Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe

princessnokiaPrincess Nokia is fucking awesome. With her “little titties and my phat belly I could take your man if you finna let me. It’s a guarantee that he won’t forget me. My body little, my soul heavy.”

We hear the phrase, “confidence is everything” a lot, but do we actually believe that shit? Yet, I hear a rap song in a strong feminine voice and then I’m like. “Ya, bodies that differ from conventional beauty standards are fucking sexy as hell man. They’re exotic, they have so much to offer, and what the fuck are you doing to me Princess Nokia!?” Destroying culturally established standards of beauty that billions of dollars worth of television and publicity built within me with a confidence that could part the Red fucking Sea, that’s what she’s fucking doing. With this fact alone this album should get a “gold star”. But shit, this stuff is also autobiographical as fuck. Her flow is smoother than warm honey midway through a thick pour into a pool of tepid olive oil, and the grit in her voice is not trying to resemble the bark and brawl of early hip-hop, it’s modern and new. And what’s more, all of this is fucking entertaining. 

1992, year she was born. First song she goes into detail of her life as a young girl and compares it with Bart Simpson, which is also the song title. She skateboards, she’s kinda nerdy, wears baggy jeans, but somehow she makes this shit sound so fucking cool. Other songs like Kitana are examples of losing a bit of lyrical grit for flow and style. I would say this is a weakness but damn, I can’t do what she’s doing. Songs like Brujas are where I go, “nawww, you can’t be fucking serious”. Cause the lyrics and flow and messages are all so fucking good. Let’s open this bitch up a little for ya: “Brujas” is Spanish for witches. Instead of this being anything remotely negative, she wears the title like a superpower, “don’t fuck with my energy!” “I’m a shapeshifting bitch you don’t know who you’re loving.” She uses her history, her gender, and her mixed race as something to be feared and powerful like with witches. Cool right?

Some things that might help with this album. First off, G.O.A.T. means greatest of all time, just in case you never listened to LL Cool J. What’s more, the production is part of the art. It emulates old school gangsta rap. You know. The ’90s. O.J. time. N.W.A. type of shit. That time when a marginalized group decided to use music, and their oppressor’s own fear, to promote a message against them and help the suppressed feel strength in  … oh fuck. Ya now I get it. It works for women as well. Well, fuck. I’m a fucking idiot.

Rap is some powerful music. It’s been used to help break through chains as well as create new ones. I’m happy that someone like Princess Nokia (Nokia phones have been known to be indestructible. Huh? Huh?! Get it!) has been able to harness the craft. I look forward to her future, and I’m just happy to have this playing in the background.

Favourite song, “Tomboy”. Cause that beat’s fly and those lyrics sick. Enjoy. 

 

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid

igorrrAlright motherfuckers, hold your hats, cause things are about to get really, really, fucking bizarre. Warning: If you are in a chill mood do not listen to this music.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Igorrr: welcome to one of the only bands I know that are Death Metal, Breakcore, IDM, Electronic, Classical, Opera, Avant-garde (obviously), and in this album Klezmer, Polka, Chiptune (made from gameboys), with some added Spanish guitar. It sounds like Mike Patton’s dream of falling in love with Edward Scissorhands as John Zorn, Bach, and Aphex Twin compose their wedding music. It’s not for the light of heart. It’s fucking beautiful. It’s an adventure. But it’s not for the light of heart. 

Genre defying music is usually shit, I agree, as its focus is breaking genres, then at the end, there isn’t any music left. But this isn’t music made exclusively to defy genres. It’s that point in electronic music that feels like an orchestra. Ya, Gautier just adds a fucking orchestra. Or that point in classical music where you want to start head banging. Again, Gautier adds death metal. But, how fast is that Death metal? Sometimes it’s so fast it’s electronic bitches. The breaks? Spanish Guitar and Opera. And not some slack shit either. Professional level fucking heartbreaking Spanish guitar, opera, and accordion. Oh ya, and it’s one fucking dude. Gautier Serre. And this French fucker is fucking talented. 

If you haven’t heard any of Gautier’s music and you like it, you have a lot of catching up to do. This isn’t his first album. And honestly, to understand the full progression of his music, the true innovation, it’s best to start from the beginning.

