Heavy Metal Mouth Presents:
The 2013 Annual Featuring...
Allow Me To Introduce Myself In November 2011, I started a webpage that was mainly intended as a keepskae for my college work and various other asssignments/articles I’d written. What more or less began as nothing more than a portfolio space has now become Heavy Metal Mouth, a critic music blog that I’m extremely proud to operate and promote. As the solo writer for the page, I’ve seen it transfom over the past 2 years into a more focused, accomplished, and hopefully entertaining product that has steadily increased in viewership and feedback. As things stand now, the blog has never been healthier, pulling in numbers that I never expected originally and I hope, and I believe, that this is just the beginning of a significant critical platform not just for myself, but within the music industry. With things as they stand, there was no better time to transfer my writings from blog space to an online magazine format. Think of this debut issue as something of an experiment; if I can generate a successful amount of response to HMM1 I’ll be returning
soon with furher issues. But for now, I can confidently say I’ve never been happier as a writer and more importantly as a listener; 2013 brought some of the finest albums in recent memory, from veterans and experienced professionals to exciting newcomers and much improved returns, so without further ado, let’s get cracking on the first, fully realized annual Heavy Metal Mouth Album Of The Year countdown. The full reviews of each album, a selection of their best tracks and more are all available at www. hvymetalmouth.blogspot.ie
Waiting For The Man: A Tribute to Lou Reed (March 2, 1943- October 27, 2013)
Enjoy, and thank you for reading.
On October 27, 2013, the wold lost one of its greatest, most original, and most influential artists in Lou Reed.
Reed is primarily known as principal songwriter, vocalist and guitarist for The Velvet Underground, one of the most significant groups of the 1960’s and 20th century, credited with the birth of all kinds of experimental rock including punk music.
HMM Editor & Writer
Later Reed would go on to release several landmark solo recordings, including Transformer (1972) and Berlin (1973). His 1975 experimetnal noise album Metal Machine Music still provokes wide debate among the music community, having been declared both ‘‘the ultimate conceptual punk album’’ and ‘‘ear-wrecking, unlistenable electronic sludge’’. Reed will be remembered forever as one of the founders and perfectors of modern music, a true genius and an exceptional, daring, fearless and most of all brilliant artist.
“I always believed that I have something important to say and I said it.”
The Best Of 2013 Here marks the beginning of our coundown; the Album Of The Year 2013. It’s been an incredible year for music, so let’s get down to who and why; here are the greatest albums of the year. 25. Static- Cults Static is a decidedly quiet, low key success of a sophomore album that shows there is life in Cults after the gimmicky lo-fi smash of their debut, showcasing another side to a maturing group that have already been forced to deal with serious conflicting issues and come out relatively unscathed. Static, at its best, suggests that Cults have a staying power beyond what was previously expected of them, and the capability to deliver another record as good as or better than they did two years previously as a fresh faced couple in love.
24. I have lost all desire for feelingPerfect Pussy As harsh as it may appear, there’s something beautiful lost inside the raw noise of Perfect Pussy that suggests a promise beyond the 4 abrupt musical freakouts on this exciting 13 minute debut. Right from their unspeakable name down to the minimalistic track titles and their shortness, Perfect Pussy represent hope for modern punk- a return to chaos, anarchy and confusion, all of which are supplied in buckets on I have lost all desire for feeling.
Album Of The Year (25-21) 23. betteroffDEAD- Flatbush Zombies The bitter hatred, anger and passion found on betteroffDEAD is the very same we first witnessed in hip hop bands like Wu Tang Clan and NWA. But while that identical violent temper presents itself here, there are key differences too, mostly demonstrated in the group’s lack of discipline, as they struggle to control and employ their talent, instead letting it loose in a constant barrage of brutal profanity. These things come in due time though, and this anarchic, youthful attitude is what sets Flatbush Zombies apart from the rest right now. Maybe it’s a good thing to let chaos reign for a while yet.
22. The Next Day- David Bowie Just 8 days into the year, David Bowie shook the music world on his 66th birthday with the revelation that he’d been working in secret on a new album. Playing like a collection of greatest hits, The Next Day takes us through rock Bowie, experimental Bowie, introspective Bowie and any other you can name as the icon basks in the present while celebrating his past, reminding us that there is still very much a Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke and Aladdin Sane left inside us, and more importantly, the man himself.
