Swet Shop Boys — Cashmere
Hip-hop lyrics have always been socially aware and snarky. The prevailing cliche about this album is its relevance to the brown experience of today. That cliche holds from song one (T5), about ‘random’ frisking of bestubbled brown men, to song eleven (Din-e-Ilahi), about the religion that Akbar attempted to propagate to bring peace to his multi-religious kingdom. I’m a Das Racist fanboy, and while Heems is a little hit-or-miss (I have heard him say ‘I am a good rapper’ in so many songs now), the hits are way more awesome than the misses are awful. And Riz MC (Riz Ahmed from the Night Of and the new Star Wars movie) is really quite something. It’s also nice to hear some South Asian samples in hip-hop.
Here’s the video for T5:
Get the full album here:
Soulwax — Nite Versions
Genre: hard electronica
This is a rave album that can be enjoyed by non-ravers like me. Albums like this can make tubelights-and-white-walls sort of days feel like neon-lights-and-starry nights sort of days, even for boring adults like me. Even if you want to give the album a skip, at least give ‘Krack’ a spin. It’s a legitimately fun track.
Here’s the iTunes link: https://itun.es/in/oAsYe
Bad Religion — Stranger Than Fiction
Genre: melodic hardcore, 90’s punk
1994 was an incredible year for rock in the mainstream. Jeff Buckley’s Grace, Nirvana’s unplugged gig, Green Day’s Dookie, Soundgarden’s Superunknown, Weezer’s first album. Of all the great 1994 rock albums, this is my favourite. It’s the reason why so many of my creative endeavours have the word ‘stranger’ in them, this one included.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve found myself rolling my eyes a little at some of the lyrical themes, but there’s no doubting the sincerity in Greg Graffin’s every word. And oh my god, the harmonies slay, especially in songs like Tiny Voices. A personal side-note: This was the band that taught teenage me that punk music and the rest of life were not incompatible. Per Wikipedia, Gregory Walter Graffin, Ph.D, is an American punk rock singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, college lecturer, and author. I later discovered so many punk bands had academicians as key members, including the Offspring, Jawbreaker, and the Descendents (their first album was called Milo Goes To College, ffs).
Anyway, back to this album, I highly recommend it. The first four songs are just the most amazing way to start an album. There are no official links, but if you google ‘bad religion stranger than fiction’ you’ll find the whole album on YouTube.
Zao — Xenophobe / Fear Itself
This is a less-than-seven-minute-long EP that feels like a complete assault on everything. Highly recommended. Unlike the next album, however, people who do not like metal are unlikely to have any interest in this one.
Yob — Atma
This is a metal album that, I think, both metalheads and non-metalheads will enjoy. This album is truly incredible. Like Sirens, which I reviewed last week, it’s a close-your-eyes-and-drift-away sort of album, and one of the best ones I have heard. Check it out here: