Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - July 2020


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Abattoir
Published: 23.08.2020


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - July 2020
Metal Storm's outlet for nonmetal album reviews



The place where we'll talk about music without growls or blast beats
unless they still have those but still aren't metal


We here at Metal Storm pride ourselves on our thousands of metal reviews and interviews and article; metal is our collective soul and passion, which is why we bother with this junk. That being said, we'd be lying if we stuck to our trve-kvlt guns and claimed that metal is the only thing we ever listen to. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do check out some other stuff from time to time; some of us are more poptimistic than others, but there's a whole world out there aside from Satan-worshiping black metal and dragon-slaying power metal. We do already feature some nonmetal artists on our website and have a few reviews to back them up, but we prefer to limit that aspect of the site to those artists who have been a strong influence on the metal scene or who are in some way connected to it. This article series is the place for those artists who don't matter to metal in the slightest but still warrant some conversation - after all, good music, is good music, and we all know metal isn't the only thing on this planet for any of us.

Down below, you might find some obscure Bandcamp bedroom projects or some Billboard-topping superstar; as long as it ain't metal and the album itself isn't a best-of compilation, it fits. Obviously, we're certain that not everything will be for everybody (you guys can be viciously territorial even when metal is the only thing on the menu, and we're all supposed to like the same things), but we do hope you find at least one thing that you can enjoy, instead of just pointing and screaming in horror "Not metal!" as if that would be an insult.

Here are our previous features:

June 2020
May 2020
April 2020

And now to the music...





A.A. Williams - Forever Blue
[Slowcore | Post-Rock]


I've seen this release tagged as 'slowcore', which may be a more appropriate term than Chelsea Wolfecore, the name I've been using to describe the recent upswing in female solo projects involving singer-guitarists singing delicately and gloomily above downbeat, muted rock tracks. Following the likes of Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Anna Von Hausswolff and others, London's A.A. Williams follows up a successful 2019 of touring (including sell out headline shows, alongside festival appearances and supporting slots for tours/concerts of some major names in post-rock/post-metal) with her debut full-length record Forever Blue, named after a track that didn't make the cut but had a name that, according to Williams, "encapsulated these songs".

When I saw Williams supporting Cult Of Luna (two members of which, Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg, guest on "Fearless" and "Glimmer", respectively) in 2019, my abiding memories were of subdued songs, emotive vocals, slow tempos and occasional moments of post-rock heaviness, all of which carries over onto Forever Blue. "All I Asked For (Was To End It All)" is a fairly telling title for the opening song, which primarily features Williams singing above piano, strings and the sparsest of percussion arrangements, which ultimately come together in the comparatively loud climax to the track. Several tracks progress in this manner, with the post-rock cut "Melt" keeping the strings and guitar muted until its second half, in which her vocals start to soar upwards to match the volume increase on the instrumental side. Some songs strictly keep things on the soft side, such as the mellow acoustic jam "Dirt", but Forever Blue shines brightest on the more dynamic tracks, particularly "Love And Pain", where the guitars, strings and vocals complement each other beautifully as the song shifts in tone, and "Wait", which brings out the post-rock tremolo to great effect. More consistently gloomy than the works of Rundle and Hausswolff, Forever Blue is an impressive opening gambit from a rising star.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Phoxjaw - Royal Swan
[Post-Hardcore | Alternative Rock]


Being honest I discovered this one one day before I was supposed to publish this, and I knew I had to include it. However I wasn't sure whether to include it for one simple reason: it's bordering kinda hard on the metal side. Post-hardcore is already pretty close, and while alternative rock isn't really that convincing, there are plenty of moments closer to alternative metal. So don't be surprised if you find it featured [edit: It happened], but also don't be surprised if you don't. This is an alternative rock album first and an alternative metal one second. But damn, if the metal and hardcore parts aren't damn convincing.

