“What the fuck has happened to Justin Timberlake?” is what you were probably wondering after first experiencing the video for his incredible new song ‘Supplies’. That is because you’re a mindless sheep, a suitable idiot that the system can use and abuse. The enlightened among us, however, realise that JT is no longer a simple pop star, but fucking woke. Continue reading “Justin Timberlake’s New Video Is So Woke You Can’t Handle It”
Most artists can’t – or won’t – ever fully unearth their deepest insecurities for their music. SZA does it on her debut. Continue reading “Album of the Year 2017: SZA – Ctrl”
And we’re back. No theme this time, just some songs we’ve dug over the past month or so – from the tongue-in-cheek pop of Soft Hair to the electric melancholia of The Radio Dept to the understated groove of Homeshake’s breezy new single. Enjoy.
Listen on Apple Music here, or on Spotify below.
Now I hate to use the term fuzz; fuzz being something of a boringly inevitable word used to describe music such as this; Continue reading “Track Of The Week: Franky Flowers – ‘Fell In Love’”
Step away from your chai tea and roll up your yoga mat. If what you have been searching for is spiritual enlightenment then you have been looking in the wrong places. This remix of ‘Life’s Dancers’ by The Invisible was only released three weeks ago and yet has tragically been overlooked as a hot tip on achieving spiritual bliss.
The London-based band and Manchester producer Floating Points, aka Sam Shepherd, have collaborated before with the dreamy, poignant track ‘Wings’, released in 2012. But the intro of this subsequent collaboration captures and quickly discards the melancholy that was so pervasive in ‘Wings’: instead, the aptly-named track takes the listener on a journey which can only be described as spiritual. A subtle feeling of elation washes over the listener as the dreamy vocals and understated drums breathe life into the song: the simplicity of the combination dwarfing the original version of the track. This blissful state of contentment is interrupted, though not unwelcomingly, by a funkier dimension added by the bass. This jazzy snippet playfully teases you before surrendering to cascading string harmonies which leave you with a wistful feeling; the exultation experienced seems to be slipping from your grasp. Despite softening on the outro the ending still feels abrupt, rudely ending the trance-like state undoubtedly achieved, like a bucket of water to the face. Yet, such a heavenly song requires a quick descent back to reality, otherwise, a real risk exists that the listener might not make it back to the world.
But I can think of worse ways to go.
Listen to Life’s Dancers (Floating Points Remix) below.
Joyce Manor are three albums deep into a budding career in whatever we’re calling their cross pollination of pop-punk, emo, and indie rock, yet have released about an hour of music total. They’re the kind of band that make albums sonically similar to one another, yet have small intricacies that allow fans well-versed in their music to discern the sound of one project to another. The trend seems set to continue, as their latest single ‘Last You Heard Of Me’ is perhaps one of their most distinguishable songs yet. Foremost, it’s over 3 minutes long, making it the longest song in Joyce Manor’s discography. The guitar is noticeably thinner, leaving the driving rhythm of the song in the forefront. Lyrically, frontman Barry Johnson has always been gifted at writing specific lyrics about relatively vague topics. While this is still present, the comparatively slow pace of ‘Last You Heard of Me’ means there’s less space to work with, and the result is a less dense song lyrically than we’re used to from Johnson. Structurally, the track has a strong Weezer influence, not unlike many of Joyce Manor’s musical peers.
Listen to ‘Last You Heard Of Me’ below.
Cody is out October 7th via Epitaph
I don’t think The Weeknd has wasted his potential since becoming an unlikely star, but he’s certainly lost some of his edge. Abel Tesfaye used to be a mysterious force in the R&B scene, and the hype that he accumulated across the release of his first three mixtapes was in no small part due to the almost-mythical nature of the man himself. Of course, the music also helped. Beach House-sampling ‘The Party & The After Party’ proves Tesfaye knows how to set a scene. Airy, atmospheric and sensual as hell – obviously – the track is intimate and just the right side of erotic.
Listen to ‘The Party & The After Party’ below.
