Mura Masa album review

After stunning us with his graceful, equatorial mixtape and EP, Alex Crossan is back, creating an album that sees him adapting to his rise of mainstream success; whilst holding true to the experimental collaborations we love him for.

Just looking at the feature list on this album is mouth watering. Damon Albarn,  A$AP Rocky, Bonzai, Desiigner – the list is endless. Many would say Crossan is a perfect example of how the internet age has effected the way music can be created, explored, listened to and loved, the 21 year old definitely stays true to this on the album. Living in Gurnsey, where It’s fair to say not a lot happens, Mura Masa started out in his bedroom and released music onto Soundcloud. A few years later he is one of the UK’s hottest producers and is playing big name festivals from Coachella to Reading and Leeds.

The album starts off with the most beautiful song on the record: ‘Messy Love’. I can never quite pin down what instruments make the blending soundscapes Crossan constructs but they just create the most blissful listening possible; this track is a prime example. Bangers like ‘Love$ick’ and ‘All around the world’ make the record varied in pace but it is such a consistently good album – it will be one for the summer for sure.

It is unlikely that Mura Masa’s rise is going to falter anytime soon. Although this album has been released, I feel it won’t be long before we hear even more hits and high profile collaborations from Crossan. Listen to this and keep your eyes peeled.

Rating: 8/10

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It is hard to believe that after a stunning second LP and equally as amazing EP, to coincide with the record, Flume wasn’t finished. But now the Australian producer has released something so extraordinary I can hardly type this review and contain my excitement. To companion his first companion EP, the Grammy and multiple Aria award winning electronic artist has dropped yet another 4 tracks that are heavier, spacier and as bass bulky as ever.

Starting off with an exasperating tune featuring the unsurprisingly impressive Pusha T, Flume combines his intricate nature enthused synths with the growling vocals of one of the worlds most respected rappers and makes a truly heart pounding, gritty explosion of textures. Listening to Flume makes you feel as if you are in a completely new universe, one so out of the ordinary that you hardly know what to do with yourself, both ‘Weekend’ and ‘Depth charge’ are no different. I feel as if some of the hooks hark back to his debut album, which is anything but a disappointment.

The artwork of the EP expresses what seems like a darker side to the music Flume was putting out in 2016, the majority of the tracks express this as well, especially the ending number featuring Dave from ‘Glass Animals’. As two of the most interesting artists currently out there, it was only a matter of time before they collaborated, it is truly unbelievable to think that these tracks were only really considered as B-Sides to the actual album but Flume treats us well, fulfilling our tropical electronic needs.

Go and check out what is one of the best musical projects to drop so far in 2017.

RATING: 9/10

VANT: Dumb Blood Album Review

VANT are one of the most politically driven indie rock bands to have risen from the recent surge in alternative music. Fronted by Matty Vant, the outfit have been releasing singles for a couple of years now, with a few making the cut for the final record. ‘Do You Know Me’ and ‘Parking Lot’ are two of my favourite tracks they have dropped and I feel they add an extra thump and dimension to their debut LP.

You can tell that this has been an album long in the running for the four piece and one they have put their heart and soul into recording. VANT are a band that simply care, whether this is about the broken political climate our world is in or the music they produce. Lyrically, the band are statement driven and seem to raise an issue in every number, ‘I don’t believe in God’ and ‘Peace and Love’ show this as much as any of their tunes.

The album kicks off with a minute long blend of ferocious guitar fuzz and amplified bass lines, showing their musical capacity as well as lyrical complexity. The opening track is called ‘The Answer’ and references the despair of UK-US involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars.

Ambitious, Important and truly raw, the tracks will go down a storm in their already raging live set, an album like this has been long in the waiting for their fans, but definitely worth it.

RATING: 7/10

Cherry Glazerr release new album ‘Apocalipstick’

Cherry Glazerr could be compared to any bands in the vein of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Cure or even the Kills. The Los Angeles indie outfit today dropped their second full length LP, following the impressive 2014 release ‘Haxel Princess’. With new members, but a similar teenage empowerment aesthetic, the band have taken the thrashing, fuzzy tracks off of their debut album, like ‘Whites Not My Colour This Evening’, and blended it into an unbelievable project.

Artists as famous and unique as Tyler, The Creator are worshiping the work of Clementine Creevy and her mates. She even featured on the final song of the rapper’s latest album ‘Cherry Bomb’, the track is called ‘Okaga CA’ if you want to check that out as well.

The likes of 6 music have been playing lead singles from the new album a lot recently, ‘Nurse Ratchet’ and the title track from the new LP are my personal picks and to me portray everything that is so brilliant about the rockers. Smashing guitar riffs, sumptuous vocals and drony bass lines run all throughout their stunning 2nd album. They are definitely ones to watch, and should be appreciated a lot more than they are at the moment.

