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THE F.U.N.K SINGLES PAGE JANUARY 2014


ARMIN VAN BUUREN 
SAVE MY NIGHT 
(Armada)
MARTIN SOLVEIG & LAIDBACK LUKE 
BLOW
(Spinnin) 
Wooh! Electronic Dance Music! Bold futurist electronic soundtrack to hedonistic transgression and polymorphous perversity! Cutting edge sonic onslaught of . . . . hold on, small print. "'Save My Night' is the official music track of Enjoy Heineken Responsibly Campaign 2014. Stay within your limits to experience everything the night has to offer". Wooh! An entirely apposite slogan for the kind of superclubbing human drug-amnesty bins who would enjoy this bolus of blandness although believe me, having been stuck on tour buses with pussyassed nu-metal bands armed with several dozen massive crates of Heineken I can assure you it's actually impossible to enjoy Heineken irresponsibly. You could chug that piss all night and still feel nary a wobble. Generation Larry Lightweight.

CRYSTAL FIGHTERS
LOVE NATURAL
(Zircolo)
Odd, don't have to think of insults anymore. Just find positive reviews for bad music and the job's already done.  "Virgin Music describe the band's output as suitable for "the trans-continental, scene-crossing, cultural explorer". See? Me and my rope are getting increasingly redundant - the fuckers do their hanging for themselves nowadays, Crystal Fighters describe themselves as "a mixture of folk, electro, punk, techno, dubstep and Spanish pop. We are kind of like the sound that would be created if The Velvet Underground and The Gipsy Kings were to travel back in time to the Pyrenees, 1980, and make a record with Skream, Madlib and Luciano on production." And yup, they really are exactly that fucking horrible. 'Love Natural' is the kind of skittering, 'dancey' (i.e upbeat enough for grooveless simpletons to be able to still look as if they're 'dancing' simply by skipping & hopping) hateful hellishness designed for ethnically & age diverse yoghurt adverts, whereby we all end up in the same field saying the same slogan, 'charmed' by the faintly pederastic white-bearded eccentric grandad there to placate the Saga brigade, faintly embarassed for the carefully placed Asian family tucking in to the pots of low-fat joy we're told will fill the void at the heart of the modern malaise. Crystal Fighters you hairy, smelly-looking feckers- you're a hipsters Back To The Planet and you need to take these awful awful things you've made and cram them up your collective anus oh & you know that look? The black tie, white shirt, shirt untucked in look? FUCKING STOP IT NOW. Either tuck your shirt in or take that tie off. NOT BOTH. Until then, for you, the highest insult possible - you look as atrocious as you sound. Yeah. That bad. Makes some changes.

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 
GAVLYN 
GUILTY PLEASURE 
(Organized Threat) 
Find Gavlyn massively intriguing, suggestive, secretive almost with her vocals, in a world particularly in which female MCs are almost pre-ordained to attempt to be as flamboyant, forceful and revealing as possible, Gavlyn is the exact opposite, quizzical, poetic, flows trapped somewhere between internal monologue and external confusion. Someone to keep an eye and ear on for definite (along with the other members of the Organized Threat crew) and this single, a sweet, enigmatic jazzed-out funky flow of unpinnable persona and style keeps you addicted to the last drop.

ODDISSEE 
BONUS FLOW 
(NA) 
From the 'Tangible Dream' mixtape I'm now going to hunt down like the government hunts immigrants this hooked me immediately cos it starts with what I'm sure is a direct sample from Miles Davis 'He Loved Him Madly' i.e that sound Miles makes when he's leaning on his keyboard in sheer hostility. Fantastic opening and then the beat kicks in and the flows start and don't stop and you'd be hard pushed to say this has anything approaching a hook, it's more like the whole thing is one gigantic hook, a meat hook dripping in spinal fluid, ready to hang you from the same heights it's reaching in scarily peaking waves. Insoluble, impossible music.