Ok, this is not all, I don't want this write-up to turn into a plead to have this featured. Most of the songs have a clear prominent element in them, but each of them let the other seep in, and you'd find bits of metalcore, grunge and Bowie-ish art rock making their way in as well. And Royal Swans is really convincing on both its heavier and more mellow sides. Honestly this is so fun and energetic without feeling like it tries too hard to be. It just has such a varied soundscape, that's either heavy and noisy, anthemic and grandiose, or psychedelic and drowned in reverb. And all of it in a 45 minutes long debut, all of it culminating in a 7 minutes long title track that ties it all up together neatly. And I didn't even mention that sweet fucking organ.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Executioner's Mask - Despair Anthems
[Gothic Rock | Deathrock]


Having a band with "mask" in its name now that wearing a mask has became quite the norm (or at least it should be you wackos) must be quite a wild ride now, but even though Despair Anthems is the first time we see Executioner's Mask in full form, it builds up on 2019's True Blue EP. The trio made up of Crowhurst's Jay Gambit on vocals, The Howling Void's Ryan Wilson on guitars/synths/drum programming and Cop Warmth's Craig Mickle on guitars pays their dues to the classic post-punk/gothic rock/deathrock sound originally made by early The Cure, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and most importantly here: Christian Death.

If you're familiar with any of those bands, you'll know what to expect from Despair Anthems, but Executioner's Mask double down on the lo-fi aesthetic with some of the muddiest production you'll hear in gothic rock, especially when compared to most of the other revivalist acts. Jay's crooning vocals were among my favorite things on Crowhurst's III, so I'm glad we get more of them in their natural habitat here, though I would've liked a little bit more variation than the "just got out from the dentist's office and the anesthetic hasn't worn off" sound, especially since a lot of the guitar melodies are pretty inspired. They quite aced the lethargic dreamy sound, full of gloom and doom, but I can't say it's interesting enough for its entire duration.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Clan Of Xymox - Spider On The Wall
[Darkwave | Gothic Rock]


I saw Clan Of Xymox at a festival about 5 years ago, got into their music, liked their performance, and then promptly forgot about their existence. And then for some reason I see that they happened to release an album this month, and then I remembered that they are on Metal Storm, for a reason that it beyond me. And checking their profile neither this, nor the previous album were added, so I wasn't the only one who promptly forgot about their existence. But anyway here we have a new darkwave release from a band that has actually been at it since 1984, pretty much since the damn genre was invented. Their first two albums could definitely be considered classics, then they released four more under the Xymox name, and then ever since changing their name back they were fairly consistent in their release schedule. So how would a band's 16th album, 35 years after their debut, sound like?

Well, it's a pretty decent darkwave release. I'm not that well versed in their discography to really put it into context, but this seems pretty much in line with the sound I know them for. The sounds are very electronic, but with a gothic rock undertone to it all. Dark but not too melodramatic vocals. Catchy but not extraordinarily memorable vocals. Some songs are more upbeat and some are gloomier. I wouldn't call pretty much any of it experimental. If this were an album by a new darkwave band, I'd like it, but I wouldn't think too much of it. And yet, for a band to stay this consistent and not immediately bore me it's still a worthy achievement. I think I'll vibe with "I Don't Like Myself" for a while and then I'll promptly forget about this band again.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
[Post-Punk | Art Punk]


Post-punk bands recently came a-dime-a-dozen, and we've reviewed quite a few here, some of them a synthier sound, some more goth, some more noise-rock. But two ones really immediately come to mind with no question when thinking of something with a punkier sound: UK's Idles and their counterparts across the pond in Michigan's Protomartyr. Though the former are more recent and also a bit more rough, I have always enjoyed Protomartyr in their own right (especially since I'm more familiar with America's many problems than Britain's), and I'm fairly baffled as to how they didn't break at least one level above where they are in the mainsteam. The mainstream really needs something like these.

If it isn't obvious right now, this is pretty dreadful music, and I mean that in the most positive way. The punk part in the post-punk mix is endlessly discontent with the state of the world. And they've been so since they started with good reason, and I'm quite tired of angry and apocalyptic music fitting 2020 but alas here we are. Ultimate Success Today plays onto Protomartyr's strengths, those being the very imposing and sultry vocals of Joe Casey, due to whose accent I thought they were a British band initially; and their ability to create great soundscapes full of dread. But Ultimate Success Today not only benefits from being released in dreadful times, but the addition of saxophones, some guest vocals, and the surprisingly hopeful "Michigan Hammers" only makes the rest of the album more bleak by contrast.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Special Interest - The Passion Of
[Synth Punk | Industrial Rock]