This album has been four years in the making because Gautier wanted to work with the best. Like the harpsichordist Katerina Chrobokova. He trucked her harpsichord from her home in the Czech Republic to his studio in France to record, having to wait till the instrument became room temperature then retune the fucking thing, to record her part (she plays her chops in song 2 “Ieud”). He also spent weeks retuning a sitar so it wouldn’t sound like Indian music but “Igorrr” music. 

As an album, it’s great to see the progression. There’s no talent lost. It’s obvious that Gautier didn’t want to use samples in this album. And good for him for that, it’s tough to do these days. But, personally, it’s just not my favourite album from Igorrr. I’m still a huge fan of “Hallelujah” (I both lost and gained something within me when I first heard the song “Tout Petit Moineau” … [if you listen, please do so on really good headphones or on a bad ass speaker system. Then … just hold on to your bulging erection and swelling clit cause this is asshole clenching music]). 

I once read that Igorrr is the weirdest music ever. It’s bizarre, I agree, but I think that comment is wrong and a bit unfair. Weird shouldn’t be classified alongside experimental. Weird to me is playing the same goddamn song over and over again, each and every day of your life, and then thinking that this song is the best that the world can offer. That’s eating the same meal everyday and calling it the best. It’s being locked in a prison your whole life, playing shadow puppets on the wall, then saying film has nothing to offer. But hey, I’m not the first guy to point this out. Enjoy.

“When the wise man points to the stars the fool looks at his finger.” Confucius



 

 

Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

macdemarcoIt’s Saturday, you wake up late, and begin to cook breakfast around noon. The sun pours in through the windows. You open one window just a bit to let some fresh air into the place. And … what the shit? Is that actually what bluejays sound like or is someone continually cunt punching a team of baby squirrels? Magpies? What’s wrong with you magpies? Who hurt you? Did someone make you swallow a kazoo then karate kick you in the throat? You sound broken. Fuck you, nature! I thought you were supposed to be tranquil and shit!

After shutting the window, you take a breath, and chose an album for the day. You throw on “This Old Dog” from Mac Demarco. You forgive him for being born in Duncan, BC, because making it as an artist after being raised in Edmonton means some shit. The music is mellow, it’s chill. His voice sounds like if Lennon and Damon Albarn had a genetic lovechild. The music sounds is like a Casio keyboard making sweet, sweet, love to the Marvin Gaye’s “Midnight Love”, with some chill acoustic Beck getting lubed up in the corner to come join in on the party. The drums and bass are basically one instrument throughout the entire album. You make breakfast, eat it. The day is nice.

You sit on your favourite chair. Oh ya, that one. Comfy right? And as you settle in you smile a little at just how light and silly the album is. When you hear the lyrics on the first song “My Old Man” the smile leaves your face. “Look in the mirror. Who do you see?” … “he can’t be me, look how old and cold and tired and lonely he’s become”… “There’s a price tag hanging off of having all that fun.” The chorus hops in and stings ya with, “Oh no, looks like I’m seeing more of my old man in me.” Fuck you, Demarco! I thought you were supposed to be all indie and silly and stupid and shit. What are you doing? 

The album goes on, it goes into heartbreak and struggle. It’s more honest than all the other DeMarco albums you’ve heard. It sounds like it’s the first time he’s being honest with you … fuck, maybe it’s the first time he’s being honest with himself. You realize the theme of the album is an old dog. DeMarco keeps comparing himself with one and, as we all know, “an old dog can’t learn new tricks”. He talks about this heartbreak, how he’ll never get over this girl, because “old dogs can’t learn new tricks”. 

The album finishes with a song on which DeMarco debates on whether or not he’s going to call his absent father. A lyric repeats, “watching him fade away” over and over again. You realize he’s talking about his father as well as himself. Your face is wet, at some point you started crying. Someone walks into the room and laughs at just how silly and indie and stupid the album sounds. They ask why you’re crying. You shut the album off and punch that person in the face. Their nose is bleeding a lot. You didn’t mean to hit them that hard but they were being a dick. You open the window and throw the album directly at those fucking magpies and bluejays. They all sit on their favourite chairs, put the album on, and laugh at how stupid and silly the album sounds. You walk away smiling.



 

 

Colter Wall – Colter Wall

colterwallThis guy is 22 … fuck the right off. Seriously? Who is 22 and sounds like this? Go ahead, listen to him while I wait … seriously, it’s worth it. I’ll wait. 

