Rubba Band Business by Juicy J (album review)

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(I think this photo may legitimately be more interesting than the album)

The life of a critic isn’t dissimilar to that of a prostitute. With a total lack of investment in everything I approach, I live an existence of spreading my tight, wet earholes for everything that drunkenly stumbles my way. A pitiful and much regretted exposure to Kanye West’s music had me concerned that Kendrick Lamar may be the only product of quality in Hip-Hop. Rubba Band Business brings my opinions of the genre to an equilibrium.

I initially decided to review Juicy J on the basis that his name has the potential for some easy sexual connotation and the incorporation of some well chosen pre-fixes can add a throbbing and penetrating contribution to my ongoing theme of fucking, but it’s hard to muster that much enthusiasm in the album. Though not lacking in production quality and structural understanding, I find it difficult to get too excited about this album. It’s just another totally serviceable fuck to get you through the day and the mediocrity makes it difficult to form any real attachment or opinion. 

Rubba Band Business is the slutty but still attractive girl you hooked up with at that bar that one time after your ex-girlfriend dumped your loser ass for that sensitive and understanding classmate you always thought was trying to “steal yo’ girl”. It’s just a cheap thrill that you probably won’t remember half as much as when you cried your sissy eyes out over your ex’s updated profile picture with that uppity tory wanker. But I digress…

Depressingly, I was left wishing for a bit more juice from this artist. I feel like a drunkard at a party who concerned my friend with my incredible alcohol consumption and now the bastard is just serving me piss-weak drinks out of fear I’ll throw up over his new suit. Yeah, the drinks taste better but I just want something with more balls

A great album should inspire particular feelings or leave me in profound thought and my lasting thought of this album was thus; “Can Hip-Hop artists stop throwing out the N-bomb so much?” I don’t know if it’s more embarrassing for a crow-faced honky like me to censor myself or not.

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As You Were by Liam Gallagher (Raunchy Review)

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In my review of Who Built the Moon by Noel Gallagher, I inadvertently speculated at Liam Gallagher being the “Fuckboy brother you wish you hooked up with instead” but I feel I misjudged the man. As You Were feels like the fuckboy you hooked up with to spite his brother, only to later realise he’s actually a really nice guy at heart. Though at first your calamitous nature brands him as much a pig as any other man, you come to appreciate him from a deeper, more emotional perspective and begin to look to him with a newfound respect and admiration.

In relation to Noel, Liam seems to stand with modesty wielding an impressively sized lemon-scented cock and presents it in a manner which simply invites you in for a fellatio you can actually enjoy giving. Of course, the work doesn’t compare to the fifty minute foxy three-way fucking the brothers gave in the golden days of Oasis with their album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, but it carries more than enough style to keep you fixated on the sex, I mean album. 

Entering the experience, your slutty, self-destructive mind expects just another fuck. Whilst the album appears much the same at first, it swiftly shows its class and respectability with a dedicated and well-practiced minimalism which just builds the foundation of a great time. It treats you like the lady you are, and works beyond the call of duty, spending more time than most satisfying the desires most others dismiss. Certainly, his brother never fucked me like this! The experience throws out variety with great incorporation of various techniques and positions, but works them together in a way where it all makes sense and flows with a well-considered fluency. 

The album is the kind of fuck you initially intend to provide a simple physical thrill, but after the deed you find yourself laying in his arms, watching movies and really getting to know each other until you both fall asleep. He shows his heart in a respectful and nonthreatening manner that leaves you confident in the man and the time you had. I feel almost ashamed to jump on the hype-train with the rest of the Mancunian shit-munchers, but this is a pretty great album and is well-deserving of a recommendation, so check it out! Or don’t, I don’t really give a shit.

Who Built The Moon by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Raunchy Review)

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(above is the promotional artwork, as I’m sure your clever brain could deduce)

Great writers attest to the point that you should be able to summarise your opinion in a single sentence, and mine is thusly; the album hits with less impact than a cum-filled Super Soaker. I wish I could say the experience was comparable to the thrill of being caught in the middle of a homeless shelter sex party, but it lacked even that much liveliness. Did I say thrill? I meant experience. I definitely meant experience.

