Album Review

Jamie-xx-In-Colour-Controlaltdelight-album-review

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Ethereal. That’s the best way I can describe Jamie Smith’s genre-bending debut full-length LP, In Colour (Young Turks). The percussionist from your girlfriend’s favorite band, otherwise known as Jamie XX has given us one of the biggest auditory orgasms so far in 2015. Jamie’s masterful use of filters and reverb gives each song weight and definition, thus creating an album persona where no measure or tone feels wasted. If I were to over simplify, I would label this persona “Gospel Garage” with themes of UK nationalism and cockney sensibility.

 

One of Jamie’s signature production staples has always been his use of steel drums. He does not disappoint with ‘Obvs’ where the use of progressive melodic steel drum loops coupled with robust vocal samples bring to life visions of being on a tropical island during rainy season. While it may be pouring, the listener is under an umbrella smoking a cigarette and having a moment of tranquility.

 

‘Hold Tight’ is the less than proverbial B-boy track on the album. An echoing percussion clap over a rapidly ascending synth riff gives this breakbeat record a fast paced vibe that feels like you were stabbed in the ear drums with an adrenaline needle, which is a good thing. The two tracks featuring fellow The XX member Romy, ‘Loud Places’ and ‘Seesaw’ combine the female vocalist’s softer inflective style with Jamie’s canorous dark undertones perfectly. This marriage is especially evident in ‘Loud Places’ where Jamie fuses the gospel samples seamlessly with Romy’s more raspy delivery.

 

In a welcomed departure from the rest of the album we get ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times’ featuring Atlanta rapper, Young Thug. This track never tries to be anything more than it is, a contemporary rap record filled with finger snaps, a soulful chorus, and Thugger Thugger’s signature analogous prose. ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times’ is less a braggadocio track and more a celebration of these two emerging artists young careers.

 

I would have to say my biggest disappointment on the album was Jamie’s collaboration with XX bandmate Oliver Sim on ‘Stranger In A Room’. It’s not by any means a bad song but more so a disappointment that ends up sounding like an unfinished The XX album cut rather than something wholly Jamie’s. It’s a shame as I believe there was a lot of potential for an Oliver Sim feature if they kept it more with the album’s style as they did with Romy’s features.

 

In the end, Jamie now has a magnificent piece of art to embody his solo career, which up until now has included mostly remixes and one-off DJ sets. In Colour should be remembered as one of the best debut albums in recent memory and certainly shoots the hype through the roof for the next The XX album. Jamie XX took us to us to church and I have a feeling we will all be attending a lot more than just Christmas and Easter.

 

Tracklist
1. Gosh
2. Sleep Sound
3. Seesaw ft. Romy
4. Obvs
5. Just Saying
6. Stranger in a Room ft. Oliver Sim
7. Hold Tight
8. Loud Places ft. Romy

9. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) ft. Young Thug and Popcaan
10. The Rest is Noise
11. Girl

 

 

Haim | Buy ‘Days Are Gone’

Ever since Haim dropped their debut EP Forever early in 2012, their buzz has been real. Since then, the hype for the three San Fernando Valley sisters has increased exponentially. I can gladly say they exceeded all expectations with the release of their LP aptly titled Days Are Gone. The trio’s first full length album is a diverse concoction of influences. From indie, soft rock, and pop to RnB and punk, the girls manage to create their own unique sound.

The first three tracks off the album will be familiar to anyone who has gotten to know the band over the years, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Standout tracks on the album include ‘The Wire,’ a stadium ready rock song, ‘Days Are Gone’ a modern take on indie disco, the riff heavy ‘My Song 5’, and the RnB influenced ‘Let Me Go’. Overall, the sisters have really outdone themselves with this release. I was lucky enough to catch them live at Treasure Island Festival last week, and wow…they are truly something to witness live. Their energy and stage presence is something you need to be a part of first hand. Haim has nowhere to go but up, and I plan on seeing them topping festivals as a regular in the future.

