Gorillaz – Hallelujah Money ft. Benjamin Clementine

I am actually absolutely frustrated by the negative responses people have had towards this song. Mostly because most common complaint I’ve seen was that there was too much Benjamin Celmentine and too little Gorillaz. Are people oblivious to Gorillaz’s constant collaboration with the countless talented artists in the past? (I’m really quite pissed by those comments). It is the different collaborations that has made Gorillaz special and make each album creatively different. Some of my favourite Gorillaz songs are ones that where the featuring artist have sung a significant part, Fire Coming Out of A Monkey’s Head, Doncamatic (I’m not ashamed), November has Come, Stylo, Some Kind of Nature, Empire Ants, I could go on. I feel that Benjamin Clementine’s vocals actually add to the track, calm and collected but yet assertive and bold enough to capture your attention, actually making you listen to this political message of corrupt politicians and worshiping money, a message that is pretty relevant right now. I am always grateful to Gorillaz for introducing to me to these new, up and coming and exceptionally interesting artists.

Another common complaint that I seriously disagree with is that the track is boring. It’s anything but. The track is quite intriguing, it builds progressively but ultimately proves to be still calm and gentle, kind of leaving with you with chills (I kind of ignored Spongebob running away crying which I don’t think I want to analyse Spongebob). Maybe the beat seems uninspired but I think that it sounds just like the Gorillaz I’ve always known and adored and I think its composed ambiance of the track is just to make way for Clementine’s strong and poetic words spoken through his distinctively passionate voice. The beat actually nicely accompanies Clementine while Damon Albarn will from time to time softly question the future of the human race (a voice which I have missed), elevating the song to feel just that more poignant.

I love Gorillaz and have been anticipating their comeback just as much as any other fan but the escalating hype surrounding the Gorillaz’s comeback was probably this track’s downfall. I just think that expectations have been built up to the point that disappointment was inevitable. I really think that people just have to give a few more listens or just wait for the entire album to be released (I have faith in Gorillaz).

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Neon Lights’ Spectacular and Muddy Affair

The semester is over and how do I celebrate? By drudging through mud on festival grounds. Only for Neon Light’s stellar line-up would I ruin my new shoes. I read someone’s review about the festival somewhere about how he wasn’t into ‘indie’ music and thought that the festival would only attract a small crowd of hipsters and I was baffled. Neon Lights had an amazing range of acts being featured on their stages and I was extremely grateful to soak in some jazz, funk, hip hop, pop, RnB, folk, electronic, post-rock and of course, indie rock during the weekend. Whoever claims Neon Lights to be only an exclusively hipster event clearly did not enjoy the festival as a whole, or in the words of The Sugarhill Gang (one of the acts featured), they did not JUMP ON IT. Sure I saw a good amount of flower crowns but I’m pretty sure those got destroyed in the rain and mud.

Speaking of mud, it was probably the most prominent guest of the festival and many people had to say goodbye to their new shoes (that includes me) and festival outfits. But I kind of think that the mud made it more enjoyable cause what’s a  music festival without rain and mud? (Probably clean shoes and feet).

Neon Lights had a seriously mind-blowing line-up but since I’m just one person with no cloning abilities, I wasn’t able to able to catch everything. I did do my darndest (through the mud I might add) to catch a glimpse of every act over the two days and I came out more than fulfilled.

It rained on the first day but that didn’t dampen anybody’s mood, except maybe my shoes (I really loved my shoes sorry I can’t stop mentioning them). The rain may have delayed some of the sets like Lucy Rose’s, but she was so sweet about it her endearing personality just made it all better (like a mom tending a wound). Her songs felt so comforting during the rain and when I saw her tear up during ‘Shiver’, so did I. I even managed to get a picture with her *squeals*. Shura came on next and damn, I didn’t know you before but I do now. The energy she brought on stage was magnetic. She gave everything during her final song and I was left petty much impressed. Of course I couldn’t miss the headlining acts; Foals and Crystal Castles.

