We’re back in the Mix once more and with it comes your usual slice of hip hop and other beat-related goodness from all over the globe. As the rains pour down, despite it being almost July, we know you need a big pick-me-up of amazing music so read on and get down to the funky shit we have lined up for you!
Record Of The Month:
JOE BEATS – Diverse Recourse
If you’re not familiar with Joe Beats, then let me fill you in. He is the man behind the beats for the Non Prophets, he is the man who brought you the Indie, Rock, Blues Experiment and he is the man who provides the sorts of beats that your ear-drums were made for.
It’s hard to pick out songs that stand out amongst the rest, because the standard is so high and from the first watery guitar loop of Don’t Front, you get pulled along on a ride that you’ll pray never ends. Pour Me One is a track that could easily have come from his Indie, Rock, Blues album, the beautiful guitars sliding perfectly around the cymbals and understated drums in a prime example of what makes Joe so good.
If I did have to pick a particular spot on the album as a favourite, it would be the three tracks towards the end of the album – the pseudo-mexican horns of The Buzz Off into the more swing elements of Merc Ret and finishing up with the pure freshness of Spikes For The Punchbowl, complete with fantastic bassline and backed up by the organ parts.
I’ve made this album my Record Of The Month because at no point did I want to skip a track or feel as though it carried on too long. If you want to chill out to a brilliant instrumental album, then pick this up.
DIZZEE RASCAL – Maths & English
So Dizzee is back and with it comes the fanfare of “the best British hip hop album ever made”. That tag is sure to place ridiculous amounts of hype on Dylan Mills who has previously brought the grime scene to the mainstream and, quite frankly, he doesn’t live up to it with this album.
True, there are some bangers on here, Pussyole [Old Skool] being the prime example of that, sampling Lyn Collins and bringing some straight up, fast-paced, in your face deliveries. Following it up with the Korn-esque Sirens is another good move, the downtuned chugging fitting his sharp, cutting voice. But after 3 songs, he’s already used up 2 of the 4 good songs on here.
Flex is a nod back to the garage days, beat wise and is a good fun party record and the pure grimey U Can’t Tell Me Nuffin’ takes Dizzee back to where he came from, but the rest of the album is filler for me.
Where’s Da G’s featuring some nonsense dirty south bullshit guests and this continues with Alex from Arctic Monkeys only serving to ruin Temptation and Lily Allen murdering Wanna Be.
So, if this is the best British hip hop album ever made, then Dizzee’s maths must mean 1 + 1 = 3.
THE QEMISTS – Stompbox [Single]
Drum n Bass badboys Qemists serve up an awesome slice of sonic action with their new single Stompbox. Throwing in a foot stamping guitar lick over the typically dance-inducing DnB gives you the perfect excuse to have a bit of a rave up in your front room. Oftentimes this sort of track doesn’t work, but fuck me, this does.
The track is backed with When Ur Lonely, another action packed song which features some echoing vocals thrown into the mix. The vocals provide the perfect build up to the eventual banging drum beat. If these two tracks are anything to go by, the Qemists are going to be smacking it up hard when their album drops.
THE BUG F. FLOWDAN – Jah War [Single]
I first heard this track on Sinden’s radio show on Kiss and must say I wasn’t too impressed by it. The beat is stripped down to the bare bones, with a shotgun like drum beat and a sporadic and booming bassline, blending the worlds of ragga and grime.
With a beat this skeletal, it’s down to the vocals to give it that extra bit of energy it needs to get your head bumping and unfortunately Roll Deep’s Flowdan just doesn’t do that. With no charisma or character in his delivery, it just sounds like he can’t really be bothered and as such this track comes off as a bit of a damp squib. The Loefah remix doesn’t add anything to the original either, which is a shame all round.
WILEY – My Mistakes [Single]
Wiley is the Godfather of grime, so we keep being told. He has already said that this album, his first for the Big Dada imprint, will be his last and as such as received a huge amount of press on it. There has been a big battle made between Wiley and his protégée Dizzee by the press but on the strength of this track and having heard the whole of the Dizzee album, Wiley seems to have the upper hand.
The beat features some nice strings loops and the beat flows brilliantly around the rapping of Eski, Manga and Little Dee. The lyrics might not be the most amazing words ever (“my mistakes are made by me, your mistakes are made by you”) but the beat certainly makes up for it. And with Armani XXXchange on the remix duties, you know it’s going to be a big basslined badboy.
HEXSTATIC – When Robots Go Bad
Another Ninja Tune release, this time from electro funsters Hexstatic. The opening track sets the rest of the album up well with a guitar-led beat that sounds like it could have come out of a Daft Punk b-side.
The bleeps and beats continue on Tokyo Traffic, moving you through the fuzzy cosmos with glitchy turns arrive at just the right moment. The use of MCs are used to good effect with Australia’s B+, Edinburgh’s MC Profisee and Ema J, but the problem comes about halfway through the album when you get the impression that everything starts to sound exactly the same.
If you were to listen to one track on its own, you’d no doubt find a fun little number but with the album clocking in at 13 songs and 50 minutes, it wears thin and leaves you wanting a lot more from the duo.
This month’s art comes in the form of Above. The simple idea of pasting arrows around the cities of the world has become and all-encompassing statement and recently Above went to New York to bring his arrows to life. Check the video below for the New York edition and click here for all the others!