TRACKLIST

1. Falling
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/Falling.mp3]
2. Forever
3. The Wire
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/The%20Wire.mp3]
4. If I Could Change Your Mind
5. Honey & I
6. Don’t Save Me
7. Days Are Gone
8. My Song 5
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/My%20Song%205.mp3]
9. Go Slow
10. Let Me Go
11. Running If You Call My Name

FULL POST

Haim | Buy ‘Days Are Gone’

Ever since Haim dropped their debut EP Forever early in 2012, their buzz has been real. Since then, the hype for the three San Fernando Valley sisters has increased exponentially. I can gladly say they exceeded all expectations with the release of their LP aptly titled Days Are Gone. The trio’s first full length album is a diverse concoction of influences. From indie, soft rock, and pop to RnB and punk, the girls manage to create their own unique sound.

The first three tracks off the album will be familiar to anyone who has gotten to know the band over the years, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Standout tracks on the album include ‘The Wire,’ a stadium ready rock song, ‘Days Are Gone’ a modern take on indie disco, the riff heavy ‘My Song 5’, and the RnB influenced ‘Let Me Go’. Overall, the sisters have really outdone themselves with this release. I was lucky enough to catch them live at Treasure Island Festival last week, and wow…they are truly something to witness live. Their energy and stage presence is something you need to be a part of first hand. Haim has nowhere to go but up, and I plan on seeing them topping festivals as a regular in the future.

TRACKLIST

1. Falling
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/Falling.mp3]
2. Forever
3. The Wire
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/The%20Wire.mp3]
4. If I Could Change Your Mind
5. Honey & I
6. Don’t Save Me
7. Days Are Gone
8. My Song 5
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Haim/My%20Song%205.mp3]
9. Go Slow
10. Let Me Go
11. Running If You Call My Name


Danny Brown | Buy ‘Old’

Danny Brown came barreling at us with his third LP, OLD, which dropped last Tuesday. The now semi-infamous Detroit MC shows his versatility on the two “sided” album. Danny’s one of those incredibly divisive rappers; not only for his imagery and lyrics but for his voice. If you’re here expecting him to sound different vocally than on any of his other releases, I’ll save you some time here. Side A has Danny rapping about his former life of dealing drugs and struggling to survive in one of America’s most dangerous cities. It also garners some slightly more traditional hip hop beats.

Collaborators on this side include Freddie Gibbs, Schoolboy Q, and a standout track with Purity Ring that truly features both artists at their best while complimenting each other perfectly. The follow up side opens with the aptly named ‘Side B (Dope Song)’, one of the three tracks produced by Rustie on the record. Side B is a straight party album with some seriously club ready bangers. Fool’s Gold head honcho A-Trak also produced a song for his signee, ‘Smokin & Drinkin’ that is sure to please fans of both. A$AP Rocky and Ab-Soul make appearances on ‘Kush Coma’ and ‘Way Up Here’, respectively. All in all OLD is a testament to how well Danny handles the most eclectic array of beats I’ve heard on an album. Lyrically and creatively OLD has managed to become one of the best hip hop albums of the year.

Danny Brown (Feat. Purity Ring) – 25 Bucks
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/25%20Buck%20%28Feat.%20Purity%20Ring%29.mp3]

Danny Brown – Side B [Dope Song]
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/11%20Side%20B%20%5BDope%20Song%5D.mp3]

Danny Brown (Feat. A$AP Rocky) – Kush Coma
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/18%20Kush%20Coma.mp3]

 

FULL POST


Danny Brown | Buy ‘Old’

Danny Brown came barreling at us with his third LP, OLD, which dropped last Tuesday. The now semi-infamous Detroit MC shows his versatility on the two “sided” album. Danny’s one of those incredibly divisive rappers; not only for his imagery and lyrics but for his voice. If you’re here expecting him to sound different vocally than on any of his other releases, I’ll save you some time here. Side A has Danny rapping about his former life of dealing drugs and struggling to survive in one of America’s most dangerous cities. It also garners some slightly more traditional hip hop beats.

