Single Review – ZHU feat. Tame Impala – My Life

The psychedelic tones of Tame Impala dip into the EDM scene in a link-up with ZHU, producing the bouncing yet atmospheric My Life. With repetitive lyrics and repetitive riffs, the track is nothing astounding, but brings the best of each artists’ genres to form something somewhat soothing and cleverly curated, with an electronic orchestra to liven up the echoic synths. The track jumps with bass and builds with Parker’s pleading to let him live his life to the tune of aggressive synth, before crashing with the strength of a small wave to close off a mediocre single; one that doesn’t really do anything much for either artists’ repertoire.

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Tame Impala – List of People (To try and Forget About)

Over two years since the release of the acclaimed Currents Tame Impala are still releasing material from those recording sessions, such is the appeal of the sound they forged a few hazy Australian summers ago. The pick of these new releases is ‘List of People (To try and Forget About) which offers up a meandering style of track that would have fitted hand in glove into the album with the whirring, resonant electronica, crisp, rhythmic percussion and Kevin Parkers dream pop vocals. It is a song that is differs to the rest of the album in how it doesn’t seek the infectious hook, but wallows in the murky soundscapes it created for itself. With the buzz from this album still being felt over rated on, what direction will Kevin Parker get lost in next time? With the band taking a break for this year, it may some time before we find out; we’ve got a fantastic album to keep replaying in the meantime though.

Owen Riddle

Paramore – After Laughter Review 


Paramore’s new album ‘After Laughter’, released May 12, continues the band’s experiments in a sound leaning ever more towards the gleaming synth-pop side of pop-punk. Addictively catchy opener, and standout single, ‘Hard Times’ and it’s follow-up ‘Told You So’ are both so heavily drenched in surfer guitar and pop-fueled energy it’s difficult to remember a time when Paramore wasn’t so sugar coated you might actually require a filling or two after listening. But with Hayley Williams cutting skill at songwriting, the air of candy coating is never too sickly. 
Wearing the band’s love of all things eighties like a crumpled tracksuit, or a painfully high scrunchie, Taylor York’s guitar seems to effortlessly recreate the slick sound of the Talking Heads and the Bangles. allowing the album to glitter in its alt-pop misery, whilst still managing to create a sound that seems vibrant. 

‘Rose-Colored Boy’ sees the juxtaposition of slick production and gloomy lyrics used at it’s best, a technique that runs throughout the album like Robert Smith whispering in Williams’ ear at his most despondent: ‘I just killed off what was left of the optimist in me’. Though there are also little echoes of Bruno Mars in the double dutch in the street backing here as well as a fabulous amount of feminist undertones: ‘I ain’t gonna smile if I don’t want to.’ 

While the punching sound of Williams fighting back against misogynistic viewpoints and the disintegration of friendships is evident throughout each track, not every song is an endless swirl of synths. There are subtle moments that bring things close to a raw pain. ‘Forgiveness’ see’s the album’s themes shimmer in the warm LA waters of Haim. And ’26’ is a stark reminiscent drifting: ‘Hold on to hope if you’ve got it, don’t let it go for nobody.’

Tracks like the gloriously brutal ‘Fake Happy’, ‘Pool’ and ‘Grudges’ seem to perfectly reflect the insecurities of an Instagram masked generation. As well as the ‘holy sh*t I’m nearly thirty’ sound of ‘Caught In The Middle’: ‘I can’ think of getting old, it just makes me want to die.’ 

Where the album starts out youthful and energised things end in a more mature form of alt-pop, as Wendy Rene once sang ‘after laughter comes tears’. A bitterly truthful air continues to form in ‘Idle Worship’ before things fall into even darker reflections within the Williams-less ‘No Friend’ and the Haim-like sound takes hold once again in the layered cascading piano lines and whispered backing of closer ‘Tell Me How’. 

Over all ‘After Laughter’ seems to show a maturing of the Paramore’s pop-rock sound. There is still dance-able fun to be had but it seems Williams would like to mix in some not so subliminal musing on the modern world and the friendships we form within it. 

With a whole new album to tour – which they recently announced will have them joined by CA jangle-pop band Best Coast – and the announcement of their second PARAHOY cruise – due to set sail in 2018 – the next few years look pretty busy for Paramore.

Paramore – After Laughter = 8/10

Hayley Miller 

Single Review – Paramore – Hard Times 

Paramore are back with new single ‘Hard Times’ and it’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since the trio released their last pop-infused self-titled album. But with a dramatic change of lineup (saying goodbye to hipster-facial-hair bassist Jeremy Davis and reuniting with former drummer Zac Farro, who it always felt only left the band he loved under the influence of a certain ex-paramore guitarist) meant the band experienced some difficulty in the build up to their latest release. Which could be one reason ‘Hard Times’ continues Paramore’s brightly coloured re-imagining of late eighties bittersweet pop in the bitter-sweetest of ways. A little more The Cure meets Cyndi Lauper the track is just as sugar coated as ‘Ain’t it fun’ using Taylor York’s spiked guitar lines and Farro’s rippled drum loops to counter the songs lyrical themes. Focused on returning from a depressive experience, reaching back from a dark hole into neon lights and loud shirts ‘Hard Times’ is another excellent example of Paramore intertwining emotional bruises with glitter and confetti. All this is reflected perfectly in the tracks accompanying video, which sits somewhere between ‘Take On Me’ and the memory of an animation featurette on Sesame Street and would you really expect anything less.

