Category Archives: Gorillaz

Albums of 2010: 15 – 11

11. Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son Of Chico Dusty – Big Boi

Whilst we all wait patiently for the next Outkast album, the supposedly ‘straight’ (musically speaking) one from the duo goes and releases a sprawling, triumphantly batshit album of forward-thinking hip-hop with at least twelve singles on it. Sir Lucious Left Foot… slinks seamlessly from bass-heavy, rib rattlers (‘Shutterbugg’, ‘Daddy Fat Sax’) to sleek, modern-day R&B (the Janelle Monae-assisted ‘Be Still’), via a couple of genuine WTF moments (the orchestral introduction to ‘General Patton’, the icy, steel-pan beats of ‘You Ain’t No DJ’). A refreshing antidote to the rap-by-numbers of Eminem and his ilk.

Best track: ‘Shutterbugg’

12. Plastic Beach – Gorillaz

Any album that opens with an ‘Orchestral Intro’ isn’t going to be a concise and flab-free thirty minutes of music, and so it was with the third album from Damon Albarn’s not-so-cartoon-anymore ‘other’ band, Gorillaz. Sprawling, OTT and thrillingly adventurous throughout, Plastic Beach featured a list of guests even Kanye would balk at, from rappers Kano and Snoop Dogg to old codgers like Mark E. Smith and Lou Reed. It shouldn’t really work and yet somehow Albarn weaves all the disparate strands together like a master, be it making catchy synthpop in the shape of ‘Stylo’, glam rock with ‘Glitter Freeze’ or beautiful laments like ‘On Melancholy Hill’ and ‘Empire Ants’. It may take time to fully get to grips with, but Plastic Beach is their most consistently rewarding album.

Best track: ‘Empire Ants’

13. Contra – Vampire Weekend

It’s easy to sneer at Vampire Weekend. They’re four preppy, well-educated blokes that make precision-tooled guitar pop that works brilliantly at festivals and gets over-played on the radio. Whilst Contra doesn’t quite match their debut for runaway choruses, it’s a bigger, better version of what they do well, with tracks like ‘Run’, ‘Giving Up The Gun’ and ‘California English’ taking the template of bouncing basslines and tightly wound guitar lines but adding a more off-kilter feel to proceedings. Plus, with the beat-heavy opener ‘Horchata’ and the M.I.A-sampling ‘Diplomat’s Son’ they proved that they weren’t afraid to experiment.

Best track: ‘Horchata’

14. Thank Me Later – Drake

It’s hard to feel pity for Drake and yet pity is what he seems to want on this debut album. Fame, money, success, success with women, lack of success with women and a terrible record on Facebook Scrabble all seem to haunt Drake and yet there’s something about his delivery and the way he constructs the songs that make it sound far less woe-is-me then it does on paper. ‘Over’, ‘Up All Night’ (featuring rap’s very own Gaga, Nicki Minaj), ‘Fancy’ and ‘Show Me A Good Time’ are all class A bangers, whilst ‘Fireworks’, ‘The Resistance’ and the incredible ‘Best I Ever Had’ prove that slow-jams need not just be icky sex diaries.

Best track: ‘Over’

15. Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter

Bradford Cox – Deerhunter’s 8ft tall frontman – has been a busy boy in 2010. Not only does he seemingly churn out brand new Atlas Sound albums in his sleep, he’s also helped make one of the most hypnotically odd albums of the year in Halcyon Digest. Whilst it’s predecessor – the excellent Microcastle/Weird Era Continued – wasn’t exactly what you’d call polished, it still maintained a certain amount of production sheen, an element jettisoned here for murky, swampy layers of cheap sounding beats and Cox’s treated vocals. Most of it works a treat, with ‘Helicopter’, ‘Revival’ and the closing Jay Reatard tribute, ‘He Would Have Laughed’, amongst the best things they’ve ever done.