The album is like a forty-three minute fuck with only a few effort-filled thrusts to pleasure those saucy earholes of yours, complete with a lasting feeling of degradation and disappointment both in the fuck and in yourself for volunteering to it. It’s the kind of fuck where you regret not putting in the legwork to fuck the guy’s much hotter fuckboy brother instead. This actually isn’t a comparison to Liam Gallagher’s new album, but with Manchester audiences claiming that his most recent album is like the second coming of Christ, or more importantly, Oasis, it wouldn’t surprise me if this comparison was fair. But I digress… 

The album makes attempts to add an air of colour, but, to return to my mature and intellectual theme of intercourse, there’s only so much interest you can bring by painting your body blue before the “physical act of love” and, without more than a few good poundings, the experience just isn’t going to be a particularly great one. Like a dull fuck, the album doesn’t demand too much attention or involvement and can be a great time to organise your weekend and maybe catch up with the drama on your newsfeed, but you’re probably best just finding a more enjoyable cock to jump on.

Gathering of Strangers – Gathering of Strangers (EP Review)

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(Photo credit – Jessica Holt)

After long last, I have finally been impressed by a musical release by a band from the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music! Too often am I exposed to acts trying to capitalise from the success of their influences in shameless tributes to Mancunian indie legends and pointless imitation of other existing acts – a trend which leaves me horrifically bitter and in a seemingly endless pursuit of something original and interesting. Despite relentless flattering towards this band, I felt as a cow might as she awaits the final bolt in the head until the moment this glorious act eased forwards with majesty and grace to release me from the confounds of my miserable existence. At long last, I’m faced with something with heart, variety and imagination and I am all the overjoyed for it.

Gathering of strangers are difficult to characterise, drawing influence from a seemingly endless source and including a glorious contribution from a wide range of instrumentation and effects, my personal favourite addition being the versatile and often bold input from keyboardist, Callum Witts. The instrumental composition never falls below a very high bar throughout the entire EP, with everything working within its rhythmical and tonal range to truly optimise the ability of every musician whilst providing relevant atmosphere and space to truly support the heartfelt and emotionally devastating voice of frontman, Conor Rabone.

The contrast in tones between tracks shows a wonderful appreciation and respect for dynamics and the most evident display of this exists in the bass guitar in opening track Something in the Water where the tone varies between a heavily driven and punchy tone and a balanced and spaceful tone which works into a slightly overdriven voice towards the end of the song, this working in tandem with the wonderfully creative guitar work and brazen sound of the keys combines to create a truly wonderful dynamic and remarkable climax to a truly epic track.

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(Live photo from Gathering of Strangers Facebook page)

Criticisms are difficult to find with this EP, with most aspects working far above the level I would expect from this scale. The most outstanding negative point I can make being in regards to the use of harmonica in War and how I feel it seems out of place with the tone of the song, I understand this may be an artistic decision, but I find it too distracting from the rest of the song and feel it draws too far in timbre from the rest of the EP – this issue with timbre also extends towards the keyboard in the earlier sections of the same track to a smaller extent, though this is easily redeemed by the beautifully smooth and tasteful use of keyboard in the following track, Lies. Another aspect I would like to hear is a more extensive use of a darker bass tone in some of the more haunting sections to help capture a more emotionally desolate feel which may better accommodate the deep and profound vocal style of Rabone.

The EP is very well balanced and versatile and the structure of the tracks is absolutely flawless. Though lacking in structural complexity, there exists an incredible flow between every track and this flow which extends to the entire compilation of tracks. The songs scream from a personal part of your own buried past and lead you through events long forgotten through use of such personable and relatable lyrics and the use of atmosphere truly benefits this experience. There is so much to appreciate about this musical release and the reputation the band has amongst the few I respect indicates a body of work which could appeal to anybody.

Flights of fancy aren’t in my style when discussing music and I’m never one to over-compliment something, but Gathering of Strangers demonstrate a level of musical mastery which should serve an inspiration to other fledgling bands. The band show true vision, creativity and professionalism and deserve the utmost of respect and admiration and I feel we all owe it to ourselves and the smaller-scale music scene to support this incredible act and help launch them into the success they clearly deserve. If ever there was a time to care for a score let it be now: the EP scores five stars, 10/10, 176 golden cocks out of 176 golden cocks – I don’t care, just listen to it!

Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain – Tony Conrad (album review + angry rant)

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(official cover art for the album, infinitely superior to any part of the piece)

I throw the term “Shit-muncher” around a lot, and it doesn’t necessarily act as indication of a terrible band. In spite of my love of the Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac (one of my favourite albums of all time), I consider them as pretentious hippy bullshit and it falls into the realms of shit-muncher material. This one-track album by Tony Conrad is the perfect antithesis of acceptable shit-munch, being a ridiculous eighty-eight minutes of repetitive drone.  An enormous letdown for me, given as it received a gleaming five stars from Mojo Magazine in their most recent publication. With a description painting the release as a gloriously artistic and other-worldly spectacle, I went in with eager anticipation, expecting a true display of musical ingenuity. Oh how fucking wrong I was…

Firstly, as a disclaimer, I will admit that I have no other knowledge of Tony Conrad and have had no exposure to any of his previous work and, as far as I know, he could be entitled to the phenomenal reputation he has. I also want to clarify that I have no personal grievance with the man and, as he passed in April of last year, I will say nothing to insult his name – I serve only to bring an outsider perspective on the travesty that is this “musical” release.

