Thursday, 8 September 2016

Track of the Day: 'Digging For Windows' by Zack de la Rocha

What do you expect from a track by the ex Rage Against The Machine frontman and produced by El-P from Run The Jewels - teddy bears and flowers? Of course you don't. What you expect is exactly what you get - a pounding beat, electronic crunches, angry lyrics (the first word is 'fuck' and it's not the only use of it) and attitude by the bucketload.

We need more angry records like this in the world, especially if they're given away for free via BitTorrent like this one is - you can get it here.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Video of the Day: 'Friends' by Francis and the Lights feat. Bon Iver and Kanye West

I heard this track on Radio 1 today (I'm not sure how I hadn't heard it before) and they mentioned how good the video was so I headed online to look it up. And it's great - from Kanye's appearance at the beginning (where he gets into the music and then kinda checks himself), to Francis bursting out of the set to dance and then calming himself down once he's back on, to the fact that it's all filmed on one take, to the great dance routine with Francis and Justin Vernon, to all three of them striking a pose at the end. It proves a lot of things, not least of which is that fact that Yeezy doesn't always take himself too seriously.

Recommended music: 'My Band Is A Computer' by Chuck

I knew I was going to like this record from the moment I saw its title. The first release from Old Money Records (part of the Audio Antihero empire) is an introduction to the sad and wondrous world of Charles Griffin Gibson, who as Chuck has put out a load of records independently, from which these tracks have been culled. Despite this it flows pretty seamlessly as an album piece, telling tales of life, love and loss in New York.

With a vocal style that's part Jonathan Donahue, part Jonathan Richman and part Ezra Furman, Chuck plays the role of outsider as he narrates his tales of New York life. 'Bushwick Girl' is one of the highlights, as the 'L' train announcer gives way to a whimsical tale of an imaginary idyllic life in Brooklyn. 'Phoebe's Lips' (one of many songs about girls on here) is a darker love story about Mikey & Phoebe though, with Mikey's erectile issues contrasting with how easy love was when he was younger. Meanwhile 'The Internet' is possibly the the saddest feeling and most acoustic song ever written about a day in the life of a computer - "chatting with girls who claim to be ex-men, selling your dad's wedding ring, videos of rappers with expensive things" - all human life is here.

'Death' and 'Wipe Out', are as you can imagine from their titles, not the happiest of tracks, but perversely they're two of the most musically upbeat tracks on here. The album closes with 'Let's Make Out', a mournful tale of the end of the night (and possibly the end of the relationship) - "In the darkness on your couch, with nothing left to talk about...Let's make out, let's order take-out" - like most of Chuck's stories you're not sure if this one has a happy ending or not.

There's lots to love about this record - like all good things in life it has some darkness to highlight the light, and it's comfortingly lo-fi approach feels warm and reassuring. The album is out on September 9th and you can order it here.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Recommended music: '25 25' by Factory Floor

25 25 cover art

For their second album Factory Floor have stripped back their sound somewhat, having also stripped down their band size from three members to two.

An album born from long, late nights spent in dark and moody clubs, this is a record that engages brain and feet as one, without necessarily any need for emotional attachment. This is no bad thing - the purpose of this music is to deliver pounding electronic bleeps and beats and it does that in abundance.

Lose yourself in the repetition and it becomes almost meditative - with no real vocals to distract you, just some snatches and cut up words, the music allows you to escape to another headspace.

For me there are four standout tracks on here. The first is 'Slow Listen', with its almost tribal rhythm and the closest to actual singing on the record. The later on there's the triple whammy of 'Dial Me In', 'Wave' and 'Ya'. 'Dial Me In' has a late 80s Chicago house vibe to it, as well as reminding me of 'Fine Time' by New Order. 'Wave' is straight up next, a pounding (factory) floor filler. Thetrio of techno tunes finishes with 'Ya', which may be a distant cousin of LCD Soundsystem's 'Yeah' and which has a hypnotic acidic bassline that you just can't shift out of your head.

Overall this is a marked improvement from their patchy debut and one which definitely deserves your attention.

Video of the Day: 'Nobody Speak' by DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels

It's a week or so old now but that doesn't detract from the power of this video. In some ways it reminds me of that old video for 'Two Tribes' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood', where Reagan and Gorbachev squared up for a fight.

Any record that's made by two of my favourite acts was always going to be good, but this video elevates the track to a higher level. Watch and learn what congress is really like.