FEATURE: Last week’s new music.

I Am Giant - "Purple Heart"

Over the past week I’ve had a bunch of videos and songs that I intended to blog about, but never quite got around to. I don’t have the time that I’d like at the moment, so here’s quick roundup of what I was going to tell you all about.

New Zealand (now London-based) prog-rockers I Am Giant released a new clip for their track “Purple Heart”. It’s pretty intense, and I have no idea what the drummer is doing with his face, but it’s well worth a listen. It’s massive.

If you’re a fan of bands like Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool, check them out.


Star Slinger, the excellent UK producer and remix artist, has ‘refixed’ Drake’s “Crew Love (feat. The Weeknd)”. General comments I’ve seen indicate a mixed reaction from fans, but Take Care was a huge album, and I understand the conflict inherent in advocating a remix of something you’re attached to. Or maybe they just thought it was shit.

I really like it though. Amazing club vibe here. You can download it for free too if you want.


Venice, a five piece pop outfit from London, have done a few covers lately. Today I somehow got linked to one they’d done of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”, and I was actually quite impressed. They might tread a little too close to sugary commercial pop for some of your tastes, but as far as I’m concerned, their song-writing and arrangements are great. If you aren’t sure – check out their cover of Nero’s “Reaching Out” too.

Aussie “hip-hop” group TZU have released the video for “Beginning of The End” – their first single in quite a while. It’s a bit of a return, after the band went on a four-year hiatus. Their last album, Computer Love, was released in 2008.

It’s an interesting single, and I’m looking forward to picking up their new album. Tone Deaf have an accompanying comic book for you to download alongside it all too! Check it out over here.


And last, but definitely not least, is the first original track ever from remix artist RAC.

I bang on about RAC enough already, but this is special. Featuring vocals from Penguin Prison’s Chris Glover, it’s a well-defined pop hit. It’s simple enough, but still works in a bunch of amazing hooks. I really can’t wait to hear the impending album, because knowing just what RAC can do, it should be amazing. Also, if you like it, you can download it for free!

Photo from I Am Giant’s above video.

VIDEO: The Weeknd – “The Knowing”

The Weeknd

For those of you that followed The Weeknd’s rise over 2011, it should come as no surprise that this video is fairly grandiose – at least in terms of concept, imagery, and length.

That’s not a reflection on his music – which can be incredibly lush and understated, or his character – which comes across as enigmatic and shy. Despite his increasing popularity, I think it’s got everything to do with his attitude towards his art. From the beginning, Abel Tesfaye has seemed like an artist with a vision. An artist who wants to do things his own way. Maybe this is him doing just that.

There aren’t many artists this young that would release a video close to 8 minutes long, with so much convoluted and abstract imagery. It’s special. It’s intriguing. And it’s entertaining.

The video is for “The Knowing”, which closes his debut mixtape House of Balloons.

Check it out below – and don’t forget that you can download his trilogy of mixtapes for free.

FEATURE: Albums Of The Year – 2011

This is more a quick list of albums I’ve enjoyed over this last year than some kind of definitive I-went-through-my-entire-iTunes-library-and-ranked-everything-in-order list. I might have missed a couple of releases – all I know is I really liked all these ones. You might too.

So without further ado, Album of the Year goes to…

Los Campesinos - Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos!Hello Sadness

Hello Sadness sees Los Campesinos! trying to refine their output into a concise body of work. A structured and focused album. Gareth’s imagery is darker than ever, and hidden within the album are melodic hooks and intricacies that take a while to become apparent (the vocal crescendo in “To Tundra” is nothing short of beautiful). Brilliant, and another great release to add to their discography.

Other albums I enjoyed, in rough order of how much I enjoyed them, kind of. Just look.

Johnny Foreigner - Vs Everything

Johnny ForeignerJohnny Foreigner Vs Everything

A very close runner-up for AotY. Messy on the first few listens, it truly opens itself up after a few sit-throughs, and it gets better and better. Loud, fast, interesting, moving. Time will determine its longevity and significance in their discography, but it’s definitely a huge step in the band’s journey – hopefully one of many more to come.

Thrice - Major/Minor

ThriceMajor/Minor

Consistent and strong. Not one song feels under-baked. There are a lot of huge cathartic sing-a-long moments, and I don’t care whether or not you associate that as being a good thing or not with Thrice, but I think lyrically and musically this is an incredibly good album. Stunning. If you only listen to one song from Major/Minor, check out “Words in the Water”.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon IverBon Iver, Bon Iver

Intricate. Delicate. Evocative. This is a great album full of great songs, and they paint a picture unlike many musicians ever could. It’s easy to understand why it got Pitchfork’s Album of the Year.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

RadioheadThe King of Limbs

Arguably a step back towards their more experimental work, this was a tough album to digest. It’s entirely possible that this album takes even longer to appreciate and understand than a year, and maybe with more time I’ll enjoy it even more. It definitely has its high points, and it’s full of interesting textures – but I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. It still gets a place here though, ’cause it’s quite good.

Grieves - Together/Apart

GrievesTogether/Apart

With the help of producer, multi-instrumentalist, and beat-maker – Budo – Grieves has released a great album here. Criticised by many (unfairly so, I believe) for his consistently emotive lyrics, Grieves tells stories of girls, drinking, anxiety, and those monsters under your bed, amongst everything else, and while it can feel like a long haul at times, there are a pile of gems on this album. If you needed any more proof that the Rhymesayers crew were some of the best out there, this shouldn’t take long to convince you.

The Weeknd - House of Balloons

The WeekndHouse of Balloons

This particular instalment of The Weeknd’s trilogy of 2011 releases is making my list not because I believe it’s the best of the three, but simply because I haven’t been able to give Thursday or Echoes Of Silence a fair go yet.
That aside, this release is really interesting. I’ve never really been into R&B in a huge way, yet The Weeknd drew me in. And it’s interesting because it paints a picture of a world so foreign that I struggle to find any personal connections. It almost feels voyeuristic to listen to. It’s intriguing at any rate, and was well worth my time. It’s free too.

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Foo FightersWasting Light

A great album from a rock band still going strong, after all these years. Consistent, full of energy, and another strong release from a band that really are going to stand the test of time.

These last few albums haven’t had as many listens as those above, but from the amount of time I’ve given them, I like them a lot. Very much worth mentioning here.

Example - Playing in the Shadows

ExamplePlaying in the Shadows

Slow ClubParadise

Phantogram - Nightlife EP

PhantogramNightlife EP