Best track: ‘Helicopter’

Oh look, it’s a brand new Gorillaz song

It’s called ‘Doncamatic (All played Out)’ and features up and coming British singer, Daley. We’re not sure if this is just a one off single or if it’s due on some kind of expanded edition of the already pretty full, Plastic Beach album.

It’s a rather funky 3 minutes and 20 seconds, wouldn’t you agree?

New Music Monday

We’re still reeling from a story we’ve just read regarding a member of the Roll Deep crew suffering from ‘sleep weeing’, i.e. he wets the bed. Why on earth do we need to know this? Is it an elaborate cry for help, some kind of grime out reach program or simply a way of adding another layer to the 360 degree model of publicity? Either way, it’s not helping one bit with the fall-out from last week’s  fairly dismal edition of New Music Monday. La Roux‘s thing probably wasn’t even chart eligible, The xx live EP was out a while back (although their album has risen again to a new peak of 13 in the album charts) and the amazing Gorillaz single missed the top 40 completely. In slightly more heartening news, that Jedward album entered at number 17 and though that’s approximately 158 places too high, it does still show that not all humans under the age of ten are completely hopeless. For reasons we’ve yet to fully understand, we follow the Irish twins on Twitter and their ‘twats’ (that’s the word, right?) are a riot of malapropisms and strangely cult-ish orders directed at their fans. Anyways, eyes down for this week’s installment.

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Crazy For You by Best Coast

It feels like Best Coast have been around forever, not just because their brand of ’60s-influenced guitar-based singalongs have a timeless feel about them, but also because we remember reading about them about eighteen months ago. OK, so not ‘forever’ exactly, but still, it’s been a while. Their early singles – The Sun Was High (So Was I) and When I’m With You – were properly amazing and so it’s somewhat surprising that they don’t appear on this debut release, but it’s testament to the quality of the songs that do make it that they’re only marginally missed. Opener ‘Boyfriend’ is an instant classic,  whilst tracks such as ‘Summer Mood’ and ‘Our Deal’ showcase singer Beth Consentino’s ability to mix humour and heartbreak. Also, if you fancy buying another album with a cat on the cover, why not go for Wavves‘ King Of Beach (in fact, it’s the same cat on both covers as Beth’s boyfriend is Nathan Williams, the bloke from Wavves)?

BUY THIS IF YOU LIKE THIS SORT OF THING

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

We’ve yet to make our minds up about this band. Yes, Funeral is good, but Neon Bible was like some preaching manual set to music and we have a problem with their sneery side and the fact that they seem to think that adding a harmonium to a song is in some way thought-provoking and, like, really IMPORTANT. Anyways, this isn’t the music’s fault, is it? No, the poor music just wants to be listened to on its own merits so we will give it a whirl and get back to you.

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‘Self Control’ by Sunday Girl

We’re big fans of maudlin electropop chanteuse Sunday Girl. Have we mentioned we interviewed her once? Have we? Yes? Oh, OK. Well, this is her second single and it’s a cover, but it’s a cover of a song that came out ages ago (well, in the ’80s) so only old fogies will remember it, so who really cares, right? This version is a little bit brooding, a little bit ‘down in the dumps’, but it’s also really catchy and memorable. She reminds us a bit of Siobhan Donaghy from Sugababes mk 1, and we all know how well her solo career panned out. The comparison is slightly clearer if you watch the video.

New Music Monday

Blimey it’s muggy tonight isn’t it? Phew. Anyway, most of you followed our advice and steered well clear of Richard Ashcroft‘s latest ego massage, the woeful RPA & The United Nations of Wank. The album entered at no. 20, which is still far too high of course, but it’s still a lot lower than he’s used to so that’s something. Perhaps he’ll learn some humility now. Of course no one bothered with the Mount Kimbie album, but that’s cool, it’s your loss. The Panda Bear single also did nothing and we have to confess, we’ve not really played it since last week either, so that’s hardly a great endorsement. Anyway, this is a pretty barren week so please forgive us (to give you an idea of the options, let’s just say one thing…JEDWARD! For serious).

