Daily Media Consumption - Music, Uncategorized

Daily Media Consumption – 4/15/2018

Daily Metal/Rock Album:

Borgne – [infinity symobol]

Borgne, a Swedish industrial black metal outfit, have just released an album with letters I can’t pronounce; I’m going to assume it’s infinity? Whatever. Anyway, the industrial edge to Borgne is unique in that isn’t only limited to sampling and overall playing style: Borgne actually occasionally incorporates a nearly sounding EDM style of electronic noise and synth work (particularly early on in their first track) that is all over the place, enriching the already chaotic nature of their music by placing us in the equivalent of a robot hell, I suppose. The black metal side plays the dominant role in the album, but it is certainly carried by it’s industrial influences well enough that it plays off the strengths of both sides. The black metal brutality is both raw and brutal, and somehow feels right in place with the clear and haunting electronic noise in the background.

While symphonic elements are present, Borgne strayed more to the side of unapologetic heaviness and brutality a la late Celtic Frost, incorporating enough progressions and musical evolution within each song to keep things from getting too monotonous. A pleasant surprise appears in the third track  “Un temps perit”, with a young female angelic chorus, transitioned to this badass organ segment. I appreciate ANY TIME an album can switch up it’s shtick, and explore different sounds/tempos/instruments to bring a memorable quality. The band actually sounds pretty somber and kind of beautiful on the aforementioned track at one point, where the vocals kind of take a break and this sorrowful lonely guitar peers through the electronic noise fog. After that, “Stone” reminds you, as I expected, that is still a black metal album, and is as brutal as you might expect. I also enjoy the transition to “I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings”, which definitely stands out, with what almost seems like a huge production style shift, giving the song an almost thrashy pummeling sound. I love the drumming on this track, and the guitar onslaught that proceeds. Later in the album a fantastic acoustic ballad, giving me strange flashbacks of like a folky Ulver, which I is something I would have to love, and helps to continue spread out the brutality of this album. The very last track is also a slow, ballad-like performance with haunting electronic voices and static just engulfing the mix.

Plenty of surprises on here without comprising at all their brutality, Borgne are easily top quality for their lane, and deserve a listening to if you are at all into this kind of music.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent (For an Industrial Black Metal band there are few things one could expect their band to do better than what we see on this album. While the creativity and brilliance is there, it’s difficult to see this appealing outside of it’s niche nature, which it likely has no intentions to even try to do.)

Good

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

Daily Pop/Other Genre Album

Despite his age, John Prine seems to be able to continue and provide us with some personal, classic, and heartwarming songs. This album elicits similar feelings to what I experienced when I first listened Nicole Atkins’ album “Goodnight Rhonda Lee”: as if I was in some sort of time capsule that transported me back to the 70s era of folky/country soft rock where the music is un-apologetically personal, with clever and straightforward song concepts accompanied with very appropriate and effective instrumental pieces and lyrics. This is yet another time-capsule album that somehow modernizes a sound that I’ve so often missed. The production and overall on this album is subtle, yet just detailed enough, letting Prine’s voice shine and the instruments really pierce your heart and mind while you listen.

Every song that Prine puts on here explores a different idea, often carries a different tone or message, keeping each track on this album a very fresh and interesting experience, and in a concise amount of time. “When I Get To Heaven” is a rather sad, despite the upbeat and silly nature of the music, thinking about his feelings about death; and how inspiring it is to hear him take it in such a positive way. He’s going to smoke and drink ginger ale! One “The Lonesome Friends Of Science” I enjoyed the concept of picking fun of the fact that Prine is an old time man living in this new world where science appears counter-productive to simplistic happiness. We get to hear some dark, foreboding and powerful Johnny Cash style acoustic work with “Caravan Of Fools”.

Look, I could sit here and type all day about each individual song and how excellently written, and effectively and simply this album is executed; but I think the album completely speaks for itself. Prine is in his 70s, and after seeing a recent live performance of his, he is simply blowing away far younger equivalent artists who try to make music in the same realm as Prine – but just don’t know how to tie the soul, blues, and country together into easily identifiable music that artists like Prine can.