And oowee did Foals get me all hyped. Yannis is a born frontman and the rest of them were just on fire (looking at you Jack Bevan). Foals’s discography boasts a good range of indie rock, but songs from ‘Antidotes’ in my opinion, is where Foals truly shined. When I heard ‘Cassius’ live, I lost it. That song is so good, and even better live. That guitar solo near the end of the song probably made my shoes even more muddier, but it was worth it (just for you, Foals, just for you). Just when I thought Foals were the highlight of the day, Crystal Castles shows up and blows my mind away, while attempting to blind me with their strobe lights (thank god I made it out alive). I can’t say that I’m too fond of their songs from ‘Amnesty’ but their old hits still hold up even with Edith fronting the band. She does such a great job imitating Alice (if that’s what she’s going for), someone beside me kept mistaking her for Alice and even screaming Alice’s name (poor Edith). Crystal Castles’ set was a completely immersive experience, I even lost my voice without even realizing it, mostly because I was actually screaming “THIS IS YOUR BAPTISM!” Their set was intense, exhilarating and I don’t mind risking my eyesight again for them.

When we rolled into day two of the festival, we came to find that the mud has just overtaken the grounds of Fort Canning Park and I was grateful to trade in shoes for sandals that day (RIP new shoes though). I stumbled upon Pumarosa’s set and was pleasantly surprised, they had some solid songs that were easy to get into and the singer had a personality that you just gravitate towards. Shame they had such a small crowd. The Tallest Man on Earth, not so tall after all but still amazing nonetheless. He shared some similarities with Lucy Rose, sweet, endearing and he even managed to take the stage even without a full band. It felt like a full set with drummers and everything even though it was just him (I mean, who else could do that?).  When he shared to audience about his divorce, it just made his songs feel a lot more sentimental and meaningful ( chin up Kristian, your music’s amazing). He made enduring the mud a lot more easier.

I have to say that it was kind of jarring to go from folksy Tallest Man on Earth to post-rock 65daysofstatic. But the foursome are an incredible band that has a way of transporting you into another universe. Listening to them live was like being completely immersed in a good book. The four of them were entirely focused on their performance, moving at lightning-quick speed (almost impossible to take a photo) and I was just swept away by their live music. After that, I went to catch a quick look at Yuna and she was just stunning. I’ve never actually listened to her music but she sounded so smooth that day that I couldn’t help but sway to her songs. She was charming, delightful and had such a lush, rich voice and I had no regrets catching her even when I had to rush on over to Jose Gonzalez’s set. That man can serenade me any day, cause the moment he was on stage, I was captivated. His closing song ‘Heartbeats’, just made me want him to play forever.

Sigur Ros closed the entire festival and they blew my mind away. Even as a three-piece, their sound still felt powerful and moving. Jonsi’s falsetto was unyielding and did not let up (damn did that man had some impressive pipes on him). His voice made the entire performance that much more breathtaking. His band members Georg and Orri were also forces to reckon and their high energy could be felt throughout the park (I could almost feel the ground shake for some reason, or maybe my feet were just tired). Their set felt surprisingly short and I was already feeling sad that Neon Lights would be coming to an end.

It was truly one of the best weekends I have ever had (really). The people weren’t packed in like sardines and nobody gave me the up-down glare, judging me on how I look. The mud may have been a shortcoming but it was kind of a fun one (not exactly fun washing it out though). The line-up was amazing and its range attracted not just hipsters, but almost everybody who is basically a fan of music and having fun.Can’t wait for next year.

On a side note, I did manage to hear The Surgarhill Gang and BADBADNOTGOOD from afar and both of them still sounded splendid, my only regret was not being able to catch them.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Clipping. – Air ‘Em Out

Clipping. dropped a new video yo (it’s okay, I cringed too). Looks like Daveed Diggs has some free time away from being Thomas Jefferson and that Tony Award can’t save him in this X-Files situation he’s in for the video for ‘Air Em Out’. I’m no hip-hop expert or whatever, but I do know that I like this song and the video’s  equally good too (has that signature Clipping. concept of simplicity infused with “hidden messages”… or something).

