz is in 2017? Not that it's something I would have cared for prior to now, but it's a mission to get through this thing, it really is. This was actually so much of a battle I don't have any real thoughts on it. 3/23 tracks added to library.

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