See!? What the fuck is that shit? When I first heard it, I jumped on YouTube. I imagined a worn face full of stories, pockmarked by cigarette burns thrown from disgruntled ex-girlfriends slamming the door to whiskey soaked breath. But no … despite trying to hide that baby face of his with a beard and a thick hat, he’s fucking 22. He sounds like he’s going through his fourth divorce with a stripper named Sinclair that he met in Elko, Nevada that he accidentally married one night while high on amphetamines only to wake that morning next to Johnnie Barber (Johnny Paycheck’s former drummer) asking him for 50 large so he can co-invest in an alligator farm somewhere outside Blue Eye, Alabama. But again, the kid’s fucking 22. Also, he’s from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. And if you don’t know Swift Current, it’s nudging onto almost 17 thousand people. Now of days, he’s the fucking opener for Lucinda Fucking Williams. Good for you man. You’re a bearded Cinderella story. 

Despite being young, the kid has chops as well. In the song, “Thirteen Silver Dollars” the first song and first single, he talks about getting hammered and waking up to the motherfucking RCMP, “painted on that shiny car the letters ‘RCM and P”. They ask him his name and where he lives. He responds by singing Blue Yodel #9 by Jimmie Rodgers. The cop, and most likely a lot of listeners, don’t get the joke (The same situation happens in the Jimmie Rodgers song, he replies to the cop, “You’ll find my name on the tail of my shirt. I’m a Tennessee hustler, I don’t have to work. So listen all you rounders you better leave my women alone, cause I’ll take my Special and run all you rounders home.”) Colter doesn’t go into any of these details, he doesn’t have to. He’s a boy (sorry man) of few words from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. 

So, this isn’t a new country album. It’s more of an Americana style (Canadiana actually) with a mix of folk. There are some songs where if you don’t like country at all you’ll shut it off. This isn’t Ryan Adams, it’s not a country that can appeal to 15-year-old blonde girls going on their 4th heartbreak. It feels, and acts, like Outlaw country. That Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson shit. My favourite shit. The real shit. And … it’s a country that doesn’t pander and must be autobiographical. The less real it is, the easier it is to let go of. And I have to say, I’m not letting go of this album. 

 

Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

Vincestaplesbigfish“If you were a poetry major, I feel bad for you ’cause / You paid 90 thousand dollars and you still ain’t one.” William Shakespeare

What is it with people pretending poetry is still a thing? I get it, poetry back in the day was huge. They said all the things people wanted to say but couldn’t; spoke for those who otherwise wouldn’t have had a voice; rose in the ranks of popularity, not because they were pretty or owned land or were royal, but because they could defend and defeat lands using only pens and sharpened tongues. Others feared them, not because they were physically intimidating (Alexander Pope was a tiny ill little man), but because they knew how to get a rise from subjected people and how to speak for them. So, in other words … rappers. They’re old school fucking rappers. The torch has been passed motherfuckers! So, stop trying to make me read your diary. If you want to be a poet now of days, learn to spit. And, if you are one of those not listening to rap, you’re not listening to the poets of our day. Future generations will open English textbooks and read about rappers like Saul Williams (reason why I started reading Nietzsche), Aesop Rock, Illogic, Slug, Sage Francis, and El-P, and how they spoke for a generation, against kings, and for a higher truth. “Upgrade your brain matter cause one day it may matter.” Word? Word.

Albums like “Big Fish Theory” are the reason rap is what it is. You gotta get up early in the morning and get that fucking coffee in ya veins to get what’s going on here. For example, the title comes from the Gold Fish Theory. Meaning, a gold fish will grow according to the size of its quarters. If your surroundings are small then you’re small. If your surroundings are big then you’re big. Or, as Vince says in the song with the same name, “another story of a young black man tryna make it out that jam, goddamn.” And that’s just the fucking title.

Or how about “Crabs in a bucket”? If you throw a bunch of crabs in a bucket, they will all crawl on top of each other to get out. But, because they are all trying to get out first (self-seeking motherfuckers that they are) no one will get out. In other words, putting others down, physically or emotionally, to elevate oneself, is an action best left for animals and it won’t elevate anyone in the end. Also, as if that weren’t enough, crab is a term used by Bloods to insult Crips. Fuck, that’s just hitting it from all sides now isn’t it?