Synth and punk have actually been merging for a pretty long while. You can't tell me that Throbbing Gristle's DIY approach wasn't in line with punk. Or that the greatest synth song in the form of "Blue Monday" doesn't trace its lineage through punk. Or that Suicide and Devo aren't some of the greatest synth punk bands out there. Special Interest pretty much continue that lineage, with any tag you'd be willing to put on them, from EBM to no wave to post-punk to electro-industrial to noise rock, the fit it somehow. What matters is, they got electronics and they're angry.

Oh, I forgot that some of those beats are dancey as fuck. Some techno sounding stuff. Of course all of it still in an industrial punk context, but surprisingly great and bouncy electronics. Of course while the electronics make about half the record, it's actually frontwoman Alli Logout that puts so much energy and anger into it, especially in the queer/POC/rage lyrics. The bass and guitars aren't to be ignored either, especially with the sense of urgency they create, overall everything falling into place to frenetic energy with driving noisy beats. I've seen people compare them to Algiers and not without reason. But Special Interest will likely get to a point where other bands are compared to them.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Pottery - Welcome To Bobby's Motel
[Dance-Punk | Art Punk]


Pottery's Welcome To Bobby's Motel is the kind of punk album that shows that you don't have to be loud and angry to be punk. As long as you got the attitude and the quirkiness you can follow in the footsteps of Devo and Talking Heads and Nick Cave to create something that is actually pretty dance-worthy. One secret ingredient: more cowbell. This obviously means this is an album that maybe doesn't take itself as seriously, but it takes all its damn grooves seriously, otherwise it wouldn't be so funky. Though whoever "Bobby" and his motel are might be an inside joke between the band members, you're along for the ride.

Don't let the album's quirkiness and sense of playfulness detract from just how great of a bunch of musicians they are. Though it's more percussion and vocal led, there are plenty of moments like on "Reflection" where a lot of the emphasis is placed on the bass and keys for something more in line with some soft prog rock, or moments where the guitars are the most thunderous of the bunch. But overall it's a quick dose of funky punky fun, maybe with just a wee bit too much Talking Heads influence on the sleeve, but it's not like that's their only source of inspiration. They've got plenty of time to find a more refined sound of their own. I just hope they don't lose their sense of fun, even if they get more serious.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Bad Cop/Bad Cop - The Ride
[Pop Punk | Punk Rock]


Originating from LA (California) and sprawling out on the surface of the saturated region with punk-rock / skate punk / pop punk scene are feisty all-female quartet Bad Cop/Bad Cop. The oncoming music output, named The Ride, is their third full length effort, released under the well-established (mainly punk rock oriented) label Fat Wreck Chords. The latter was founded 30 years ago by Fat Mike of NOFX fame and covers many "big names" and experienced bands from the punk rock / hardcore music scene. Fat Mike spotted Bad Cop/Bad Cop early on after their formation back in 2011, and signed them already for the first studio album.

The Ride album musically doesn't differ much comparing to the predecessors, Warriors and Not Sorry. Mid-paced tempo of predominately pop punk/punk rock vibes with harmonic multi-changing vocals of all four members, it mixes up with a well-known lyrically-based themes. The album itself various much more when it comes to the intensity of the songs. On certain ones, the group provides more powerful, fiery straight-forward approach. On the other side, the mellowed side of guitars and lightweight drumming shifts the music to a rather pop punk level. Either way the music turns, listening to Bad Cop/Bad Cop is normally very enjoyable and uplifting.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Abattoir




Illuminati Hotties - FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You've Been Waiting For
[Indie Rock | Art Punk]


Checking out Illuminati Hotties's debut album, 2018's Kiss Yr Frenemies, I was met by some fairly good but pretty straightforward indie rock and bedroom pop, so checking this one out I was expecting more of the same with maybe some growth. What I was not expecting was all this noise and experimentation. This one is so damn lo-fi punk now. Now, don't get me wrong, it's still mostly indie rock, and songs like "Freequent Letdown" are pretty much bangers as much as they are straight-forward, but even at their more conventional, there's so much more punch to everything this time around. And the bratty riot grrrl vocals make it so much better as well.