AVICII 
HEY BROTHER 
(Island)
Who decided 'countryish' vocals and boyscout Swedish house was a good combo? Did we drown Rednex in that well for nothing so long ago, by the light of the flaming torches, clutching our sausages-in-a-bap and our baked potatoes, travelling to the new world? I guess after the grossly obsequious 'Wake Me Up' it would've been foolhardy to expect anything else than moreofthesameuggh from pudgy yet lucrative prick Tim Bergling but 'Hey Brother' is identikit in a rank and lazy way as rank and lazy as the dumb walking latrines who will suck this up. From a man who claims his first influence to make music was Swedish House Maffia and Eric Prydz you'd expect way bett. . . . actually scratch that. As shit as you KNOW it's gonna be, and pretty much everywhere and inavoidable for the next 6 months. Be safe. Stay home. Hate Avicii


SINGLE OF THE MONTH 

JEHST 
ENGLAND (BOOT REMIX)  (YNR) 
Love the 'Made In England' sample near the beginning and it's entirely right - like Alan Clarke's finest work this startles you with the realism and the hallucinatory logic, the simultaneous grasping of the gritty and ectoplasmic. Jehst previews his bound-to-be-stunning remix album 'Dragon Of An Ordinary Family' with this simply astonishing slab of aggravation courtesy of Zygote & the ever-dependable Boot crew. Heavy as fuck beats, mentalist doom in the backdrop, lyrics as harsh and hellacious and utterly compelling as anything J has ever spat.Full of curious dichotomies, not least the fact that a piece of music so massively critical of this bloodstained nation can make you strangely proud of coming from somewhere that could produce such wonderfully ambiguous, yet murderously direct, art. A call to admit guilt, an absolutely fucking essential soundtrack to right here right now THIS is the sound of the UK in 2014 and don't let anyone tell you any different. From the other side of the tracks, from where we all live, a track massive mighty and menacing enough to righteously destroy any other music that'd dare to step in its path. Go get.


ELIZA AND THE BEAR 
IT GETS COLD 
(Mi Familia Music)
Those splitters at the Guardian say "file next to Arcade Fire, Lumineers . . . " & yeah you do that. File them there. That's perfect. That's just where they fit. Right in the middle. The shitty filling of shit in a shitbread sandwich. You know who I blame for an awful lot of that jaunty joyful 'don't worry white American middle class you're fine just get on with being your wonderful selves' music? The fucking Flaming Lips, a band I loved until they stopped being hard (post-Clouds), but who now seem to be avatars and an evergreen inspiration for a bunch of 'euphoric' yet 'anxious' spindly wankers boring indie rock to death in a bouncy slurried wave of handclaps and painfully mannered 'jauntiness'. Fucking Hootenanny music. Seriously, take a look at the video for the (zzzzzzzz) 'anthemic' "It Get's Cold" and see if you can get 20 seconds into it without thinking 'NONE OF THESE TURDMEN CREATURES SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO GET ANYWHERE NEAR MUSIC MAKING DEVICES'. If you can you're a better man than me Gunga Din - in every sense that's truly important, such as haircuts and attitude, hateful music in every single way.

JAMAILL BUFFORD
OH MY GOD, FOREVER 
(Mello Music Group) 
The breath sucked out of you once every two seconds, rasped back in your face like Rakim's blow of death, the sound of digital production properly exploring its inherent errors and overloads, the moments when the the bitrates and bitdepths get ugly, when even Task Manager won't help you. Jamaill sounds suitably breathless in this wreckage, little pockets of wah-wah and heavily distorted keyboards the only flotsam you can cling to in the whirlpool. Hittin' hard like an asteroid belt to the backside.