Rank:
Classic – (I will be listening to this album for a long time after this. If you enjoy that classic 70s and 60s country/folky/western music that many indie acts try their best to recpature in this day in age – or if you like any music at all, for that matter – you will enjoy Prine’s performances. This isn’t experimental new age nonsense, this is heartfelt and classic songwriting.)

Excellent

Good

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

 

Daily Rap/Hip-hop

E-40 and B-Legit are old-school hip-hop legends, and have both been in the game since the late 80s, and E-40 in particular (B-Legit does too, but E-40 is truly one of a kind) has been easily one of the most distinguishable voices and personalities in hip-hop for over 3 decades. Connected and Respected is what you would expect from a couple of old-heads getting their hands on some of the new-school production tools – bringing flavor from both the new-school while blending it with old-school attitude/rhymes/mentality. E-40 brings the high energy and erratic behavior with lyrics that range from every possible angle you could imagine: from being ignorant, to wise, and to everything in-between. B-Legit acts as the straightforward no bullshit partner in crime, and the duo, as we all come to expect, compliment each other quite well.

The very first 3 tracks are straightforward bangers, and classic examples of how E-40 and B-Legit can be when they are at their best. I will say “Guilty By Affiliation” has an interesting concept and lyrical contents, but something about the beat just doesn’t work for me – the song should be great, but something about the beat just seems a bit too randomly clunky. The second “Carpal Tunnel” comes on you know this is a classic E-40 track, ONLY the hook is just… bad, unfortunately, because I love the rest of this song and the beat. A problem with this project is that it does last a bit too long, and the instrumentals at a point do start to get a bit too similar, which makes certain songs hard to differentiate from others. The middle of the album definitely falls a bit flat in places, but the proceeding tracks “Whooped”, which starts with a refreshing sample, followed by those heavy synth hits that litter this album, and “Barbershop” or energetic funky “So High” (easily one of my favorite songs on the album, and such a stand-out track from this, easily my favorite) kinda help brings things back up. I don’t what the hell they were thinking on “Tap In” which is basically un-listenable to me. The choruses/hooks are easily the weakest part of this project – which is frustrating, considering how great these guys are on the mic.

Those who are already in love with E-40 and B-Legit are going to blindly love this, as you would think, but I think even people who aren’t familiar with the group might find themselves some pretty accessible and fun tracks to introduce themselves to these guys. The first 3 tracks on this album made me want to call this a classic, but they just let this album run too long, and have to many similar ideas/similar sounding instrumentals this time around. This doesn’t make the album necessarily bad, not by a long-shot, but does bring it down from the Excellent grade I desperately wanted to give it. Still recommend it to anyone who’s a hip-hop fan, because E-40’s diligence deserves everyone’s expect at this point, if nothing else.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good – (This should have been an excellent album, and goddamn did it smell like it for the first 3 songs, and still smells like at different points in this album. Probably 6 or 7 songs could have been booted, and this would be – no contest – an excellent album)

Average

Troubled

Trash

Advertisements
Standard
Daily Media Consumption - Music

Daily Media Consumption – 4/14/2018

 

Every day, I plan on reviewing three albums: One Metal/Rock, One Pop(catch-all category for anything not more clearly Metal/Rock or Hip-Hop/Rap), One Hip Hop/Rap. This will be referred to as “Daily Media Consumption”. Some albums may be new releases, others will be older. My genre selection is done simply for ease of organization, is not representative of definite or more specific genre titles, nor much of my actual feelings about genres in general.

In addition, I will be writing a weekly “Discography Digestion”, where I go through a band/artists whole discography from start to finish. Another daily post will be a film review, with the overall goal of seeing a new film every day, and a NEW film every week.

Ranking System (For all music and movies, in all article types):

Classic: Not only is this is album in the top quality category (with as objective as possible arguments as one can make when it comes to music), but it is something that has either moved me or has a uniquely timeless nature. VERY FEW albums ever would likely achieve this ranking, much less a new release (though I could think of a few that I know are classics).

