February Release Round-Up
By Hadley Schaffer // DJ Duckington
Ordered from best to worst
2017-2019 – Against All Logic [Tech House]
- This whole album is an ear-massage. It’s so unbelievably enjoyable and surreal and unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. It feels like the instrumentals are screaming at me and I love it. This replaced Poppy for my favorite album of the year. I don’t know what else to say; it genuinely left me speechless. Please listen.
Man Alive! – King Krule [Art Rock, Post-Punk]
- Dark, depressing, yet oddly comforting. This is one of the most creative and emotionally-exhausting albums I’ve heard in awhile. It’s definitely not for everyone, as it can feel very slow at times (especially in the second half), but once you get past that and start to appreciate the nightmarish yet simultaneously dreamy atmosphere the album creates, you fall in love.
Fuck The World – Brent Faiyaz [Contemporary R&B]
- Beautiful album. Brent’s songwriting has improved so much and his voice is just so soulful, and the instrumentals match it perfectly. I really love just about every part of this album; it’s one of the best r&b projects I’ve heard in what feels like a long time.
Anyways – Young Nudy [Trap, Southern Hip Hop]
- While there aren’t as many iconic tracks on here as there are on some of his other projects, Anyways continues to cement Nudy as one of today’s most consistent artists in trap. His beat selection is always impeccable and combining that with his personality makes for some of the most entertaining music out there right now. I think this project could have been better if it was like 10 minutes shorter, but that’s really my only complaint. Very good album.
Miss Anthropocene – Grimes [Art Pop, Electronic]
- This was my first time listening to a full Grimes album, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The production is hypnotic, the vocals are odd but fitting, and the songwriting is pretty solid. There were a few cuts that I didn’t love as much as the rest, but as a whole it’s a very entertaining and unique listen, and I definitely look forward to exploring more of her discography in the future.
Big Bad Gnar Shit 2 – GNAR & Germ [Trap]
- Although it may not surpass its predecessor, this EP is still fire from front to back and worth a listen for any fan of the genre. It can feel one-dimensional and I would understand if someone told me they found it generic, but for what it is I like it a lot.
UNLOCKED – Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats [Hardcore Hip Hop]
- This is basically just another side project for Denzel, but it still continues to show off his talent. The beats go hard, Denzel is spitting fire (outside of a few bars) as usual, and it has a fantastic video to accompany it. It’s far from the top of Denzel’s discography, but it’s a very entertaining project nonetheless and worth a listen.
West of Eden – HMLTD [Art Rock, Synth Punk]
- This project has so much going on, but somehow it almost always works. It’s basically an extremely ambitious, cinematic and genre-bending take on a modern punk album. It can feel a bit messy at times and personally I think it could have been shorter, but overall it is a very fun and impressive listen, especially for a debut album.
lo&behold – lojii [East Coast Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop]
- Technically this came out last month on Bandcamp, but it was added to streaming this month and it’s worth a mention so I’m counting it. Lojii is far from the most unique voice to come out of the abstract hip hop movement, but he makes up for it with his introspective lyrics and great beat-selection. I look forward to seeing what he comes out with in the future.
Legit – WHARFWHIT [Drum and Bass]
- This is Kero Kero Bonito’s Jamie Bulled’s third EP under the alias WHARFWHIT, and it is very solid. There’s honestly not much to write home about, but it’s a fun little project and very pleasant to listen to.
STOP STARING AT THE SHADOWS – $uicideBoy$ [Southern Hip Hop, Memphis Rap]
- Basically a standard $uicideBoy$ tape. There are a few clear highlights and the rest is pretty much just okay. I really wish the Boy$ would just stick to making EPs, because their full-length projects almost always pale in comparison. Still, the few songs I like on this record capture everything I enjoy about their sound as a whole, so I can’t be too upset.
The Price Of Tea In China – Boldy James & The Alchemist [Gangsta Rap]
- Boldy James is the least impressive part of his own album. The Alchemist’s production is fire and the features are crazy, but James is just an above-average gangsta rapper with very little personality. He’s got some cool, gritty lyrics, but his style of rapping just isn’t distinct enough to keep me invested. There is no way I would have listened to this without all the big names (The Alchemist, Vince Staples, Benny The Butcher, Freddie Gibbs, Evidence) attached to it, so James obviously has good taste and crazy connections, but unfortunately that isn’t enough to make for anything more than a forgettable album.
The Slow Rush – Tame Impala [Neo-Psychedelia]
- This was disappointing. Definitely a drop in quality in terms of Tame Impala’s discography. Everything just kind of blends together and sounds the same, so there’s not much in the way of standout tracks. Almost every song is just consistently “okay” and nothing more. You can tell Kevin still has talent and put some effort into this, but it just comes off as very watered-down and uninteresting.
Still Flexin, Still Steppin – YoungBoy Never Broke Again [Trap, Southern Hip Hop]
- I was honestly surprised I liked this as much as I did, even if that isn’t all that much. YoungBoy isn’t special as an artist whatsoever, but he delivers a few genuinely good performances here, especially when he gets aggressive. I’m not particularly a fan of the slower, more melodic cuts (which unfortunately take up a good portion of the project), but his hype songs honestly aren’t bad. Sometimes he can definitely sound annoying, but as a whole this project is well-produced and features more highlights than I anticipated.
Cyberpunk: Malware – Sybyr [Trap]
- Sybyr. Stop it. Make good music again. Please. Literally just scream into a microphone over a distorted beat. That is all we want. Stop giving us this bland, generic, mediocre trap music. I don’t understand how you can go from one of the most innovative artists in the genre to this. Please do better. Thank you.
My Turn – Lil Baby [Trap, Pop Rap]
- There’s nothing notable about this at all. It’s a Young Thug clone who raps poorly over generic trap beats for an hour. A couple features are cool and I do admittedly enjoy some of the production, but outside of that everything on here is mediocre at best.
Changes – Justin Bieber [Contemporary R&B]
- This thing is bad. The first few tracks make it seem like you’re just getting into your typical generic r&b album, but once you hit “Intentions” everything goes downhill unbelievably fast. The lyrics become harder and harder to avoid cringing at, the instrumentals become less and less tolerable, and the features become more and more out of place. Seriously, what is Lil Dicky doing here??? And what was up with that AWFUL Travis Scott feature??? This album just doesn’t make any sense. It’s like a bunch of puzzle pieces that don’t even come close to fitting together. Definitely the worst thing I’ve heard so far this year.