21. Government Plates- Death Grips Government Plates is a fresh supply of another 11 lightening quick, hard-hitting tracks from Death Grips that aim to melt your brain in somewhat similar fashion to Richard D. James’ Aphex Twin or Venetian Snares, albeit with a slightly more structured, focused personality than the aforementioned. All of these combine to form another eccentric, explosive release from one of the most exciting young acts in electronic music today.
The Best Of 2013
Album Of The Year (20-16)
20. 12 Reasons To Die- Ghostface Killah On his 10th solo album, Ghostface raps a story that immerses you like a novel, with a brutal revenge tale that makes wonderful use of the rappers usual vivid imagery and passionate delivery. 12 Reasons showcases Ghostface Killah continuing to age while consistently delivering quality rap with no drop in pace or production, and maintaining a standard and image that is near unthinkable for any rap artist who debuted on the scene a full twenty years ago.
19. Wolf- Tyler, The Creator Incredibly, Tyler seems to be growing up. There will be Odd Future fans who feel like their leader is leaving them behind by not cramming every song full of murder and sexual innuendos but they were always the wrong reasons to be listening- lyrical skill, production values, and unmistakably unique delivery are Tyler’s main strengths and they’re all in abundance on Wolf. The end of the first OF era is taking place right now and so the most important thing about Wolf is that it shows there is serious potential in the young rapper and his outrageous posse afterwards.
18. Long. Live. A$AP- A$AP Rocky I’ll be the first one to admit I judged a book by its cover; this 24 year old grill wearing rapper is another bright, intelligent star in the future of hip-hop. A$AP surrounds himself with any number of talented friends on his debut, from the all-star cast of 1 Train to production gold like Hitboy, 40, Clams Casino and Skrillex. The result is a rich, finely textured music album that A$AP dominates with his effortless cool, presenting us with a fully realized Rakim Meyers (the name is no coincidence) that we can be assured is only getting ready to start in 2013.
17. The Bones Of What You BelieveChvrches Full of charm with substance to match, there is an immediate and irresistible ball of energy that flows throughout the 48 minute running time of Chvrches debut album. On The Bones Of What You Believe, the band have taken a range of electronic influences and created something entirely accessible and instantly enjoyable to the average indie fan in a stunning debut that promises much more if the young trio can handle the expectations that come with such a wellreceived record.
16. Modern Vampires Of The CityVampire Weekend Vampire Weekend have always been an incredibly appealing, enjoyable band but maybe they’ve grown tired of this perception of themselves as just sweet or loveable. Modern Vampires continues Ezra Koenig and company’s alluring pop techniques but it also introduces intriguing lyrical depth that was never quite this present before. Vampire Weekend have never been this deep and dark before, but it’s a suit that fits them well. Modern Vampires is undoubtedly the band’s most complex, articulate and challenging work to date; it sees indie’s favourite nice guy’s moving forward into bold new territory in a glorious manner.
Can I Talk My Shit Again? Now for some light relief before the very serious matter of wrapping up the final fifteen albums of the year. As per usual, the year saw its fair share of artists more than willing to impart some wisdom on their listeners, or anyone willing to listen. Some of them are inspiring, insightful, or simply amusing, while others are idiotic, absurd and offensive. Both sides are equally enjoyable. Here are the best quotes of 2013. “I’m a terrible bet when it comes to time. But if I want to do something with my heart, then it will always happen at some point—and it always does.”
Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine)
“Even people who want to hate on me, they can’t even shut down the fact that I’m literally what everyone is talking about. I don’t want to say that I’m on top right now — I feel like I’m kind of an underdog in a cool way. It’s almost punk rock to like me, because it’s not the right thing to do.”
Q: ‘’How is this album different?’’ A: ‘’Uh, I mean I’m stoked cos I focused in and tried to craft the worst shit I could possibly make. And the album fucking sucks. And people think I’m kidding but… This shit’s not good.’’
Tyler, The Creator
“I’m not interested in punk as an aesthetic and I certainly don’t give a shit about what some hardcore kid thinks of our record. It’s a fucking arm-wrestling match and it’s pathetic. My idea of punk is not being interested in what other people think of punk.”
