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Showing posts from February, 2016

F.U.N.K SINGLES BITES: SINGLE OF THE MONTH 1: RITON Ft. KAH-LO

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 1
RITON Ft. KAH-LO 
RINSE & REPEAT 
(RitonTime) 





Exquisitely dead-eyed bass music, blank, robotic, Grace Jones/B-more-crunk clearly heavy influences. What the track postulates is that impossible party life where you simply keep going, pharma-fuelled from round about Friday afternoon through until Sunday night, only stopping now and then to smear more make-up on, give yourself those kick-ups and comedowns you need to stop yourself shaking. At no point does the facade (and that's what this record is, one massive facade) crack or crumble. It just keeps going like a machine. The NaughtyNorth/SexySouth of 2015 could be a big hit with this official release. I do hope so.  Loving the electro-jazz Jammer rerub too which really accentuates the eyeball-scratching spaciness inherent in the lyrics. Young age pensioners will hate it cos it's not 'proper music'. Fuck em, this is essential.

F.U.N.K BLOG SINGLES BITES FEB 2016 : CHRIS BROWN

CHRIS BROWN ft. KEITH SWEAT 
WHO'S GONNA (NOBODY) 
(Soundcloud) 
Remind yourself of the arrest report why don't ya. I guess if R.Kelly can make a comeback we shouldn't be surprised that r'n'b/black pop is willing to let Grammy-winning woman beater Chris Brown back. Shame on Keith Sweat and shame on anyone who works with this infantile, mysogynistic, spoiled, monstrously arrogant, disabled-parking-space-taking, homophobic fucking cunt. Listening back to Sweat's 'Nobody' from 96, that this rejig is based on, you see what's happened to r'n'b since. The sex has been removed in preference of pornography - you could not imagine a more sexless, less-sexy piece of music than this new single, despite its flagrant panty-peeling ambitions. Also the pleading, the vulnerability of the male voice has all gone to be replaced by a nerdish autotuned correctness, a total lack of real emotion hidden in a welter of studio-flash. Brown's not just a cunt, he…

F.U.N.K BLOG SINGLES BITES FEB 2016: ADELE

ADELE 
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG 
(XL) 

Thank god for the Britschool eh? Easy to forget that Adelewhoisworth£50million was in the same year-group as Jessie J and Leona Lewis. We should always count our lucky stars that there wasn't a Columbine-style mass-shooting at the Britschool that year or the consequences for British pop might have been devastating. Of course, like you, my favourite Adelewhoisworth£50million song is the one that goes 'I'm mortified to have to pay 50 percent/ I use the NHS, I can't use the public transport any more/Trains are always late, most state schools are s*** and I've gotta give you, like, four million quid - are you having a laugh?/When I got my tax bill in from 19, I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire.' In the  video for this new song from her multi-platinum latest album we see Adelewhoisworth£50million setting up with her musicians and backing singers, all tastefully clad in neat and good-quality dark garments from the be…

F.U.N.K SINGLES BITES FEB 2016 - AGAINST THE CURRENT, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, 3 DOORS DOWN

AGAINST THE CURRENT 
RUNNING WITH THE WILD THINGS
(Fueled By Ramen) 
ASKING ALEXANDRIA
THE BLACK
(Sumerian) 
3 DOORS DOWN 
THE BROKEN 
(Republic) 
Fucking hell, if this is the state of 'rawk' in 2016 I'm so glad I've been out of the loop ever since all the metal mags fired me. We don't really have heavy rock anymore do we? Alternative kids seem to go crazy for boybands with dark hair, boybands with a bit of slap/a few extra tatts, boybands who sound like a horribly over-compressed din of euro-dance detail played on guitars.   Acts associated with 3DD include Nickelback and Puddle Of Mudd which tells you just how fucking horrible 'The Broken' is, the Killers-style electronic textures unable to hide just what a dull, underwritten song they're pinching off here. Those same textures find their way into Against The Current's sub-Paramore mediocrity. Utter utter shit from everyone concerned.
    Asking Alexandria at least seem to be dimly aware of how to pretend …

ERIC B & RAKIM Reissue Review, Melody Maker, 1998

ERIC B & RAKIM
PAID IN FULL: PLATINUM EDITION 
(Island) 
Melody Maker, 31 October 1998

IN THE LATE EIGHTIES, Eric B & Rakim were, simply, the coolest sonic and lyrical innovators hip hop had ever seen: street-level poets and musical visionaries burning past the rest of rap to find a chilled, ferociously avant-garde sound still unsurpassed a decade on, still being reinterpreted in kind by the cutting edge of the nu skool.

