DEAD

5021392871196I first came across Young Fathers about a 6 months when they released their second mixtape Tape Two. I was quietly impressed and enjoyed their completely unique sound but didn’t think too much of it. This week though saw the release of their debut studio album, DEAD, which has so far garnered huge critical acclaim.

Merging styles of hip-hop, soul, pop, dance, gospel with African beats goes some way to describing their sound which is pretty much indescribable as it’s so different. This record presents an entirely innovative sound that chops and changes with every track. We have the dance influenced ‘GET UP’ a song which is perhaps the records most normal hip-hop tune as well but this mixture of mainstream genre provides the perfect jumping point for the group to really show you what they have to offer. The album is frequently dark too with tracks like ‘War’ and ‘Hangman’ throughout which they’re still occupied with interested with catchy hooks and a holistic sound. The album may threaten to be slightly too diverse with no real running theme but this is a weak criticism when each track carries such a unique and personal sound and feel.

It’s clear that Young Fathers are a group that have spent as much time as they can refining their sound and have created something that’s truly new and original so damn good this could change the UK hip-hop scene for good. For a way in check out ‘Get Up’ which I’ll post below and be sure to give this record a listen.

Coexist

Back when The xx’s debut was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2010 I decided to give the record a listen, since then the album has become one of my favourites of all time. Chilled, yet thought provoking, melodic and intelligent. The best thing about the album is its maturity, the band never give in to any inhibition to suddenly just burst into a bout of heaviness and instead bring brilliance in subtleness, and that ultimately is what sets them apart from any other band on the scene at the moment.

It was, in fact, in doubt whether The xx would even do a second album but I, as I’m sure most of you were, was very pleased to hear that they were. And this time their was a lot more hype surrounding it. Numerous articles, interviews and statements in the run-up to it finally being unveiled. The most interesting things being the claim that the album is heavily dance influenced and that Jamie Smith’s ultimate aim is to write a song for Beyonce. Both of which gave me the impression that Coexist might well be a world away from their previous effort.

When I first listened to the album, I have to say, I felt underwhelmed. I think I discovered for a short period of time that I was actually really hoping they had gone in a wildly different direction. They haven’t, and immediately I was disappointed. As I was listening I thought to myself, ‘My reviews are going to be the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I listened to Billy Talent and I thought it was going to be something to slate, it wasn’t. Then I listened to The xx thinking I’d have another album to gush about, but it wasn’t that good.’

Then, lo and behold, I gave the album another chance, and another, and another and it was on these repeat playings that I realised I was slowly falling in love with it without even fully knowing what was going on. In many ways now when I listen to it I find its actually so much better than xx. It is another masterpiece. They’ve taken everything they did on the first album and made it more defined and more profound creating another album that’s genius lies in its subtlety. This has got to be a shout for another Mercury Prize nomination although the win may not be quite so set in stone with newcomers Alt-J being the early favourites; but Coexist certainly deserves some recognition and it is definitely worthy of a high amount of praise!

 

Scroobius Pip

 

As you may have seen my previous post on Sound of Rum you will have seen my position of favour towards Kate Tempest, a young poet/rapper from London, I must admit until I found her I’d always thought poetry is the thing of the highly intelligent and I couldn’t relate, which was becoming a slight problem seeing as my degree involves poetry writing and analysing. But then one afternoon I discovered Tempest on YouTube and she instantly spoke to me, her lyrics spoke truth that I hadn’t heard before in poems or songs. As I get to the point, while watching some of Tempest’s spoken word videos the other day I clicked on one of the video suggestions for a poet named Scroobius Pip, when you see a name like that you don’t just pass it by. So I clicked it and it was the poem Rat Race as I listened I was intrigued and decided to search deeper into Pip’s world and what I found was another poet who’s given me even more of a passion for poetry and the spoken word.

Scroob made his name making records with producer/DJ, Dan le Sac with whom he has released two albums. The pair compliment each other perfectly with Le Sac’s beats being almost just as incisive and inspired as Pip’s lyrics, the two albums, Angles and Logic of Chance are really great, great listens, the former being my favourite of all Pip’s work that I’ve immersed myself in over the past few days. Since the second album the pair have released a solo album each I’m yet to listen to Dan Le Sac’s record but Scroob’s is another truly incredible album, I feel gutted that I hadn’t discovered this man earlier. For the first time in my life I feel inspired to write poetry, I feel Pip and Tempest have shown me how great poetry can really be and how much you can express through it. Keep your eyes peeled an you might just see some attempts at my own poems in the future.

Now I’m going to leave you with the lyrics of the opening verse on Angles, because it’s so damn true:

I ain’t gonna take it no more, I ain’t gonna take it no more, I ain’t gonna take it no more

I ain’t gonna stand by while the idle reply of a bridal of styles is, ‘yeah, but what’s their demographic?’

I ain’t gonna take it no more, I ain’t gonna take it no more

I ain’t gonna stand by the side tut and sigh while inside we all cry out for something new

I ain’t gonna take it no more, I ain’t gonna take it no more

Soulless music, artless lyrics, goalless movements, heartless gimics, controlled and clueless, careers lasting a minute, if this is the big life, well, I ain’t looking to live it

We ain’t pushing the boundaries we’re blowing them up

We ain’t trying to expand the scene, we want it to erupt, so make some room on the floor and somebody bolt the doors, we ain’t seeking applause

Tonight, well geeee, just wanna have some good new fashioned fun y’all