Brandon Cox (Deerhunter)
“Nobody can look at me and say shit about my appearance or my body, which is all too common for women in music. It’s like, ‘Are you going to call me a cunt? Are you going to tell me I’m ugly? Well, here’s my band name—do your worst, motherfucker.’”
Meredith Graves (Perfect Pussy) “Any cereal is overrated...it’s trash. I don’t eat anything that gets soggy. Like I don’t get that theory, I gotta rush to eat this shit before it get bad? And if you eat soggy cereal, then we not friends.’’
Danny Brown -‘’You fuck old bitches?’’ -‘’I’d fuck Kathy Griffith.’’ -‘’Who that? The lady from Family Guy?’’ -‘’Kathy Griffith got a fatty, nigga!’’ -‘’Hold up who the fuck is that?’’ -‘’You know the Slim Shady video?’’ -‘’ Oh the one with the big nose? I’d fuck her.’’
Transcript from a Noisey special interview between Danny Brown and ASAP Rocky, resulting in their appearance on The Kathy Griffith Show on Valentine’s Day.
“If I were to write my title like going through the airport and you have to put down what you do? I would literally write ‘creative genius’ except for two reasons: Sometimes it takes too long to write that and sometimes I spell the word ‘genius’ wrong. The irony.”
‘’Twitter is an awful place. Sometimes Twitter makes me wanna fucking kill myself. I hate Twitter. Cause you didn’t used to be able to see how retarded people thought were cool are. I’m sure someone said that about me too.’’
“At first, I was like, ‘OK cool, someone made a video to my song.’ But it didn’t seem that funny.”
Baauer, creator of the ‘’Harlem Shake’’
Quotes Of The Year
‘‘To me this isn’t the mainstream, this is like the last fart, the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.’’
Thom Yorke on Spotify “Niggas can say they pop molly, but do you really? I doubt it. I can’t imagine Kanye popping a molly.”
Earl Sweatshirt “How Sway?! You ain’t got the answers Sway! I’ve been doing this more than you! You ain’t got the answers! You ain’t been doing the education! You don’t have the answers though! You tryna give me advice, but you ain’t spend $13 million of your own money to try to empower yourself!’’
The Best Of 2013
Album Of The Year (15-11)
15. True Romance- Charli XCX The intimately whispered vocals of 21 year old Charlotte Aitchison are perfectly complimented throughout True Romance, her official debut, by a lush electronic backing that in turn symbolizes the sensuality repeated themes of love and sex that burn through the speakers at the listener. This is electronica pop perfection, effortlessly easy to access and irresistibly relistenable yet, crucially, True Romance retains a pulsing brain and beating heart throughout its breezy 47 minutes.
14. My Name Is My Name- Pusha T My Name Is My Name is an exercise in simplicity; executive producer Kanye connects with the RZA like never before here, providing fuzzy bassed, sparse drum machine backgrounds that Push responds to with a series of laid back egotistical raps that are brought home with assured, experienced delivery. The album develops slowly but in the case of My Name Is My Name, less is most definitely more, and just like its title suggests, Push doesn’t need unnecessary style to attract you; he’s got substance, and that speaks for itself.
13. Days Are Gone- Haim In 2006 three sisters formed Haim and began a journey (long delayed by high school and college) that has eventually manifested itself in Days Are Gone, a charming indie rock debut that combines Americana influence and a desire for pop success in a triumphant payoff. There are any number of acts you could liken them to (all the way from Emmylou Harris to Madonna) but Haim have combined their influencing styles into one unique product of rhythm and blues that’s near impossible to dislike and destined for global success.
12. Acid Rap- Chance The Rapper From Kendrick’s tales of growing up in Compton, Kanye’s explosive ego and Drake’s trouble in love, we’ve all forgotten something in rap music that the 20 year old Chance helped to rediscover this year; fun. Chance wasn’t down for dealing with topics like broken families, fame or fallouts- he just wanted to bullshit about getting high, having sex and being a young, sometimes stupid kid, and that’s a magnificent thing, because without artists like Chance The Rapper hip-hop would lose its soul. Here’s hoping he never grows up.