The mixtape tag this one has might mean that this isn't really what we should expect from a second Illuminati Hotties album, but damn I hope it is more in this vein, because I like this infinitely more than the debut (ok, maybe not infinitely more). FREE I.H is on the shorter side at just over 20 minutes in runtime, but it has a lot of songs, most of which admittedly not that fleshed out, but damn does that only add to the incredible lo-fi appeal that they have. A lot of the instrumentation is either noisy, or with such an amazing psychedelic groove like on the album's most developed song "Content//Bedtime" that sounds a lot like some of the best post-punk of the early 80s. It's really false advertising. This is the one I've been waiting for.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
[Indie Rock | Power Pop]


Jump Rope Gazers isn't an album I should particularly like; I've never had any particular affection for indie, and this certainly isn't some kind of genre-bending maverick of a record. The three-chord chorus and bouncy energy of opener "I'm Not Getting Excited" are very much from an established sound; however, the vocals of guitarist and frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes add a compelling bliss to the track, gentle yet upbeat, and delivering memorable melodies. "Dying To Believe", probably the track that's most stood out to me when listening, is less punky sounding than the song that preceded it, has a more laidback, muted indie/alt-rock mood to it, but is elevated by some really pleasant vocal hooks.

Jump Rope Gazers is the sophomore release of New Zealand group The Beths; whilst I haven't listened to their previous record, checking out some prominent reviews for the new album indicates that their debut was a more upbeat, energetic and fun record. Once the first two tracks I already mentioned are done with, Jump Rope Gazers does go into more muted, melancholic territory, starting with the languid pace and guitars of the title track, and really setting the new tone with the subdued "Do You Want Me Now". There are faster or harder-hitting moments here, including some of the brasher guitar work in the otherwise fast-and-jangly "Out Of Sight" and the grunge aspects of "Don't Go Away". However, if the first couple of songs are more reflective of the material on their debut, I could see why someone who discovered them through that album would be a bit underwhelmed by Jump Rope Gazers. As someone with minimal interest in this type of music, however, I thought this was a pleasant indie rock record elevated by a talented vocalist.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Khruangbin - Mordechai
[Psychedelic Rock | Funk Rock]


Khruangbin is really the kind of band that listens to a lot of music from a lot of places, and that shows in their cosmopolitan and diverse music, sounding a lot like a "chill time" playlist (which is something they created a website for) or stuff you would find either in a Quentin Tarantino film soundtrack, or as a sample mine for a hip-hop producer, or even something you'd find on the radio of an elevator in a luxury hotel. Essentially mood music that takes bits and sounds from all over the world. It does what it does and it does it well, but this is essentially the type of album to listen to while you're doing something, nor is it that much better than most of the stuff in the playlists they generate.

Thankfully, unlike previous Khruangbin records, this one has vocals, supposedly from all three members. None of them are really that great singers, but they fit the laid back mood of the record well enough, even if some of the performances feel too weak. But at least the landscapes feel just a bit more populated this time around. At least some of the guitar playing is really nice and can pull it out of sounding too distant. I may be critiquing them for exactly what they were trying to accomplish anyway, as this record makes them feel more like curators than musicians, and honestly this might actually work out for the better, especially if it gets the listener interested in something outside of the usual Western canon.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Keleketla! - Keleketla!
[Afrobeat | Afro-Jazz]


Most of the reviews of this record that I found have focused on the genesis of this project, a multinational collaboration primarily orchestrated by British electronic project Coldcut and the Keleketla! library in Johannesburg, with the proceeds of this collaboration go towards the charity In Place Of War. The record features an array of primarily South African musicians, but also several renowned musicians, including the co-founder of Afrobeat, Tony Allen. The origins of Keleketla! are interesting to learn about, but thankfully the quality of the music on display here more than lives up to it.