Eric B & Rakim were an object lesson in the uncompromising pursuit of your own soul, and as such influenced a whole generation of b-boys, fly girls and pop dissidents. What's immediately obvious, listening to this, their 1986 debut, again is just how much there's still to learn here.



The trick was the beats: manipulated is the word — torn away from the blood and sweat of their sources and put through the grinder ('I Ain't No Joke'), emerging as an ice-cold torture chamber of funk ('Eric B Is On The Cut'), a totally new mix of robo…

CLINIC Interview, Melody Maker, 2000

CLINIC
"SMELLS LIKE SURGICAL SPIRIT"
Melody Maker, 25 October 2000


CLINIC TELL US WHY THEIR RUMBLING, AVANT-GARDE INDIE CONTRIBUTION TO THE NEW LEVI'S AD IS NOT SELLING OUT...

"WE HAD TO think about it."

Yeah, I bet. Ade Blackburn, singer with Liverpudlian avant-pop meisters Clinic, is recalling the band's first reaction when offered the chance to have their new single, 'The Second Line', featured on a new Levi's ad. You know the one — pretty young things getting wound up on a Tube train — and you've doubtless wondered where the supremely cool soundtrack comes from. Well, now you know. And it's from the even-better album Internal Wrangler (no jeans pun intended), already in line as the best UK album of the year. But critical acclaim doesn't buy you your first fag of the morning. How long did you have to "think about it"?

"We had a lot of discussion about it cos we all find the use of music in advertising dodgy, and it can…

JANET JACKSON Velvet Rope Tour Live Review, Melody Maker, 1998

"FONDLE WITH CARE"
JANET JACKSON 
AHOY
ROTTERDAM 
Melody Maker, 25 April 1998


IT'S WHEN THE camera catches the screen and doubles her back to infinity. It's when she's frozen silent by the spotlight, in the teeth of a crowd howl so frenzied and so insatiable the ground gives way.

It's when that mass of noise — perhaps the definitive sound of the 20th century — surges over into delirium and she juts the chin and drops the shoulder and you just know she is only intact now. And stardom is reprieved from Hollywood and given back to pop to play with, and you fall to the floor and gurgle. Gig of the century. Listen.



It's part spectacle, part musical and part plain unearthly. From the black, a giant velvet rope unfurls, a huge screen is opened out, you're hurtled through hyperspace at warp speed, the stage explodes in pyrotechnics and there she is. Janet Jackson. Twenty thousand people yearning with every cell of their being to fuse with her metabolism. 'Velv…

REDMAN, METHOD MAN Album Reviews, Melody Maker 1995

REDMAN
DARE IS A DARKSIDE
METHOD MAN
TICAL 
(both Def Jam)
Melody Maker, 14 January 1995

REDMAN'S Whut? Thee Album came out around the first Cypress Hill's and for those that investigated it was even more blunted to the bone, streaked with blood and choking on its own dread.

This follow-up is just as cinematically lurid, the cover a kinda Nineties Maggot Brain, the music within a fiendish labyrinth of booming beats, croaked obscenity and paranoia. 'Bobyahed2dis' is so funky it has to be steam-peeled off the Buttholes. 'We Run N.Y.' is particularly slamming — voices stretched, hyped, slowed to a slimy crawl, jitter about the head like gabbering gibbering maniacs. Standout track has to be the incredible 'Green Island'; a staggering mesh of fat jeep beats, Hawaiian surf geetar and drunken doggerel that'll have your coked gills flapping in the depths. First essential hip hop LP of the year? Yeah, and here's the second.

Method Man you should know from Wu …

REDMAN and MOBB DEEP Live Reviews, Melody Maker, 1995

REDMAN / MOBB DEEP 
DIGBETH INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM 
Melody Maker, 30 September 1995


TWO GIGS separated by a fortnight, linked by a common grievance. As illustrations of the two ways a hip hop gig can go, they're pretty much perfect; as peachy-keen adverts for the ongoing sterling work of Mr Jam Promotah they're as revealing as hell.

Truly, hip hop fans are the most shat-on in the music world, and yet somehow we remain the gentlest and meekest. We just sit back (well, stand like cattle) and take it, partly outta shock, partly outta the fact that if one person admits that what they just shelled out the better part of a tenner for wasn't worth wiping on the working part of an asshole, it brings EVERYONE'S evening down with the horrible truth. If this were a goddamn indie gig we'd be tearing backstage and lynching the f***ers responsible. As it is, we're hip hop fans so we stand around and smoke and do f*** all. But we do it menacingly. Whoopee.