11. Overgrown- James Blake While there may have been a great deal of talk from critics and fans alike regarding the sound and direction of Overgrown, you get the feeling that the artist himself didn’t have to think about it too much. This album feels like a natural growth at an extremely steady pace and Blake deserves major credit for quietly expanding his sound without taking any giant leaps. A quiet triumph that assures there is certainly more, and perhaps even greater, to come from an incredibly talented and original musician.
The Best Of 2013 Before we get down to business with the top ten albums of 2013, here are my very favourite songs of the year. Perhaps they contain a clue or two as to the idenity of those in my final ten record list. 10. Control/BET Awards Cypher- Kendrick Lamar From the rage fuelled, egomanical, Tupac inspired verse on ‘’Control’’ that saw the Compton star declare himself king of the game and name drop every single rapper he saw as a threat to another hard-hitting lyrical masterpiece at the BET Awards that served to reaffirm his dominant status, 2013 saw Kendrick remain firmly in the spotlight due to the sheer power and intensity of his rap skill on a selection of outrageous guest features (for more, see ‘’Nosetalgia’’ by Pusha T or another track further down this list). Now just imagine what could happen on another whole album.
9. Bound 2- Kanye West Falling in at the end of Kanye’s frightening electronic nightmare on Yeezus, ‘’Bound 2’’ seemed to be the Chicago born rap star telling his old school fans he was still there for them, with a College Dropout styled soul sample and passionate delivery that made it such a universally acclaimed finish to West’s stunning sixth album.
8. Reflektor- The Arcade Fire The title track and opener to Arcade Fire’s 4th album instantly demonstrated the influence of LCD Soundsystem retiree James Murphy in the most glorious manner possible as the Canadian collective swaggered through an irresistibly funky 7 minutes.
Tracks Of The Year develop into one of the world’s most popular artists. ‘’Mirrors’’ is the ultimate representation of The 20/20 Experience, retaining Timberlake’s pop sensibilities and radio/chart presence while also providing a textured, multi-layered electro love song that instantly stands alongside ‘’Cry Me A River’’ and other classic, significant modern pop classics.
4. 1 Train- A$AP Rocky (Feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T)
7. Instant Crush- Daft Punk On one of the many standouts on Daft Punk’s long awaited fourth record, Julian Casablancas helped to deliver an indie dance tune that recalled both the finest work of The Strokes and smaller Punk hits, coming off somewhere between ‘’12:51’’ and ‘’Digital Love’’ in an emotive, yet undeniably infectious love song.
6. Rusty- Tyler, The Creator (Feat. Domo Genesis & Earl Sweatshirt) Those of you who’ve followed Tyler’s career over the past 5 years will be more than aware of the incredible controversy and opposition the rapper has provokedfrom feminist rights groups to law enforcement and even Earl Sweatshirt’s mom, Tyler’s brand of shock value comedy has been criticised heavily, but his third studio album this year saw the 23 year old finally starting to mature. On ‘’Rusty’’, the most representative song of this unprecedented growth, Tyler raps his best ever verse with a scathing attack on all of those who ever doubted, dissed or dared to face him, accompanied by some of Odd Future’s finest talent over an old school beat produced by the rapper himself.
5. Mirrors- Justin Timberlake Justin Timberlake’s return to the music industry saw him produce his best ever work as he expanded his repertoire in unexpected yet totally logical ways while maintaining the image and style that saw him originally
1 Train is one of the most significant songs of the year not only because of its immediate greatness (first second to last is an undiluted, raw rap attack courtesy of the some of the finest young talent in the world right now) but also for its soon to be realised context and legacy, as the cast of this 6 minute braggadocio classic go on to achieve greatness over the next decade. A$AP assembled a crew of the most exciting MC’s in the game for ‘’1 Train’’ and for evidence of each’s skill you need look no further than this, the best straight up, old school hip hop song of the year.
3. I Wanna Be Yours- Arctic Monkeys You’d probably be more likely to go automatically towards ‘’Do I Wanna Know?’’ when picking from Arctic Monkey’s exceptional fifth effort AM, but the real merit and craftsmanship of this album lies in its final track, as Alex Turner takes the mundanity of daily British life and turns it into something more beautiful and extraordinary, detailing his devotion to a potential love through a series of witty yet totally sincere metaphors. It’s a fittingly wonderful closer to to the album, and one of the most affecting pieces of songwriting that the charismatic frontman has ever put to paper.