Excellent: This album has done, within reason, almost everything that it could do – originality, competent and creative production, thematically developed with clear and and complete utilization of the personal evolution of the artist.

Good: Some flaws are present, but a strong genuine and successful attempt has been made, and the album’s strengths are played well enough to overcome it’s weaknesses.

Average: You are going to pick a few tracks of this project, and the rest is either okay or worse. The artist has clear things in which they either need to improve, or needs to understand about themselves that is limiting them. 

Troubled: There is a semblance of promise or potential, but severe issues are holding you back, making enjoying your project extremely difficult.

Trash: Whatever qualities there are, they are extremely limited, and this album was basically almost an objective mistake.

Daily Metal Album:
Imperial Crypt – “Fate Of The All-Father” – 2016

I’ve known about Imperial Crypt for some time now. Exactly how/when I found them, I can’t say exactly – but I recall finding their music on some website years ago, listened to the handful of demos they had available , and really admired their melodic edge that they merged with a punishing rawness that screamed classic black metal. The genuine amateur nature of the recording made it clear these were some brutal unknown metal geniuses, and to this day I still very enjoy these early recordings.

At the time I had found those early demos, their aesthetic was very much akin to others in the traditional black metal scene. Somewhere down the line a very prominent Nordic/viking influence developed, which we see play a very prominent role on this album. It’s hardly that surprising, considering vikings and black metal have always been essentially next door neighbors, musically. However, along with this, at some point, came the decision to really amp up production quality – something that is completely understandable considering not everyone in metal WANTING to sound like the next Bathory or Venom; and from the more melodic nature of the music observed from their demos, I have a feeling Imperial Crypt were, potentially, not quite aiming for that to begin with, and only, perhaps, toying with that concept.

This album gives you everything you would probably want or expect from a melodic black/viking metal album. The band weaves destructive blast beats to melodic choirs and black metal vocals, with the overall production and mixing making the album feel larger than life, and like it’s attempting to swallow you. Spoken word portions are present, and I do particularly enjoy their inclusion in “Twilight and the Sacred Grove”, accompanied with a rather beautiful piano and drum section that just kind of abruptly ends. “Arminius: Scourge Of Rome” and “Gathered To The Blood Court” are pretty fantastic together, with an excellent build-up and payoff. I would say “Treachery In Winter” starts and ends impressively, with more beautiful piano work in the beginning, and ending with an assault of blast beats and tremolo guitars. That being said, “A Shrine To Moloch” and “Glory Of Teutoburg” are both songs I heard in early demo form years before this album’s release, and while both songs are undeniably vastly improved from their more primordial states, I feel a particular charm is lost from these songs: Part of this is due to the overall upgrade in quality of recording, another part is the way the guitars are kind of bullied out of the mix by an overpowering bass and bass drum. Both songs are still good, don’t get me wrong, but a little less memorable because of the aforementioned changes. The original “A Shrine To Moloch” still being their best song, easily.

I haven’t seen a new project from them since, nor am aware of another one in production, but I would enjoy seeing another effort from this group – maybe give them another chance to see what to do with their production, and help their incredible guitar work to shine the way I know it really could.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good

Average  (Solid black/viking metal – just needs to work on mix to allow guitars to be more in the forefront, not lost in the musical atmosphere. Nothing too revolutionary or completely unique to be good with the raw production gone, but definitely has potential)

Troubled

Trash

 

Daily Pop Album:

Confidence Man – “Confident Music For Confident People” 2018

With the name “Confidence Man”, it was clear I was venturing into obnoxious territory when I started listening to this album (something I’m usually more than happy to do) – and overall, it was a pretty pleasant experience. This completely self-aware (at least I hope so) and satirical duo are somewhere between Aqua and Chumbawumba, with very fun and engaging silly songs on this debut album that will either irritate you, or make you want to dance.  This album, on most songs, feels and sounds like what Liam Kyle Sullivan would do if he had an album deal 11 years ago. Take that how you will.