Across 9 tracks, this collaboration shows off an array of seamlessly integrated musical influences. Opener "Future Toyi Toyi" is one of several tracks powered by Allen's beats, and features powerful chanting courtesy of Soundz Of The South alternating with some smoother female singing. Allen also features on "Papua Merdeka", which contains funk guitar, saxophone solos, what sounds like a Hammond organ (giving it a bit of a prog rock vibe) and some really nice female chorals, all of which is contrasted by a harrowing spoken word passage concerning the struggles of the inhabitants of West Papua. "International Love Affair" is similarly heavy on the funk and jazz, making for probably the liveliest track on Keleketla. Less upbeat is "Crystallise", a hip-hop track on which South African rapper Yugen Blakrok flows above a rolling, driving beat. The next track on the record, "Broken Light", initially sounds like it will also be a hip-hop song, with its powerful percussive introduction; it makes for something of a surprise when it turns into a gentle male/female sung duet. Also somewhat surprising is the beautifully delicate piano outro piece, "Swift Gathering", a fairly stark contrast to the energy of the rest of the record, but a charming contemplative outro to a vibrant and varied record.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Dalai Lama - Inner World
[Spoken Word | Tibetan Traditional Music]


Inner World is a groundbreaking album in the sense that this debut by the 14th Dalai Lama marks the first time a Dalai Lama releases recorded music. Having come out on July 6th, 2020 to celebrate his 85th birthday, it is the product of collaboration with New Zealand musicians, Junelle Kunin and Abe Kunin. The idea for an album of mantras and teachings was pitched many years before and was turned down, but in 2015 it came up again and this time the Tibetan spiritual leader accepted the challenge. Apparently, he is convinced that music, according to his words, has "the potential to help people in a way that I can't" and that it can show us the way "to transcend our differences. It can return us to our true nature of warm-heartedness". And there is also the fact that he is no stranger to the music world, having met over the years with The Beastie Boys, Patti Smith, and Lady Gaga among others.

It took five years to complete Inner World and it contains eleven tracks. On seven of those Dalai Lama chants sacred mantras of significant Buddhas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and on "Ama La" we can hear special guest Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar, playing sitar. The music aims to create a sense of calmness in times of anxiety and fear, being very atmospheric and ambient and soothing. At the same time, Dalai Lama's voice offers an air of tranquillity and safety, and pairs well with this peaceful music. Themes of healing, compassion, helping and persevering through difficulties through confidence and courage are permeating the album, and these should not be foreign to those into Buddhism but, for everyone else, this album should still come across as a meditative experience, both relaxing and helping to develop one's inner strength. Cynics will say that this is not much more than music you'd find in a luxury spa, but in my mind it is never a bad thing to hear the words of someone who has dedicated his life to teaching non-violence, acceptance, and self-improvement woven to a bed of heart-warming music. And all proceeds from the album are going to charity.

Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg



Nicolas Jaar - Telas
[Glitch | Ambient]


It wasn't that long ago that we got another Nicolas Jaar album, and that's not even counting the Against All Logic side-project album that we also got this year, so for Nicolas Jaar to come out with another album on such a short notice is pretty surprising. If all of the three albums he released this year allude to a previous record of his, then Telas alludes to 2015's Pomegranates, which was an ambient film score. Obviously this means that Telas is equally focused on ambiance, which it achieves through some glitchy electroacoustic music over the course of four quarter-hour long tracks.

As an ambient tag like this would suggest, this is a very quiet and sprawling album, where each small glitchy sound is like an elusive feeling in the night when you're all alone. There is always something happening, but never something urgent. If anything, whatever happens is lethargic, apathetic and quite unavoidable at this point. It's easy to see some of the parallels to what we are living through right now, and Jaar uses ambient music's potency for emotion fully. Though not necessarily the best soundscapes that he has ever produced, there still remains a feeling of wonder and dread embedded within it, and though there are some issues with its flow, the long-winding form does work in the album's benefit.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Shinichi Atobe - Yes
[Minimal Techno | House]


Shinichi Atobe, a notoriously mysterious electronic producer from Japan, has been quite busy since his return from a 13-year period of silence in 2014. Yes is his fifth record since he joined the label DDS at the end of said period of inactivity, and the genre tag "minimal techno" feels apt for the music found within. "Ocean 7" is nothing more than oscillations of upbeat synth tones for five minutes, without any kind of backing beat. "Lake 2", in contrast, does feature a muted, stripped-down beat, which gradually develops during the track, but again focuses on these elliptical melodic motifs. Yes isn't a techno album that decides to bring out heavy beats or elaborate layering; for large stretches the songs are relatively sparse, a backdrop of serenity with only bare basics pulses or hi-hat effects to establish some forward momentum.

