Tuesday, September 17, 2013

FKA Twigs - EP2

This new EP is so good! I don't know much about FKA Twigs, but I do know that my favorite producer of the moment, Arca, produced all four songs.

I can't say Twigs has the greatest voice, but her voice definitely blends in perfectly with Arca's out-of-this-world beats. The entire album sounds like it was recorded underwater, and Arca's beats provide the perfect combination of "damn son this is nasty" and "i feel your pain Twigs-bro".

My favorite song off this EP is "Papi Pacify", which sounds like a song Madonna could have made had she continued down the dark-pop path further. Come to think of it, any of these songs would fit in nicely on Bedtime Stories.

Speaking of Arca, his recent mixtape &&&&& is totally free and absolutely worth the download. It doesn't sound as finished as Stretch 2 or EP2, but it has a ton of moments that make you go:

"What the fuck was that?"

"Yet I LOVE it"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady

After an album as diverse, unique, and fun as 2010's The ArchAndroid, it's almost expected that the follow-up won't be able to achieve the greatness of its predecessor. I mean, how many ideas can one artist have? 

I am excited to hear that this is not the case with The Electric Lady. Janelle sounds just as on top of her game as she did in 2010. The primary difference between that album and this is the lack of diversity. But what The Electric Lady lacks in rock or folk elements, it gains in a dedication to achieving a unique R&B sound. 

Don't get the wrong idea that by focusing on one primary genre that this album feels stagnant. One second she's singing a smooth duet with Miguel, the next she's grooving to a guitar riff that could have been pulled straight out of a Funkadelic song. Stevie Wonderesque synths dance all over "Ghetto Woman", and Janelle sounds like the leader of a gospel choir in "Victorious". 

Guests include Erykah Badu, Solange, and Prince, but they serve more importantly as inspirations for Janelle's funky sound than for their voices--this is without a doubt Janelle's show. Her vocal performances are really excellent, on "Look Into My Eyes", her voice is downright cinematic (the interlude into "Suite V Electric Overture" helps to lend the cinematic effect).

I love the sound Janelle has honed on this record! I am also really hoping her song with Miguel (below) gets some radio play. It's time for the world to know Janelle as more than a Target/Covergirl commercial star!

Friday, September 6, 2013


So, I guess I have a bit of a confession to make... I've been listening to a lot of metal recently. Typically when I think of metal fans, the coolest people don't really spring to mind.

Me right now.

Regardless, here are some albums I've really been into lately.

Inter Arma - Sky Burial

This album is extremely slow, muddy, and altogether heavy. At times they sounds like an extremely heavy Pink Floyd singing about Cormac McCarthy's world in The Road. I use the term "singing" pretty loosely here. Screamed vocals with a ton of reverb is the norm here, really blending in with the music nicely. The vocals stand out to me a lot more now that I've looked up the lyrics, but I kind of preferred how I heard them before as just another instrument in the mix. Inter Arma uses a technique familiar to those who fell in love with The Seer last year in seemingly endless repetition to pummel the listener into submission. The comparison to Swans really ends there though, as the repetition used here is that of a single riff, Swans prefers the "single chord over and over again" approach. I feel like this might be a really great introduction to "nu-black metal", especially if you're a Pink Floyd fan.
Inter Arma - The Long Road Home

Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction

I think I have a thing for really slow, heavy, doom-laden metal. Pallbearer follows in Black Sabbath's footsteps and takes doom a step further, creating 12-minute epics full of awesome riffs and never breaking the 80 bpm barrier.* The singer has an excellent voice that fits the music perfectly. It's got a tinge of Ozzy, but lends itself to a more "singing about wizards" vibe. If this is more you're style of headbanging, definitely check this album out.
*Disclaimer: I have no idea how accurate this statement is. "The music is slow" is the point I'm trying to make here. 

Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory & Injury

This album is not slow, nor muddy. If I were to describe this album succinctly, it would be "evil as shit". I'm not 100% sure a true guitar chord is ever played on this album. It is fast, aggressive, dissonant, and I don't think the singer is singing about wizards. Again, in this case, "singing" refers to maniacal screaming about who knows what. I'd rather not look up the lyrics to this one, mostly because I can assume it's some variation of "I'm angry. God sucks. Death and decay." in as many different colorful ways as possible. Reading metal lyrics is usually pretty silly, as the music conveys whatever emotions far better than actually saying "I'm angry" ever could. 
Altar of Plagues - A Body Shrouded (I realize I just talked about how abrasive Altar of Plagues is, but I'm posting the song that got me into them in the first place, which is fairly melodic)