Music Round Up – August 2015

Music

Another few months have passed since my last round up and there are even more fantastic releases coming out every week. This year has been great for hip-hop and we’ve had an abundance of sublime funk and soul releases in the last few months on top of that. Once again I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, open your ears and get a load of these. As usual most of these releases came out in the last 3 months but some came out longer ago and I was late listening to them.

Youtube playlist with a track off each release here

21 Savage – The Slaughter Tape

Very solid trap mixtape packed with bangers featuring production from Metro Boomin’ and Zaytoven.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

2econd Class Citizen – A Hall Of Mirrors

Mainly instrumental trip hop style compositions with accomplished use of drum samples. Reminiscent of DJ Shadow.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

6Blocc – Trapped In My Mind EP

Bleak, sub heavy dubstep.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

88 Ultra & No Merci – Para Bellum

Swirling, 808 heavy melodies laced with bewitching vocals.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

The Alchemist – Israeli Salad

The Alchemist never really makes a misstep with his music and this release is no different. Built entirely of samples from Israeli music this collection of beats has that signature Alchemist sound that will keep your head nodding.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

The Alchemist – Retarded Alligator Beats

Another lovely collection of boom bap instrumentals from The Alchemist.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

All Caps – Independent Variable

Bandcamp has become such a massive gold mine for hip-hop. I have found so much great music on there by randomly clicking on albums. This is one of my favourite recent finds. The beats on this release are catchy yet obscure and complex using a mixture of samples and synths. The intricate flows from All Caps are a real joy to listen to as he rides the beats perfectly.

Name your price download here

All These Finger – Offerings

A huge collection of dope beats created over the last 7 years from an incredible up and coming producer. This guy needs more exposure because he has a real talent for making beats. Jazzy and spaced out with just the right amount of bounce.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Allen Halloween – Hibrido

Portuguese rapper with an interesting album containing a satisfying mixture of vibes. I have never heard rapping in Portuguese before but Allen Halloween makes it sound incredible with a guttural cadence to his voice and a slurred flow.

Listen on Youtube here

I’m struggling to find a place to buy/download because all of the sites are in Portuguese but I’m sure you can find somewhere if you try hard enough.

A$AP Rocky – At Long Last A$AP

This album seems to have fans fairly divided, many want more of the old Rocky and other are happy to see the evolution of him as an artist. I’m really enjoying this album, I think Rocky still hasn’t reached his full potential but ALLA is definitely a step in the right direction. The LP flows amazingly from track to track, taking things slow then getting hyped again just at the right moment and with an overarching tone that ties it all together. Lyrically there isn’t anything particularly impressive but Rocky’s flow is on point as always and he rides every beat with confidence, from bangers like ‘Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2’ to spaced out tracks like ‘West Side Highway’.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Audio Push – My Turn II

Audio Push have been steadily making a name for themselves recently with a stream of solid releases. This is a nice little EP that shows what the duo can do on the mic over some established beats like ‘Fuck Up Some Commas’ and ‘Shook Ones’.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Bilal – In Another Life

Bilal has been at the forefront of neo soul for years now and his latest album ‘In Another Life’ is the work of a truly accomplished musician. The instrumentation on the album has a raw funk to it but carries a certain complexity that makes it stand out. Bilal has a charisma in his voice that few vocalists do and when you hear it you know you’re listening to a star.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Blanco – Molly Amber

An interesting and catchy EP that will have you singing along in no time.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Bones & Drip-133 – HateToBreakItToYou

Bones has been putting in even more work and reaching almost Gucci Mane levels of prolific this year. The amazing thing is that it’s nearly all of a very high quality. This short release is rather mellow compared to a lot of his previous work with Bones doing a fair bit of singing over some soothing beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Bosco – Boy

Enchantingly beautiful R’n’B vocals over smooth trap beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Cashy – Holographic Art

Fun trap EP with some interesting synth heavy beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Chris Travis – See You There

Chris Travis is further refining his signature melancholy trap sound. If this guy continues improving at this rate he is going to be very popular in a few years.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Chevy Woods – The 48 Hunnid Project