HARDWELL FT. MATTHEW KOMA 
DARE YOU 
(Revealed Recording) 
Everything that's wrong and this is how pop works these days. Become an internationally successful DJ. Piece of piss now. Requires no understanding or love of music, just a willingness to shovel shit at as many people as possible and deliver a ramped-up build and maximally digi-loud thump every five minutes. Then wait awhile, coin it in, play some of the right parties, live behind ropes in a permanent VIP area, soak up every single corporate sponsorship opportunity you can, be a godsend to the advertising industry. Wait, keep playing live, keep coining it in. Find a singer-songwriter, preferably one who's able to do the 'anthemic', the Coldplay-like, the chords that are open and undefinitive, over which their voice can be revoltingly definitive and display its limberness in callesthenic bliss. Put your fucking horrible music under the singer-songwriter's horrible music, hopefully matching the builds and blueprints, verse tension, chorus release, lyrics kept at a meaningless pitch of self-improving meme-like meaninglessness. Keep going. Coin it in. Floss with the harvested hair of dead orphans. I hate this record so much it burns a hole in my heart. Like the Avicii, destined to shitscar the skidpan of your memory whether you like it or not. Tantamount to adult-abuse I reckon.

BILL NEXT & PARO ft. HOZAY 
VILLAINS 
(Bandcamp) 
My favourite highlight from Bill Next & Paro's superb 'Weedmasons EP' - a great energetic set as you'd expect from anyone involved in Bristol's awesome Split Prophets camp, everyone involved at the top of their game lyrically and musically, 'Villains' a beautifully poised mix of gorgeous crispy bits (the arabic sax, the indian flute) sprinkled with teasing sparingness over a brilliantly two-note full fat drone-funk undertow. Other worldly here in this world. Lap it up. 


SINGLE OF THE MONTH 

KATY B 
CRYING FOR NO REASON (Ammunition)
If a ballad's gonna get me it's got to be sung by someone who you sense knows pain, and it's got to be dark dark dark dark dark. "I pushed all my problems to the back of my mind/ Then they surfaced in my dreams". A grower most definitely, it's success not down to Fraser T. Smith's somewhat over-fussy production but down to nothing but KB's performance, believable, involving, emotional, clear, devastating, convincing. The last minute pulls you back to hear it again, about burning alive, the numbness and the agony, everything you want in a pop song. Best thing of its kind since Rihanna's 'Stay'. 

ELYAR FOX 
DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN 
(Sony Music) 
Everything that's wrong and this is how pop works these days, about whether you can build yourself until your rise becomes an economic & cultural inevitability. Hats off to London-based shaved weasel Elyar Fox for having so many twitter followers and youtube hits - he's showed the entrepeunerial spirit and business nous that has made Sony/Polydor and GlobalTalent see him as a no-risk bankable investment. Consequently his records don't really matter - or rather, have nothing riding on them cos he now simply won't be allowed to fail. Oh of course, there have always been popstars like this, some of them have been great  but right now I'm worried about a media and music world in which pushiness is the sole criteria for entry, self-promotional skills and class anonymity/slipperiness/evasion/'mobility' all that you need in order to drink deep from the golden fame shower. No accident that 'Do It All Over Again' sounds like Robbie Williams, it's in one ear out the other without touching any single part of your body or brain or booty, it's not fizzy enough to repeat on you, not enough tartrazine to jack you up, just a small dull weak caffeine buzz you piss out before it's even taken hold. Not for me really, for little boys and girls and elderly gentlemen that want to fuck him. Good luck Elyar. You don't need any, you're in the holding bay, waiting to get shipped. Don't forget to thank your consumers. They've made you the shell you are today.

ROC MARCIANO
TRYING TO COME UP 

(Man Bites Dog) 
There's probably better moments offa 'Merci Beaucoup' but there's just something sublime about the FEEL of this, the rolling beat that stops and starts, the clean pristine bass & guitar that recall nothing except mid-80s Meat Puppets and the second side of 'Hairway To Steven', the way Roc & Boldy James' voices somehow manage to be both nano-second attendant to the groove but also loose as all get out. I could listen to this forever.

NEWTON FAULKNER 
INDECISIVE
(Blue Sky Music) 
Trying to sound a bit Gotye-ish. Ends up, as usual with this ugly fuckadabast, making you feel like you've been watching Goatse for too long. V. annoyed he uses a Spongebob ukelele in the video, I've got one of those that I'm gonna have to burn now. A repulsive song from a repulsive singer who puts me off eating and surviving much into 2014.

