Childish Gambino Shares New Track “This Is America”

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It’s evident that there’s nothing Donald Glover can’t do. Everything from his incredible TV series “Atlanta,” to his role in the upcoming “Star Wars” film, to his fantastic music project “Childish Gambino,” it’s all proof that the guy is multi-talented. Glover hosted “Saturday Night Live” tonight, and he was also the musical guest, premiering a new track titled “Saturday,” but it’s the track and music video he premiered after the show that are sure to get people talking. The song is titled “This Is America,” and the music video is bound to stir some controversy. You can watch the music video below:

Death Grips Share New Track “Streaky”

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It’s no secret that “Death Grips” are unpredictable, and ever since the band announced that they will release a new album soon titled “Year of the Snitch,” fans have been impatiently waiting for just a release date. Well, we still don’t have a release date, but today out of the blue the band released a new track from the album titled “Streaky.” It’s a little more tame compared to their signature abrasion, but this is still “Death Grips” through and through. You can listen to the track below:

Album Review: Skating Polly – The Make It All Show

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Artist: Skating Polly 

Album: The Make It All Show

Genre: Alternative Rock

Rating: 7.5/10

 “Skating Polly” are a band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The founding members are step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, and they have been making Grungy and raw “Alternative Rock” since the beginning of this decade. Both beginning at a very young age, the two utilized their parents’ instruments to practice and practice, and it’s impressive how the two have perfected their multi-instrumentalist abilities, as well as their ability to write songs. It’s evident that the band have gotten better and better over the years releasing four full-length albums, each one better than the last. Their sound draws from 90’s “Alternative Rock,” “Grunge,” and even some “Riot grrrl” with their ferocious vocal delivery that echoes bands such as “Bikini Kill” or “Babes In Toyland.” Their new and fifth album The Make It All Show isn’t a drastic departure from their previous work, but the band went for a more melodic approach this time around, and with the addition of their brother Kurtis Mayo, the band are now a trio, and the result is a cleaner and fuller sound. The first few tracks on The Make It All Show are smooth guitar-driven fun rockin’ enough for those who love Rock but also poppy enough to win over those who love a good chorus, but the album doesn’t truly bite until the fourth track “Queen for a Day (feat. Exene Cervenka.)” This track starts off like the band are schooling us in “Sleater-Kinney” 101, but the explosive chorus that erupts displays the magic of “Pop” and “Rock” contrast. This album however is not all light. When these songs get heavy, THEY ARE FACE MELTING HEAVY with howling tumultuous vocals provided by Kelli Mayo who takes on the majority of the lead vocals. Tracks like “They’re Cheap (I’m Free),” “Camelot,” and “This Vacation” are grungy, dark, and absolutely passionate with pure unadulterated emotion. The lyrical content consists of the band’s reaction to their personal lives, getting away from their teen years and becoming young adults, and even though they are still youthful it’s perfectly clear being immersed in the music business at an early aged has matured them. With that raw emotion day one fans love them for, and with new “Pop” sensibilities, the band are displaying where they come from and where they are headed, and I couldn’t be more intrigued.

 

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 05/05/18

Protomartyr Announce New E.P. “Consolation”

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Protomartyr have announced that they will release a brand new E.P. on June 15th titled Consolation. The band have also released a new track from the E.P. titled “Wheel of Fortune,” and it features Kelley Deal of “The Breeders.” There’s also a bonkers music video to accompany it. You can watch the music video below:

 

Consolation Tracklist:

  1. Wait
  2. Same Face in a Different Mirror
  3. Wheel of Fortune (feat. Kelley Deal)
  4. You Always Win (feat. Kelley Deal)

 

E.P. Pre-order:

https://protomartyr.dominomart.com/

 

 

 

Album Review: Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

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Artist: Janelle Monáe 

Album: Dirty Computer 

Genre: Pop/R&B/Soul

Rating: 10/10

Self-acceptance is unfortunately a difficult thing to gain for a lot of people. Especially if aspects of your true self go against the grain or are primarily frowned upon by the general public. If you don’t conform to societal norms then you’re unfortunately going to be subjected to ridicule, alienation, and even cruelty. To avoid these things a lot of people conform to social norms and abandon things that make them unique or individualistic. It’s unfortunate but it’s reality. It is immensely admirable and commendable when someone truly accepts who they are regardless of the fact that they will be placed in the minority. A beautiful thing that occurs among people in this minority though is unity, and a beautiful way to express any frustration or self-acceptance is art, and what is the most universal form of art? Music, of course. Some of the best musicians fearlessly touch on subjects considered to be taboo, or make powerful statements of individualism. It’s been happening since the dawn of music, which makes music the art form that is truly ahead of the curve. We still have plenty of artists that push the boundaries today, and one of them is an admirable woman named Janelle Monáe.

