Monday, May 18, 2015

Stormzy: "Shut Up"

I'm always deeply appreciative when MCs step outside the usual funk/R&B comfort zone when sampling, so when grime up-and-comer Stormzy decides to freestyle over an old, bucolic XTC track you best bet I'm paying attention. The London MC goes in hard given the languid nature of the backing track, but somehow makes it work seamlessly.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Róisín Murphy: "Exploitation"

Unfortunately I can't find the mesmerizing 9.5-minute album cut so this 4:20-friendly single mix will have to do. Róisín Murphy - of the Róisín Bran Murphy's, of course - spent the first decade of her music career fronting the seminal techno-pop UK act Moloko before striking off on a solo career that, thus far at least, has proven more critically acclaimed than publicly lucrative. Murphy's lack of fiscal fortune is our artistic gain, as the entirety of Hairless Toys seems engaged in outdoing even the mighty Björk in terms of flirting with pop conventions while still keeping them stubbornly at arm's length (please extend the similarities no further than similar intent; I could have just as easily compared Murphy to Kate Bush or even a less calculating St Vincent).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Coal Chamber: "I.O.U. Nothing"

I don't know that I'd care to see a permanent Coal Chamber reunion sideline the superior Dez Fafara vehicle Devildriver for good, but as a (presumably limited) reprieve Fafara has arguably recorded the best Coal Chamber album since 1997's self-titled debut. The unnecessary initialing in "I.O.U. Nothing" - for fuck's sake, I.O.U. actually stands for the exact thing you've meant to cheekily pun it with - veritably screams out 90's dinosaur, but the catchy songwriting and Miguel Rascón's insistent pinch harmonics carry the day.

Rivals will be out next Tuesday, May 19.

High on Fire: "The Black Plot"

It's been something like three years since High on Fire had to cancel a tour so singer/guitarist Matt Pike could enter rehab, but the dearth of intoxicants has done little to temper his angrily defiant songwriting. Coming fresh off a reunion tour with his old band Sleep, Pike and co. reconvene for the upcoming album Luminiferous, HOF's first in three years, of which "The Black Plot" is the first taste. Nothing we haven't really heard before out of the trio, but then the band have never been overtly experimental, so given expectations this scratches a proper itch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

STS & RJD2: "Tennessee (Whiskey Revival)"

Emphatically NOT a slightly retitled cover of the old Arrested Development classic, this collaboration between STS and journeyman DJ RJD2 nonetheless has a sympathetic old school, juke joint vibe that has Dixie written all over it. This is underground hip hop so no Alizé or Moët, we're here to discuss whiskey.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Part Time: "Pussy of My Dreams"

Not sure how the title of this one made it past the SJW Shame Police, but suffice to say this cheeky little ditty is one of the more potty-mouthed odes to female empowerment since Nick Cave last opined about blue balls.

A$AP Rocky: "Everyday" [feat. Rod Stewart, Mark Ronson & Miguel]

About that byline: it's pretty clear that Rod Stewart is only present via an old 70's sample, but Mark Ronson and Miguel definitely make their contributions felt (and would Rod Stewart really be any kind of coup collaboration in 2015 anyway?). I'm usually not a big fan of "ballad rap", ie mixing rhymes with weepy R&B vocals, but only because they're rarely done this well. Nothing about this song comes off as overwrought, just introspective and mellow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Onyx: "Fuck the Law"

Bacdafucup the Onyx is herrrrrre! Onyx are the second most underrated rap group of the 90s (Above the Law is the first, ironically given the title of this new Onyx joint). "Slam" got a lot of play back in 1993/94, but their next two albums, All We Got Iz Us (1995) and Shut 'Em Down (1998) only made a minor dent in the public's consciousness, in spite of selling reasonably well in the underground. Onyx came back last year with the pretty brilliant Wakedafucup but - you spotting a trend here? - it got zero traction or even acknowledgement.

Undeterred, Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr are back with a new EP, Against All Authorities, which dropped yesterday. "Fuck the Law" is another zeitgeist-repping anti-establishment track, which should now be pretty familiar, but Sticky and Fredro have always gotten by on bristling energy and sheer force of personality, both of which are in abundance here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Calexico: "Cumbia de Donde"

This being Cinco de Mayo I simultaneously regret both my sleep-deprived inability to muster the wherewithal to think of anything properly Mexican to contribute while also lamenting my compelling need to post something this "almost but not quite". Whatever, this is about as authentically Hispanic as any Tucson band springing forth whole cloth from the forehead of Giant Sand like a cross between Zeus and Gizmo can expect to be. Ladies and gentlemen, the new Calexico.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Panda Bear: "Come To Your Senses [Danny L. Harle Remix]"

For some, this remix by PC Music's Danny L. Harle will conjure up unpleasant memories of early 90's rave, particularly the first two Prodigy albums. For the rest of us that recall the rave scene as generating some historically significant music and not just being an incessant series of "James Brown Is Dead" clones, this "Come To Your Senses" rework is a welcome panacea to the dominance of the moody, tone poem art scene that dominates modern electronic music. I enjoy a little cerebral techno as much as the next guy, but it sometimes seems like the dancefloor has been altogether ceded to the hip hop/top 40 community.