Nice little EP of stomping trap tunes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Cousin Stizz – Suffolk County

Sturdy trap tape with some fantastic wonky sounding beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Curren$y – Cathedral

Curren$y consistent as always delivers yet another marvelous release brimming with his usual laidback vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Czarface – Every Hero Needs A Villain

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first album from this underground rap super group but this second outing is a very enjoyable listen. Gritty beats packed with guitar samples and hard raps is a match made in heaven.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Dam-Funk – STFU

Modern P-funk icon releases a futuristic instrumental EP to keep us happy while we wait for his album.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Daye Jack – Soul Glitch

As the album title suggests this album is packed with soulful yet glitchy beats composed of soothing samples and bubbling synths. Daye Jack’s style fits flawlessly with the instrumentals as he switches between rhythmic spitting and smooth singing, reminiscent of Chance The Rapper.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Declaime – Southside Story

Declaime is one of those rappers whose character shines through when he raps and you almost feel a personal connection to him, as if he’s speaking to you directly. On Southside Story we see Declaime at his finest, kicking his spiritual raps over some plodding jazzy beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Deniro Farrar & Young God Of BSBD – Cliff Of Death II

Deniro Ferrar has a certain sadness in his voice which fits perfectly with Young God’s dark trappy beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

denzel

Denzel Curry – 32 Zel / Planet Shrooms

I really enjoyed Denzel Curry’s last album Nostalgic 64, but it felt like he was still finding his feet musically and a few of the tracks just didn’t quite hit the spot. Denzel has definitely come in to his own on this release and created a fresh, exciting sound. This release was labeled a “double EP” which at first seemed strange to me but after listening I completely understood as the two halves of the release have distinct sounds. ’32 Zel’ features almost 8 bit sounding synths, rapid 808s and some seriously aggressive raps. As you can imagine, ‘Planet Shrooms’ is more psychedelic and laid back, floating along over sweeping synths Denzel rocks a smoother flow. Overall this is one of my favourite releases so far this year, everything sounds so well thought out, from the beats to the distortion on the vocals, it’s simply magnificent.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Dizzy Wright – The Growing Process

Smooth, radio friendly vibes, I expect Dizzy Wright to be big in not time at all.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

There was a lot of confusion surrounding this album as some people thought it was Chance’s solo album but turns out it’s actually by one of his friends and only features Chance. This was a let down for a lot of people and although I’m not in love with the release it definitely has its moments. Bursting with jazz vibes and good times, this album is a fun listen although a little directionless at times.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Dom Kennedy – By Dom Kennedy

Dom Kennedy continues to keep West Coast gangsta alive, his raps are slow and fluid while he flows on chunky G-funk-esque beats. Sometimes keeping things simple works so well and this is a great example of that.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Don S. – Live Or Exist

Fresh and soulful boom bap.

Buy here

The Doppelgangaz – Parts Unknown

New York duo back with a sweet little EP that really bumps.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Dr Dre – Compton

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about this album and you’ve probably already made up your mind about it. Half the people I’ve spoken to are disappointed and the other half think it’s a superb return for Dre. I’m personally a bit disappointed, it’s a good album but it pales in comparison to Dre’s previous releases.

Buy here

Dub Pistols – Return Of The Pistoleros

Legends on the British electronic music scene for years, Dub Pistols return triumphantly with a sublime mix of dub, reggae and jungle. Pure good vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Durrty Goodz – Vintage 3000 Vol.2

UK MC showing his versatility over a varied selection of beats, some familiar and some fresh (or at least I have never heard them before). From straight up hip-hop to garage to grime, Durrty Goods kills it.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Edwin Briscoe – Edwin vs Briscoe

Jazz musician releases his debut album, bringing in other musicians and vocalists to put together some beautiful soul, funk and jazz.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Eska – ESKA

It’s hard to describe Eska because her music is so unique. It sounds like a mixture of Roy Harper, Cat Stevens and Joanna Newsom but with a hell of a lot more soul thrown in. Absolutely stunning stuff.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Father – Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First

Explicit lyrics, slurred raps and minimal electronic beats. The future is here, the future is Father.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

FreshtillDef – Delirium EP

Frantic and crisp footwork.