Not just that, but the music in the back is part of the meaning. “Crabs In A Bucket” has wind sounds, ambient tape hiss, police sirens, vocal chopping samples. The “Alyssa Interlude” has a sample from the Temptations song called “I Wish It Would Rain”, then Vince’s first line in the song is, “Raindrops on my windowsill”. Fuck, that’s just … goddamn … that’s fucking smart. 

How about a rewriting of the Lord’s Prayer? “Our father art in heaven, as I pray for a new McLarens. Pray the police don’t come, blow me down ’cause of my complexion.” 

There are moments when the album gets too heavy with meaning, and there are some techno sounds I’m not crazy about. Lines like, “I’m the ODB of the OPB when I go OT, all the shows sold out.” What? What the fuck are you talking about Vince? (Old dirty Bastard. Original Poppy St. Boys [Poppy Street is where Vince grew up], and Out of Town). It can be hard to understand if you don’t research the shit out of it. But that was the fucking same with poetry wasn’t it? 

This ain’t a lazy album. It drips with meaning. So take your time with it, read through the lyrics if you don’t understand them at first, then listen to the album. Vince is etching his name with poets of our day. I would listen if I were you. Or don’t. If you wanna ignore poets, philosophers, scientists, and professors, you can (you can do whatever you want). But, if you do, you got no right crying about how the world looks thin and bleak. Here: I’m going to lay down some of my favourite lines from the album. Peace. 

“I’m on a new level, I am too cultured and too ghetto.”

“Eyes can’t hide your hate for me, maybe you was made for the Maybelline.”

“I’m blood on the leaves [line from Strange Fruit], I’m the nose on the Sphinx [theory is the nose was removed from the Sphinx by Europeans to hide its traditional African features], where I’m from we don’t go to the police.”

“And them glass shoes ain’t made to walk these lonely streets unpaved, unscathed.”

“She getting naked under covers for the fame. She don’t wanna be another what’s-her-name. Brown skin, blonde brain, Etta James.”

“Couple problems my cash can’t help. Human issues, too strong for tissues. False bravado all masked by wealth.”

 

 

Jaimie Branch – Fly or Die

jaimiebranchflyBefore electronic, rap, and pop, there was jazz. It was a beautiful time in the 1920s (despite the dentistry, medicine, and lack of sexual protection … so many fucking kids). Then, more suddenly than predicted, Jazz went into a coma. People just didn’t care anymore. The only person sending flowers for quite some time was Kenny G, and he made sure to add extra bees to each bouquet (But, why Kenny?! And where do you keep buying bees?). Then, years later, the heart monitor began to beep. And, deep within a bee-filled room, Jazz opened up its eyes and took in a sharp gasp of cold breath. People cared again, people were listening. Jazz stood up and opened a window (most likely to let out all those fucking bees) and looked out onto the horizon. There, Jazz saw them. Thousands of bright pants and thick glasses, hats and other ironic clothing. They were coffee and nicotine stained, and a cloud of skunky smelling marijuana covered their tracks. Shocked, Jazz thought to itself, “But it can’t be. My followers, are they still alive?” Yes, they were. But it wasn’t the jazz age that Jazz was looking at, it was fucking hipsters. It’s 2018 everyone, and by fuck, can one of those motherfuckers blow a horn.

Wanna know what the fuck is going on with kids and jazz now of days? This. This is what the fuck is happening. 

Jaimie Branch is a ghost-like trumpeter that has worked with people like William Parker, Matana Roberts, TV on the Radio, and Spoon. This is her first record as the frontman. The record is 35 min. So, it gives you plenty of time to listen, then to wack off to the insane amount of free porn on the internet (it won’t last forever, but for now, weeeeeee!). Or, if you’re really scrapped for time today, you could do both at once. With no lyrics to get in your way, why not? (weeeeee! huh? meh. whatever. weeeeee!).

This isn’t what I’ve heard referred to as “jazz jazz”. It’s not that shit that prides itself on leaving the audience behind. The first 4 songs are there to keep you happy, upbeat, and dancing. The rest of the album is there to keep you coming back. Theme 001, Theme 002, and Theme Nothing (songs 2, 4, and 9) are funky and fun mashups. The songs in between mesh them together. In other words, the other songs mesh up the mashups (Jazz, Motherfucker!).