This is some very catchy British or Australian based house music (I try not to research artists too much before Daily Consumption, just so I can best judge the music itself). I love hearing these older school sounding synths a la Eddy Grant, and the songs on the first half of the album are constantly giving you something new or interesting to hear; tossing random noises and synths at you at all times, and rarely letting tracks last too long.  The last half, up until “Fascination” are more instrumental heavy, and therefore have a little less character and originality. “Fascination” is a breath of fresh air though, closing the album, with some pretty ‘fun’ male sung lyrics.

When we get to “Catch My Breath” the music gets just a bit too repetitive for me, even if I get the idea behind it, and do completely enjoy the instrumental; but I think trying to excuse that fact just by saying it’s a dance track doesn’t work, because the whole album is only dance tracks. I think “Bubblegum” is pretty uninteresting too, however, giving off an old school 80’s house vibe but not really being able to back it up on the instrumental side, in my opinion. The beat sounds barren or unfinished/rushed, at best. I think the female vocals on the whole project can be a bit dull once the shtick has been done a few songs in, and not very dynamic, as well as being matched with lyrics about a pretty awful and annoying human being who talk-sings about how terrible a person she is – to my amusement, of course. “Sail Boat Vacation” is guilty of including standard FL studio synths and effects that I distinguished immediately from only a few days worth of messing in FL studio in my youth… so that made it pretty awkward.

The tone of the album only really somewhat changes on the start of “Out The Window”, which allows the track to then evolve into a really groovy bass-heavy track that actually features SINGING, too. The first few tracks are all fun dance songs, no exceptions, all (hopefully) mocking the surface level nonsense of pop music and many of it’s listeners. Songs about relationships and partying are in full force here.

If you are up for an obnoxious hipster dance party (and don’t mind , this album is going to be perfect for you.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good (Barely a good – the album’s positive songs are fun enough for me that the limitations that are here are minimized JUST ENOUGH to be Good. Excellent house/dance music at least instrumentally, potentially pretty niche though, somewhat creative and interesting, and the disinterested vocal shtick is fine, but can limit what you can achieve musically: the overall theme of the album could have been more expanded, as I do really enjoy the tone and gimmick of it. )

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

Daily Rap/Hip-Hop Album:

Cardi B “Invasion Of Privacy” 2018

This is the long awaited Cardi B debut album, who honestly, at this point, really needs no introduction. People who don’t even know or like rap music will know, and appreciate, Cardi’s music – which felt like out of nowhere when I first heard about her last year. I am actually quite thankful for her existence, in this era of mumble/auto-tune nonense, as she crafted for us a rather solid hip-hop album that combines a dash of the aforementioned popular influences, while still dropping decent bars in her unapologetic and aggressive cadence.  There has been talk of ghostwriting, and my answer to that is that this particular piece of writing isn’t about trying to debate cardi b’s own writing or freestyle rapping ability, but simply evaluating this single musical project that is under her name; making ghostwriting somewhat irrelevant for the experience of listening to the album, at least for this article.

There is “Drip”, which is an absolute banger, even if the chorus is absolutely ‘meh’ to me, and annoying. Takeoff, in particular completely owns and murders the track, making everyone else’s verses almost look like phoned-in contributions. I didn’t much care for SZA (surprisingly) on “I Do”, though Cardi provides some solid bars in her unique, heavy, and blunt personality. Next, we get “Ring”, which is a great song, solid change of pace, and Kehlani kills it too. While the lyrical contents are kinda boring on “I Like It”, the Hispanic instrumental samples, overall theme, and the feature on the track, make a very enjoyable shout out and anthem to a part of her heritage. Cardi’s features may frequently outshine Cardi on the track, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem: she proves several times that she can carry herself on a track if she needs to, and I approve of her making interesting and fun music, including the moments where steps back to give her guests their chance to shine. Good music is good music.