Back when you were a kid, did you ever play a video game that suddenly glitched the fuck out? Sometimes the audio would go batshit too and, if you were lucky, it would actually sound kind of dope. Enter Giant Claw. Hypnotising, but also kind of ridiculous, ‘Deep Thoughts 001’ is a delightful anomaly. Described by producer Keith Rankin as a “sound collage project”, this is ‘music’ that really stretches the concept of the term. There’s something inherently vast and airy about this track, and it’s not just the production, as if Rankin intended it to sprawl on until time itself stops, but realised halfway through that he was constrained by the laws of our universe and settled for four and a half minutes. I’ve never played Myst, but I imagine this is what the soundtrack would be like, if you melted the disc behind a radiator for a couple hours.
Listen to ‘Deep Thoughts 001’ at Orange Milk Records here.
Roundtable is our new feature where a collection of the Hooks For Hands writers discuss a record, each giving their own perspective. For the first edition, some of our writers have taken a look back at one of the most divisive records of the year, The Life Of Pablo by Kanye West.
Kanye West is a mess, let’s be real. And so is The Life Of Pablo. It’s erratic, inconsistent, and never quite sure what it wants be. But it’s also more pensive than it lets on, and – in moments – unabashedly raw. At the very least, I always see what Kanye is trying to do on the album, I think, even if it never quite comes together. The production is predictably flawless, and saves the day when his lyricism fails him, which is often on this record. But really, it’s an album of two halves. Most of the first nine or so tracks are pretty much what you would expect from a Kanye West record in 2016. They’re vapid, indulgent, and dripping with cynicism. It’s only in the back-end of the record that his mask begins to slip, and we see Kanye at his most disillusioned since 808s & Heartbreak. It’s just a shame the album spends so long posturing. Kanye West unfiltered is messy. Who’da thunk it. 7
Can we even review this album yet, or is it still a “living, evolving art project”? C’mon Kanye. This record is a fucking disaster. After Yeezus, I don’t think anyone thought he could disappear up his own ass anymore, but here we are. I can’t help but think that there’s some Shia LaBeouf shit going on here, and this is all just performance art. Kanye has no filter. It’s why he can’t keep off Twitter, it’s why he just had to namedrop Taylor again, and it’s why this album is 19 tracks long. Yeezus achieved in 10 songs what this album can’t in 19. Too much of even a good thing can be sickly, so an album this middling really can’t afford to drag. The Life Of Pablo isn’t deep, it isn’t captivating, and it isn’t nearly as interesting as it thinks it is. The Kardashianisation of Mr. West is complete, I guess. 3
The Life of Pablo, Kanye West’s most complex and messiest album, is also one of his best. The album feels truthful about what is going on in his head. West has always been thought of as eccentric, but still intelligent. Pablo never keeps a theme or mood, is filled with at some points almost irritating sound effects, and has a long list of featured artists. West doesn’t try to create a new Kanye or a new vision, he just tries to get his thoughts out. Of course he still manages to compliment himself and take jabs at other people, but that’s what we expect, and part of the reason we like him. Whether West is referring to himself as part of a family, or as a part of the mainstream music industry, he is truthful about his screwups (and successes). However hectic it may sound, it’s something we’d like to hear more from him, a good – and honest – record. 7
Incendiary. There’s really no other way to describe The Life Of Pablo, Kanye West’s opus. Is it garish, indulgent, and self-satisfying? Of course it is. How else would you describe the man himself? And what better way to celebrate Kanye than to experience him unfiltered. No, this isn’t his most consistent album. I think even he knows that. But what it is, is authentic. And, listening to so many anonymous-sounding albums this year, it’s refreshing to hear a record that, from start to finish, is unmistakably and unapologetically Mr. West. This whole thing is Kanye firing on all cylinders. His lyrics are sharp, the production is immaculate, and it’s just fun as hell. 9
For this month’s HookList, we’ve stuck closer to home and taken a look at some of our favourite British artists, new and old, from the atmospheric chill of Jamie Isaac’s ‘Last Drip’ to iconic psychedelia of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.
Listen on Apple Music here or Spotify below.