The experimental hip-hop group impressed with their debut mixtape Midcity but I became more interested in their album CLPPNG. Their EP ‘Wriggle’ was nothing short of what Clipping. are capable of but it felt slightly toned down from the intricate noises that I usually hear from their songs (‘Shooter’ was banging though).

‘Air Em Out’ seems to be going back to those  intricate noises that were prominent in CLPPNG (well, to me but what do I know about hip-hop right). But it is just the first track released for their new album Slpendor and Misery which makes it as intriguing as the video (seriously, this is some Stranger Things shit).

Tagged , ,

A Weeze-tastic Time

IMG_3202 Edited.jpg

It’s the first time Weezer are going to step onto Singapore’s shores and no way in heck was I going to miss it (even though I have a morning class the next day). They may have been in the biz for about 20 years but they still seem as sprightly as ever (although Rivers is super pale, get some Singapore sun Rivers). They definitely can still hold their own on stage, giving an excellent performance while making it look completely effortless. With at least nine albums under their belt (a few questionable ones *cough* Raditude *cough*) I was hoping for an extra long set that would please those die-hard fans and also casual listeners. But oh well, the setlist only had 15 songs with the whole night coming to end at a kid-friendly time of 10pm (might as well, I have class the next day).

Weezer did compensate their short set with amzing showmanship which is this band’s strong suit (a striking contrast to their awkward but endearing interviews). They engaged the crowd, kept the energy level up (even though some people in the crowd were dull duds) and even entertained us with a couple of shenanigans here and there. Like that sombrero, that was a cute little prop he had there. Actually, there were absolutely no shortage of props that night. Leis were involved just to sing ‘Island in The Sun’ and Rivers even made a nice reference to Singapore being an island itself (thanks Rivers, appreciate it). A king outfit was even prepared for ‘King of the World’ which rivers donned oh so nicely. At one point, Rivers ran to the back of the convention centre to hug fans (AND I MISSED OUT ON IT). What a good sport though.

There was a nice blend of old and new songs that were played that night with ‘My Name is Jonas’ from the Blue Album and ‘Jacked Up’ from the White Album. Popular hits like ‘Undone (Sweater Song)’ and ‘Say It Aint So’ (the must-plays) were massive crowd-pleasers, at least I was screaming at the top of my lungs. The other albums were not forgotten of course, ‘Pork and Beans’, ‘Perfect Situation’, ‘Hash Pipe’ and ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’ showed off what their 20-year career was about. I do have one complaint; them mashing up 5 songs together was a little unsatisfying. ‘Dope Nose’, ‘Back to the Shack’, ‘Keep Fishin’, ‘The Good Life’ and ‘Surf Wax America’ are all fan favourites and only getting bite-sized versions of each song just leaves me hanging. I WANNA SCREAM SURF WAX AMERICA! I’LL TAKE MY BOARD FOR GOD’S SAKE.

 

DSC_7733 edited 3.jpg

The encore took a surprising turn, Rivers started covering Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ and I got caught up and started singing along (i’m not even fond of the song but Rivers got to me man). When that ended, he kind of started to read people’s tweets about the show aloud to the crowd. It felt like kind of a bust to me because there only seemed to be about two or three tweets that were in broken English (sorry I didn’t tweet during the show, was I supposed to?) His acoustic version of ‘El Scorcho’ managed to get us back on track and the whole band got back on stage to, (it’s a cliche but I’ll say it) rock it out! They ended the night with ‘Buddy Holly’ and I went all out. I mean all out, people were actually slowly moving away from me (i told you they were dull duds). Even by the end of it, the band didn’t seem to break a sweat and I was praying and hoping maybe (just maybe) they’d play more but alas, my prayers were not answered.

Rivers announced that they’d come back every year and they better because I wanna sing along to the full of ‘Surf Wax America’ okay. I’m expecting you, Pat, Brian and Scott to come again, do the meet and greet again and play ‘Surf Wax America’ AGAIN.