Name your price download here

Future – DS2

Future has been on an incredible roll recently, consistently putting out high quality music. It’s more of the same here for Future but that’s far from a bad thing. The production here is sublime, most of the beats are made by Metro Boomin and Southside and their combination of complex riffs that dance over deep basslines is a treat to listen to. Future’s signature leaned out style continues to be enjoyable as he rambles on about women, money and drugs but often in a self aware and introspective manner.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Gangrene – You Disgust Me

The MC / producer dream team of Oh No and The Alchemist return with another filthy masterpiece. Both are more than capable on the mic but it’s the beats that really shine on here, they’re gritty and intricate with skillful sample use.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Ghostface & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die II

Ghostface continues his run of decent albums as he collaborates with Adrian Younge for a second time. Ghostface certainly isn’t as hungry as he used to be but he can still put together a consistent album.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Greavous – Greavous EP

A fresh selection of beats from a new and interesting beat maker. Drawing samples from a number of different genres and lacing them with intricate rhythms.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Gucci Mane – Trapology

I have no idea how Gucci is still releasing so many mixtapes while he’s incarcerated but I’m glad he is. This is one of his more consistent tapes, featuring guest appearances from Riff Raff, Jadakiss and Father.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Gunplay – Living Legend

Gunplay goes hard on this album. Plenty of trap bangers and a few smoother tracks to let you catch your breath.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Handbook – Thank You

Glorious jazz and soul beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Hemlock Ernst & Madlib – Trouble Knows Me

When I heard Madlib was secretly working with an MC on a new release all sorts of ideas ran through my head for who I wanted it to be. It turned out to be a guy from an indie synth pop band called Future Islands, which was certainly unexpected and although I was disappointed in a way it’s cool to hear someone new. Madlib does his thing as always and Hemlock Ernst is more than capable of doing those beats justice.

Buy here

Hezekiah – Dreams Don’t Chase Themselves

Uplifting, soulful hip-hop.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

The Internet – Ego Death

Chilled out and funky in all the right ways. This is the kind of album you want to relax to on a summer night.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Jamie XX – In Colour

Jamie XX releases his second album and proves how versatile he is as a producer. The album is a beautiful mix of dance genres, taking you on a journey through a variety of musical landscapes, all put together impeccably.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Jazz Cartier – Marauding In Paradise

Canadian MC Jazz Cartier delivers an entertaining mixtape that jumps between high energy trap and some deeper, more melodic tracks. Jazz Cartier has a fantastic style, going from a buttery smooth flow to maniacally yelling.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Jean Grae – iSweatergawd

One of the best MCs in the world, Jean Grae always brings something interesting to the table. This album sees Jean dropping her precise and complex rhymes over some off-kilter beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Jeremiah Jae – The Decline Of Black Anakin

Beautifully monotonous soul beats under Jeremiah’s hazy flow, perfect as always.

Buy and listen here

JME – 48 Hour Mixtape

Grime legend puts together a mixtape in 48 hours. Rough around the edges but well worth a listen.

Listen on Youtube here

Stream the mixtape in full here

John Milk – Treat Me Right

The funkiest of funk music with a great vocalist hitting those high notes. There’s something mesmerising about this album.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

King Los – God Money War

Solid hip-hop album with a nice selection of beats and some thoughtful lyrics. Good easy listening.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Large Pro – Re:Living

East Coast legend doing what he does best. There’s no pushing of boundaries here but there’s no need to, a solid boom bap album.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Lil B x Chance The Rapper – Free (BASED FREESTYLE MIXTAPE)

They said it was coming and nobody believed them but here it is. It’s funny that after all this waiting for some new chance and a lot of people disappointed with his work on Surf we get a mixtape from him and Lil B of all people. Anyway, it’s a great listen with some nice, lo-fi, soulful beats that are perfect for the meandering freestyles that Lil B and Chance drop on this tape.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Lil Wayne – Free Weezy Album

One of the best releases from Lil Wayne in the last few years. Nothing new style wise but a decent album nonetheless.

