The Weekly Digest #1

The weather’s miserable with the sky remaining perpetually grey throughout the day and cold/wet throughout the night, I’m still ill with a pretty bad cold (I really fucking hope it’s a cold) and I’m saving my money for my trip up to Leeds in a week’s time. All of these things have resulted in me starting this new feature that generally summarizes five (or really, as many as I want) things that have caught my eye over the past week in the world of music, films and whatever else you I think of.

I awoke this morning to hear a pretty damn distressing rumour that Damian Abraham was considering quitting Canadian Hardcore band Fucked Up because of his increasing disdain for touring. In a way that’s kind of understandable as Abraham has a family and the tour for their most recent album has been going on for a looooong time now (and I am genuinely gutted I didn’t see them live in Leeds a week ago) but that didn’t make this rumour any less shitty. As everyone should know by now, David Comes to Life is one of my favourite albums of the year and really showed that the band had progressed massively beyond their already stellar back catalogue. Well, thankfully Damian tweeted about half an hour ago (at the time of writing, of course).

Hey everyone: I’M NOT QUITTING FUCKED UP.”

This kinda puts mine and probably many other’s minds at ease. Even if they tour less extensively, I still feel the band’s got a hell of a lot more to give the world in terms of music. Hopefully this means we get less of Pink Eyes beating himself to a bloody pulp whilst jumping around with a mangina.

The xx’s first self-titled album came and took over the entire country way back in 2009; Suddenly everyone was in love with whispery indie pop for. xx-fever reached a peak when they remixed Florence + the Machine’s cover of “You’ve Got the Love” and kept picking momentum until they won the [somewhat] prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2010. The big question was “where do they go from here?” as the general public could not get enough of the trio. Then they went awfully quiet for well over a year. The only exception was beat maestro Jamie Smith who branched out this year with the brilliant Gil-Scott Heron remix album “We’re New Here” which has grew in potency after the great man’s passing. Then, last week the band has this message to give to the world:

We have started recording our second album! We have also started this blog where we will post our inspirations + pictures + favourite songs. We hope you enjoy it! Lots of Love, The xx

It may be in it’s early stages, but I am already really looking forward to hearing what they sound like 2 years on from their last album. Their debut was absolutely stunning and the weight of expectation is pretty demanding which can lead to some previously touted bands floundering the second time around (SEE: The Klaxons), but I have faith that the xx’s sophormore album will not only exceed my expectations but that it will also be as good as their debut. Oh and here’s their blog.

I haven’t had a chance to give it a listen to yet, but the first commercial release for Childish Gambino is up on streaming site NPR. There’s alot of hype for CAMP  on music blogs and after a load of EPs, mixtapes and self-released music (a lot of which can be found on his blog ), it’s wholly justified. Childish a.k.a. mcDJ a.k.a. Donald Glover a.k.a. Troy from TV’s Community has released a large amount of good music and converted me from just a fan of his comedy to a big fan of his rapping. CAMP is officially out on November 15th, the stream is available here, I’m gonna give it a listen tomorrow and probably drop a review of it by Friday. And if you don’t already watch Community, shame on you.

David Lynch’s debut album was guaranteed to be a weird affair, after all, this is the man who has made some utterly perplexing films throughout his career such as Eraserhead, Wild at Heart and weirdest of all, Inland Empire. It was about this time last year that his first venture into music with the double single “Good Day Today/I Know”  which, much like the great director’s films, were a little bizarre and oddly beautiful. The album, Crazy Clown Time,  was released today after streaming over the weekend and is as weird and wonderful as I had hoped it would be. It’s a mix of techno and blues rock that wouldn’t sound out of the place on the OSTs for most of his films. In a recent interview for the Guardian, Lynch compared the concept of coming up with a creative idea to that of a fish, explaining that:

“You didn’t make the fish. You caught the fish. Now you can cook it in a good way or a bad way, but that’s as far as it goes. The fish came from someplace else. And sometimes…Sometimes it talks back to you. Tells you how it wants to be cooked.”

Standouts include the “Pinky’s Dream” which features Karen O on guest vocals and the utterly baffling “Strange and Unproductive Thinking” which is seven minutes of Lynch (through a vocoder) talking. As a self confessed die-hard Lynchian, I loved the hell out of the album and it served as the perfect listen after surviving the first few tracks of Lulu, but there’s a good chance you may not be so easily convinced (although you probably will be). Here’s the stream.

J Dilla was one of the great hip-hop beat makers that ever existed and he died way before his time. He’s behind some classic tracks and albums providing beats for; Badu,  Busta Rhymes, Common, D’Angelo, Ghostface Killah Janet Jackson, Q-Tip and The Roots. His own material like DonutsThe Shining and Welcome to Detroit are, for me, landmark albums in modern Hip-Hop, showing off some insane beats and samples from anywhere and everywhere. Dilla is someone that the Alternative Hip-Hop community hold in high regard and is someone who is still subject to tributes continually today, 5 years after his death. BBC Radio 1Xtra has recently aired documentaries on deceased influential black musicians; Aaliyah, BIG, Dilla, Jam Master Jay, Left Eye Lopes and Tupac. I’ve heard too many shows about the others to bother to listen to them but I gave the Jay-Dee show a listen yesterday and wasn’t disappointed. It was an insight into the life and career of an enigmatic individual who rarely gave interviews, shunning the limelight he deserved. The part of the show covering Dilla’s illness and rapid decline really struck a chord with me, especially the fact that even with a debilitating illness, he managed to create the wonderful farewell letter, Donuts. It did what all good documentaries should do; it made me spend a large amount of last night listening to Dilla beats (both songs he produced for others and his own material) and hopefully, did the same for anyone else who listened to it. It’s no longer streaming on the BBC site, BUT, thankfully it is online. Check out this documentary, especially if you don’t think you’ve ever heard any Dilla.

Before I forget completely, the 1982 documentary “Style Wars” is up on Pitchfork as part of their one week series, it focuses on the NY graffiti scene of the 1980s and the subcultures surrounding it. I heard about it for the first time last year when Rammellzee died and have been waiting for a chance to watch it. It’s an interesting look back into early hip-hop subculture and the teenagers involved in it. Good soundtrack too. 

 Well, that concludes this week’s digest. I hope you enjoyed this pilot. Much like pilots of television shows, there will no doubt be some major tweaking by the time next week’s edition comes out. I’ll end this one with a song from my favourite Dilla album.

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