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 
PRIMITIVE MAN/XAPHAN
TIES THAT BIND AND SEVER/COLD SURGE 
(Init Records)  
Well now the thing that draws me hither is that terrifying thing over thither, hunkered down in the bushes, breathing, watching you, it's coarse wiry black hairs rising and falling with its breath, it's snout moist yet caked with something unpleasant, Primitive Man's 'Scorn' LP from 2013. Keep an eye on it, don't let it jump you without your willing surrender,  it's one of the blackest most ear-razing slabs of molten heaviosity that ever did engulf you in the glory of bad times since Celtic Frost's 'Monotheist' - genuinely eerily unsettlingly evil & bewitching in a way that keeps you coming back - and thus here I am, grail in trembling hand, needing to sup at their debilitating brew again, here belched forth in the form of a split 7" with Xaphan. The Denverite demons are even harsher here than on that album, the beats a blur and then so slow it's like a fevered coma, a diseased delirium, as ever their moments of murderous hulking sloth beautifully slathered in perfectly unhinged yet loosely sculpted noise and feedback, that fucking bass like an ogre's fist from the earth, pulling you under. Fucking fantastic neighbour-aggravating bliss. Xaphan are just slightly slicker sounding but are still a very very very heavy thing indeed, and I've heard alot of heavy things. Thing is, though this music would reject such conjecture utterly this stuff, this sound is inherently inspirational & political because of the times we're in. In times of enforced jollity and mass cruelty records like this, played loud enough, are true pipebombs in the face of smug contentment and bourgouise apathy. Arm yourself & go clean the streets. I doff my skull to all involved.

THE ORWELLS 
DIRTY SHEETS
(iTunes) 
Shame on the estate of George Orwell for not pursuing these necrophiles through the courts and demanding their imprisonment - this is appalling retro-rock from an utterly irredeemable Chicago five piece, something a bit 'underground'  for Arctic Monkeys fans, the living breathing dying sound of NME-sanctioned rawk. The video's an unreconstitutedly reactionary doozie too - get this -  in it, a lady comes on, and takes her clothes off. Yes! Takes her clothes off! Strips off! A lady! She nearly gets bare! It's mint! A bare lady! You can see her bosoms! Guitar music for guitarists. I'll stick with my Ufomammut thanks.

WILL I.AM Ft. MILEY CYRUS, WIZ KHALIFA, FRENCH MONTANA & DJ MUSTARD 
FEELIN' MYSELF 
(will.i.am Music Group)
What? You still here? I mean, seriously guys, LEAVE the club now. No-one wants to see you "feelin'" yourself in there no more. It's over. Yeah yeah, shots, bottles, weed, shots, bottles, lines, fuck me, do you have any idea how much your breath stinks? GO HOME. There's no one here no more. The bar staff are waiting for you to leave, they've already made a few suggestive cycles with the binbags, why aren't you taking the hint? Everyone's at home now. And you're looking groggy, rough, a body destined to have circles drawn around parts of it, those parts zoomed in on, first 20 pages of every Sunday supplement, what were you thinking?You're showing off to each other and talking to that mirror again. And the mirror's talking back at you but you're so fucked up you're mishearing it. It ain't saying 'YOU THE SHIT YOU THE SHIT YOU THE SHIT' as you think and reaffirm here. It's saying 'YOU'RE SHIT YOU'RE SHIT YOU'RE SHIT'. Listen to it. Lick the side of your black Amex again & listen to what the looking-glass is saying to you. You need to go home. I know your homes are just other nightclubs, open til dawn, open houses for at root you're lonely. But you might want to see, when your body enters the space you've earned, if you are anything at all anymore. Whether if we pop those buttons and strip you down whether there's anything inside at all. All that clubbing may well have hollowed you out. All that partying may well have turned you numb. Like a child star. Like a tyrant. Like a logo. Enn terrrr tainn errrs. Deeply, deeply, boring.


