Friday 17 March 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: Two Weeks Become One

Two weeks ago things were depressing, and by things I mean the fact that there were very few releases worth talking about as Ed Sheeran unleashed the monstrosity that is Divide. It was so tough for me, in fact, that I just couldn't muster one of these posts last week, so here's two periods of seven days rolled into one. NB: A lot of these comments are far longer than initially intended, so sorry for the essays, mates.

Selected Singles Added This Week:

A quick-fire recap: Benjamin Ingrosso's 'Good Lovin' is everything we could have wanted from a Swedish Justin Bieber. Eden Prince has put out a very good cover of JT's 'Señorita' and has not dared mess with those pronouns. LANY have a new song called 'Good Girls' that I'm now a bit fed up of. Mabel's first single from her debut EP 'Finders Keepers' is a grower you need to stick with. I have no idea who Sabrina Claudio is but 'Too Much Too Late' is like a cross between Syd & JoJo and it's fucking rad. Oh, and Skylar Stecker of all people bringing in an absolute belter. There's some others too, just check out the playlist, man.

EPs Released Last Week (And The Week Before):

CHINAH - Hints Since the inception of Off Bloom last year, CHINAH have had their work cut out defending their Best Danish Trio title but their new EP may have just edged them ahead again. I wasn't too keen on 'Even Love' or 'Can't Remember How It Feels' as standalone tracks but when put together on Hints everything sounds really cohesive. 'If I Stay' is definitely the hidden gem on this EP to the extent where I can't quite work out why it wasn't put out as a single. Overall I still prefer CHINAH's debut, Once The Lights Are On, but for a band still so early in their career, this slight dip in pace doesn't worry me at all. 5/7 tracks added to library.

KYKO - Wildlife Look, my issue isn't that Kyko's songs don't sound good, it's that they don't sound special. The production and sampling on Wildlife ('Horizon' especially) is impeccable. But is "trop pop" something we need in 2017? I'm not sure if my growing fear of "trop pop" stems from the atrocity that Natives (the band) have become but I do think it's something I'm trying to pretend doesn't exist. More pressing though, I just don't think Kyko's voice is particularly interesting to listen to which is: A Problem. After some time I've pretty much decided I don't like this EP at all. No tracks added to library.

LÉON - For You I didn't think I liked LÉON, yet here we are. This is a good example of why you should listen to an artist's new material even if you weren't arsed about what they were up to previously. Maybe it's the swears in the first too tracks that's given LÉON the edge to me now. (I have no idea how sweary she was previously, but I'm into it.) 'For You' and 'Sleep Deprived' really hit the "female singer/songwriter quirky yet chill and also very marketable and current" nail on the head. The other tracks, not so much, but we know how I feel about ballads. 2/4 tracks added to library.

Ralph - Ralph 'Cold To The Touch' is such a slamming start to this EP. Imagine all artists opened their debut EPs with a song that's this good. This EP is essentially a collection of everything Ralph has released thus far and then some. Unfortunately I'm not mad into the rest of this release but it definitely oozes a lot of potential. A Canadian to keep an eye on. 2/6 tracks added to library.

Albums Released Last Week (And The Week Before):

Can't Swim - Fail You Again I'm finding this album really fucking difficult to get in to and it's stupidly frustrating, even more so that the only reason I'm still going at it is because I want it to penetrate my skull. But it's just not happening. There's so much going on on Fail You Again in terms of themes and genre-melding, it is quite a lot to take in, and it just makes me super intrigued about what Can't Swim's audience is like. This isn't a bad album by any stretch, I just can't connect. No tracks added to library.

Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel Can you believe it's been over a year since the inception of 'Vroom Vroom'? With 2016's EP in mind, Number 1 Angel feels like the natural follow up. Featuring a vocal cast of exclusively female artists, this ten track "mixtape" isn't bad at all. In fact, it actually feels quite put todgether and sophisticated to even call it a mixtape, especially when put alongside similarly categorised bodies of work Charli XCX released before her first album. (Mid-flow thought: Completely forgot about the entire existence of 'After The Afterparty.) I think 'Roll With Me' is one of Charli's best songs to date, and opener 'Dreamer' is also very good despite my often questionable feels about Raye. I love Abra on 'Drugs' too, I mean, I love Abra on anything but this track is a good vibe. 4/10 tracks added to library.

Ed Sheeran - Divide This must genuinely be the worst best selling album of all time because by God is it nothing but a wet mess from start to finish. Remember way back when Ed was all over SBTV doing his sing-rapping and attempting to be an urban artist? Well, somewhere along the line that's had a pretty horrible run in with folk, dancehall and whatever the hell 'Bibia Be Ye Ye' is, and it's turned out for the worst. Is this no pop music's most rampant case of cultural appropriation yet? By and large, I'd say Divide is pretty drab and depressing but (singles aside) there's obviously 'Galway Girl' and 'New Man' slotted in to prevent listeners from falling asleep. I won't lie, I laughed out loud when 'Galway Girl' started and at no point did it get any less hilarious. 'New Man' is the only song I could have even possibly shown an interest in like and is that solely due to the Jessie Ware co-write? Possibly. I just genuinely can not fathom what anybody likes about this record. No tracks added to library.

Mallory Knox - Wired I used to be an extremely active Mallory Knox fan, proper used to love this band, but I've outgrown them and that alone is this Cambridge-ish based five piece's problem; in the past five years they've shown such little progression in style and ideas that there's no longer anything exciting about them. This is the same album you've heard twice before. Sure, there are good songs, 'Lucky Me', 'Giving It Up' and the title track, but beyond those there's barely anything to stick around for. 3/11 tracks added to library.

Minus The Bear - VOIDS Minus The Bear are a proper underrated band, aren't they? One of those where you just sit back and think, "why aren't this band huge?" Typically they aren't a band that I'd particularly like but there's so much appeal on VOIDS. The chorus on opener 'Last Kiss' is massive, the hooks on 'Invisible' are the kind indie bands can only dream of, and the frantic nature of 'Robotic Heart' is to die for. An upsettingly overlooked record by pretty much everyone. 5/10 tracks added to library.

Our Hollow Our Home - Hartsick I still, in 2017, fairly unashamedly enjoy metalcore and I think that Our Hollow, Our Home are one of the few new UK bands who do the genre quite well, but I've found this album taxing. At times it's a disappointing case of metalcore by numbers and that's definitely not something worth spending time on at this point in my life. More often than not I'm finding myself just waiting for the chorus to kick in and to be quite honest, ain't nobody got time for that. After about five listens I'm just straight up sacking Hartsick off to be honest. No tracks added to library.


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