2. Hold On, We’re Going Home- Drake (Feat. Majid Jordan) Drake said that ‘’Hold On’’ was him and long time production partner Noah 40 Shebib ‘’humbly attempting’’ to channel Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones as they crafted a song designed to be worthy of wedding dances a decade from now. Perhaps he need not be so humble in future; the result is a stunning romantic ode that is set to stand the test of time much in the same manner as classics by pop icons like Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Prince before it. ‘’Hold On, We’re Going Home’’ is Drake defined, and a showcase for the reason behind the Canadian’s continued dominance in the music world right now.
1. New Slaves- Kanye West (Feat. Frank Ocean) Yeezus contained any amount of jaw dropping moments that grabbed hold of the listener and shook them where they stood, right from the opening wall of noise of what felt like a thousand filthy synthesisers crushing down upon you on ‘’In Sight’’ to the soul sampling beauty of the aforementioned closer ‘’Bound 2’’, but none came as incredible, drop dead gorgeous and mesmerising as the climax of ‘’New Slaves’’. Following two verses of relentless, furious rapping from Ye the song explodes in a wave of bliss that’s carried home by Frank Ocean’s angelic, spellbinding vocal. A finer sound I haven’t heard this year, or perhaps even since... Well, since the same guy dropped ‘’Runaway’’ three years ago. You’re probably sick of hearing it (from the man himself, let alone the rest of us) but there’s just no escaping it; Kanye is king. Y’all can’t fuck with Ye.
The Best Of 2013 Heavy Metal Mouth’s Album of the year culminates right here with my top ten. These are the albums that defined an exceptional year for music. 10. Nothing Was The Same- Drake It’s easy to see why so many rap fans have a problem with Drake- it’s not easy to welcome change, and many will feel that the emotional honesty and heart on sleeve attitude of Aubrey Graham doesn’t have any place in the game, but for better or worse, Drake is probably the most significant artist in hip-hop right now, simply because he is changing it almost single handedly. Nothing Was The Same continues his streak with an album that has met all expectations, defied some and introduced a more confident, confrontational and electric personality, one that’s willing to fight for a place at the top, and it will gain even more fans and followers as Drake continues to spread his ever growing influence in modern music.
9. AM- Arctic Monkeys AM captures the Arctic Monkeys in a moment of totality and completeness; content with image and sound after years spent searching. This is a stellar work of music that can be built on, and crucially, feels like it surely will. Perhaps the best thing you could say about this record is that it makes me think Arctic Monkeys will improve from here, and considering their previous catalogue, that’s quite a statement to make, and a truly exciting prospect. When asked about the title pre-release, Alex Turner replied with a knowing smile, claiming he’d ripped it from the Velvet Underground’s 1985 complilation VU: ‘’Did we cop out? Yeah, but something about it feels like this record is exactly where we should be right now. So it felt right just to initial it.’’ It’s an insightful comment, and while he might be laughing at the complacency of those initials himself, in reality, it couldn’t have been named anything else.
Album Of The Year (10-7) 8. Doris- Earl Sweatshirt Doris silenced critics and dubious fans alike with its raw power and majestic flow ad much like Tyler’s Wolf in April, this album will indeed be a breaking point for the rap collective’s teen following, however the process of a changing fanbase should come as quite the opposite of a loss for the young rapper as a broader audience respond to Earl and OF’s desire to develop their skills rather than regurgitate them. While it shouldn’t be a factor, in reality the massive hype revolving around Earl since last February won’t have helped Doris but that would be an unfair way to analyse Earl’s first full length release; this flawless 44 minutes of raw, old school rap is just the first demonstration of Sweatshirt’s incredibly natural talent, and it seems inevitable that he will only get better. For now, Doris is more than enough material to satisfy, but the most important thing to take from these 15 tracks is that at 19 years old, Earl Sweatshirt’s potential is limitless. Watch this space.