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iTunes Festival: London by The xx

This came out a few weeks ago but we thought it timely to mention now seeing as they’re favourites to walk off with the Mercury Prize for their astounding debut, xx. Off the back of the all this exposure, the album has climbed to a new peak of 16 and ‘Islands’ has been A-listed by Radio 1. HURRAH. This six-track live EP is properly great in and of itself, recasting some of the best album tracks in a whole new light, either by slowing them down (‘Islands’), extending them (‘Intro’) or dropping Ibiza anthem ‘9pm (Till I Come)’ into the middle of them (‘Shelter’). It’s well worth checking out and only costs, like, £3 or something totes ridic.

BUY THIS IF YOU WANT TO

Sidetracked by La Roux

This is a compilation album with songs picked by Elly Jackson and unsurprisingly there’s a lot of ’80s dance on there (Japan, Heaven 17, Tears For Fears, etc, etc). There’s also a brand new La Roux recording, a cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Under My Thumb’ and you can listen to two minutes of it here. Seriously, such a slow week.

DOWNLOAD THIS SINGLE PLEASE

‘Melancholy Hill’ by Gorillaz

This is the sort of song Damon does so well these days; lilting, melancholic (obviously, it’s in the title), strangely lovely and very hummable. It’s also one of the better songs on Plastic Beach, an album we very much enjoy listening to, but there are times when we want everyone to just calm down and stop shouting. This song let’s us have a breather and therefore we like it a lot.

New Musick Monday

Last week was a bit of a rocky one. Two big releases in the shape of the Gorillaz album and the Goldfrapp single had decidedly mixed weeks, with the former sitting pretty at number 1 in the album charts for most of the week before being deposed by a grieving Boyzone at the last minute, whilst the latter single missed the Top 40 altogether thanks to a dearth of airplay. The terrifying Liars album missed out completely, which is how it should be really. We’re not sure how society would benefit from having kids exposed to such a racket! This week is a pretty slow one all things considered.

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Under Great White Northern Lights by The White Stripes

Everyone’s favourite ‘sibling’ duo return with their first ever live album, which also comes with a brilliant documentary filmed during their 2007 tour of Canada. The album features some brilliant selections, from the opening ‘Let’s Shake Hands’ to the joyous ‘Seven Nation Army’, via lacerating versions of ‘The Union Forver’ and their last big single, ‘Icky Thump’. There’s a tinge of sadness that runs throughout the album and that’s because it simultaneously reminds you of how good they are and makes you question whether either Jack or Meg have the desire to carry it on seeing as Jack’s got his fingers in every conceivable pie and Meg had to quit the tour due to anxiety. Still, it’s a worthy testament to a band who are missed more than ever.

DON’Y BUY THIS

Sweet 7 by Sugababes

We know that some of you might just say, “well, we weren’t going to anyway” and that’s fine of course, but this is a message to the people who think, “yeah, I like Sugababes, they make brilliant pop songs with a slight edge that show personality and have a certain something about them”. NOT ANYMORE THEY DON’T. The FHM-esque cover shot tells you all you need to know about a pop group with no remaining original members, no ounce of originality and no hope of ever reclaiming the sense of excitement that you get from hearing tracks like ‘Overload’, ‘Push The Button’ and ‘About You Know’. Remember those moody-looking, fully-dressed young women? They’ve been replaced with three personality vacums.

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‘Devil’s Spoke’ by Laura Marling

The timing couldn’t be better for a new Laura Marling album seeing as her former backing band, Mumford & Sons, are currently sitting pretty in the UK Top 10. But where as they can easily be dismissed as a kind of Burtons version of folk, Marling appears to be the real deal and her second album, I Speak Because I Can, is a genuinely exciting leap forward from her debut, Alas I Cannot Swim. ‘Devil’s Spoke’ may not be the most immediate track on the album, but it does feature this lyric, which can’t help but conjure some very odd imagery; “Ripping off each others clothes in the most perculiar way”. In what way is it perculiar? Are they both dressed as clowns and they’re only allowed to tear garments off using their teeth? Or, with one hand behind their backs? WE NEED ANSWERS.