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Janelle Monáe does it all. She’s an actress, a model, a producer, and a musician. A very intriguing musician who has been making music as far back as 2003. Those of you familiar with her know that she is an uncompromising, unsparing, and fearless artist who proudly speaks for people who have had to deal with hardships such as African Americans, homosexuals, and women. Her music has featured some of these themes in the past, and they were quite impactful, but the main focus was a cinematic concept dubbed the Metropolis Conceptual Series. This series focused on a fictional android named Cindi Mayweather. Mayweather ends up falling in love with a human, and is then sentenced to disassembly. This concept spanned one EP and two full-length albums. Now, her new album Dirty Computer departs from this series, and is a lot more personal featuring very relevant topics. Dirty Computer, as she explained in a recent interview is the idea that we’re all computers. We upload, we download, we share information back and forth, and with every computer comes bugs and viruses. Now are those negatives or positives? With this album she wanted to have a conversation with us as human beings about what it means to tell someone that the way that they’re programmed is a flaw, that they need to conform and be reprogrammed. With a name like Dirty Computer, she continues to pay tribute to her love for Sci-Fi, but this is the most human album she has ever created. It is a powerful statement of self-acceptance. It celebrates sexuality, race, and gender of all forms, and even though she is speaking from the perspective of a pansexual African American woman, it’s still easy for anyone to relate to her. Everyone of all backgrounds is invited to this celebration.

The album can be broken down to three parts. The first part is a fearless statement of individualism. With tracks like “Crazy, Classic, Life,” and “Take a Byte,” Monae expresses her desire to live life on her own terms and in doing so she encourages us all to not be ashamed of our personal desires, and with immaculate production rich with Funk bass, lush Synth-Pop influenced synths, and even some Trap percussion Monáe provides beautiful and powerful vocals. She even raps a bit with infectious swagger. “We gave you life, we gave you birth, we gave you God, we gave you earth, we fem the future, don’t make it worse,” Monáe flows as she speaks for feminism and kicks it’s detractors in their teeth on the all rapped “Django Jane.” Female empowerment is a major theme on this album, and that theme is celebrated head-on on the track “Pynk.” Featuring Grimes, this track is a smooth Pop anthem that celebrates the beauty of women, and the term “Pynk” comes from….well… you get the picture.

The influence that is obvious on this album is without a doubt the artistic and androgynous nature of David Bowie, and of course… Prince. His influence is definitely heard on the track “Make Me Feel” with it’s sexed-up fun and catchy as Hell chorus, and apparently the man himself provided the bouncy synth line that screams his signature sound. It turns out that Prince was actually working with Monáe on this album before he passed away, and Monáe definitely honored him with this track.

The second part of the album finds a more vulnerable Monáe. It represents the fear that comes with being different from the norm. No matter how proud you are about yourself, it is a scary world filled with people who don’t take to people outside of the norm kindly. The track “Don’t Judge Me” on the surface sounds like Monáe is singing to a lover, but this track can strongly be interpreted as a letter to her fans and the media asking them to accept her for who she is. She hasn’t always been vocal about her personal life. It wasn’t until recently that she came out as pansexual, and up until now the grandiose concept on her previous albums overshadowed any personal content. With a line like “Even though you tell me you love me, i’m afraid you just love my disguise,” it’s almost as if she’s telling the world “This is who I really am.” Backed by gorgeous string arrangements, this is one of the most melodic and powerful moments on the album. The track “So Afraid” carries a similar tone, but this one is gut-wrenching. Monáe pours her heart out as she expresses how scary it can be having the feelings she has regardless of how self-accepting she is. With this feeling comes uncomfortability and at times it feels like she can’t prevail. Though she has made peace with herself, she still has to fight any self-doubt that comes her way, and that is something we can all relate to. The final part of the album is the closing track “Americans.” This ends the album on a more upbeat note musically, but the lyrical content satirizes the racist and homophobic nature of America. “I like my woman in the kitchen. I teach my children superstitions. I keep two guns on my blue nightstand. A pretty young thing, she can wash my clothes, but she’ll never ever wear my pants,” Monáe sings as she smoothly glides through this reflection of Americas corrupt values, but with this detailing of the negatives, she also displays the positives in which she expresses how this country is her home and instead of running away, she’s determined to stay here and put her life on the line to better this country and rid it of it’s ignorance and hatred. It’s an uplifting end to an important album. Even though this album doesn’t feature a blatant concept like it’s predecessors, it still has a cinematic vibe to it, but this time it features an unfiltered and honest Janelle Monáe, and in the world of Pop music, a world that for the most part produces spineless and shallow material, Janelle Monáe is a Godsend.

Oh yeah, there’s also an incredible short film to accompany this album.

