Sinkane – Mars (2012; DFA Records)
Former of Montreal member and current Yeasayer member Ahmed Gallab debuted his solo electro-pop project Sinkane with the album Mars. The album is a soulful collection of world beats, vocals and sounds effects, resulting in a mélange of genres —from electro-soul, to hip-hop and afro-beat. Prominent in almost every song is the use of funk guitar. The sonic textures and fabrics that Gallab patches together are truly unique, in that they are able to introduce unusual sounds yet simultaneously seem familiar to the listener.
At just 34 minutes and 11 seconds in length, the album definitely leaves the listener yearning for more, which may be one of the few drawbacks to this album. Sinkane will perform on Nov. 8 at Cabaret du Mile End, alongside Yeasayer.
Trial track: “Runnin’”
Rating: 9.1 / 10
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (2012; Constellation)
Those fortunate to have caught one of Godspeed’s five, near-consecutive concerts in Montreal last year may be familiar with two of the album’s four tracks, “Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire”. The other two tracks are new offerings, and a clear nod to the Maple Spring protests, with “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable”.
“Their Helicopters’ Sing” runs with a hiss and a haunting undertone; it’s eerie, invasive, and certainly meant to take you out of your comfort zone. The track is reminiscent of the nightly helicopter patrols, used by Montreal police to intimidate and dissuade protesters during the 100 days of nightly student marches last spring. The song’s tones eventually converge with a cacophony of sounds, a chaotic situation that cannot be controlled until it eventually subsides and lulls into nothingness.
Trial track: “Mladic”
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (2013; Interscope)
Produced by rap mastermind Dr. Dre, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar’s second studio album released on October 22, has undoubtedly earned the Compton native the respect he deserves. Making his major label debut, Kendrick draws inspiration from his profoundly troubled adolescent life. The result; nothing less than sheer lyrical genius from beginning to end.
Differentiating himself from most other artists in the rap game, Kendrick takes hip hop back to its origins, going back to the art of storytelling as he gives a vivid, emotional account of his adolescence. His struggles with gangs, drugs, and violence experienced in his 25 years are evident throughout the 12 tracks, his diction and complex, descriptive choice of words. The original, captivating sound of the album makes it one of the best hip hop albums of the year. The highly anticipated good kid, m.A.A.d city certainly delivers and earns Kendrick Lamar a spot alongside the rap legends he once could only dream of becoming. “What more can I say?/Welcome to L.A.”
Trial track: “m. A. A. d city”
– Sabrina Curiale
Boys Noize – Out of the Black (2012; INgrooves)
Listening to Out of the Black, Alexander Ridha a.k.a. Boys Noize’s third full-length album, is like rocketing through deep space in black latex hot pants with a mug of tequila in your right hand and a grenade in the left. From beginning to end, each track sounds as if blenders and machine guns are being artfully played as instruments, all to the rhythm of a choppy yet pleasantly consistent backdrop.
“Rocky 2” and “Stop”, among others, feature variations of Boys Noize’s signature robotic voice interspersing each pulsing track with a droning mantra. “Missile”, a slow-building song reminiscent of gunfire, is sure to coax the biggest of downers out of their housecoats and onto the raunchiest of dance floors. Look for Snoop Dogg’s sultry pipes on “Got It”, a successful union of smooth rap and gritty synth beats. For your hard-hitting electro fix, Out of the Black surely delivers.
Trial track: “Missile”