When I say this is an eighty-eight minute drone fest I am being totally honest with you. Seriously, find it on Spotify and just skip through to random intervals of the track – or better yet, suffer the bullshit I faced by listening through the entire piece! I understand the purpose and creation of a soundscape, I have made many in my time as a musician. I also understand the nature of art and how it primarily serves to invoke a feeling or a story in the mind of the listener and, though I completely respect the artistic message to this, I feel any soundscape should possess something accessible or some form of genuine musicianship for it to be considered music. This piece is music in the loosest possible definition of the word as, technically, it is orchestrated sound – but the most pathetic, pretentious form of it imaginable.

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(don’t let the image fool you, professional and cool as he looks, the “music” is terrible)

With no exaggeration, I claim this as the worst “musical” endeavour I have ever experienced in my life. With bands I detest such as All Time Low being dreadful in their own right, there can be no dispute that they create music with the intention of appealing to somebody or some particular niche, this abomination does nothing but serve the pretentious ego of the creator. A word I heard it described as was “hypnotic” and I guess I can agree, in the same way I consider being repeatedly beaten over the head to be hypnotic, with the only means of enjoying it being means of Stockholm Syndrome, being generally sick in the head or so desperate to be respected as an individual that you will blindly ignore what is a dreadful and insulting piece of shit.

This approach to music genuinely revolts me and the lack of respect for the subject angers me to my very core. Music is a craft that opens one to the the world, reflects the beauty and wonder in all things, gives purpose to people and gives inspiration and identity and when a person releases a turd like this under the title of music it brutally undermines the integrity of musicians and art everywhere. This piece is the perfect example of a description I used to define some of my previous work – “the musical equivalent of throwing shit at a wall and calling it art” and, though I never claim to be exceptional in any respect, I can compare this to my body of work and consider myself a fucking genius.

This approach to orchestrating sound is an absolute disgrace to the musical arts and should be shunned by all. It shows blatant disrespect and almost mockery to what is probably the most incredible and pure thing ever devised by humans and pisses over everything musicians have spent thousands of years making and experimenting with. With a creation which invokes nothing but disgust and indignation, I will proudly announce to the world that this is the worst thing I have ever listened to in my life and maybe even the rest of my days to come.

Bleachers – Gone Now (album review)

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(official artwork for the Gone Now album)

After the last torture I endured I thought I would give myself a break and listen to something completely new, hoping that the sense of discovery would cheer me up and draw me from the foul condition the last album left me in. I don’t feel like I quite achieved that with this album, but anything is a step up from the crap I sat through before.

So I had no idea who this band were prior to my “dart at the wall” approach to picking albums to review. As it turns out, they’re Indie Pop/New Wave band from New York who aren’t as good as their genre is interesting. Starting in 2014, they haven’t received much mainstream success yet – which does surprise me. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like they deserve more success, they just have that typical Imagine Dragons-wannabe sound that everybody seems to be going for these days and it’s disappointing to hear. As a die-hard fan of 80’s Pop and New Wave music, I had higher expectations of this band and I just feel disappointed.

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(listen to this instead, it’s a good album)

The album started off with a typical and acceptable dynamic, but as it went on it just began to sound more and more like some run-of-the-mill contemporary Pop album with nothing to differentiate it from what it is attempting to imitate, except for what felt like an embarrassingly poor approach to the mixing – evident in the dreadful sound of the kick drum, which remains throughout the whole album. It’s hard to explain, but as the opening song continued the production quality just kept falling. Listening to it, I felt the volume creeping up and down and the inconsistency just threw off the dynamic flow of the first few songs. Continuing through the album, everything just unravelled into an inadequate and poorly-performed mess, with the only original ideas sounding out of place and schizophrenic.

Every aspect was uninspired and a dull example of pure shoddiness, with everything close to good just being an almost direct copy of the aforementioned Imagine Dragons and everything bad just being a cheesy and embarrassing mess. It could be that I just don’t get this kind of mainstream sounding Pop shit, but I feel like it totally lacks any true identity – it seeming more like a reflection of modern Pop music than an actual project. Honestly, through the album I didn’t hear anything I particularly liked until the track Goodbye, and that was purely for the bass line – in fact, the bass line is the only thing I like in the song.

