I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say about 2020 as an introduction to this post, a wrap up of the rest of my month-by-month album reviews of the year, something I started during the first lockdown, and in synergy to how this pandemic has gone; those posts started with much fluster, meandered, and has now come back with renewed enthusiasm, and a new string (strain) to its bow. The new strings in this post are simply a more rushed approach to getting these album reviews done, or simply sharing what albums I enjoyed listening to each month, much like the UK governments approach to getting the Pfizer vaccine approved, or quickly hashing out a last minute trade deal with the EU.Continue reading “Album Reviews: Wrap Up of 2020, June – December”
By the time May came around, each month had started to blur into one, and a feeling of doom and gloom lay rife in the air, as everything that we had looked forward to slowly withered away and was being cancelled, or rescheduled for what would be either the first or second time of many more. Completing a Netflix series had become the norm and no longer an accomplishment, and having walked the 5 mile radius surrounding my London flat a good ten times over, it all started to feel like a Deja Vu. New lockdown hobbies and interests started to fade, and the constant battle to stay motivated was a fortnightly crisis. Even new music wasn’t quite hitting the mark, and some of the albums in this post were listened to retrospectively.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in May”
Here we go again! As I continue to look back through my albums of the year, month by month. This time I’ll take a look at April, which saw the return of The Strokes after seven years, the wonderful collaboration between Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, amongst fantastic new albums from Enter Shikari, Fiona Apple and The Used. April once again saw an abundance of new music, and as always it was hard to pin down what my top five albums were. This list could have easily included Thundercats ‘It Is What It is’, and new releases from R.A The Rugged Man and Dance Gavin Dance, but alas I can only pick five, and these are the beautiful albums that I have chosen.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in April”
Having already looked at my albums of the month for January and February, I now move onto March. The first two months of the year brought us some great music, and March continued in the same vein. Just like my previous posts, I’ll start with a quick update on the state of the world back then; it had imploded. Speaking of someone who lives in the UK, our Government started a shit show of a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as we were shown numerous graphs of how to ‘flatten the curve’, and Boris Johnson reassured the nation by stating that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. He then set out plans to do absolutely nothing for weeks… Eventually, we were all ordered to stay at home, which led to a new outbreak which swept across the nation; boredom. Time was spent binge-watching the latest Netflix series, baking numerous amounts of banana bread, and attempting to learn new skills, as we began to settle into the ‘new normal’.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in March”
Continuing to look back at some of my favourite albums released earlier this year, this time I’ll take a look at the month of February. A month where everything seemed normal, it was the calm before the storm, as the full impact of COVID-19 lurked around the corner. Donald Trump was being impeached, Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, Storm Denis hit the UK, and the world was still in self-destruct mode. But alas, there was new music. This month saw the return of The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, Tame Impala coming back after five years, and a blisttering second album from Liverpudlian band Loathe, not to mention new albums from The Amity Affliction, Grimes, Green Day, and King Krule, just to name a few.
What feels like an eternity ago, when COVID-19 was a distant viral illness beginning to spread throughout Asia, when Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down from royal duties ‘split the nation’, when we were all left realing from the heartbraking scenes of the Australian bushfires, before many other tragic events, including the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter; new music was released, which was a brief respite from the tsunami of bad news and conflicts brought in with the start of a new decade, 2020. Whilst it’s not hard to understate that there are more important things in life than music, music can provide an escape from reality, and provide an outlet to release negative emotions, as well as provide joy and something to look forward to, especially in times such as these. Little did we know, that January was just the start of things to come, and these albums are fresh from the context of now, providing a brief respite as they did then, and now.
At just 20 years old, Dave has established himself as one of the UK’s finest talents. His debut album ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ has arrived too much anticipation, a culmination of his succesful EP’s ‘Six Paths’ and ‘Game Over’, a co-sign from Drake, who remixed his track ‘Wanna Know’, and an Ivor Novello Award for his single ‘Question Time‘. It’s been a steady trajectory to this point, and one that the London-born artist has seemed to take in his stride. Every collaboration, move and performance, perfectly timed, fluttering with mainstream attention whilst keeping his steely lyricism and feet firmly grounded. He hasn’t forgotten his childhood growing up in estates, his friends who have been and gone, the tales of sorrow and life pitfalls, Dave raps about it all. An unflinching look into his life and the people in it, society and politics, ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ is a great album, and just the beginning for this extremely talented artist. Continue reading “Album Review: Dave – PSYCHODRAMA”
Little Simz continues to show her enormous talent on her third full-length album ‘GREY Area’. The diverse subject matters, musical styles and the fantastic tempo of the album, switching from the ferocious ‘Venom’ – a full-throttle attack on how women are treated in a male dominated hip-hop scene, over a breathtaking trip-hop beat, to the beautiful and subtle sounds of ‘Pressure’, which is a politically motivated track on recent events in London, and life in an inner-city. It’s an album that is perfectly timed too, at 35 minutes it allows for the topics to be unravelled and the talents of Simz to bear fruit, but without the pace ever feeling like it’s slowing down or reaching a lull. Like a perfectly timed jab to the face, ‘GREY Area’ is an album that demands your attention, in a world where that is hard to attain. Continue reading “Album Review: Little Simz – GREY Area”
Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts
Whatever your opinion of Kanye West is, you can’t deny that he has made some great music. The enigmatic figure, love him or hate him, loathe his manipulation of the media and outspoken personality, his relationship with Kim Kardashian, he’s an artist who has consistently released good music, whilst pushing boundaries and often changing perspectives. On ‘Kids See Ghosts’ he is joined by long-term collaborator Kid Cudi, who like Kanye is returning to music after battling depression.
Escapism is an important part of life. Whether that comes from sport, film, art or something else, the escape from the daily rigmarole of work and routine can often be the release that we need. Nothing embodies that notion of escaping the reality more than psychedelic rock, the captivating imagery, and the wandering larger than life sounds, the grandiose vocals and lyrics, it’s a genre bursting with imagination and other-worldliness.