7. Monomania- Deerhunter Monomania finds Deerhunter in a strangely playful mood that’s executed in a series of lo-fi, retro style indie tracks, displaying the band at their most melodic and, as bizarre as it sounds, conventional. The bands usual wall of noise has been demolished in favour of the melodies usually hidden behind, with pop/ rock sensibilities unashamedly brought to the forefront. Monomania is a daring, illogical, and definitily surprising album but while the band may have settled down they’ve also transcended the possibility of boredom or flatness, crafting a record of exceptional artistic merit while skilfully shifting into the next phase of their never dull career. Only Deerhunter themselves will know what their next step is going to be (it’ll probably be as unpredictable as Monomania), but this remarkable fusion could very well be the realization of the band’s true purpose.
The Best Of 2013 6. The 20/20 Experience- Justin Timberlake 2013 saw the return of Justin Timberlake after 7 years spent in Hollywood making himself an even bigger superstar than before he paused in the music industry, but the one who returned was an altogether different animal. The jazz styled electro R’n’B of The 20/20 Experience marked a vastly different record than the Timberlake’s two previous. Here we find the full realisation of JT with pop sensibilities still ever present but hidden beneath an ultra-creative, artistic vision that is conveyed through extended song lengths, rich, layered production from Timbaland and complex vocal harmonies. This is the climax of Timberlake’s potential, the album he has been threatening to make his entire career- a genuine pop masterpiece and work of art. If anyone was in doubt as to the reigning king of contemporary pop/R’n’B music, it’s an issue that has been put to rest in style on The 20/20 Experience.
5. Reflektor- The Arcade Fire Admittedly, there were several things that had me dubious about Reflektor upon first listen, whether it was the previous niggling critical voices I’d heard or the daunting time, but this is a record that unfolds and opens new levels with each listen, resonating deeper each time and allowing us to discover new meanings within, exactly the way which great albums and great music should be made. The band owe a certain debt to The Cure’s Disintegration; from the strangely danceable arrangements and hollow, dark themes to the exceeding song length and skilful pacing, while crucially, the band have started to realize their own brilliance (there’s a definite swagger on the album that wasn’t here before) without letting it affect their enormous talent, and that is perhaps the most significant and impressive element of Reflektor.
Album Of The Year (6-3) 4. Old- Danny Brown It’s not exactly unheard territory for an artist to place the spotlight on issues like drug abuse and depression, but the crucial difference here is the perceived reality of it all; throughout Old Danny Brown sounds as though he is genuinely conflicted, ruthlessly examining his own identity, and struggling to figure himself out over the course of 56 minutes, with the experimental, trippy production seemingly representing the fragility of the rapper’s mind and his bipolar nature. Old is a daring, exceptional album that outdoes XXX for its focus, energy, honesty, bravery and direction. The perception of Danny Brown as an outsider or wild card should now be over; he’s the real deal, leading the field and most crucially doing something so unique in modern rap that makes him undoubtedly one of the most exciting talents in the game, and music world, at this moment in time.
3. Random Access Memories- Daft Punk A conscious decision to abandon synths and samples all the way back in 2008 when Daft Punk started playing around with demos for RAM is responsible for the album we were finally gifted with this year; a throwback to the 1970’s and 80’s in American music, all the way from classic rock to disco, from funk to house, from psychedelica to pop. I could tell you about the songs- the triumphant, daring rock opening of ‘’Give Life Back To Music’’, the inexpressible beauty of Chilly Gonzales’ transitional key change wonder ‘’Within’’, the ridiculously complex, genre bending album centerpiece ‘’Touch’’ (composed of over 250 elements within the song), or it’s magnum opus and definitive piece ‘’Giorgio By Morodor’’, a track which defines not only the album’s purpose but much of the genres located on RAM- but my words won’t do justice; this is one journey that Daft Punk have designed to be taken alone and consumed whole, through headphones, a compact disc, a record player, just as it was originally intended in their borrowed era. In 2013, Daft Punk gave us something we didn’t realize we were missing; the album.