IMG_3263 Edited

Tycho – Division

My brother introduced me to Tycho but the album Dive just rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. It’s ambient electronica sound just reminded me of the soundtrack to The Sims, it’s relaxing sure but doesn’t exactly invoke anything in me (which I know is the point of Tycho’s music) but nothing from this album was memorable for me. Then when I realised that I had to read a ton of books for school and that music with lyrics were too distracting, I gave Tycho another go and listened to his next album Awake and it was a direction that I could get on board with. There were post-rock moments in Awake that were much more engaging and interesting for me. It seems that Tycho is going to continue in this direction with this track ‘Division’. The track is dynamic with some serious drum beats and outstanding synths accompanied with scintillating guitar lines. All that and with just a touch of an edge. Doesn’t harsh your mellow, but doesn’t just fall into the background either.

Tagged ,

On My Loop: Car Seat Headrest – TheDrum & Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me

Almost everybody has been gushing over Car Seat Headrest’s latest album  Teens of Denial and I was stoked to have something new to listen to. Will Toledo, the brains behind it all, has released at least a dozen albums which amazes me because I can barely even write nursery rhyme. Teens of Denial was the album praised to the high heavens but somehow I was just more inclined to check out the album prior to it, Teens of Style. The single off of that album ‘Something Soon’ is an amazing track that’s full with the feeling of exasperation and frustration. I’ve never found a lyric more relatable than I want to kick my dad in the shins because I seriously do (seriously). But ‘The Drum’ is the track that caught my attention because even though it might initially sound flat and detached, it feels almost confessional to me, kind of a reflection of some sort of problematic behaviour that all of us have probably displayed. But I have been repeating the bridge this is our lifetime and I am his creator, a young man slowly pulled apart by separate pulls of gravity for a pretty long time and is it possible to interpret since it came to him in a dream?

And ooh wee is Angel Olsen’s new track a fantastic one. Her album Burn Your Fire for No Witness had me smitten, it was a solid indie rock, lo-fi album with solid tracks. ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ is a bold step up from her previous album, elevating her sound that’s a perfect mix of sentimentality and attitude. I love it.

 

Tagged , ,

Future Present Past

2016_TheStrokes_CultRecords_260516Happy Strokes Day! (Yesterday)

2016 has been a pretty good year for new releases, well, for me. There was Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool which is beyond words, because I don’t think I’m capable enough of putting brilliance of that standard into words. There was also Chance The Rapper’s Colouring Book, Weezer’s White Album, Wild Nothing and Jake Bugg (actually only a couple of songs from him). So many more releases this year that I’ve been excited about. But the holy grail of releases has just happened and it’s The Strokes’ Future Present Past EP.

This band has been with me while I still had Sony Ericsson phone with a keypad and I thought that ‘Reptilia’, ‘You Only Live Once’ and ’12:51′ were the best songs ever (ah, the blossoming of my pretentious youth). Even though the albums that followed after Room on Fire were met with mixed reactions from fans I honestly thought they were pretty decent albums. Of course there were tracks from each album that I didn’t like but the songs that I did like definitely compensated for their weaker tracks. My favourite song from the band is actually ‘Razorblade’ from First Impressions of Earth (pls dun judge me). I know we can never expect them to return to the sound from Is This It but I think ‘Threat of Joy’ from this EP comes close.

The whole EP is a little something for every Strokes fan. A lot of people have been commenting on how ‘Drag Queen’ is for those who are more appreciative of JC + The Voidz’s  sound (how do I add an apostrophe if there’s a Z btw?). While ‘Oblivius’ is for those who are fond of ‘First Impressions of Earth’ and ‘Threat of Joy’ is for those who has been babbling how they miss the band’s ‘Is This It’ days. I sort of agree with the things said about ‘Oblivius’ and ‘Threat of Joy’ but I don’t think ‘Drag Queen’ necessarily reminds me of JC + The Voidz. Sure there’s an intensity from the bass but it’s subtler and it also becomes much more lighthearted than any JC + The Voidz track. I’d say that ‘You’re so Right’ from Angles is a lot more comparable to JC + The Voidz’s tracks than ‘Drag Queen’. The track kind of reminds me ’12:51′ to be honest.