Collaborators on this side include Freddie Gibbs, Schoolboy Q, and a standout track with Purity Ring that truly features both artists at their best while complimenting each other perfectly. The follow up side opens with the aptly named ‘Side B (Dope Song)’, one of the three tracks produced by Rustie on the record. Side B is a straight party album with some seriously club ready bangers. Fool’s Gold head honcho A-Trak also produced a song for his signee, ‘Smokin & Drinkin’ that is sure to please fans of both. A$AP Rocky and Ab-Soul make appearances on ‘Kush Coma’ and ‘Way Up Here’, respectively. All in all OLD is a testament to how well Danny handles the most eclectic array of beats I’ve heard on an album. Lyrically and creatively OLD has managed to become one of the best hip hop albums of the year.

Danny Brown (Feat. Purity Ring) – 25 Bucks
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/25%20Buck%20%28Feat.%20Purity%20Ring%29.mp3]

Danny Brown – Side B [Dope Song]
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/11%20Side%20B%20%5BDope%20Song%5D.mp3]

Danny Brown (Feat. A$AP Rocky) – Kush Coma
[audio:http://www.controlaltdelight.com/Music/Danny%20Brown/18%20Kush%20Coma.mp3]

 

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Hot Natured | Buy Different Sides of the Sun

 

The quadruple threat that makes up Hot Natured just released their debut album Different Sides of the Sun. It’s an ambitious blend of modern pop and traditional house. That doesn’t come as a surprise when you consider the men behind the moniker. Each of them powerhouses in their own game; Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Luca C, and Ali Love joined forces in 2010 with the intentions of bringing skilled electronic production to the poppier-dancehall masses.

 

Their 2012 track Benediction topped charts all over the UK and highlighted exactly what they had planned. A more recent single, Reverse Skydiving featured the vocals of the lovely Anabel Englund and set the style up for success in the States. Different Sides of the Sun is 15 tracks of simple and catchy soul with fiery passion. The standout tracks prove that this is a music style worth paying attention to.

 

Tracklist

1-Operate (feat. Kenny Glasgow)
2-Isis (feat. The Egyptian Lover)
3-Reverse Skydiving (feat. Anabel Englund)
4-Different Sides
5-Benediction
6-Forward Motion
7-People Change (feat. S.Y.F)
8-Take You There
9-Planet Us
10-Tightrope
11-Mercury Rising (feat. Anabel Englund)
12-Alternate State (feat. Róisín Murphy)
13-Detroit
14-Physical Control
15-Emerald City (feat. Anabel Englund)


12FV

Looking back on everything that came out last year made it that much more apparent that 2011 will solidify itself as one of the best years for music in the past decade. Electronic artists finally putting out full albums made this list an all around keeper. Takes me back to 2007 when Justice, Soulwax, Boys Noize and others set the bar for solid electronic albums. Here are the picks for best of 2011. Happy new year everyone!

(more…)

FULL POST


12FV

Looking back on everything that came out last year made it that much more apparent that 2011 will solidify itself as one of the best years for music in the past decade. Electronic artists finally putting out full albums made this list an all around keeper. Takes me back to 2007 when Justice, Soulwax, Boys Noize and others set the bar for solid electronic albums. Here are the picks for best of 2011. Happy new year everyone!

(more…)

For me, Kaskade has been the great white buffalo. He slipped past my schedule at EDC 2010, and I won’t even mention the Sunset Blvd fail. I finally got to experience him, in all his glory, at the unexpectedly satisfying Identity Festival. Well, this morning I was driving up the gorgeous 101 and blasting Kaskade’s brand spankin’ new album, “Fire & Ice”. Roaring mountains, Scenic beaches and good house music, what more can a man ask for?

He really outdid himself with this one. As his 8th studio album, Kaskade dabbled with the unconventional and broke this EP into two parts. One half, codenamed ICE, is absorbing, artistic and well-produced house. The stuff Kaskade truly enjoys creating.