Rating: 8/10

Loyle Carner releases debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’

Following several single releases and an EP titled ‘A Little Late’, Carner has finally dropped his first full length LP. Featuring hit songs like ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ and ‘No CD’, The album expresses a rich soundscape of amplified hip hop samples and prosperous instrumentation that combine to compliment the unbelievable lyricism the South London rapper offers.

The new material is up with the bangers Ben Coyle-Larner produces so often, my personal favourites are ‘Mrs C’ and ‘Damselfly’, which features fellow up and coming musician ‘Tom Misch’. The track’s powerful and honest lyrics portray Carner’s personal woes and vulnerabilities but in an intricate and fascinating way.

I have said this time and time again but Loyle Carner is the most important UK rap artist on the scene right now and this album will be one to only rise in popularity throughout 2017, his live sets are just as good as his music so if you have a spare £20 go and see him on his up coming tour.

 Rating: 8/10

Top 10 albums of the year

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

Kiedis and Co are certified rock legends and 2016 saw the release of their 11th studio album, which was a huge step up from their disappointing 2011 release ‘I’m with you’. In tracks like ‘Goodbye Angels’ and ‘Dark Necessities’ we get the funk aesthetic that we crave from such a prestigious band, if you haven’t already go check out the album, especially those tunes.

9. The Wytches – All Your Happy Life

Back with their second full length LP, the Wytches have diversified their sound and created a ghostly new record full of shrieking melodies and fascinating instrumentation. Tracks like ‘C-Side’ and ‘Ghost House’ are my personal favourites; seeing the new material live was a madness too.

8. Eagulls – Ullages

An anagram of the band’s name, ‘Ullages’ is an album that would be sinful to not listen to all the way through, it is a modern take on some 90s classic indie and truly develops their own sound, if it wasn’t unique enough already. Go listen to ‘Lemontrees’ and ‘Skipping’.

7. Kaytanada – 99.9%

This is one of the best albums I have ever heard from the mind of a self-confessed ‘Producer’. On the strongest debut LP of the year, Celestin shows he is much more than what he is labelled as, he is a true artist and one of the most important figures currently in world hip hop. Listen to ‘Drive Me Crazy’ and ‘Got It Good’.

6. Glass Animals – How to be a human being

Bringing even more tropical vibes to the world, Glass Animals second LP was highly anticipated and it didn’t fail to impress. Based around true stories that Dave Bayley heard from strangers he got talking to last year, the album exposes the realities of life in a way only Glass Animals could. Listen to ‘Pork Soda’ and ‘Youth’.

5. Flume – Skin

Harley Streten’s second album has proved he is one of the most gifted and intriguing electronic artists to have emerged from the broad landscape of electronic music. Collaborations with Vince Staples, Vic Mensa and even Beck shows just how versatile he can be in his production, check out ‘Helix’ and ‘Smoke and Retribution’.

4. Jamie T – Trick

An alternative idol, Jamie Treays released his latest LP back in September. Full of future classics, ‘Trick’ is a grittier album than the cleanliness of ‘Carry On The Grudge’, it truly establishes the rapper-songwriter-producer as a one man genre and thankfully he still hasn’t left the talent he possesses with his sampling. Go check out ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and ‘Solomon Eagle’.

3. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

The Detroit born mentalist that is Danny Brown dropped the most ambitious and experimental album I believe he ever has this year. Inspired by everything from Joy Division to Rage Against The Machine, this LP isn’t for the faint hearted but is one of the most important releases in modern rap, listen to ‘When It Rain’ and ‘Pneumonia’.

2. Skepta – Konnichiwa

2016 saw many album releases from the grime greats, whether it was Giggs or Kano but since its discharge, there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t listened or heard a song from ‘Konnichiwa’. It was definitely one of the most anticipated British albums of the year and Skepta did not disappoint, as he rarely does. Just listen to the whole thing.

1. Slaves – Take Control

If you know me well then you are probably thinking this is the most cliché number 1 I could have chosen but the roar punk energy of Slaves is something that no one can get near to at the moment. Produced by Mike D and perfected by Isaac and Laurie, it is an album of nothing but straight up punk bangers. Features from the likes of Baxter Dury just tops the record for me and makes ‘Take Control’ slightly more versatile than what ‘Are You Satisfied?’ was, you have to check out this album, buy it for yourself and everyone this christmas.