Some songs manage to be more elaborate than these early cuts; the percussive side of the title track remains as muted as on "Lake 2", but with a bit more syncopation and complexity. In contrast, the lead keyboard motif is more simplistic than most here, requiring the added complexity of the beats and synth flourishes to maintain some level of engagement throughout its 8 minutes. A couple of tracks here do properly stand out, and add a necessary level of diversity to Yes. "Lake 3" flips the script somewhat by having the percussion front and center, with what sound like bongos or similar drums powering ahead for several minutes with only scattered background synths as accompaniment. The other big departure is "Ocean 1", which in contrast to "Ocean 7" at the end of the record, feels like a fully formed dancefloor track, with thick pulsating bass tones, smooth synths and an energetic rhythm. These more percussive or fleshed-out tracks help to prevent what is otherwise a perhaps too minimal techno record from falling flat before running its course.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Boldy James & Sterling Toles - Manger On McNichols
[Jazz Rap | Conscious Hip Hop]


I have reviewed a Boldy James project before, in fact just this year. And other than this, he has already came out with another collaboration with another producer in August, so damn, slow down! But in Boldy's defence not only did his career have a lot of wasted time due to a prison sentence, but this is a collaboration that was apparently in the works for a really long time, so him being eager to put all of his work out is pretty understandable. Especially since he manages to always find producers that really fit his style.

And I'll be honest, I don't really like Boldy's rapping, but his pen game is absolutely fantastic, it is just his flow that endlessly feels a bit too one-note. This is clearly gangsta rap, that probably would've been pretty average as just gangsta rap. But Sterling Toles' production is really so surprisingly experimental and jazzy. It feels constantly weird, but in a way that isn't unappealing or unfit, in a way that actually elevates the rapping. The stories of Detroit hustling that are so personal to these two are definitely great to listen to, and with this only having one feature compared to the big names on the previous album, it's clear which is more of a passion project of the two.

Bandcamp

by RaduP




Blu & Exile - Miles
[West Coast Hip Hop | Conscious Hip Hop]


Rapper Blu and producer Exile have been one of the most underrated and most fucked over by a label hip-hop outfits in the past two decades. After the absolutely fantastic Below The Heavens, which is seriously one of the best hip-hop albums of the 2000s, a bunch of label drama, another sightly underwhelming album in 2011, the two of them would sporadically show up in different projects, but it wasn't until this year's Miles that we see the two finally teaming up again, and damn do we get our missed time's worth of material, with pretty much a double album of the two still feeling like at the top of their game.

Though I find the extended runtime quite surprising and a bit exaggerated, I can't say I find too many moments on Miles that feel like fillers or are underwhelming enough to deserve being cut. This thing is just so wholesome and positive in a way that is either missing from hip-hop (or music in general) or would feel sugary otherwise. And with both of them much older, you can really feel that they are a lot wiser as well, with Exile pulling some great and colorful jazzy beats, and Blu reaching some great conceptual and personal heights, being able to dive into different subjects, personal stories, rhyme patters, and repeating or pulling them back at ease while always feeling like he has something new worth hearing to say about it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Dinner Party - Dinner Party
[Neo-Soul | Soul Jazz]


Do the names Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder or even goddamn Kamasi Washington ring anything to you? I'll admit that I was dragged into the album particularly because of the very last one, but now I am very much interested in checking the other three as they seem to be fairly big names in soul/jazz, as well as, judging by the content of this album, damn great musicians. Ironically it is Kamasi's presence that I feel least of on this album, but his saxophone does add some great jazz touches to what already is a pretty easy listening piece of neo-soul. But maybe that's just me being unfamiliar with the other three.