The other half, titled FIRE, is gorgeous, exciting and most importantly, banging. The stuff we love to dance to.

A lot of artists these days are making a style of music that they think we want to hear. My hat goes off to you Kaskade; it’s good to know some musicians still stick to their roots. Keep up the amazing work, just no more street parties, please.

TRACKLIST Fire & Ice

1 Eyes (feat. Mindy Gledhill) (right click to download)
2 Turn It Down (with Rebecca & Fiona) (right click to download)
3 Lessons In Love (feat. Neon Trees)
4 Lick It Kaskade & Skrillex
5 Llove (feat. Haley)
6 Let Me Go (feat. Marcus Bently)
7 Waste Love (feat. Quadron)
8 Ice (with Dan Black) (right click to download)
9 How Long (with Late Night Alumni)
10 Room for Happiness (feat. Skylar Grey) (right click to download)
Buy the album on iTunes

 

FULL POST

For me, Kaskade has been the great white buffalo. He slipped past my schedule at EDC 2010, and I won’t even mention the Sunset Blvd fail. I finally got to experience him, in all his glory, at the unexpectedly satisfying Identity Festival. Well, this morning I was driving up the gorgeous 101 and blasting Kaskade’s brand spankin’ new album, “Fire & Ice”. Roaring mountains, Scenic beaches and good house music, what more can a man ask for?

He really outdid himself with this one. As his 8th studio album, Kaskade dabbled with the unconventional and broke this EP into two parts. One half, codenamed ICE, is absorbing, artistic and well-produced house. The stuff Kaskade truly enjoys creating.

The other half, titled FIRE, is gorgeous, exciting and most importantly, banging. The stuff we love to dance to.

A lot of artists these days are making a style of music that they think we want to hear. My hat goes off to you Kaskade; it’s good to know some musicians still stick to their roots. Keep up the amazing work, just no more street parties, please.

TRACKLIST Fire & Ice

1 Eyes (feat. Mindy Gledhill) (right click to download)
2 Turn It Down (with Rebecca & Fiona) (right click to download)
3 Lessons In Love (feat. Neon Trees)
4 Lick It Kaskade & Skrillex
5 Llove (feat. Haley)
6 Let Me Go (feat. Marcus Bently)
7 Waste Love (feat. Quadron)
8 Ice (with Dan Black) (right click to download)
9 How Long (with Late Night Alumni)
10 Room for Happiness (feat. Skylar Grey) (right click to download)
Buy the album on iTunes

 

YOLO Mentions bring attention to special
songs featured in that week’s YOLO List. Get the latest list
here!

Wolfgang’s hotly anticipated album was finally released a week ago, and I had to let it marinate before I could put in my two cents. Wolfgang has been in the game for longer than people are led to believe, and he still remains as one of the most consistent producers and DJs out there. Almost two years in the making, this album’s release was not taken lightly in the slightest. Nowadays, with electronic albums as a whole consisting mainly of standout bangers, expectations were still set high for Weekend In America, and Wolfgang managed to meet and exceed them in more than one regard. The album may come off as a dabble into a more radio friendly, mainstream sound but stays true to Wolfgang’s creatively hard hitting production abilities. (more…)

FULL POST

YOLO Mentions bring attention to special
songs featured in that week’s YOLO List. Get the latest list here!

Wolfgang’s hotly anticipated album was finally released a week ago, and I had to let it marinate before I could put in my two cents. Wolfgang has been in the game for longer than people are led to believe, and he still remains as one of the most consistent producers and DJs out there. Almost two years in the making, this album’s release was not taken lightly in the slightest. Nowadays, with electronic albums as a whole consisting mainly of standout bangers, expectations were still set high for Weekend In America, and Wolfgang managed to meet and exceed them in more than one regard. The album may come off as a dabble into a more radio friendly, mainstream sound but stays true to Wolfgang’s creatively hard hitting production abilities. (more…)