You wait. You go for a…

THE ROOTS Album Review, Melody Maker, 1997

THE ROOTS 
ILLADELPH HALFLIFE (Geffen)
Melody Maker, 1 February 1997



HIP HOP RULE NUMBER 4080: "live" instrumentation and hip hop don't mix. Hip hop rule Number 4081: except for The Roots. The exception, the exceptional, THE first bomb LP of '97.

The Roots are a six-strong, Philly-based hip hop band with one disappointing LP to their name ('94's so-so Do You Want More), which had critics back-flipping over the "authentic" instrumentation and the hip hop public staying away in droves. Since then, in the epic struggle to record this second LP (hilariously documented in the wicked and engrossing sleeve-notes). The Roots have realised that by blending their unmistakably live touch with the more psychedelic, further-flung robot-funk arrangements of modern hip hop production, they can maintain the old skool Sugarhill-style band feel that made them so lyrically incisive, while finding the jeep'n'street support their undoubted skills deserve.

Illadelp…

EASTERN SPRING. Chapter 3 - The A-Z Of Fear

Well, even Richard Pryor can be wrong. The aggravation that had been building since a young age, combined with an intense shyness, and an equally intense sense of language as perfor­mance & defence meant I had to be a some kind of scribe, hell, it’s what my name means. As I was to discover late on in the 80s writers, the best writers, didn’t just tell you what you could be listening to, they came to occupy a deeply intimate place in your life. To the point where you felt them overseeing your choices, to the point where they open the world up to you. See, you can be eight and sobbing down by the VG supermarket after an unkind word and a smack in the face from a passing peer and realise that England is a bitch. It takes you a little longer to realise how that bitch can fuck you over, problematize you forever. White skin so pure. Black skin so pure. You? Denied cool. Always the wannabe.




The way Indians get portrayed by the English in my still-unfolding formative years is always some…

BABES IN TOYLAND Live Review Melody Maker 1995

BABES IN TOYLAND, THE BOARDWALK, MANCHESTER, MELODY MAKER, 27.05.1995
I MISS Ligament cos (I was gonna come up with an excuse as contrived as my mate, who was late for school one day cos he was "on his bike and the wind was blowing in his face")… cos I'm a daft bastard. I'm told they were "a tease" by a bloke in a Huey Lewis T-shirt. Go figure. I have bigger fish to fry anyway. Y'see, there's this syndrome. I listen to my old compilation tapes (the only reason anyone makes compilation tapes is cos they hold the vague hope that someone else will hear them and think "God, what amazingly cool eclectic taste this person has, I must do the nastay with them toot sweet." It never happens, people, sorry) and I'm assailed by a dozen bands who had the press' tongue wedged firmly ass-wards three years ago and are now almost spitefully ignored, even though they're doing their best work. Consolidated, Cop Shoot Cop, Come, L7 and now Babes In …

SUEDE Live Review Melody Maker 1996

SUEDEROYAL COURT
LIVERPOOL 
Melody Maker, 7th December 1996


STARSPOTTING. Robbie Fowler. Good. Hollyoaks cast. Bad. After the gig, back at the hotel, I get in the lift. Brett Anderson's pressing the button for the fifth floor. God, he's lush, I think. But then I remember the gig. And the thrill has gone.

It's like meeting the best f*** of your life, two years on, and wondering how you even stayed awake. There was a time, of course, when Suede were a sex fantasy and soundtrack rolled into one. An alternative lifestyle. They made me varnish my nails, buy a good suit, kiss and tell, trust romance. Tonight, I feel embarrassed by that. Wondering if I read too much into them (YOU NEVER CAN), if they were worth it. They were, but it clearly means nothing to them now.

Brett once had ideas about Pop Stardom — the responsibility, the limits, the freedom. Now he wants to be in Just Another Band. One of the lads. Liverpool gets a stage show with a script we've seen too many times (t…

F.U.N.K BLOG RECORDS ROUND UP - THE BEST OF JANUARY 2016

RECORDING OF THE MONTH
LEVELZ  Lvl 11 
(Bandcamp)   
Album of the month by a country frickin mile. You might not have been notified. This is because the mainstream music media in the UK is fixated on traditional bands, can't take their myopic gaze beyond NW1, and fundamentally can't really countenance the possibility of British working-class groups who refuse to dilute or compromise their music. The narrative they accept, the moment they choose to engage with music that isn't 'Later'-friendly, is when that music chooses to crossover. Levelz seem gloriously incapable and uninterested in doing this. Consequently, because they're not playlisted, and because the papers aren't even aware of them, Levelz are not the utter fucking stars they should be. Yet. They should be the biggest story in UK music. They're a Mancunian collective of MCs, DJs and producers ranging in ages from teenagers to 40-somethings. There's 14 of them. The main producers are Biome, Bric…