Though I can't say for sure whether it's an EP or a full length, with it being 7 tracks and 23 minutes long, there is a feeling of incompleteness because of it, which can hopefully lead to a more fulfilling project down the line. Over half of the tracks have vocals courtesy of Phoelix, which is another name I guess I should start paying attention to from now on, and those are the tracks that I feel are the most lively of the bunch, with the rest feeling a lot too much like some lo-fi instrumental hip-hop that you put in the background while studying, but obviously a little bit more fleshed out. Overall, a fun 20 minutes, but far from feeling satisfying.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas
[Neo-Soul | Singer/Songwriter]


Lianne La Havas isn't really a name I've heard before, partly because I don't really listen to as much soul music as I should, but also because she hasn't released a new album in 5 years. And for some reason those two albums she released last decade didn't make her a household name. And also seeing as to how this is a self-titled, I made the general assumption that it was a debut album. But in the context of her career, it still makes sense that this a self-titled, being both the maturation of her sound and the more honest and organic version of it. And I love it for that. And also because it does so much with so little. Let me explain.

Calling this lo-fi is really a stretch, but this is still a far cry from most commercial production, feeling more organic in its sound and also less lush, but at the same time a bit more dreamy and personal. Though there are no moments where she is only accompanied by one instrument, the sparse guitars, drums and synths make this feel at times closer to a indie folk or a singer/songwriter record. Her voice also feels very husky and unfiltered, which only adds to the experience. And did I even mention the cover of Radiohead's "Weird Fishes"? Covering a Radiohead that isn't among their absolute most popular is always a good indicator of passion, so that coupled with the stripped back and unpolished feel of the record, I can perfectly understand why Lianne feels this record represents her most of all.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Klô Pelgag - Notre-Dame-Des-Sept-Douleurs
[Art Pop | Baroque Pop]


Je ne peux pas parler beaucoup de français, donc je ne comprenais rien chanté dans cet album. Je voudrais savoir assez français à la fois pour le comprendre, et d'écrire ce en français. So yeah, I wish I knew more French, because French is such a beautiful language, especially when sung. There's a reason why they even have a genre for it, "chanson". How can the "schlager" even compete? Especially when we have such a representative like Klô Pelgag, whose third album Notre-Dame-Des-Sept-Douleurs probably would've been a pretty good album in any language other than Hungarian or Esperanto, but nothing would be better than what it is now.

Enough French praise, the language is the best thing about them anyway, as well as their taunting skills. Thankfully Klô sounds a lot like a French Kate Bush, which is like the best of both worlds. Her sweet and charismatic vocals are soothing enough on their own, but the blend of progressive and baroque pop is really some of the best I've heard in this style since the latest Weyes Blood. Great string sections, some synthpop sounds, a fair share of piano, and most importantly memorable vocal lines, which is really the best way to make foreign music memorable without having some overt choruses.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Taylor Swift - Folklore
[Indie Folk | Chamber Pop | Folk Pop]


As an American who is roughly the same age as Taylor Swift, I have had no choice but to become vaguely familiar with her catalogue through cultural osmosis. I can't say I've ever been a fan, neither of her acoustic-guitar-strumming country princess days nor her transitional pop-diva material of recent albums, but Folklore has caused me to reconsider my perspective, even if it turns out to be a one-off distraction from quarantine. As you can no doubt tell from the all-lowercase track listing and misty, monochrome cover art, Taylor Swift now plays Sad Indie Kid music. Written in conjunction with The National's Aaron Dessner and frequent Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, Folklore is an album of soft, low-key ballads, mellow folk-rock shuffles, and atmospheric vocal-scapes backed by plucked strings, delicately coruscating piano, and gentle programmed percussion. It's not an entirely acoustic album; you'll hear a little bit of the ethereal synth-pop held over from 1989 in some of the instrumentals and Taylor's lilting, airy vocal lines, but coming off the loud, standoffish nature of her more recent trap-, house-, and pop-influenced material, Folklore feels like a more mature and melancholic recapitulation of Swift's country roots. Swift's feathery crooning conjures an unfamiliar delicacy, certainly a reflection of elements that were always present in her music, but now with an odd sense of lo-fi in the highest of fis. Structurally, most of these tracks fall into the same three-to-four-minute pop song bracket, some even with a nice spring in their step, and yet their bittersweet delivery and heavy indie influence turn them into a new experience.