The first song I was actually annoyed by was with YG’s annoying and repetitive contribution on “She Bad”, luckily Cardi shows she can save the track and it’s rather bland (even if it kinda hits hard) instrumental. I was not feeling “Be Careful” at all, I don’t think her singing goes over very well here, and the instrumental’s minimal nature kind of backfires and makes the track overall pretty boring. Another banger helps recover the album, however, in the form of “Bartier Bardi”, and actually managed to make a song with 21 Savage that didn’t completely bore me, and luckily his contribution is highly limited. Cardi’s tone feels a bit off on “Best Life”, where, based on the great instrumental, I’m expecting her to be laid back and chilling, but instead she is STILL all up in your face… which is either purposefully genius, or a mistake, and I haven’t quite decided. Chance sounded fine, but he didn’t really say or do anything too mind-blowing. On “Bickenhead” Cardi B encourages you to “Pop that” even at church,  which, among other lines in that song and others, gave me more than a few chuckles. “Get Up 10” is a passionate, piano-laced track that evolves into an absolute banger; probably my favorite track from the album.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good ( This album was pretty surprising, and I love that it’s concise and somewhat diverse. Will be very popular and successful, mostly enjoyable features, solid bars though it is overall still limited by Cardi’s emotion being limited to pretty nearly exclusively aggressive, which I like but does keep an aspect of the music static; a few duds that could been left of the album or replaced could have made this an excellent album)

Average

Troubled

Trash

Standard
Uncategorized

New Music Quickies – “Big Fish” Vince Staples

I’ve been a long-time fan of Vince Staples, even as far back as one can likely look for his material, such as Earl’s self-titled project. Vince has an indistinguishable voice, blunt flow, and confusing personal beliefs (watch any of his incredibly popular and respected interviews – he’s a very self-aware, honest, insightful, and intellectual individual) and philosophy that, to my surprise, often contradict with the songs that he constructs.

I will say that his last few projects were underwhelming, and did not invite many re-listens from me, if any. I couldn’t really say why – just, for some reason, despite me loving all the essential ingredients that Vince Staples provides, I just haven’t fully enjoyed an actual whole project of his since his Stolen Youth mix-tape, which I enjoyed thoroughly – and still do.

“Big Fish” continues to display Vince’s impeccable and consistent flow, but also is burdened by an incredibly boring video and chorus. This song feels incredibly boring, ESPECIALLY THE CHORUS – yeah, you’re making money, and spent all night counting your money, great… and? Basically, another song about “the old days were bad, and now they are not, and here’s some things that were bad back then”. Vince’s lyricism definitely improves in the second half of the song, and is of course impressive, but it just feels even MORE SO that he couldn’t give a shit about how good his lines are – he sounds as disinterested in the fact that he’s rhyming about successful now, as I do listening to it! How?

I’ve also been done with these unoriginal and repetitive DJ Mustard wanna-be “TOTALLY NOT RACK CITY BEAT” beats. So many people in hip-hop been making derivatives of goddamn bare-boned and soul-less “Rack City” beat, and HERE IT IS ONCE AGAIN.

If you like “Rack City” by Tyga, you’ll be happy a far more competent rapper is rapping over a remix of that beat on this song.

Standard
Uncategorized

New Music Quickies – “Swish, Swish” Katy Perry ft. Nicki Minaj

Nicky sounds fine, as usual. Nothing particularly interesting or focused lyrics-wise (oh my a Biggie reference, woo…) Katy is not remotely a bad singer, and the few moments on here where she’s singing rap-style lyrics – “like a coupon – expired” aren’t awful… but that one line previously mentioned is about the ONLY memorable thing in the song… The rest is literally gone out of your mind almost instantly. While the theme of the song isn’t unthinkable for some dance-y pop song, it just doesn’t seem developed beyond surface level.

Beat is good, but that’s kind of like being impressed with a kid putting their name on their homework; it’s a bare minimum requirement. Dance to it when it comes on, but you’ll forget it as soon as it’s over, and probably enjoy the next song much more.

…And the Taylor Swift drama/conspiracy is face-palm worthy, at best. Childish, uninteresting, and even potentially forced.

Standard