The Best Of 2013
2. m b v- My Bloody Valentine 22 years have passed since My Bloody Valentine changed the way music sounded to an entire generation of music fans in 1991 with Loveless, but this January the release of m b v made it sound like the past two decades had simply never happened. Time seems to have escaped Kevin Shields, whose unrelenting, overwhelming wall of noise returns on the bands incredible third album. A chorus of guitars familiarly drains the listener immediately, backed by Shields ghost like vocal droning on opener She Found Now, before m b v explodes into life with Only Tomorrow, a track acting as a modern day substitution for the classic Loveless opener Only Shallow. Who Sees You continues in the same vein with the majestic, unprecedented guitar sounds that Shields perfected in the early 1990’s, but before the possibility of criticizing the band for remaining unchanged enters your mind, it will be muted by Is This And Yes. Within the space of 5 minutes and 7 seconds, the band drop
their guitars and utilize the synth in such a clear, shimmering, beautiful and emotive way that’s total unexpected of them, marking a sound we’ve never heard from My Bloody Valentine before. It’s a perfect fit on them though, bringing the near lost genre of shoegaze into the 21st century in some style. Further on, If I Am mixes past and present with a gentle guitar wall backing and atmospheric vocals, but in a crisper, almost HD setting compared to their early work, a feature of the entire record; MBV have never sounded so close and in focus, yet they somehow retain their otherworldly, alien sense of being. New You is a softly executed lullaby but things get weird again on In Another Way, an obvious standout that recalls the very best of Isn’t Anything, their debut work. Nothing Is constantly builds on a nervous, intense loop that slowly climaxes in an anxious haze, perfectly assisting final track Wonder 2, a drum led, droning guitar comedown that owes something to The Beatles’ legendary Tomorrow Never Knows. It’s a rare thing indeed for any band or artist to return after such a length and immediately fill the void, but to create a record of such quality that it can stand alongside an album like its predecessor is a near miracle. M b v welcomes fans back like an old friend with the so familiar sound of extreme, unique noise all the while unfolding into an unmistakably modern record, transitioning the band before our very eyes. For 22 years so many waited, hoping to hear another blank of Kevin Shields’ genius, and here, encapsulated in 46 minutes is everything they ever dreamed; an immersive, enthralling, hypnotic masterpiece. Typical My Bloody Valentine then.
Album Of The Year a brief glimpse into the mind of a selfconfessed mad man. You can react how you like to Kanye’s ego- this year alone has been dominated by his ridiculous Sway interview bust up, a ludicrously camp music video, claims of deity status, claims of outrageous greatness and another series of rants- but the fact is he doesn’t care what me, or you, or anybody thinks.
1. Yeezus- Kanye West Halfway through ‘’I Am A God’’ (the title is telling), West declares himself to be ‘’the only rapper that compares to Michael’’. He means Jackson of course, his repeatedly referenced idol. Outrageous? Arrogant? Egotistical beyond belief? Yep, all of those. Correct? Well, probably that too. You see, West has built his career on these outlandish statements but as he stands now, who is to say he hasn’t constantly backed them up? Yeezus blasts by in 40 minutes of mercilessly gripping noise that melts the brain and shocks the senses without apology, pinning you back against the hardcore wall of noise that serves as the backdrop to Kanye’s maddening raps, which have taken his ferocious ego to the next level. The sense of chaos that Yeezus instils in the listener is representative of West’s restless artistic vision (this is a man who claims that his ‘’creative genius’’ keeps him up at night), something which - unlike on Dark Fantasyhe refused to hone or filter this time, allowing a total explosion of noise that symbolizes
Operating on his very own level of creativity and artistry for the last decade, West has almost single handedly shifted his entire genre’s focus from the gangsta rap style of the 1990’s to the conscious rap that dominates the game today, and he’s currently leading an even bigger charge that’s been in action since the time Dark Fantasy dropped; propelling hip-hop to a league above alternative rock and indie music, the usually undisputed champion of critics’ choice genres. It’s hard not to admit that it’s working either as we watch the current array of rap stars dominate charts and media professionals with an unmatched work ethic and production standard that Kanye West has come to represent. Yes, West is more than aware of his own importance and that antagonizes many beyond the possibility of liking him, but the fact is that it’s time to give up now and accept the significance of the greatest artist in the world today, because if you don’t pay attention you’re going to miss something unprecedented and spectacular again. Something like we experienced in 2013 on Yeezus.
A Better Tomorrow? So the year has come to an end and provided us with a host of exceptional music to be discussed, debated, and most of all remembered, but there’s no need to cry now it’s all over. Here are some reasons to look forward to 2014.
A Look Ahead To Music In 2014 Joanna Newsom One of my very favourite artists has been very quiet the last three years since releasing the epic triple album Have One On Me in 2010, but following several new songs being premiered at shows over the past while, it seems safe to assume that Newsom will return this year with her usual eccentric, beautiful brilliance.