The album is available exclusively as a stream on Tidal.

Limewax – Always & Never

Limewax gives us a huge collection of tracks showcasing his abilities as a producer. Track after track of absolute filth gets a bit much but there is a nice variation in style here from more traditional jungle to dark tech step. Put this on loud and scare your neighbours.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Locksmith – Lofty Goals

Mellow hip-hop album with some intriguing beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

L’Orange & Kool Keith – Time? Astonishing!

L’Orange has been on an absolute roll for the last few years, putting out an abundance of superb beats and working with some amazing rappers. Here we see him step a little outside of his usual style as he works with eccentric rap legend legend Kool Keith. I haven’t heard Kool Keith sound this good in quite a few years, his unique flow works perfectly over these dusty sample based beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Lucki Eck$ – X

One of the most interesting young MCs active right now, Lucki Eck$ makes intensely dark and personal music. His delivery sounds extremely lazy and stoned out, oozing with despair, which when put on these menacingly basic beats creates an unsettling atmosphere.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Lynx – I Am Lynx

Marvelous tech DnB. Grinding basslines and clicky drums, immensely satisfying music.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

M. Stacks – Broad Based Audience

Wonderfully soulful beat tape.

Free download here

Mac Mall – Legal Business?

Bay Area veteran pays homage to his debut album ‘Illegal Business?’. 808s and chunky synths, classic Bay Area vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Main Attrakionz – 808s And Dark Grapes III

The popularity of cloud rap was short lived it seems but this album might be the one to bring the movement back. Such a lusciously space age album; vocally twisting between rapid fire raps and slurred mumbling. Friend Zone hold down the production for the album, concocting unbelievably euphoric beats that take you to another world.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money

He may have been defeated by Drake in this recent beef but Meek Mill’s latest album has a lot of great moments. Meek is better when he’s going hard and he definitely brings it on some of these tracks.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Miguel – Wildheart

Dreamy RnB which at times really pushes the genre in some different directions. Miguel shows how inventive he can be.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Mishka NYC – W3NDCH3LL – Slap, Space and Soul

Urban clothing label Mishka NYC has been putting out some stellar instrumental compilations lately and this new series is one of the best yet. Showcasing talented producers from Chicago, these three mixtapes give us a magnificent ensemble of instrumental hip-hop. Mostly chilled out vibes here with lots of seductive horn riffs and syrupy synths.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price downloads here, here and here

Mr Cheeks – Raised

Lost Boys member returns after a ten year hiatus and gives a solid hip-hop album with some fun tracks.

Buy here

Mr Key & Greenwood Sharps – Yesterday’s Futures

This album brings some much needed originality to the UK hip-hop scene. Everyone loves a good boom bap beat but the UK scene has been flooded with the same old standard flows over slightly jazzy head knod beats. That’s what makes this album so refreshing, the instrumentals here are stunning; complex percussion layered with textured synths, reminiscent of the tunes coming out of the ‘future garage’ scene a few years ago. Mr Key gives us the kind of depressingly honest lyrics that only British MCs can and really makes this one of my favourite hip-hop albums of recent years.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Mr Lif, The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo – Terra Bella

Underground rap legend Mr Lif gets together with producer The Polish Ambassador and vocalist Ayla Nereo to put together a joyfully melodic and uplifting album.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Myka 9 & Factor – Famous Future Time Travel

Myka 9 is one of the most underrated rappers on the West Coast, his gentle and fluid voice is instantly recognisable and he has one of the fastest flows in the game. Here we see Myka 9 teaming up again with producer Factor to give us an album full of buttery smooth and funky hip-hop.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Nacho Picasso – Blunt Raps 2

One of my favourite releases to date from Nacho. A bit more up beat than a lot of his work, Blunt Raps 2 sees Nacho at his best, spitting in that charismatic drawl he’s known for over some bass heavy and often euphoric beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Nicolay – City Lights Volume 3 : Soweto

Dutch producer of Foreign Exchange fame hits us with a silky smooth and synth filled album with tasty South African vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