I’m just on cloud nine right nowknowing The Strokes are together in the studio. I’m ecstatic but my fingers are still crossed though. I don’t need another Comedown Machine (it was nice the first time, please lord let there not be a second time).

You can listen to the EP here btw    http://cultrecords.com/

Tagged , , , ,

Not Everything I’ve Come to Expect

The Last Shadow Puppets |Everything You’ve Come To Expect|

shadow art

I’m not the internet’s busiest music nerd okay, I usually listen to music at my own sweet pace. Own time own target okay, so this review is coming very late because I just got around to it and despite what Alex Turner and Miles Kane may have titled their album, it’s not what I’ve come to expect from their sophomore album.

When ‘Bad Habits’ was released, I was pretty confused. I did hear a something that was reminiscent of their first album. It included the signature orchestra sound that I adore in their music but ‘Bad Habits’ was weirdly upbeat and felt like they were trying hard to step out of their usual calm and composed sound. Trying a bit too hard to me. I don’t know, I’m just not too fond of this track.

Then ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ came out and I was overjoyed to hear more new songs (besides ‘Bad Habits’) from the people who made The Age of the Understatement. Then I heard it and was slightly underwhelmed actually. It was a smooth, slow-paced and mellow track that was perfectly pleasant to listen to but it wasn’t what I thought a Last Shadow Puppet song would sound like. It lacked this dynamic energy and charm The Age of the Understatement had. But it’s more of a song that grows on you, it’s probably the bias I have towards Alex Turner, but the more I heard it, the more I kind of liked it.

‘Aviation’ seemed like similar track to ‘Bad Habits’ but a major step up from it but still just short of that TLSP charm I’m looking for. But ‘Miracle Aligners’ was a godsend (so far) for this album. It sounds very similar to that song ‘My Girl, My Guy’, which may explain why I like the song (what can I say, the hook is catchy). And the video that accompanied that song, my gosh, I haven’t giggled this much in a long time.

I have so many questions. Why are they tan? Why is Alex’s hair in disarray? Who taught them to dance? What’s up with with the flower petals in the beginning? Was Alex’s part dubbed or is he really speaking Italian? You know what, nevermind, I love the video. It’s a sweet representation of their blooming bromance that I am very jealous of.

Throughout the rest of the album, I can’t help but think that Alex’s and Miles’ newfound image of this exaggerated macho attitude has had a direct impact on the album. It sounds as if they’re trying extra hard to come across as suave and debonair. And if you stripped the album off of its orchestrated instrumentation, I think you might just get Arctic Monkeys’ AM. A very popular album, just not my favourite Arctic Monkeys album.

Tagged , ,

The Stone Roses – All For One

We all know the legend that are The Stone Roses and the anticipation we went through for a hint of new material from the band. But ‘All For One’ doesn’t exactly hold up. I know it’s unreasonable to hold the band up against their old work but this track just seems uninspired and rushed to me. Hearing that same cliched chant about camaraderie repeatedly  is a little worn-out. The lyrics itself look like they were randomly put together and the instrumentation is just as repetitive as the lyrics, even with the guitar solo at the end that sounds just a tad generic. There’s just something missing to this track cause I know The Stone Roses are capable of more. Hopefully the simplicity of the track grows on me later on because darn it I believe in this band and maybe the rest of album will be different (please lord).

Tagged ,

Zodiac Shit

Just a bunch of songs that I like, gotta keep up with the indie-electronica scene ammirite? (I’m not right and these songs transcend genres honestly). But this type of music was never exactly my favourite (i’ve liked a few songs here and there), but these songs are making a case for it. And there’s  Glass Animal’s new track ‘Life Itself’ which is a bouncy one. After two years since ‘Zaba’, they’ve returned with a track that’s exotically upbeat with a sleek chorus that will spur you to get you to your feet. I mean the lyric “she said i look fat, but i look fantastic” is bound to bring out some sort of reaction.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,