Haley Miller 

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Album of 2015

Here are the list of twelve nominees for Best Album

 

3. Grimes – Art Angels (12%)

Grimes offered up the most comprehensive Pop album of 2015 with Art Angles in November. Everything from Taiwanese Rap to sweeping String Orchestra’s got a mention and everything in between. It had periods of sweet Pop bliss entwined with dark and mysterious depths for the album has a beautiful complexity to it in the battle of supremacy between the light hearted music and conflicted lyrics. Again she “sounded a bit like everything you’ve ever heard whilst sounding like nothing you’ve ever heard.” That is the constantly shifting enigma that is Grimes.

 

2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (16%)

This album was one of the most important in 2015 for it had the most important message of a nation in conflict with it’s fellow citizens. In no way was this encapsulated better than with To Pimp A Butterfly. Beyond the vital lyrical content and the more engaging delivery was the array of music on show. From Jazz to Hip Hop, Funk to Rock, it was an album of varied nature that kept you on your toes. It was often the case that the album would take you by surprise with a sudden turn or with the seamless transitions from one sound to another. Is it any wonder that the Album has received six Grammy nominations and Kendrick a further five for external work? Add to that a MOBO award nomination and surely some more accolades to come for Kendrick.

 

  1. Tame Impala – Currents (42%)

 

With what is none other than an absolute landslide, Tame Impala have produced the best album of 2015 with Currents according to the voters for Musicandotherthingz.com. Down from the shift in Philosophy from the band to the reliably fulfilling production from Kevin Parker, it was an album that showcased Dance, Disco, R&B, Electronica, Funk, Space Rock and Pop amongst other things. Around this was Parker’s self analysing lyrics and the emotion behind each one. On top of this was the vocal development from Parker in expanding his vocal range and utilising it on certain tracks to smooth out the song. With ‘Past Life’ he merged his vocals into the music for a wondrous wave of sound. ‘The Less I Know The Better’ was Funk remade for 2015 and ‘Let it Happen’ was Electro/Dance fantasia. With just as many technical awards as well as headline awards, this demonstrates that Currents was an excellent all round package.

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Single of 2015

Here is the list of fifteen nominees for Best Single

 

3. Florence + The Machine – Queen of Peace (13%)

With a track that had a bracing energy and theatrical feel flowing through it, ‘Queen of Peace’ demonstrated Florence’s vocals at their best and the teetering anticipation of each verse is met with the euphoric chorus. On top of this is simply a solid beat and steady rhythm to form a great single.

 

2. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love (17%)

The Killers frontman provided us with some shameless self indulgence with his second solo album The Desired Effect and it came no less shameless than with ‘Can’t Deny My Love’. The track is Peter Gabriel meets A-ha musically, but Brandon makes it his own with one the best vocal performances of his career. It’s rhythmic hooks, punch and sing-a-long quality make it worthy of its position.

 

  1. Tame Impala – Let It Happen (20%)

The fact that a song at almost eight minutes long has won this category is just testament to Kevin Parker and his band-mates musical ability for they keep you engaged for the whole length of the track. As the first release of July’s Currents, the band made a big statement as to their philosophical shift and it doesn’t remain in the same place for long. The song takes various forms from catchy to trancelike as you travel along its journey and what a journey it is.

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Production of 2015

Here’s the list of ten nominees for best production

 

3. Bjork & Arca – Vulnicura (17%)

Bjork and her legendary status for Avante-Garde and eccentric music was repeated by the Icelander again with Vulnicura. It is an album with sweeping string scales and intricate pieces of ambient and experimental Electronica which is delivered in a seamless and flowing fashion by Bjork and co-producer Arca; the Venezuelan producer and DJ who released an album of his own this year. The album is nominated for best Alternative Album at this year’s Grammy’s.

 

2. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (29%)

Ronson’s fourth studio album was yet another success for the London Producer and though ‘Uptown Funk’ was a hit for which he’s already received accolades for in 2014, the album was released in January. Again he is able to bring together a range of musicians from differing genres and combine their songs into a consistently themed album. This only highlights his ability and working range. Having already won a BRIT Award, he is now nominated for three Grammy’s this year.

 

  1. Kevin Parker – Currents (33%)

Heralded as the “Genius” behind Tame Impala by the Rolling Stone; Kevin Parker has claimed such praise for Tame Impala’s  July release Currents. In the face of Hipster backlash, he largely ditched the guitar and picked up his Synth. His best work was behind the mixing table in generating a unitary sound between vocal and instrument, utilising pitch shifting brilliantly, creating one of the smoothest sounding albums of the year and mastering his own brand of Dance and Disco music. He’s unsurprisingly already picked up awards for Engineer and Producer of year at the AIRA Awards as well as the band winning three other AIRA awards and sweeping up awards elsewhere in Australia. The band now has a Grammy nomination to it’s name too and that’s no small thanks to Kevin Parker.

 

This Weeks Music Video with Coldplay, Tame Impala, Santigold

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Music Video with Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey, CHVRCHES, Hot Chip, FKA Twigs, Metric and FIDLAR

Really Good Remixes – Tame Impala – Cause I’m A Man (HAIM Remix)

Tame Impala’s single from their wondrous album Currents has been reimagined in an ever heavier and deeper way by HAIM with the group pulling up the percussion, adding added distortion to it and making it more prominent and adding the sort of heavy warping and shifting techniques Kevin Parker used and on much of the rest of the album and in this version would fit right in on the album too. The vocals from Danielle Haim can’t reach the falsetto peaks that Parker’s can, but she put her own spin on it in keeping with the lowered depths of the song and in this sense the song works in it’s own right.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995