Feature: 5 Recent NPR Tiny Desk Concerts to Check Out

Since 2008, National Public Radio have hosted an online live music series called ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’. Featuring artists from all genres, the show has starred musicians such as Chance The Rapper, Sampha and Cigarettes After Sex, to name a few. The format continues to routinely deliver, allowing artists to perform a few of their favourite tracks in an intimate office enviroment. After watching Jorja Smith‘s mesmerising performance in her latest Tiny Desk Concert, I decided to pick out five of my favourite sets from recent months.

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Album Reviews: June 8th, featuring Kanye West & Kid Cudi, Jorja Smith, and Lykke Li

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.

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Live Review: Hacktivist & The One Hundred @ Joiners, Southampton – 7.12.14

Shows like these are notorious for their crowd interaction, the mosh pits, the lead singer jumping into the crowd, the sweaty fat guy with his top off swinging it above his head, it can be these antics that makes these type of gigs so enjoyable to attend. However, it’s a shame when sometimes a minority of people take there enthusiasm a bit too far and get carried away with it, swinging there bodies all over the place, especially into small girls and people who are clearly not in the mosh pit. Different people enjoy gigs in different ways, some people like to mosh as there expression of enjoyment of the music, and some people just like to enjoy the music. The two should not have to clash, even at a small venue such as Joiners. In spite of this, the raw emotion that was shown by each band on the night is enough to get even the mellowest of guys stirred. The Intimacy of Joiners makes it feel like you’re at one with the band, the audience able to see each emotion on the bands faces – to study/to admire.

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Album Review: J. Cole – Born Sinner

Cole returns with his second studio album entitled ‘Born Sinner’ bringing his usual classical hip-hop style and smooth flow. The album was released on June 18th, which just so happened to be the release date for Kanye Wests album ‘Yeezus’, and also Mac Millers new album ‘Watching Movies With The Sound Off.’ Having already reviewed those two albums I can safely say that all three are completely different, in style, lyrical content and also in what audience they are for. ‘Born Sinner’ brings a more linear less experimental hip-hop album to the table, instead focusing on the lyrical content and storytelling side of things, portraying his life in North Carolina and points of views on more traditional beats. The album has a nice relaxed feel about it with Cole having the uncanny ability to paint pictures in your mind, giving off an autobiographical film type of atmosphere. Clever and funny ad-libs (skits) and also freestyles (interludes) feature throughout the album, which breaks up and links the album together really well. In terms of features there’s not too many, and most only feature as a chorus singer, i.e. Miguel, TLC, Amber Coffman, Cole relying on his versatility to keep the album interesting and on point. The only criticism I would have is that the album kind of just stays on the same level and there’s not enough variety in it, but in saying that I think that could just be because there’s no bad tracks on the album, they’re all good. My personal favourites from the album include ‘Power Trip’, ‘Rich Niggaz’ and ‘Let Nas Down.’ The art of story telling and lyricism certainly goes to Cole out of the three and ‘Born Sinner’ is a brilliantly put together piece of work.

9/10

First published: July 4, 2013

Where?: https://willgcollege.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/j-cole-born-sinner-album-review/

June 18th saw three completely different artists go head-to-head, in my opinion ‘Born Sinner’ was the best out of the three, but what’s your opinion, what do you think was the best? The creative and innovative ‘Yeezus’, the classical story telling of ‘Born Sinner’ or the variety and complex lyricism of ‘WMWTSO.’ Let me know your opinion in the comments…

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