The Bloody Beetroots – HIDE (Ultra;2013)
Not many do it like Italian DJ/producer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo alias The Bloody Beetroots. Recently, he told Life&Times that value shouldn’t be replaced by speed so despite being part of the EDM scene, Rifo prefers quality to quantity.Therefore it’s no wonder he’s been working on HIDE for four years.Influenced by different musical genres and time periods, HIDE mostly encourages listeners to dance – and sometimes headbang. The album starts off with “Spank”, which asks: “Do you wanna dance?” And there we go, the electro-punk symphony has started, a distinctive delirium signed SBCR.
Some songs such as “All The Girls (Around The World)” suggest smoother beats, which establishes a great intermission to the very dynamic album. Fans of more pop-ish EDM will appreciate “Chronicles of A Fallen Love,” whereas others will like “The Beat” for its resemblance to Daft Punk. Special mention to the blazing collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney. Seriously? History of rock meeting electro-punk? We couldn’t ask for more. The album drops on Sept 17.
Trial Track: “Spank” feat. TAI & Bart B More
– Béatrice Viens Côté
Emilíana Torrini – Tookah (Rough Trade Records; 2013)
About the title of her fourth studio album, Tookah, the Icelandic singer-songwriter is reported as saying: “it is the core of you. The ‘you’ before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all your baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything. Some call it god. I call mine Tookah.”
Torrini explores a new soundscape with Tookah. A mixture of atmospheric synthesizers and acoustic instrumentation envelop her folky indie pop melodies to create a richly layered, evocative experience. Some comparisons can be made with Cat Power’s most recent album, Sun. However, this is the album of an artist who is constantly evolving and has now crafted a sound that is comfortably and definitively her own.
Tookah succeeds in drawing us into Torrini’s dream world, with its poetry and focus in a way that feels both effortless yet thoughtful.
Trial Track: “When Fever Breaks”
– Paul Traunero
2Chainz- B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (Def Jam Recordings; 2013)
Put on your Versace aprons, 2Chainz is makin bread with his new album, B.O.A.T.S II:Me Time. The album, released shortly after his arrest in Oklahoma, demonstrates a wide variety of sounds. From the classic 2Chainz tongue-in-cheek lyrics over killer samples to some reflective pieces on his life thus far, Mr.Chainz is really giving us a taste of what he can do and expanding his repertoire in the studio and the kitchen.
While Kanye has offended patissiers everywhere, 2Chainz gives shoutouts to his stove, raps about baking soda and gives us a lesson in measurement all in the same album while still making tracks that flow into each other perfectly and have their own flavours, leaving listeners satiated. Maybe his next single will be featuring Martha Stewart?
Trial Track: Mainstream Ratchet
Elvis Costello and The Roots-Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note; 2013)
Wise Up Ghost is an interesting collaborative experiment between the industry veteran Elvis Costello and the house band for Late NightWith Jimmy Fallon, The Roots. While far from Costello’s first partnership, Wise Up Ghost is a definite stylistic departure from his previous album, National Ransom, which might leave some Costello fans unsatisfied. However, this collaboration clearly displays a wide range of influences conglomerated into an overall funky hip-hop work with hypnotic drum patterns that manage to ingrain themselves into the listener’s ear drum.
Costello’s vocals bring an interesting foreground to this well-crafted beat that hits the mark more often than not. As some avid listeners of Costello have realized, many of the tracks on this album borrow, either lyrically or instrumentally, from his back catalogue such as “Stick Out Your Tongue”, making reference to “Pills And Soap” off of 1983’s Punch The Clock. While the mix of Elvis Costello and hip-hop might not be for everyone, those looking for a marriage of the old and new should check out Wise Up Ghost when it drops on Sept.17.
Trial Track: “Walk Us Up Town”
The Weeknd – Kiss Land (Republic Records;2013)
Emerging in 2011 as a mysterious and dark, yet refreshing new sound, Abel Tesfaye, better known to us as The Weeknd, captivatedlisteners with the release of his debut project, House of Balloons. Two mixtapes, a compilation album, and a rumoured -and untrue- beef with Drake later, The Weeknd has finally released a studio album with all new material. Kiss Land has The Weeknd addressing his newfound success, along with the female fans and drugs that accompany such a lifestyle. He describes Kiss Land as a symbol of tour life, but also describes it as a “terrifying place”, and as a place he’s never been before.
While Abel’s lyrics and subject material do offer an insight into his new world, the mundane, isolated lyrics and beats can easily go over the listener’s head after a while, causing the listener to yearn for The Weeknd’s superior singles. All in all, The Weeknd’s Kiss Land is a good, not great, studio debut for The Weeknd. It’s an album his hardcore fans can surely appreciate, if they blast it on really good speakers. Those who aren’t familiar with The Weeknd’s style needn’t use this album as a starting point.
Trial Track: “Belong To The World”