Leaves of Grass to Waltzer, 3 songs in total, remain abstract yet calm and dissonant, similar to Miles Davis’s “Sketches of Spain” if you took out the annoying orchestra. It reminds me of the first time I heard “Bitches Brew”. But, this is not a copy of that album, not by any means: it stands on its own right. There are many moments where your eyebrows will rise and you’ll succinctly ask, “what the fuck?!” Then, in the next second, the band will come together and you’ll understand. You’re in safe hands with Jaimie. Trust her. She’s got chops and intellect. 

If you’re not a jazz head, don’t worry, this can work as a good intro. If you’re a jazz pro, then you should feel obligated to listen. If jazz just isn’t your thing, then thanks for putting one of the most beautiful arts into a coma and filling that room with bees. You wanna know where all the bees went and why our planet is going to shit. They’re back in Jazz’s room because you don’t listen. Great job. You’re destroying our planet by not listening to beautiful music. 

 

 

Siouxsie and the Banshees – The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees

soiuxsieandthebansheesCinamon Hadley was an American girl working at an Old Dutch Pancake house in Chelsea. She loved to wear black. Black shirt, black pants, black hair, and then on top of it all she wore a silver ankh necklace. One day, Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg (one’s a crazy popular writer before he was popular and the other is his artist for “The Sandman” comic book series) come into have pancakes. When they see her, mouths drop, eyes pop, and pants tighten. There and then, she becomes the inspiration for one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time: Death. Beautiful, edgy, and most of all post-fucking-punk. Cinamon Hadley died today after a battle with cancer, so I thought, let’s get into some post-fucking-punk girls and into a female that challenged the world on what it means to be female. One of the most influential British singers of the rock era. The monarch of mascara. The ice queen herself. Siouxsie Sioux (sounds like: Suzy Sue). 

Here’s how it all fucking started: Before the Sex Pistols became what they are, they needed more bands on tour with them cause their set wasn’t long enough. They asked through the crowd and Siouxsie, without a band, songs, or any experience in music, tells them she’ll do it. That’s right. That’s how she did it. And it’s punk as fuck.

One of the most controversial, and requested, moments in television history is the 1976 interview of The Sex Pistols on The Today show with Bill Grundy. Remember that this is 1976 in fucking posho Britain. Here is part of the exchange between Steve Jones (guitarist) and Grundy before they are cut off:

Jones: “You dirty sod. You dirty old man.”

Grundy: “Well keep going chief, keep going. Go on. You’ve got another five seconds. Say something outrageous.”

Jones: “You dirty bastard.”

Grundy: “Go on, again.”

Jones: “You dirty fucker.”

Grundy: “What a clever boy.”

Jones: “What a fucking rotter.”

During that interview if you look in the back, there’s a girl with platinum blonde hair and what appears to be a type of clown makeup, that’s little Siouxie. And still, she’s punk as fuck. 

Holy shit! I guess I should talk about the music.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of her albums as a whole, but I really do like her best of. Maybe that’s not a personal enough touch for you, but because this is a punk write up here’s my response: “Fuck you and that fucking shit bag of a rat fucker you call a wife and go sod off somewhere to give birth to that flaming shard you call a haircut” (at this point I angrily bite a half-cooked hotdog, take a drag of a cigarette, wash it down with a mixture of bleach and vodka, and give you my toothiest smile). 

Her cover of “Dear Prudence” and “Hong Kong Garden” is something special. There is a reason she’s queen. The former song is not a good taste for the modern liberal stomach, which, when you think of it, makes it all the fucking better. One of my favourites of hers is “Happy House” because it’s one of her more honest. It’s about the image of happiness people project when really, what’s going on inside and behind closed doors, is fucking terrible. Her piece of shit alcoholic father was, well, a piece of shit. She hated to be at home with him. That’s my style anyway, but this is post-fucking-punk man, don’t think too much about it. Just listen and dance. And with the rebirth of the ’80s, this shit sounds even better. Siouxie is guaranteed to have some big hit song on some new millennial movie starring some young and mellow version of Siouxie herself. Barf. Puke. Vomit. Go take a nasty shit, spit on the floor, throw on some actual Siouxie, and dance like you have the power to kick the world a new asshole in steel-toed boots and leather pants. Cheers.