Azaelia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste It’s been a ridiculous production process that has involved numerous delays and potential release dates (the original expected release was September 2012) but in March 2014 Azealia Banks is finally set to drop her debut album. One of the more eccentric and certainly loudmouth figures recently in music, Banks has promised a lot of talent with one of the singles of 2012 in ‘’212’’ and other releases such as the 1991 EP and her ‘’Harlem Shake’’ remix, but now is the time for the 22 year old rapper to deliver. This could be a trend setter for the year or an overhyped fail but either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Beck – Morning Phase Beck’s continued success both critically and commercially throughout the past decade is enough of a reason to look forward to new material, but his declaration that Morning Phase will act as a companion piece to 2002’s stunning Sea Change means that this will be a must listen upon release in late February.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow After their work with experimental producer Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective), BBC seem to be going deeper into the void and attempting to discover new
ways to create their brand of indie pop/rock on their fourth LP. Having travelled the globe in the space of recordings both album, frontman Jack Steadman has talked at length about tribal chanting and samples being an influence. Sounds interesting, and if BBC can utilize the engaging sound of their early work while incorporating these new elements, this could be an indie standout in 2014.
Chance The Rapper/James Blake?! The creators of two of HMM’s albums of 2013 have bizarrely announced they’ll be moving in together for 2014. When asked about collaborating with his new roommate, Chance quipped ‘’We’re probably going to make a bunch of shit every day.’’ Sounds like an extremely promising, if somewhat strange partnership.
Frank Ocean channel ORANGE and good kid were invariably interlocked throughout on critics list come the end of 2012, and it looks like their sequels are set to do battle gain for the potential album of 2014. LP3 will probably be sooner than Kendrick’s, with Frank having been in studio since last February, working with Tyler The Creator, Dangermouse and Pharrell Williams. This time around Frank says he’s been influenced by the like of The Beatles and Beach Boys, an intriguing and promising statement of intent that it would be wonderful to see manifest itself in the form of an album.
As if dominating 2013 wasn’t enough, Kanye looks to have his eyes firmly set on continuing the momentum he gained from Yeezus and expanding on it this year with a summer release tentatively planned by the Chicago native. When asked about his next project recently, West hinted that it would be an 8 track album, stating ‘’It’s just reducing down the amount of information that you need. People say a design is the point where you can’t take anything else away.’’
Kendrick Lamar The self-declared king Kendrick has given us more than enough reasons to expect total greatness from his follow up to good kid this year but now he’s got to back it up, and there’s no doubting the potential of Kendrick’s LP3. In November, Lamar said he’d be back in the studio in January after the Yeezus tour, providing hope for a summer or late year release. Of the album’s possible direction, he said “It depends on where my emotion is. How angry I’ll be, or how happy I’ll be, or how confused I’ll be.” One thing is certain though; it’s going to be extraordinary.
Purity Ring Purity Ring had a quiet 2013 following their debut release Shrines (HMM Album of the Year 2012), but their feature on Danny Brown’s Old in October and a Lady Gaga remix in September is hopefully some sort of indication that they’re getting back to studio work. If they can recreate the sonic beauty that they captured so vividly inside 38 minutes on Shrines for their next project, it will surely be another highlight of the year.
Wu Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow Another delayed album from 2013, A Better Tommorrow was set to drop in summer but numerous issues within the Wu have seen it slated for 2014 instead. Named after a 1986 Hong Kong crime film in true Wu fashion, if all members of this legendary superstar team can get over petty rivalries and blame games, A Better Tomorrow could be one of the dark horses for 2014’s greatest releases. According to RZA in late November, the album was 6 weeks from completion, so expect to be hearing new Wu Tang Clan very soon, which any way you look at it, is a welcome sound indeed.
Well that’s it from Heavy Metal Mouth this year. A whole hearted thanks to everyone for reading and continuing to follow the blog which is always available at www.hvymetalmouth.blogspot.ie. I’ll be continuing to review on the site all year and I hope you continue to read and get involved. See you soon. Andrew Lambert
Published on Jan 29, 2014
The first published issue of Heavy Metal Mouth brings you the finest music from 2013 with a countdown of the top 25 albums of the year and m...