And on that note, it’s over to Mojo Jojoe for his picks…
Record Of The Month
JUSTICE – †
(Ed Banger Records)
In 2003, and then again in 2006 dancefloors across the multi-verse were filled with raving lunatics, intoxicated or not, proclaiming their love for one another, chanting, “We, are, your friends!” for that special moment that you wish would last forever. Never, since Daft Punk released Discovery back before the millennium had dance music sounded so compelling, let alone drive raw human emotion wilder than anything The Troggs have ever sung about. Paris duo, Justice had stumbled across the secret for one of the best club songs ever (yeah, that’s right, I’m saying it.), and with that, could potentially be one of the biggest names in real, bass fuelled electro.
Now, a year on from the explosion of the remix of Simian’s Never Be Alone, the Ed Banger frontmen spearheaded their hugely hyped debut album, aptly titled †, with the sublime D.A.N.C.E EP. Just imagine the joyful yelps of Ninja from The Go! Team whilst she’s making sweet love to the robot rock production of Daft Punk. Sounds promising doesn’t it? Now picture that on top of another absurdly good bassline, that could only have been crafted by the skilled duo themselves, la Justice. This magic cocktail is a blessing in an era where too many artists, instead of gracing the world with gloriously fresh music are really just a dildo with a gift tag labelled “Radio One” firmly attached to it.
But that was just one flavour of the album, an album in which the French Phantoms appeal to your entire palate. Opening with the epic and powerful Genesis, which war sirens lead into the charging Let There Be Light (have you spotted the pattern yet?) is a fantastic introduction to an early contender for my album of the year. The rest is a pick and mix of the old school funk samples demonstrated in D.A.N.C.E, huge club anthems like the phenomenal Phantom, groggy basslines that have as much time changes as a Glassjaw record and best of all, not one robot voice in sight.
Unlike Canadian rivals, MSTRKRFT, Justice are steering away from spoofing Daft Punk to the extreme and are bringing so much variety to the wheels of steel. Bringing in outside voices, such as fellow Ed Banger Activist and my number one tight unit, Uffie, into the mix works wonders, and sets them apart from the rest.
With a successful set at Coachella under their belt, not to mention superb sets in clubs across the world, Justice are rightfully gaining a rigid fan base. The Bible states “When Justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous, and terror to all evil-doers”, and that is one thing in the Holy Book that you certainly cannot question.
RADIO SLAVE – Misch Mash
Brighton’s Matthew Edwards, AKA Radio Slave has been slaying clubs with his twisted take on funk dance for quite some time now. He’s given birth to more deranged things than anyone in Essex can dare claim against him. I should know, I’ve lived there for eighteen years after all. So when you pick up a copy of his latest Misch Mash of quirky electro beats from inconspicuous artists such as Trentmoller and Shackleton, you should not dismiss the guaranteed quality that lies within. This is slithering down tempo beats that leak nothing but savage, thumping toilet walls goodness. And it’s fabulously dark.
The second disc features some of Radio Slaves own remixes, which are fine on their own. But considering that disc one has several mixed in swimmingly with other haunting dance tracks at a constantly progressive tempo then it becomes terribly overshadowed. Which is a shame, as his re-working of Pet Shop Boys’ Minimal is dope on rope. Slip this beauty in your CD player, kick back and relax, while it may not be this most overly memorable acid house trip, it’ll no doubt cause a few relapses.
SHY CHILD – Noise Won’t Stop
(Wall Of Sound)
NYC’s Shy Child are a bizarre bunch. Title track from this brilliant debut, Noise Won’t Stop kicks its way out through your subwoofer like a cat whose been mistaken by a schoolboy for a pile of books, and his now causing his back much discomfort as it attempts to bring the ruckus to his rucksack. It’s vicious. Propelled by a bouncing bassline, guided along by the pied piper soundings of what could easily be a gang of delinquents armed with kazoos. This angst fuelled dance music, also heavily embraced by such artists like Shout Out Out Out, Hot Chip and overlords of guitar pronged rave, Klaxons, is rarely performed with such flair. As Kick Drum begins, auteur vocalist Pete Cafarella shows how much flair his two-man army can pull off.
This album sounds like the alarms that may go off when the next great world war begins in 2356, dislocated sirens and a robotic sap telling someone to ‘drop the phone’. But until that fateful day happens, it’s a great sound to get loose to. And while this album somewhat hit and miss at rare occasions, it does what it says on the tin. Shy Child are making noise, and aren’t going to stop anytime soon.
NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB – Fantastic Playroom
I first came across London’s indie-electronica 5 piece, New Young Pony Club during the inception of NME’s overwhelming swarm of new rave bullshit, which for some reason, has yet to fade and diminish. Which is odd, considering the band paramount to all this nonsense, Klaxons, have shunned away the concept of new rave themselves.
Anyway, so when reluctantly opening NYPC’s debut, I was foolishly expecting a barrage of more anthems for doomed youth, exemplified by the likes of the aptly titled Shitdisco. Songs that encouraged adolescents to march forward, proudly bearing their glowsticks and only halting to re-adjust their genital mutilating jeans. Thankfully, I was wrong, and the album was a glorious reminder of why I should never trust anything written in NME!
From opener, ‘Get Lucky‘ all the way through to this album’s denouement, Tahita Bulmer and her posse invite us in to their truly fantastic playroom accompanied by wickedly whippy basslines and teasingly seductive, borderline provocative lyrics. Persistently head nodding and hip shaking the NYPC make a fine effort at blending the spice of indie rock with the undoubtedly cool aspects of dance funk, without ever once sounding like a teen trend that will vanish after one album. ‘Fantastic Playroom’ is unmistakably groovy, and that’s a word I don’t think I’ve ever said before in my life. My, my.
Up in the player is a prime example of what’s great about this album. Entitled ‘Jerk Me‘, it will do just that to every limb of your body. Enjoy!