JAMES BLUNT 
HEART TO HEART 
(Warners) 
'Bonfire heart'? Yes, indeed, KALI MAAAA
Well, off course James Blunt 'owned' Twitter in 2013. Twitter is standing in a kitchen at a house party waiting for everyone to stop shouting, the shrillness olympics & anyone who can string a half-sentence together immediately appears like an Aristotle amid so many arseholes. Twitter is not a conversation, Twitter is an endless round in 'Mock The Week', a place to show off your fitness for purpose, perhaps the only environment in which a smug fuck like Blunt can appear self-deprecating and witty, and a place where a constant forgetting can go on about the fact that We need to hunt the upper classes down and feed them to starving dogs, not listen to their shitty whiney pissawful music, k'sake. 'Heart To Heart' unfortunately features no mention of Max or Moider, just the same parp phutting out of that same face you always just want to strip chunks off with a welding iron, but the emetic video does feature a sublime moment of product placement that points the way to the present and future of planet pop's PR/biz/creativemarketing neo-nexus - scanning the railway platform he's on he holds aloft, hold on, is it? Yes it is! A Sony Experia! Look! Shiny! Slimline! New! Available at all good branches of Rumbelows! How much did this earn you Blunt you slaggy, pasty, greedy, posho-faced wanker?


"God I wish you'd trod on a ******** in ******. Or even better, broken your fucking **** skiing" my libellous, evil self said yesterday. Sensible real me says - next time you think of making music Blunt ffs don't you wretched destroyer of all that is good, you gormless enemy of humanity. Twitter suits you down to the ground. 

OPTIV & BTK 
ZERO TOLERANCE 
(Despatch) 
Kinda cons you with the lushness at first, even though the heavyweight beats make you guess that when the drop comes it'll be immense. Fantastic rippling fuzz-riffs slathered over the kick, occassionally matched perfectly with each blastbeat like yr listening to fucking Sepultura. The trancey mid-section might also have you fearing a typical drop but when it comes it's satisfying in an almost glam-rock way, solid chrome girders of sound dropping on your head with no mercy. Until the new Ulterior Motive album this'll do nicely.

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 
RAVEN FELIX 
GIRL 
iTUNES 
Most compelling thing about this is Ill Blu's production, a lovely gurning lo-end heavy rumble that sounds fantastic jacked as loud as you can get it. Felix can rap better, funnier, sharper than the Azaleas and Hazes planning to bore us to tears in '14, and has a nice line in bratty valley-girl aggravation that suits the bumptious undertow beautifully, lyrics of a chatty awkwardness and natural humour that win you over entirely even as most of America would consider her their worse nightmare. There's a nice grit here when she says 'bitch',  a robo-unreality to her voice when afflicted with effects & 'Girl' is the best thing she's done since last year's 'Work Drink F*** Sleep'. Only 17 and a voice to watch but in the mean time PUMP THAT BASS.



SHAKIRA ft. RIHANNA 
CAN'T REMEMBER TO FORGET YOU 
(Epic)
Hate the chorus - those drums so redolent of Kings Of Leon's abysmally definitive 'Use Somebody', love the reggae-flecked funk on the verse (and RiRi's voice has a fierceness it aint had in a while) but really wanted sooooo much better from this (as disappointing as the Britney album after 'Work Bitch') - then I spy the credits. Non-entity Swedish balladeer Erik Hassle and that wanker Kid Harpoon (Florence & The Machine collaborateur) are responsible for 'Can't Remember To Forget You' and once you know that it seeps into your apprehensions ruinously. Hope the Shak I love gets the hell away from these people for the bulk of her next album or she's off my Xmas card list forever.

MINDSCAPE 
RAT PACK 
(Eat Brain)
So simple, yet so effective, 4 fletchettes of ferocity from Hungarian d'n'b demon Mindscape, the bass always on a trajectory downwards, always pushing at the edge of the presets into pure savagery. As bled white, cold and caucasian as d''n'b gets but all the more compellingly bruising for it. Front 242 style. Ist gut.