Flume releases new EP ‘Skin Companion’

To coincide with his latest album ‘Skin’, Flume is now debuting 4 new songs all in a similar vein to the material on his release earlier this year. Rich in punchy synths, beautiful, howling vocals and samples of an endless list of peculiar instruments, The tracks could have easily made the cut for his second album; but this just shows how strong of a record ‘Skin’ was.


My favourite tune from the EP has to be ‘Heater’, a song using similar synth patterns to innocence; the climatic build and crashing blend of electronic instrumentation makes it one of the best songs Harley has produced this year. Flume is one of the most important electronic artists of the decade and is constantly changing the way we perceive ‘EDM’ music, go and check out his new material below.

 

Album Review: Atomised – Virtual Strangers

‘Atomised’ is the project of a Cambridge based band,  featuring singer/song writer Andrew Ashworth and fellow song writer/guitarists Paul Ambrose and Greg Reid. Featuring  a DIY aesthetic that has been lacking recently in the music industry, ‘Virtual Strangers’ is an LP rich in emotion and blends of guitars from a spectrum of genres.

Melodic, dreamy and uplifting, the tone of the album makes for easy listening with intriguing lyrics subtly emphasising the pain of living in the ‘modern world’. ‘Tinselhead’ stresses this immediately through mixtures of rhythmic minor chords and infectious lead guitar riffs; the lyrics in the chorus are pretty catchy too as Ashworth mourns “this is real life” over his band.

Although it sets up the album well, the first track is not my favourite cut from the LP; the evident mainstream indie influences in ‘Slipping On Tightropes’ really stick with you. The orchestral elements complement the acoustic guitar, making the song flow effortlessly, whilst helping you to remain intrigued by the instrumental elements of the track. A distinctive feature of the album is its reference to space and extraterrestrial themes, the delay on the guitar in the concluding track arouses a psychedelic feeling and with lines like “the stars aline” you cannot help but feel this way.

Not knowing what to expect, I went to Atomised’s most recent gig in the upstairs of a local pub. The six members were crammed at the front of the room, playing to a congested crowd of mixed ages, but this just shows how versatile a record ‘Virtual Strangers’ is. The variation in instrumentation is why the record is so entrancing, but sometimes it seems as if certain layers of the music are thrown into the album to make the LP sound more complex, when really less would seem more in terms of the way many of the tracks pan out. The use of the trumpets in ‘No More Secrets’ doesn’t necessarily add to the song and thus it sounds a little over-produced. However the trumpets work in  a different way on ‘Virtual Strangers’, the title track of the album, where the brass instruments create an ironic sense of social triumph that Ashworth often states is lacking in today’s World.

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Originally, after my first play of the album, the drum patterns felt all too comparable throughout the record and thus the tempo was initially very similar. Listening to the album again I found that in tracks like ‘Impossible World’ Ashworth and Co proved me wrong. This song is certainly one of the most intriguing, the female vocals set a different tone to the record and harmonise with the piano to amplify a more mystical atmosphere than any of the other songs.

This album deserves more success than it is receiving now, you can listen to my favourite track ‘Slipping On Tightropes’ here:

 

 

Massive Attack: Ritual Spirit Review

To say I was excited about this EP would be a huge understatement, 6 years waiting to hear new material from a band is too long; especially when the group is as good as Massive Attack. The Trip Hop outfit have been around for a while, pioneering the 90’s Bristol scene since the release of their first album in 1991, their dramatically atmospheric dynamics are always intriguing, often failing to feature a chorus and preferring lavish orchestral arrangements.

The EP starts off with the track ‘Dead Editors’ and features the fantastic Hip Hop artist Roots Manuva. The sinister baseline and percussion is like a drug, incredibly addictive and hugely complimentary of Manuva’s dark lyrics. Massive Attack then move on to a song that is more to their classic sound, it features Azekel and carries on the slow tempo of the EP. In 2010 Grant Marshall rejoined the group and vowed to “bring back the black to Massive Attack” which he evidently has in this album as it sounds like one long, infectious tribal dance.

One of my favourite features on the album is Young Fathers, an electro pop group from Scotland who, in the past 3 years, have toured relentlessly, released 2 albums and won a Mercury: not bad if you ask me. The cut they feature on is called ‘Voodoo In My Blood’ and it sounds as if Young Fathers had a say on the instrumentation too; it’s fair to say that the mix of the two artists couldn’t have worked any better. The album ends in style with Tricky  being the last to have vocals on the record. The lyrics are undeniably devilish and it’s a real throw back to the days of ‘Blue Lines’ when Tricky was still in the band.

This is an EP you must check out, it’s easily the best record to drop so far this year.

Rating: 9/10 (Would have been 10/10 but it wasn’t long enough)

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