Though it's a more subdued, melancholic take than what we're used to, Folklore sees Swift still lodged in her lyrical wheelhouse, with tales of heartbreak, romance, and heartbreak and romance. I don't have any particular gripe with Swift's choice of content - as a lover of Alestorm, I'm not throwing stones at anybody who makes a career out of the same thematic concept - but this is where I often find difficulty in getting absorbed by pop music. Unless I'm really impressed by the lyrics, I usually find myself shutting down or silently correcting grammar as I listen; if it's a genre I don't fundamentally love, I often find it helps if I can't understand the lyrics. The one real difference from previous albums, aside from the tone, is the occasional use of vulgarities, which Swift had long sworn off; I don't find that they add much, though I'm not going to spend any great amount of time ruminating on the idea.

Well, despite the album cover, Taylor Swift is not becoming our next Myrkur, but this was the first time I ever willingly sat down and enjoyed one of her albums from start to finish. I feel like this is the part where I link you to her Bandcamp and announce her upcoming collaboration with Chelsea Wolfe, but I guess she's still a bit too famous for that.

Apple Music | Spotify

by SSUS




And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month.



 


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 51 users
24.08.2020 - 17:36
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
How do you chose what to write about. Radu picks list ir you all wriers listen new non metal things. Only where i listen non metal is radio on bus, car. Other wise only metal on my play list.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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24.08.2020 - 17:39
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Death rock is good and imo clan could bf reviewed as album.

It can be horrible german schlager in french language, rating surkraut whit snale in it... Nja radu you k ow what to do. Metal recepies article next month
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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24.08.2020 - 17:40
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 24.08.2020 at 17:36

How do you chose what to write about. Radu picks list ir you all wriers listen new non metal things. Only where i listen non metal is radio on bus, car. Other wise only metal on my play list.

Kinda like in the CCs, one person does search for stuff and updates the "OP", but everyone is free to either claim from that or come up with their own suggestions.

I browse either Rate Your Music, Bandcamp, some labels that I know, or certain Facebook groups for stuff.
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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24.08.2020 - 17:50
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 24.08.2020 at 17:40

Written by Bad English on 24.08.2020 at 17:36

How do you chose what to write about. Radu picks list ir you all wriers listen new non metal things. Only where i listen non metal is radio on bus, car. Other wise only metal on my play list.

Kinda like in the CCs, one person does search for stuff and updates the "OP", but everyone is free to either claim from that or come up with their own suggestions.

I browse either Rate Your Music, Bandcamp, some labels that I know, or certain Facebook groups for stuff.

I see, btw i updates my last post.

Youre True genus in writing front, maybe ypu should make money on that way
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
24.08.2020 - 17:54
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Btw i read those. Last two and now from first catching up, i do at work when sit and Do nothing. I was against in beggining, now i like it, new structure is good but i wish you would add country as well. Good idea you hade,
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
24.08.2020 - 17:58
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 24.08.2020 at 17:54

Btw i read those. Last two and now from first catching up, i do at work when sit and Do nothing. I was against in beggining, now i like it, new structure is good but i wish you would add country as well. Good idea you hade,

The country adding is not such a bad idea come to think of it, maybe we could do it for the CCs as well.

The structure is better this way mostly for mobile users, which this website is not especially well geared towards.

Glad you're reading this, even though you won't find much to like.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
24.08.2020 - 18:14
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 24.08.2020 at 17:58

Written by Bad English on 24.08.2020 at 17:54

Btw i read those. Last two and now from first catching up, i do at work when sit and Do nothing. I was against in beggining, now i like it, new structure is good but i wish you would add country as well. Good idea you hade,

The country adding is not such a bad idea come to think of it, maybe we could do it for the CCs as well.

The structure is better this way mostly for mobile users, which this website is not especially well geared towards.

Glad you're reading this, even though you won't find much to like.

In last 3 years i read all from mobile. Edit from pc. I do comment this from mobile, i have hangower.
In this i like 2 bands actually. Last i did like Bob Dylan. I might dislike music, but I like articles in princple in ms. I read all here. 2904 2009 only what i like, but from 2011 all. I did not read first this series, but I catch up, read all slowly. I like way How you guys write.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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