PARANOM & PURPOSE 
MICROPHONE PHENOMENAL 

(Ill Adrenaline) 
The center of this is the bass, the perfectly weighted beat, the refracted rhodes and diffracted drone of the guitar. It's the peripheries, the scratches that rotate around the edges of the mix that make this more than just polite pulchritude, pushes things into the vein with the warm buzz of the finest Methohexital, sinks into the addictive corners of your lobes. Beautiful, utterly UNgroundbreaking stuff for home, car, head and heart.


NEON JUNGLE 
BRAVEHEART 
(Sony) 
Quite liked 'Trouble' but immediately like this even more thanks to the fairly brutal sound of the verses, nice crackly harsh dubstep bound to sound fkn awesome over big assed-speakers, the vocals similarly distorted and ugly and compelling. Whole thing fucks up with the build to the chorus and the chorus itself, far too houseyhousey build-n-blast Guetta-style tedious to snag this auld joyless grouch even if the producer shows an admirable desire to slice'n'dice the vocals as much as possible. One of the worse raps I've ever heard since I last accidentally mistuned to a white radio station slopped in the middle (out of desperation one senses) nearly damn well sabotages the whole thing but that big phat verse comes back near the end for a tantalisingly short half a minute, not long enough, clearly designed to drive you back to the beginining again. Nuts to that,  I'm stealing it, opening it in Audacity and looping that bastard for half an hour. Would've been way better without Neon Jungle's involvement to be honest.

MISANTHROP 
GREED OF GAIN EP 
(NeoSignal) 
Not sure what the figgetyfuck you'd call this (I'm christening it DRUBstep) but absolutely dominating my headspace, homespace and crawlspace at the moment. 'Deadlock' operates at the high end of 170bpm but drags you down like dub thanks to the gorgeous smears of detuned synth that sit right in the middle of it, grinning at you with pure malevolence. The title track starts off with some fantastic 80s Carpenter-esque soundtrack shenanigans before unleashing a turbid tsunami of fuzzed-out neurofunk on yr ass, 'System Crash' similarly explores 80s soundtrack world but the highlight here has to be 'Catch 22'. As harsh and dark as something offa Houndstooth but packed full of fantastic little breakbeat rotations, sudden pockets of doom and decay and a riff part Mick Ronson, part Dillinja, part Chrome. Together with those new Loadstar rerubs on Ram, some d'n'b worth digging out.

SLEAZE & REKLEWS Ft. RES & DJ RASP 
HEADS WILL KNOW 
(Greasy Vinyl Records) 
Oh god man, I  love the beat on this. No, I fucking love the bass attached to the beat on this. No, I fucking totally love the noises attached to the bass attached to the beat on this. No, I fucking totally and utterly love the rhyming intterupted by the noises attached to the bass attached to the beat on this. A simple construction but revealing infinite complexity with every rotation and when it all breaks down to the rhythm section near the end, holy hell just turn up the speakers until all becomes dust. Superb stuff from a soon-come debut album ('An Album Called The Sun') that promises to be one of 2014's most essential. 

THE VAMPS 
WILD HEART 
(Virgin/EMI) 
I guess there is a gap for a new McFly/Busted 1-D-with-instruments boyband, and I happened to not totally object to the Vamps 'Can We Dance' cos I had no idea what they looked like and it made the schoolrun go quicker. Now I've seen the video for 'Wild Heart' I'm filled with altogether more hostile, confused opinions. I mean . . . they're all 17-19 but they seriously look about TWELVE - far too young to be allowed out in the desert, far too young to even know what the hell they're singing about - for me I suspect and hope this song, an innoffensive slice of jangly pop, is transitional. There are hints in the harmonies and melodies and bright glassy blue eyes here that if they DITCHED the 'real instrumentation' and surrendered to a purely Abba-esque studio-based  pop impulse they could be way more interesting in the future. Somebody kidnap them and feed them to Robyn please. See you in Spring. 

Comments

  1. The James blunt bit had me rolling !

    ReplyDelete
  2. i dont completely trust on your opinion on black female hip hop. i dont really know why (something with you being a dad or something haha), but yea, you were right about angel haze. at first i was horrified you didnt like her (i had only her judged based on the song werkin girls), but yea, she soon turned out to be not so great.

    ReplyDelete

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