Franz Ferdinand @ Brixton Academy // 24.02.18

One of the most established 21st century Indie bands graced Brixton Academy yesterday with what could only be described as a fairly legendary show. Admittedly I hadn’t really listened to their new album prior to the gig but with one of the best debut albums in British history, and after seeing them at the Roundhouse 6 years ago, there was no doubt in my mind I was in for a treat.

Supporting Franz Ferdinand were Meggy Brown and Albert Hammond JR, both of which I missed but had been getting great reviews on the rest of the tour. After swiftly downing a few pints and rushing to the front through angsty middle aged couples looking to relive their uni days, I was soon being abruptly pushed around and belting out the lyrics to ‘The Dark Of The MatineĂ©’ – which followed on from opening song ‘Always Ascending’. The demographic of the audience was exceptionally varied, there is an obvious youthful cult following for the Glasgow lads and I highly doubt there was anyone in that audience who wasn’t having a great time.

My all time favourite Franz Ferdinand song has to be ‘Jacqueline’ and I was pleasantly surprised to see it still in the set list. I feel the band especially like performing the track and it got an incredible reception from the audience, arguably as good as ‘Take Me Out’, which we all know would normally steal the show.

The encore was a mix of old and new, ‘Feel the Love Go’ set the standards high but it was the unquestionable ferocity of ‘This Fire’ that lit the fuse for madness in Brixton – Kapranos inviting everyone to crouch down and then jump up for the familiar crazy chorus.

It was a memorable night in Brixton, and I can only hope that it won’t be as long before I see them again. It seems the tour is completely sold out now but if you can catch them on one of their upcoming dates I would fully recommend it.

Rejjie Snow releases his highly anticipated debut album ‘Dear Annie’

Back in late 2017, Rejjie Snow promised us all that 2018 would be his year. With several mixtape and single releases, fans were getting anxious that the Irish rapper would never announce a debut album but luckily, as of yesterday, we have one; its definitely been worth the wait.

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‘Dear Annie’ is an album diagnosed with love, Rejjie’s fresh and vibrant tones are certain to interpellate the hip hop music scene and hopefully put him up there with the likes of break out artists Goldlink and Mick Jenkins. It would be easy to compare Snow’s aesthetic as one similar to Loyle Carner’s but actually, due to working out in LA with producers as famous as Kaytranada, it seems this LP has sucker punched the artist’s visions in a more funky and soulful direction.

Has there been a more successful Irish rapper than Rejjie Snow? The quite simple answer is… No. Rejjie is a one man army here to revolutionise hip hop and once again he has out done himself, cutting his chest wide open and exploring ideas and concepts that, maybe 4 years ago, we didn’t think he ever would. With this album, has come a sense of maturity in the artist and his work, the album features the forever evolving ‘Jesse James Solomon’, on ‘The Ends’, and breakthrough American rapper AminĂ© on ‘Egyptian Luvr’. However, after giving the album its first full listen, the tracks that stood out to me were ‘Spaceships’ and the intro track ‘Hello’. Focusing on ‘Hello’, the beat is scatty and beautiful, implementing the happiness and cohesiveness of a gospel choir over a punchy trap beat. It is concepts like this that has made me so infatuated with Snow’s music and I can only hope that what we hear in the future is an evolution of this quite phenomenal body of work.

Be sure to go and check this album out, it is setting a high standard for hip hop in 2018. He is also going on tour very soon, previous shows have been unmissable.

rejjie tour

Bakar is back at it with ‘Million Miles’

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what Bakar is, you may have seen him on TopMan billboards, hanging out with Rejjie Snow or as part of Milkavelli’s 616 Laigon crew but it turns out he is also a very talented musician. Bursting onto the scene with 2017’s indie smasher ‘Big Dreams’, it was hard to ignore the London based Artist’s simplistic but unique sound. If Pete Doherty and Skepta were to ever interact sexually, Bakar would be the product. Although this is a disturbing analogy, it is one that you will come to grips with very quickly if you listen to his material.

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After a short hiatus following the release of track ‘Small Town Girl’, the man is back with the instantly groovy ‘million miles’ – his biggest showcase of the musical talent we all know he has. Tampering with echoey synths that could be likened to Tame Impala has amplified his innovative qualities and will hopefully be a feature of his future tracks. I’m a sucker for a cow bell anthem too; he uses it brilliantly in this song, similarly to how you would imagine The Specials to back in the day.

Bakar is definitely one to watch this year. You can bet on at least a couple more new tracks to come soon but, for now, go and check out ‘Million Miles’.

Rich Brian – Amen album review

Rich Brian, formerly Rich Chigga and 88Risings breakout star, has proved he is more than capable of making an enticing debut.

The immature fun of tracks like ‘Dat $tick’ and ‘Gospel’ is unfortunately gone, but his name change clearly shows his more mature direction, which is shown excellently on this album.

That’s not to say there are no bangers, ‘Chaos’, ‘Kitty’, and ‘Trespass’ are just some of the bragadocious, infectious tracks on this album which will most definitely hype you up. But the album shines most with its more reflective and self aware moments, the opening track speaks on how he’s the ‘stereotype’, who stresses over not getting Straight A’s, and how he’s doing it for the kids that look like him.

‘Occupied’ has a nasty, menacing trap beat that clearly shows his evolution. Whereas songs like ‘Cold’ sound heavily inspired by Kid Cudi’s ‘Man On The Moon’, and these influences help him shine. Tracks like ‘See Me’ capture the sound of youth and innocence, in fact the album is really about a young boy finding him self in his new found fame. And when Brian gets on his ‘Mac Demarco shit’ on love songs like ‘Glow Like Dat’, he definitely has our attention.

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The smooth, silky production is most definitely a strong point, and Brian’s personality shines through with his catchy hooks. The features are a little one dimensional, Offset delivers, whereas 88Rising’s Joji sounds as uninspired as ever. But luckily, no tracks overstay their welcome, and Brian is always the main star.

The album is a little confused as to whether it wants to be ignorant, or aware, and at points, it becomes a little repetitive in terms of subject matter and flows, but the production switches up enough for Chigga to ride the beats with confidence.

Many thought, in the era of ‘meme rap’ that there was no place for a teenager with an offensive stage name, but this album will likely let people know he’s grown passed this. We get a lot more sense of his backstory and personality on this album. He’s no longer just flexing on Hip-Hop culture, he’s found his place.

Rating: 7.5/10