OG Maco – Tax Free EP

OG Maco back yet again, this time teaming with producer Pablo Dylan (Bob Dylan’s son) who provides some hard trap beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Om Unit – Torchlight vol. 1

Om Unit has a real knack for making dangerously heavy tunes that don’t really fit in to a specific genre. Somewhere between dubstep and footwork this EP packs a punch with some crazy tribal vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Omen – Elephant Eyes

Magnificently mellow hip-hop featuring guest appearances from Bas and J. Cole. Omen has a liquid flow and some interesting lyrics.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

P Money – Money over Everyone 2

While everyone is going crazy over Skepta, Wiley and JME, P Money put out this savage mixtape. Saying this is hard is an understatement. Almost back to back bangers, this is what grime is all about.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

The Palmer Squares – In Context

A nice complex mix of beats and some sick flows.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Papoose – You Can’t Stop Destiny

Back in the mid 2000s Papoose was set to be the next big thing, I’m not sure what went on but that never happened and he almost faded in to obscurity. He’s not quite as hungry as he sounded back then but this is a solid New York hip hop album with some quality beats and Papoose still goes in at times.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Pete Rock – Petestrumentals 2

A solid selection of boom bap instrumentals from the master.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Plies – Ain’t No Mixtape Bih

Decent trap mixtape with some heavy tunes.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Quelle Chris – Innocent Country

This album is perfect underground hip-hop, mainly dark beats with a twisted boom bap style. Quelle Chris always brings it on the mic, his flow is intricate and precise but he goes wild when he needs to.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Raider Klan – Raider Klan The Mixtape 2.75

The Raider Klan crew come together and make some dark trap tunes.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Ras G – Raw Fruit Vol.4

Otherworldly beats that bump just right, crafted from some crazy samples.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Retchy P – Finesse The World

An intensely bleak album that sees Retchy P spit with anger on ominous beats driven by crisp drums.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Rich Boy – Featuring

A solid hip-hop album with commercial appeal and star studded list of features.

Buy here

Saga & The Alchemist – Saga Ghanoush

Saga drops some sturdy raps over The Alchemist’s fantastic ‘Israeli Salad’ instrumentals.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Shahmen – All In The Circle

Shahmen’s guttural verses blend perfectly with these lusciously melancholy instrumentals. A very complete sounding album of no nonsense hip-hop.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Skyzoo – Music For My Friends

In my opinion Skyzoo is one of the most technically proficient MCs active right now. His flows are buttery smooth but he can go hard when he needs to. His lyrics are varied and eloquent but still heavily emotive. New York needs more of this back to basics hip-hop. It’s not pushing boundaries, but not everything has to, sometimes it’s great to listen to someone who just does straight up hip-hop, and does it flawlessly.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

ST 2 Lettaz – Good Day In The Ghetto

Menacing trap album that oozes sub bass.

Listen on Youtube here

Free download here

Statik Selektah – Lucky 7

Keeping the golden age alive, Statik Selektah crafts magnificently soulful boom bap beats that hark back to the 90s but still sound incredibly fresh. Statik always brings in the best guest MCs and this album is no different, featuring Rapsody, Sean Price (RIP one of the greatest ever), Ab Soul and Skyzoo.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Stevie Stone – Malta Bend

Heavy and gritty hip-hop that would bang in the club.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

StewRat – Break

StewRat takes stunningly soulful samples and flips them in a really fresh way. The live sounding drums really drive these tracks.

Buy here

StewRat – SunRise

On this release we see the up and coming producer take to the synths to create some cinematic soundscapes loaded with 808s and eery sounds.

