Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade review

Isaiah Rashid had his sights set on becoming a preacher before his stepbrother’s copy of OutKast’s ATLiens led him into the wild and wicked world of hip hop. A member of the Black Hippy collective, and stable mates with fellow Top Dawg signees, Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar, Rashid’s sublime EP, Cilvia Demo, set the wheels in motion for this a much-anticipated full-length debut.

Considering the personal and professional struggles the rapper has since admitted he was facing during its creation, it’s a wonder that he finished The Sun’s Tirade at all – let alone to such a compelling level of quality. Continue reading

Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits review

Just when you think you’ve got the measure of Terrace Martin, he surprises you yet again. The Los Angeles born musician and producer has worked with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli and Robert Glasper, not to mention playing a major role in shaping Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Martin’s latest album, Velvet Portraits, is a stunning chameleon of a record with enough musical hues to match an Ikea colour chart. Continue reading

Drake – Views review

When he’s not sizing up Nicki Minaj’s behind, getting snogged by Madonna, or getting dangerously close to Rihanna, Canadian rapper Drake has people around the globe whining their hips his to baby-making music. Views is his fourth album – not counting his critical and commercially successful 2015 mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – and it’s his more palatable collection of music so far. Continue reading

In Praise of Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean - 2012 press photo 01 (1448x815)It’s incredible how little I have written about Frank Ocean considering how many times I have played his music over the last four years, and how deeply it has touched me. Following the release of his second album, Blonde, in August, it’s high time I remedied this fact with a piece in praise of this singular artist. Continue reading

Wild Belle – Dreamland review

Wild Belle 2016 press photo 1 (1500x844)The ska-influenced Chicago rock of Wild Belle was truly something to adore when their debut, Isles, arrived in 2013. The combination of smooth vocals and psychedelic slow jams from the brother and sister group was delicious. On Dreamland, the duo has gone even more experimental, producing a fierce follow-up that channels the musical grandeur of Firefly composer Greg Edmonson and singer Paloma Faith in one place. Continue reading

Exmagician – Scan the Blue review

Exmagician, press photo 2016, 01 (1024x569)Danny Todd and James Smith are Exmagician, two members of the band formerly known as Cashier No 9, who released the stupendous – though mostly overlooked – To the Death of Fun in 2011. Scan the Blue sees the Belfast duo stirring up more of the ethereal vocals and psych rock patterns that made their previous effect such a buoyant record. Continue reading

Various Artists – 30th Century Records Volume 1 review

30th Century Vol_1 - custom, banner, background grey (1440x810)Long-time fans of musician and producer, Danger Mouse, will know that his musical palette is as wide as his hair is big. 30th Century Records is a brand-new imprint label set up by the Mouse to look for “things that I like or that I connect with in some way that maybe other people are not”. This inaugural release features 11 unknown, or barely known, artists, and is a stimulating appetiser to what 30th Century may bring us in the months and years to come. Continue reading

Gengahr – A Dream Outside review

Gengahr, press photo 2015 (800x450)The common criticism of indie rock bands today is that they are perpetually stuck rehashing ideas from rock’s golden age. Listening to A Dream Outside, the debut album from north London band, Gengahr, such a criticism might seem fair to some. But to dismiss this band simply because of their “borrowed sounds” would be to miss out on an artful, effectual debut. Continue reading