 

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 04/30/18

Album Review: Ganser – Odd Talk

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Artist: Ganser

Album: Odd Talk

Genre: Post-Punk/Noise Rock/Indie Rock

Rating: 7/10

 Chicago’s own four-piece Post-Punk/Noise Rock band “Ganser” have been making music as far back as 2015, releasing a myriad of singles and one stellar EP. Now with the aid of indie label “No Trend Records” the band have finally released their debut album Odd Talk. “No Trend Records” is fitting considering that the band doesn’t exactly make the kind of music that’s hip with most millennials, (you’re not going to hear any Trap hi-hats on this thing) but the band creates bone-crushing “Indie Rock” that will definitely resonate with those who still enjoy cutting edge Rock music, dismissing the ridiculous claim that “rock is dead.” Odd Talk is a short but hard-hitting crash course in the endless possibilities of Rock music. The band incorporates elements of “Post-Punk,” “Grunge,” and “Noise” and they do this while sounding accessible enough to keep casual music listeners from straying away. The vocals provided by both members Nadia Garofalo and Alicia Gaines ground the otherworldly wall of noise the instrumentation contains, and instead of burying the vocals into the mix like most artists in the realm of “Noise Rock” tend to do, the vocals are very noticeable and quite polished, and at the same time they are humble, not putting more importance on the vocals, which shows the listener that everyone in the band is equal. There is no star member, and they all work together as a unit. This is a pretty solid release, however the fact that this is the band’s debut is noticeable. Some tracks are a little rocky here and there and there’s much room for improvement, but I think the band have the chops to truly utilize their talent as a whole to perfect their songwriting abilities.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 04/25/18

Album Review: J. Cole – KOD

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Artist: J. Cole

Album: KOD

Genre: Hip Hop

Rating: 5/10

 Hip Hop is at a point now where the golden era of the 80’s and 90’s is often labeled “Dad Rap.” It’s been this way for awhile, but this recent crop of Trap rappers whom dominate the airwaves have made this even more apparent. The tattooed from head to toe rappers with colored dreads who put more emphasis on pounding bass and Trap high hats to make up for lack of technical skill have set the bar pretty low, but their success is at an all time high, but there are those rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, and Big K.R.I.T. who deliver thought provoking lyrical content all while pushing the genre forward by incorporating new and innovative elements, but there is a rapper who has all the qualities Hip Hop traditionalists love, but still manages to slip through the cracks when it comes to the “G.O.A.T.” talks, and that man is J. Cole. We’ve all heard the “platinum with no features,” “boring,” and “folding laundry” jokes, but all memes aside, the guy is a respectable MC. So what is it about his music that is so divisive? Well, everything he has released thus far has showcased his skills as an MC and a lyricist yes, but his songwriting abilities are very average, and his “old head” mentality is more of a curse than a gift. His decision to rap over dated “Boom Bap” production and his lack of interest in pushing the envelope deems much of his work inessential, and when you make Hip Hop in the 2010’s that’s indistinguishable from Hip Hop of the 90’s it raises the question “Why should we care about Cole?” His new album KOD suffers from the same issues, but the thing is, this album sounds like it was supposed to be his masterpiece. It feels as if Cole was shooting for a revolutionary album. This album is rich in thought provoking and quite intriguing subject matter, and it features recurring themes of mainstream Hip Hop’s glamorization of drugs and the influence it’s having on the youth, as well as humanity’s immersion in the evils of money, and the complex subject of love, which according to this album is “The strongest drug of them all.” Ugh, I don’t think I’ve eaten nachos as cheesy as that, and I don’t think that joke I just made is as cheesy as that line on the album. Anyway, yes these are topical and important subjects on paper, but the delivery is so lackluster that it unfortunately makes this album uninteresting, and I’m not talking about Cole’s rapping, I’m talking about how he focuses more on his flow and lyrical content and not enough on the production and anything else in the bigger picture that truly makes an album good. Yes lyrical content is a beautiful thing, and it is a very important part of music, but it’s not the only important element. If that were the case than books would be more popular than music. His lyrics and flow are not enough to save the album from the very plain and bland instrumentals, the generic “Trap” whether it’s done ironically or not, and the repetitive and uninspired hooks, and believe me, these hooks are terrible. Just listen to “The Cut Off” and you’ll know what I mean. Under the guise “kiLL edward,” Cole delivers a God awful annoying as Hell hook that anyone in their right mind would find grating, and unfortunately this uninteresting alter ego appears once again on the track “FRIENDS.” The tracks “ATM” and “KOD” are the strongest moments on the album, but they only sound a lot better than what they actually are because the rest of the album is so forgettable. Now I’m not trying to just rip this album to shreds. I actually have respect for J. Cole and I think he is a very talented MC, but he needs to realize that just because you talk about “real shit,” doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be placed amongst the greats. It doesn’t automatically make an album good. If he’s too stubborn to realize that then he will most likely continue to release inessential and divisive music.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 04/23/18