Friday 24 March 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: So Okay

Good Lord. Let's just get this one over with. My favourite thing about this week though, actually, if I might, is that we have two completely opposite ends of the J-Lo spectrum scattered throughout the releases below and it's... well, it's laughable.

Selected Singles Added This Week:

A really strange bunch this week. The one song I can't get over is from a duo called 1 AMVRKA, a country and hip hop blend that really shouldn't work but I'm kind of obsessed with 'American Muscle'. Comebacks from pop-rock veterans Weezer and Blink 182 which I really rate, especially Blink's 'Parking Lot' which was quite an unexpected return to "classic pop punk". 'Can't Bring This Down', Bridgit Mendler's new collaboration with Pell further muddies the waters on what we're to expect from her as an artist but if the song is good, don't knock it, I guess? And finally an unexpected D'n'B banger called 'Questions' from High Contrast.

EPs Released Last Week:

Chloe Martini - Never Twice The Same I'm not sure how I even came across this because I've no idea who the hell Chloe Martini is. She is in fact a Polish DJ/producer who has enlisted a string of popular UK based singers to feature throughout her second EP. Both the BB Diamond and Anne-Marie featuring tracks go down a treat as slices of current radio ready electro-pop. As can be expected taking a look at her other recent solo efforts 'Faking It' starring Vanessa White is as dull as to be expected. 'Change Of Heart' feels like a throwback to something I can't quite place my finger on, but I'm into it. 3/5 tracks added to library.

High Tides - I'm Not Giving Up, I'm Just Starting Over No, I can't tell you what I like about this particular band because at times I think they really sound like Neck Deep, and we all know I think they're in the top five worst bands on the planet. There's absolutely no excusing this matey's faux American accent, I'll tell you that for nothing. But something about some of the songs on this EP feel surprisingly well crafted for just another UK pop punk band. I genuinely reckon if High Tides can pull this off live, they've got a shot at some sweet support slots in the near future. But I'm not sure if that line in 'Home' is about making him "feel better" or "feel badder". 3/8 tracks added to library.

Noréll - IY We have another Danish trio joining the ranks this week. I was really unsure about Noréll, I think I am still quite unsure but the pre-chorus on 'Toxic Love' convinced me that I can't simply ignore them. No idea what's going on in Denmark at the moment but there's gotta be some kind of pop revolution, right? I think, even though I'm not overwhelmed by IY, there's no doubt that there's definitely excitement and potential here. I'm keen to see what they do next. 3/5 tracks added to library.

Petrie - Slurs *A Bastien Rayno recommendation* (I want a soundbite that says that in a voiceover voice like artists used to put over songs on MySpace.) Petrie are a duo making music that's so off the wall I'm not sure I could even categorise it if I wanted to... but everyone else is calling it "alt-pop". The entire EP is only 12 minutes long so that's enough to knock you off your feet blink-and-you-miss-it style. The title track is definitely a cut above the other songs on Slurs but it all feels like a very good introduction to what this pair are capable of. 3/5 tracks added to library.

Strong Asian Mothers - Animal This EP came out a few weeks ago but prior to last week I had no idea that Strong Asian Mothers weren't just another terrible indie band. I was very wrong. This three track EP is a whirlwind 13 minutes of good electronic indie pop, and it really feels as though this band should be on their debut album by now. I don't know why I feel this way, I just do. Anyway, this EP was just a nice personal discovery that I thought I'd throw in. 3/4 tracks added to library.

Albums Released Last Week:

Drake - More Life I'm really glad that we're all able to agree that More Life is miles better than whatever the heck Views was. But having said that, it's the features that make this album (playlist, whatever, it's a goddamn album) as good as it is, the English artist features to be specific. In fact the only track I've kept that's featureless is 'Teenage Fever' which I think is possibly one of the best uses of a sample in 2017 thus far. This is J-Lo's standout moment of the week; it's faultless. Speaking of samples, this video from Genius (and their one for Views actually) is really good. I do still think Drake is the wettest man in hip hop; the guy needs to get a grip. I'd actually quite like him to find a niche that isn't pandering to dancehall or grime, just do your own thing, man. 5/22 tracks added to library.

Frances - Things I Never Said I find artists like Frances really difficult to cover in any respect because they're just not remotely for me in any guise. I really love 'No Matter' which is by far Frances' most upbeat track to date but I just found the rest of her debut record super bland. I thought I liked 'Say It Again' but I'm actually not sure I do. Also I've already added the Basic Tape remix of 'No Matter' to this month's library so I guess that means: No tracks added to library.

Pitbull - Climate ChangeHere's the thing with Pitbull; regardless of how good or bad any of his songs are, he sounds exactly the same on them all, his verses are the same on them all and the subject matter is the same on them all. Am I surprised? No. Was listening to this album a bit of a waste of time? Yes. The low point of Jennifer Lopez's career this week is her appearance on 'Sexy Body'... featuring a sample from a cover... of a cover. Please, let Zara slay in peace. There are two redeeming moments on Climate Change though, the first being Ty Dolla $ign's track 'Better On Me', nothing he does is bad so need I say more. The second comes in the form of Pitbull's unnecessary (but I'll take it) version of the Ape Drums remix of Steven A. Clark's 'Can't Have'. The original was one of my very favourite tracks of 2015 so honestly, I'm just stoked for Clark and hopefully the interest he'll receive from this. 2/12 tracks added to library.

Zara Larsson - So Good Unfortunately, this album is not what any of us wanted. Overall, it's an "alright" pop album, isn't it? We've already heard the standout moments as singles and the only other track that comes anywhere close is 'Funeral'. There are a lot of ballads on here so obviously those were a write off for me, but even on the more upbeat songs the choruses seem to fall really flat throughout. This record is just really disappointing. I would assume that we may see a deluxe version make an appearance some time in the autumn possibly featuring some of the tracks her fans are upset didn't make the cut this time around. Also, I absolutely loathe the Clean Bandit song - I've somehow categorised it as a ballad and I wish so much that it wasn't Zara Larsson featured on it. 9/15 tracks added to library.


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