Buy here

$uicideboy$ – YUNGDEATHLILLIFE

Lo-fi dark hip-hop vibes with some amazing 808 led beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Name your price download here

Sway – Deliverance

Sway is one of those guys who should have blown up a long time ago but never quite broke through. Hopefully this will get him a little closer. Radio friendly UK hip-hop that keeps its integrity and intelligence.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Ta-Ku – Songs To Make Up To

Following on from the sublime ‘Songs To Break Up To’ this EP is velvety smooth from start to finish.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Tim Gent – Clarksville Nights

A soothing mixtape that sees Tim Gent rap and sing with finesse over beautiful beats.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Tim Rogers & The Bamboos – The Rules Of Attraction

Catchy funk tunes bringing the party vibes.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

TM88 – Sacii Lyfe

Producer TM88 of 808 Mafia drops one of my favourite trap mixtapes of the year. TM88’s drum sounds are dark and industrial sounding, which combined with his grinding sub bass creates some really savage tunes.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Tory Lanez & WeDidIt – Cruel Intentions

Rapper / singer Tory Lane collaborates with super producer collective WeDidIt on this smooth and intricate sounding EP.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Tree & Vic Spencer – VicTree

Tree holds down the production on this superb release. The @MCTREEG EP is one of my favourite releases of recent years and although I enjoyed Trap Genius I was really craving more of that soul trap sound. Fortunately we get that on this EP with the erratic and raw Vic Spencer on the mic. This release is stunning and gritty at the same time, you can here that Chicago footwork sound in the way the beats are put together and it really works.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

A Tribe Called Red – Suplex

Funky electro vibes to get the party jumping.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

TUT – Preacher’s Son

Jazzy and mellow mixtape from a promising young MC.

Listen on Youtube here

Download for free here

Two Fingers – Six Rhythms

Heavy hitting dance music dwelling somewhere in the middle of trap, dubstep and electro.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

DJ Vadim And Sena – Grow Slow

Good vibes on this electronic, reggae, soul style album.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.

Every now and then I hear an album that just blows my mind with it’s ingenuity, that takes me out of my usual listening experience and brings me somewhere completely new. This is one of those times. Although I can hear a large array of influences on the album (from straight up funk to Bowie-esque glam rock) the finished product is highly unusual and unlike anything I’ve heard before. Do yourself a favour and get this album in to your life.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

I’m not as impressed with this album as many people seem to be but it definitely has its moments. The album would benefit from being shorter as being two discs long there is some filler in there. Still, the high points on here featuring some magnificent production from Clams Casino make it worth the listen.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Warren G – Regulate… G Funk Era Part II

It was weird to see releases from Dre and Warren G in 2015 but it definitely makes me happy. Whereas I was expecting a lot from Dre and was disappointed I wasn’t sure what to expect from Warren G but was pleasantly surprised. The G Funk is certainly alive on this release and it really hits the spot.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

Yap – Airtight

Listening to this EP it’s strange to think that Yap was once the lead singer of nu metal band One Minute Silence. There is a lot of acoustic folk music out there but there is a certain clarity to Yap’s voice that makes this release stand out. Breathtakingly soothing music.

Listen on Youtube here

Buy here

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My 10 Favourite Comics of 2014

Everything Else

I’ve been reading comics for about 3 years now but only got in to them in a big way last year. I’m far from an expert but the sheer amount of fantastic stuff coming out at the moment has me excited, so I wanted to share some of the series that I’ve read. The following are a few of my favourite trades that came out last year (I generally don’t read single issues). I hope you enjoy reading about them and maybe discover something new.

The Auteur – Oni Press

Writer: Rick Spears

Artist: James Callahan

One of the stranger comics I read in 2014, The Auteur follows a washed up film maker as he attempts to regain the critical acclaim he once had. It’s a fun story as our protagonist overloads his brain with hallucinogenic drugs to find inspiration and attempts to give his movies an edge with ridiculous ideas, like hiring a real murderer as a consultant on a slasher film. It’s the artwork that really shines in this series, it’s so colourful and gruesomely psychedelic, a perfect match for the bizarre plot.

The Bunker – Oni Press

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Joe Infunari

A group of friends go in to the woods to bury a time capsule but discover a bunker containing a letter to each of them. These letters are written by themselves in the future as a warning of the terrible things that will happen if they don’t do something to stop it. The writing is the right kind of complicated were you have to think about what is happening but it doesn’t leave you completely lost. The dynamic between the characters is fantastic as they all have their own motives and secrets that they must hide. Really exciting idea off to a great start.

