Archive for November, 2010
This is probably the most highly regarded album to have been released in the past ten years, maybe even of all times? I am not saying by any means that its not a good album, its fucking crazy good, but perfect?
Kanye has really stepped his game up bringing musicality back into rap with some of the most spectacular production I have heard in a while, but his lyrics are nothing ground breaking or really that much better than any of the other rappers of the moment. I appreciate that he has stepped out of the industry norm of rapping over 90s dance tracks about getting drunk and loving on many many ladies, but hey he did that in 2008.
The heavy bass on the album matches perfectly to my music taste and the new humble post Taylor Swift Kanye is making music that I can’t help but enjoy listening to. Each and every track on this album brings something that is unexpected but for the most part its the talent that is featured on this album that makes it so amazing. Nicki Minaj, whose album Pink Friday just recently dropped and isn’t half bad I might add, really steals the show in Monster. Quite a feat considering she is featured along side Jay Z and Rick Ross, no doubt two of raps greatest. Indie favourite Bon Iver I guess is the new Daft Punk now that one of his tracks has served as the beat for the song Lost in the World, which is by far my least favourite track on the album.
I am not going to say that its the best album I have ever heard, or that it’s perfect, far from it in fact. I am not going to go on some convoluted rant about how nothing can ever really be perfect as many of my fellow bloggers have done, but I am going to say that Kanye has really impressed me. All in all My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of the better albums I have heard in a while and is without a doubt worth checking out.
Jacksonville, Florida natives, Black Kids, have been keeping kind of quiet lately. The bassist, Owen Holmes, has a solo record coming out. Under the alias, Gospel Music, Holmes is releasing a five-track EP called Duettes, which is set to release at the end of this month! The track “Listen To Your Body Tonight” is off of Black Kids’ 2008 debut album, Partie Traumatic.
Supergroups, band collaborations and children of famous singers forming their own band seems to be a disturbing trend for the past few years so when this album fell into my inbox I felt a little trepidation opening it. Fistful of Mercy is Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur and Dhani Harrison (George Harrison’s son) and is all of the above. The other elements that struck fear into my heart is that I’m not a fan of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur can be a hit or miss with me and I was not familiar with Harrison’s previous band, Thenewno2. But some of that has been dispelled after listening to this album. I’m still not a Ben Harper but I can actually listen to him sing now, which is a big step for me. His falsetto has always been like nails on a chalkboard but when he sings in his natural voice you could consider me a fan.
The album starts off with In Vain or True, an ok song, maybe not the best song to start an album with, at least for me because of my problem with Harper’s vocals. It didn’t improve on subsequent listens, even though the song had wonderful harmonies ala Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and it had a George Harrison aura to it, and after the first couple of tries I just skipped it. The album picks up from there though. The stand out for me is a four minute instrumental gem called 30 Bones. So simple in it’s construction and execution and hauntingly beautiful. Which brings me to my biggest problem with this album, the lyrics. The music is often interesting, such as on Things Go Round with the piano, cello, violin and bass guitar offering an amusing background to the vocal melody, but the lyrics can be trite and platitudinous (“’Cause you’ll never know the reason/Why the sun shines at all/’Cause you’ll never know the reason/Why we each one day must fall” from With Whom You Belong). Father’s Son, which is actually a very good song, suffers a bit from this affliction. The opening lines sound like they were ripped from an old blues tune, “My father done told me/To never, ever hurt no one” but, apart from this, it is a good song, one that turned out to be a favourite after repeated listens.
These nine tracks were written over a three day recording session and although on some songs it shows, I do think that these minor problems could be ironed out with a bit more time together, after all there is a wealth of talent and experience here. Not to say that the album isn’t worth listening to, there are more than a few gems on it, the aforementioned 30 Bones and Things Go Round but also Restore Me, Fistful of Mercy, and the title track, As I Call You Down. That’s a pretty good average when you consider that most albums these days consist of a couple of singles and lots of filler. Besides a few months on tour getting to know each other will benefit them greatly, I think, and it will be interesting to hear what the next album will sound like, much different I expect. In spite of the issues I had, and it is mostly with the lyrics because the melodies and arrangements are good, I think this album is worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of any one of these musicians.
Starting today (Nov. 26) and ending Monday (Nov. 29) Fistful of Mercy is making this album available for $1.99 on Amazon. You can also pick it up on iTunes. For more information on Fistful of Mercy you can go to their website, MySpace page and Facebook.
Here is Fistful of Mercy’s doing a stonking version of Father’s Son with Tom Morello on Conan:
And a freebie, Father’s Son:
Dubstep is quickly becoming one of the most popular genres of music and it’s a real shame that the really good dubstep artists aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Hyberdub no doubt has been the leading label for dubstep with amazing acts like flying lotus and my personal favourite Burial. Burial always manages to build layer on layer to make some serious deep beats that just can’t be replicated. If you haven’t had the chance yet, I strongly suggest checking out 5 years of Hyberbub and Burial’s Untrue to truly appreciate just how amazing dubstep is.
After their train-wreck of a second album Crystal Castles is back and has kinda redeemed them selves. Granted Alice Glass probably had nothing to do with this track the production is strong and the legendary Robert Smith is nothing less than amazing. I tried not to like this song but its just not possible, maybe I don’t hate Crystal Castles as much as I thought I did after all.