Like some of the albums I have previously reviewed, I just found this to be a really lazy album. With a severe lack of good and well-executed ideas and legitimately poor production in places, I would advocate giving it a pass and finding something better. If you want Indie Pop then listen to Imagine Dragons, if you want something cheesy and electronic then listen to The Ordinary Boys – both offer studio-quality albums and a more immersive and enjoyable feel. If you like commercial Indie Pop but don’t want to be associated with mainstream music because you’re too “alternative”, you should listen to this and then get over yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody else. With a total lack of identity, nothing to engage you in the album and generally awful sounding ideas, this release has proven to be a huge disappointment and a dreadfully boring example of mediocrity. The vocals sound like shit for most of the album too.

Last Young Renegade – All Time Low (album review)

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(official album artwork from the Last Young Renegade album)

In my time committed to critiquing music, I have reviewed bands I have had a previous love for, bands I had never heard of and bands that I chose purely for the name or genre alone, but I have thus far neglected to review bands I have had a negative outlook towards before-hand. To this end, I have decided to direct my focus to reviewing a band I have long held a strong dislike for: All Time Low. My initial goals in this respect were fair and professional – to listen to an album impartially, to analyse it for what it is, to understand the appeal and, most importantly, give the band a proper chance. I began to regret this decision from the first ten seconds of the album.

Disclaimer: I’ve never had a positive view on this band, and I sure as Hell don’t now – if you’re a fan of the band then I advise ignoring this slander-fest, this could get messy.

All Time Low are a Pop Punk band who somehow climbed to a level of success not deserved for their level of mediocrity. Forming in 2003, the band almost seemed to form as a means to take advantage of a growing fan base of angst-fuelled teenagers, namely social groups referred to as Emo or Scene Kids – which, as an Emo Class of ’03, I can personally relate to. I can look back now and understand the camp and melodramatic nature of bands such as Simple Plan and Taking Back Sunday, and even appreciate it in certain cases – it was a genre which existed to give social outcasts some measure of comfort, something to relate to and, to a certain extent, offer an identity and place in the world, which I can totally get on board with, to a degree.

Where early bands of this era carried heavy Punk influence, the genre seemed to drift from topics of rebellion and empowerment to personal issues such as getting hurt by girls and general dissatisfaction in life. From the beginning it was clearly a fashion trend and musicians attempting to capitalise on this (such is the nature of music), but it still had a character to it. In time the music seemed to sell out into a more generic, over-produced Soft-Rock kind of style, and with this the movement seemed to lose so much of its momentum and passion. Bands like All Time Low have always flown this flag in my eyes and serve as the true milestone where the movement became truly commercialised. People that read my recent Rancid review will know my opinions on Punk Rock and its history. I think Punk is an amazing thing, but this commercialism and general fashion-oriented attitude is one of the most shameful things the noughties produced. That all being said, this is an album review – so let’s talk about that!

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(“unrelated” image of a turd)

It’s garbage! I usually listen to albums through Spotify, so I am subject to many adverts – and my first issue with this album is that I could rarely notice when the first advert for a Pop album played because of the over-produced sound of the album. When you can’t tell when a “Punk-influenced” band ends and an advert for some mainstream Pop artist begins, you know the band have fallen too far from their genre. I remain just as disappointed by the instrumentation behind the songs as everything just sounds like the most generic thing they could have written, and where this isn’t the case it just sounds like they’re plagiarising The 1979’s and Angels and Airwaves (two far better bands).

The best thing about this album is the length – at a mere 36 minutes, it means I suffered it for around nine minutes less than the length of an actual full-length album and, though I complained the opposite with Royal Blood, this is easily my favourite thing about this release. With Royal Blood I wanted an extra two songs or so because it had some character and potential – with Last Young Renegade I just wanted it to be over all the way through. Another positive for me is that the guitar work in the opening track reminded me of Angels and Airwaves, but that just made me want to listen to them instead!

With whiny and juvenile lyrics portraying a pathetic and adolescent take on heartbreak and generally childish issues, I was crying out for this album to grow up – often rising to a state of near-anger. This genre needs a severe kick in the ass and either needs to get back to what made it so unique and inspiring in its early days or expand into something that encourages true worldliness and personal progression. When you compare tracks like Drugs & Candy to songs like St Jimmy by Green Day you can truly see how far the music has fallen and it’s embarrassing for one who once had such esteem for the genre. When you have a band of people around thirty years of age you expect them to break free of this high-school mentality and release something more developed, if anything to try to ease their fans into the reality of the world and into better things. The band needs to mature and expand into something more and it should inspire the same in their fans – instead, this album shows a patronising outlook towards them, implying that they don’t ever need to grow up and their music doesn’t have to either.