Deadly Class – Image

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge

Deadly Class is probably the most stylish comic I read last year with some of the best panelling I have ever seen. The plot follows a homeless teenager who gets taken to a secret school where children of organised crime families are trained to become assassins. Like every high school this one is full of cliques, fashion, gossip and crushes, but instead of the usual harmless teenage feuds, here it might end it murder. Packed with flawless artwork and a fast paced writing style, this first volume was an absolute joy to read.

East of West – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Dragotta

The epic sci-fi fantasy Western that is East of West continued its amazing run this year as the story became deeper and more intense. It’s difficult to explain the premise as it has so many layers and sub plots that are all intricately connected. I will just say that it is an incredibly interesting story and it’s a real feather in the hat of Hickman who has truly proven himself to be one of, if not the best comic book writer of recent years.

Manhattan Projects – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Pitarra

In 2014 Manhattan Projects not only smashed its way in to the spot for my favourite comic of the year but also barged itself in there with my favourite comics ever. With such a superb idea for a story and writing that keeps you enthralled I really couldn’t put this series down. It depicts an alternate reality based around the Manhattan Project just after World War 2. The Manhattan Project was the research and development project behind the first atomic bomb but in Hickman’s retelling of the events this was just a cover up for other experiments taking place. As the story continued this year the team became more adventurous in their aggressive scientific progression and ran in to some conflict along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed history this much.

Rover Red Charlie – Avatar

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Michael Dipascale

An odd concept for a comic pulled off with perfection. Rover Red Charlie follows 3 dogs living through an apocalyptic event were all the humans kill themselves. Gath Ennis brings us right in to the mind of a dog as we see how they manage without their masters to tell them what to do. The artwork throughout is fantastic, using an innocent style, almost like you would see in a children’s book. This style along with having dogs as protagonists lures you in to a false sense of security and makes the brutality depicted that much more shocking. This is a great, fresh take on stories about man’s best friend, full of laughs, love and sadness.

Saga – Image

Writer: Brian K. Vaughn

Artist: Fiona Staples

If you’re a fan of comics you will no doubt be familiar with Saga, if you’re not a fan of comics then Saga is a great way to get in to them. Fast paced and accessible yet still well written with enough complexity to keep things interesting, it’s easy to see why Saga is so popular. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet set up but taken in to space, two lovers from civilisations that are at war with each other and on the run from those who would want to split them up. A simple premise really brought to life by the brilliance of Brian K. Vaughn.

Sheltered – Image

Writer: Ed Bisson

Artist: Johnnie Christmas

With so many post-apocalyptic comics on the market it’s refreshing to read a pre-apocalyptic story. Sheltered is about a community that cut themselves off from society in preparation for an event they predict will wipe out most of the world’s population. After a brutal plan is executed for what is thought to be the greater good, the community is split and we are left with a Lord of the Flies-esque situation. The writing is very fast paced and exciting, packed full of action that keeps you on edge. The focus of the series is on paranoia, greed and how power corrupts, all presented through deep and varied cast of characters.

Southern Bastards – Image

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Jason Latour

Southern Bastards is the gritty tale of a man going back to his home town in Southern America to pick up some old things but quickly gets himself in trouble with the wrong people. One of the driving forces is the very likable main character, incredibly cool with a desire to be peaceful but not afraid to get violent when it’s needed. The setting of a small Southern town really adds to the atmosphere with the quaint little rib shack and the whole town turning out to watch the high school football game masking the viscous underbelly of the place. Jason Aaron has a skill for creating detailed and engrossing environments in which to set his stories and Southern Bastards is a great example of that.

The Woods – BOOM!

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Michael Dialynas

A vibrant and thrilling sci-fi about a school full of students and teachers that is suddenly transported to an alien moon. As the teachers try to get everything under control a small group of pupils leave to explore, led by an arrogant teenager who had a strange vision when they arrived. On their journey they come across strange creatures and ancient architecture, creating more questions about the nature of the place. The vivid colours and action sequences really bring the story to life and together with the alluring plot this is an exceptional start to what promises to a spectacular series.