What a great time to be alive. What a great year to be an artist. What a week of releases.
Let’s get to the best releases of the week.
‘Perfect Illusion’ – Lady Gaga
Counting down the months for 2016 to be over with, and legends keep dropping tracks and albums. Lady Gaga could not be left behind with her release ‘Perfect Illusion‘, her first solo work in three years. Keeping a very Gaga like fashion, the track keeps a hyperactive drum line in the background that keeps the song from falling flat and a series of occasional dramatic synths help the song keep that 80’s overly motivational cameo soundtrack vibe. It still has an Artpop touch but not so polished, more free and disturbed. The vocals definitely stretch further than anything we saw in Gaga’s range in a very long time. Catchy lines such as “It wasn’t Love” and “It was a perfect illusion” reminiscenceiconic vocal melodies like the ones on ‘Bad Romance’ but with a scratchy grip. It is intended to be a song you can get use to listen to 30 times a day and we are kind of ok with that. We can only hope to hear the rest of the album soon.
Straight from the Republic of Swagerstan, M.I.A is flooring this week’s releases with the full length album ‘AIM‘. Accompanied by Zain, Diplo and Dexta Daps, the album is a solid follow up to commercial and critical success of Matangi. Songs like ‘Swords’ and ‘Borders’ have already been roaming online for a few months, Borders even caused much controversy for the graphic imagery on the visuals for the song and revived a long time feud with M.I.A and professional sports teams. ‘Visa‘ hollers at her fellow Mexican fans and embraces their hustle in a stand against Trump, and ‘Swords’ provides the ultimate “girl power” visual story with a music video filled with hundreds of young women warriors showcasing mad skills. Regardless of the year, regardless of the times M.I.A will and forever be the queen of political stands. She uses her music to create awareness on social issues and awareness to forever stop listening to basic ass music.
Bon Iver is back and is more human than ever. “33 GOD” is deconstructed, raw, and totally vulnerable. He no longer hides behind catchy verses and cliche’ love songs. His lyrics are more like a strewn out stream of thought and he is more lovable than ever. “33 God” beautifully articulates honest human fallibility. Although more obscure than previous work, “33 God” could not be more on point.
There’s a certain ease about Isaiah Rashad‘s music, its mature, its confining and calming. ‘4r Da Squaw’ literally talks about bills and responsibilities, about being financially left behind in the game of adulthood. Yet, its careless. The video and the track talk about how stacking memories is more gratifying then stacking zeros in your bank account. The music video was directed by TDE president Dave Free and features a young boy and Isaiah having a hell of a time by the boardwalk, they had 4 dollars to their name but that didn’t stop them from experiencing the hell out of their day. The track is the last installment to be released as a single from his album The Sun’s Tirade, which is out now.
LVL Up’s new single “Pain” is currently on repeat for me. What I love about “Pain” is the slow build: the song begins rhythmically and builds into a pretty hard-hitting indie rock song. The slow build into hard hitting rock is reminiscent of Built to Spill and while LVL Up’s “Pain” is 5:35 minutes, it still is not as lengthy as Built to Spill’s epic jams. The noisy and fuzzy guitars in “Pain” are badass too adding to the somewhat angst of the song. The lyrics also give this song depth. “Pain” seems to be mostly directed towards a person that has hurt a loved one and the lyrics are so on point: “ will you repress the demons in your head/ the white noise puts you to sleep” “I hope you’re cold/ I hope you grow old/ And never find love” The more that I listen to this song the more that I like it. While I find LVL Up similar to built to Spill on the bands website they describe their sound “The music itself grows from a shared melodic and experimental sensibility, as well as a nod to iconic influences like Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie.” The single “Pain” comes from the groups sophomore album, Return to Love, which is set to be released September 23 on Sub Pop.
Mick Jenkin’s smooth flows make an unlikely, but perfect, pair with BADBADNOTGOOD on the single “Drowning”. The single deviates from Mick Jenkins usual hip hop sound. His rap is slowed down to sound more like a manner of speaking. BADBADNOTGOOD maintains slow and steady instrumentals as a backdrop for this new single. The song feel like a persuasive conversation that I don’t mind having over and over.
British producer SOHN is back with a stunning new music video staring and directed by the Fifth Element star Milla Jovovich. The black and white visuals are very simplistic yet filled with powerful imagery of self doubt and self destruction. When asked about the project SOHN mentioned to Stereogum “I sent Milla some of my new music while she was in Paris — we got on the phone and she had these beautiful visions of what “Signal” could be visually. It was really clear that she would be the perfect person to bring it to life and it became a real collaboration between friends and artists. We ended up with this incredible, emotional one-take video that just blew me away as I saw it unfold live. As an actor and a director, I feel like Milla somehow managed to translate the heart of the music into images on screen… The performance is so gripping, and the motion and beauty of the shot just blows me away.“
Its very difficult being Vince Staples, figuring out schedules and dealing with productions and photoshoots. The guy stays extremely busy and I think we need to hook him up with a vacay spot before he loses it. Actually, if him loosing it means we will get more visuals like the ones from Prima Donna, maybe we should put some pressure on the dude. The film is something like a wicked acid trip that explores Vince’s unconformity with being in the pubic eye and having zero privacy. About how his personal experiences don’t feel personal anymore. It’s some of the darkest work we’ve seen from Staples to date.
I remember almost a year ago during a periscope live feed with Jared Followill, he mentioned that the band had plenty of tracks under their belt for more then one album. But that they were not ready to release anything until they were sure it was their best work to date. It got me super hyped, it got everyone on the chat super hyped. Yesterday they released ‘Wasted Memories’, and well lets just say that the promise did not stand completely. The song falls bland and feels unbalanced throughout the first half, vocals are barely acknowledgeable and the rifts are extremely commercial and not the most memorable. Yet, it’s still a Kings of Leon track and we can still hear that technique we know and love somewhere in the mix. I can truly hope that this release is just a bad choice for a first single, and that the rest of the album sounds nothing like this. ‘Walls’ is set to be released later this year.
Post Malone accomplished something only Travis Scott had done for me before, making Bieber likable. On this track both vocals run smoothly under a silky vintage organ melody. It is a very different direction for the Texas native, and we are all about it.
Something is going on with JMSN, the man has so much to offer to the game right now. In May he released a full-length album ‘It is’ which gave us some of the most soulful tunes of the year. Now as his alter-ego Pearl, JMSN brings a more intricate sound that reminisces his older sounds. ‘Closer’ has a certain kind of vibe that targets the most convoluted music lovers. Tracks like ‘Turnin’ Tricks’ and ‘Something going on’ are the perfect tracks for the professional saboteurs, the people who rather ditch their plans or compromises to get high and get lost in a solitary world of mind-altering sounds.
Released via White Room Records and accompanied by the beautiful vocals from Nylo, Devon Baldwin, Alexa Demie, Niia and many other female vocalists. ‘Closer’ is an experimental R&B 10 song album that can be put in the same category as the new PARTYNEXTDOOR, Badbadnotgood or Kaytranada. Get your candles and incense ready lovers.
Oh Lord. Blessed are the masterminds that transformed such a classical piece into a modern youthful classic. ‘Stayin Alive’ was a track that changed the world for the best a few decades back. It was daring, it was empowering and so sensual. Today we have two beautiful babes who had a vision to bring us that feeling back, Say Lou Lou is a due composed by a the Aussie twins Miranda Anna and Elektra June Kilbey-Jansson and they are responsible for this refreshing project. Make sure to keep up with them.