Home Taping Is Killing Music #9
03 Nov 2010
frederick mikardo-greaves dispatches another missive detailing excellent new music that has surfaced for free download on the internet in recent weeks. this time, we find that james blake keeps getting better and better, nicki minaj is cool enough to even make eminem sound relevant again, and that returns from lykke li and tapes n tapes are very welcome things indeed.
Yes, as usual it’s been bloody ages. Let’s not dwell on that fact though, and instead surrender ourselves to a few excellent tracks that have popped up over the last week or so on the web. We’ve got old faces, new faces, and in Eminem’s case, really old faces. Enjoy.
Tapes ‘n’ Tapes – Freak Out
After 2005’s The Loon and 2008’s Walk it Off, Tapes ‘n’ Tapes are warmly welcomed back with the first release from their upcoming LP Outside. ‘Freak Out’ does that jangly thing that they’ve got good at over the last few years, and does it very well indeed. While it’s always been exceedingly difficult to dislike the band, sometimes their songs have lacked a bit of bite. A rollicking beat underpins a classic sentiment – that of feeling scared of love, not knowing how your other half feels, and wanting to be with them all the time; ‘Wait until your wedding day, then you’ll know … Will you look me in the eye? Will you run from what you see? Will you see me in the light? I hope you do, I hope you stay’ runs the lyrics to arguably the best chorus they’ve come up with thus far. There’s little more to it aside from that, aside from a gnarly little breakdown about 2/3 of the way through. Put simply, it’s a terrific track that deserves a listen. [DOWNLOAD HERE]
Lykke Li – Get Some/Paris Blue
Thank the Lord Lykke Li’s back. 2008’s Youth Novels was one of the most striking pop debuts in recent years, with tracks like ‘Dance Dance Dance’, ‘I’m Good I’m Gone’ and the gut-wrenching ‘Little Bit’ cementing her firmly as one to look out for in the future. However, since the release she’s laid relatively low, with just a couple of tracks here and there (and on the New Moon soundtrack) to keep her fans something close to sated. As you can imagine, it was a very pleasant surprise for this writer and many others when not one but two new tracks were made available on her site for free download last week. Front-runner ‘Get Some’ lacks the subtlety of some of her earlier A-sides, but there’s no denying the primal attraction of it, with Li managing to sound like she’s both whispering and shouting lines like ‘a shotgun needs an outcome’ and ‘I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some’. Filthy, and fun. ‘Paris Blue’ is markedly more restrained, with Li tapping into the sort of fragility that made Youth Novels slowies like ‘Tonight’ so affecting. The framework of the track – sparse acoustic guitar and lush harmonies – sets the scene for her to deliver a vocal performance that befits the title. She obliges, and it’s brilliant. Roll on the next record – I for one, cannot wait. [DOWNLOAD HERE]
James Blake – I Never Learnt to Share
James Blake’s output over the last year or so has been unique in that everything – and I mean everything – he has put out has been fawned over as yet another marker of his rapidly emerging genius. The CMYK and Klavierwerke EPs were universally lauded as the first demonstrations of a great new talent, while last month’s cover of Feist’s ‘Limit to Your Love’ and accompanying video sent the blogosphere into a frenzy of anticipation for the upcoming LP from which it is culled. We don’t know yet if ‘I Never Learnt to Share’ is to appear on that record or not, but it’s certainly not bucking the trend of absolute brilliance that Blake has established. Building in a similar style to Bon Iver’s ‘Woods’ the track morphs from a single, fragile, overly-auto-tuned vocal line to a crushing blend of harmony and tone. With a frothing beat introduced halfway through, we share in the metamorphosis from the restrained resignation of the opening to the hard-disc-crash frenzy of the final couple of minutes, before a plaintive organ returns to close the circle. It’s an extraordinary five minutes, and is only likely to bring Blake more fans. He best have an artistic crisis of Second Coming-esque proportions soon, because at the moment we’re running out of superlatives. [DOWNLOAD HERE]
Nicki Minaj – Roman’s Revenge (ft. Eminem)
Nicki Minaj has without doubt been hip-hop’s biggest success story of the last couple of years. Picked up by Lil Wayne’s Young Money Records, ‘Barbie’ has been whetting appetites for her debut album since April’s stonking ‘Massive Attack’ (which, sadly, won’t feature on the record). Pink Friday is released later this month, and on the form she’s been in of late it’s likely that she’ll be giving fellow Young Money stars Weezy and Drake a run for their money come the ‘best-of-year’ polls. ‘Roman’s Revenge’, for the record, is as smutty as the gimp scene in Pulp Fiction, and just as deliciously uncomfortable – an ideal track for Eminem to assert himself as the king of weirdo mainstream Saw-rap. Yeah, he does a pretty good job of it too, re-treading the kind of lyrical vein that he mined so fruitfully on all those I-hate-you-mom-I-hate-you-Kim tracks of his late-90s heyday. That said, this is undoubtedly Minaj’s time to shine, and she works Swizz-Beats’s pummelling production much better than Marshall. Displaying pretty much all of those weird voices that she does (including a questionable English accent at the end), she delivers her aggressive flow (‘I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin’) with more balls than most male rappers around at the moment, proving that her out-manning of Drake and Kanye West on recent releases from that pair was no fluke. Some people may find her wackiness and pull-no-punches approach an affront, but there’s no denying that Minaj is impressive – and on this form, here to stay. [DOWNLOAD HERE]
Cheers guys. Treat yourself as winter sets in – go for a weekend break to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Or, as a student loan will only stretch so far in my case, Grimsby.