New Musick Monday

So, last week we got a bit morose about how no one reads this blog but we’ve seen the light and realised that if no one reads it, well, it’s their loss. How else will anyone know what new albums and singles are out this week? It’s not as if there are adverts or reviews or billboard posters or virals or…you get the picture. Last week was pretty successful, what with Ellie Goulding’s debut flying in at number 1 and Joanna Newsom’s triple album sauntering elegantly in at number 28. Unsurprisingly, Perfume Genius didn’t dent the Top 75, but hey, who buys vinyl these days? Seeing as we downloaded it for free, we can hardly complain.

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Plastic Beach by Gorillaz

It’s funny, when Britpop was raging all those years ago, we assumed it would be Liam Gallagher who’d cast off the shackles of his main band and experiment with Chinese pop music, hip-hop, African rhythms and the Venezuelan nose flute. Instead, it’s Damon Albarn who has quietly gone about proving himself to be a bit of a genius (OK, not so quietly). Plastic Beach is the third Gorillaz album and it’s a sprawling, 16-track opus taking in a loose concept about the environment and features guests as diverse as Lou Reed, Kano, Snoop Dogg and Bobby Womack. In short, it’s all over the place, but in a very good way. ‘Empire Ants’ is possibly the best thing we’ve heard all year.

BUY THIS AND GET A BIT OF A HEADACHE

Sisterworld by Liars

Again, it’s time for a confession. We have this album, in fact it’s on the arm of the chair as we type, but we’ve yet to enter Sisterworld in its entirety. What we do know is that it’s a dense, frankly quite terrifying listen, that ranges from the sporadic meltdown of ‘Scissor’ to the violent convulsions of ‘Scarecrows On A Killer Slant’. If you buy the deluxe, 3D artwork version you get an extra CD with remixes of every track by people such as Thom Yorke, Devendra Banhart and one of TV On The Radio.

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‘Rocket’ by Goldfrapp

So, that folky reinvention didn’t last long did it? Everyones second favourite female-fronted synth pop duo (La Roux is number one, right?) are back with their forthcoming album, Head First, and ‘Rocket’ is the Van Halen-aping first single. Allison Goldfrapp was always more suited to the rush of electro than the gentle strum of an acoustic guitar and though ‘Rocket’ isn’t vintage Goldfrapp it certainly beats roughly 78% of everything else in the charts.

A Gorillaz widget for a Friday

It’s the future. You can visit Murdoc at home, listen to some teasers, go on Twitter and all sorts of new and exciting things. Is this what Marty McFly envisioned for 2010?

All Stylo and no substance

Gorillaz are back! ‘Stylo’ is the first single to be taken from their forthcoming new album, Plastic Beach. The track features rapper Mos Def and soul legend Bobby Womack, whose cracked croon comes out of nowhere about two minutes in. It’s got a brilliant ascending keyboard effect that makes us go all funny and it’s a definite grower, but as someone said elsewhere, it’s all a bit Neon Neon.

EDIT: This song is amazing and we apologise if we made it seem otherwise.

For whom the Bells toll

That period between Christmas and New Year is, essentially, meaningless. Hours pass by in a haze of food, drink and old Disney films and no-one can remember what day it is. During this period Musick heard a couple of songs by Broken Bells, aka producer Danger Mouse and that guy from The Shins. As with all Danger Mouse endeavours – be it producing for the likes of Gorillaz, The Rapture and Beck, or co-fronting Gnarls Barkley – the results have a vintage feel, as if some lost record from the early ’70s had been found and remixed.

‘The High Road’ is the first single to be officially released from their debut album, which is out in March:

We’ve always been fans of knotty organ intros and this one is the best!