[REVIEW] Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo

[REVIEW] TORO Y MOI – BOO BOO

Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick) takes you on a drive through dreamy landscapes of sound, stories of lost love and a search for connection, in his latest 80’s inspired R&B pop-electronica project: Boo Boo. Boo Boo shows how much the Singer-songwriter-producer has grown sonically and lyrically. There’s no doubt that Chaz’s 2017 release Boo Boo is a solid and well thought out project. However, it seems Chaz is still holding back from his full potential. 

The album kicks off with layers of drawn out synth, which builds a vast, dreamy sonic landscape. The opening track “Mirage” set’s the tone for the rest of the project. Chaz busts downtown rhythms, adding more layers of vocals, claps and synth. Throughout the rest of the first quarter, it seems Chaz is in a state of confusion, reflecting on himself and his past relationship as he realises “Mona Lisa” (the girl he’s deeply in love with) got tired of his lack of commitment – “My baby got fed up with my ego”.”Pavement” takes a dark and twisted turn. Haunted, deep piano keys chime to reveal a feeling of emptiness as voices echo around the track before finding some sort of groundedness in Chaz’s whisper-like lyrics (the breakup?). Chaz attempts to find his feet in “Don’t Try”. He tries to make sense of the dark situation he’s in, “Woke up only cos I had to”, “Don’t try and understand what you are”. “Windows ” echoes new-wave R&B before the instrumental “Embarcardo” slowly opens up a new chapter in his life. Chaz is in love again, which is shown in one of his more upbeat tracks  “Girl Like You”.

He’s tired of playing games and is confident she’s the one for him – “I can meet you downtown, take you where you want to be tonight”. Chaz experiments with contemporary hip-hop and R&B tones as he uses vocal production reminiscent of up-and-coming rapper-producer Nav – “From the bottle, no cup”. Finally, he’s found the connection he was looking for. In “You and I” he realises she was there all along, and that he was just thinking too much.

The 12 track LP shows that Toro y Moi, creatively,  hasn’t slowed down. Boo Boo adds another dimension to Chaz’s variance in sound as he introduces elements of contemporary R&B and hip-hop covered in nostalgic 80’s soul. Boo Boo is personal and tells a story, but I think even Chad feels the emotion is a bit over the top (as the title mocks his own soft side). The album feels washed out at times, and occasionally goes overboard with the nostalgia, losing groundedness throughout its journey. But overall Boo Boo is a solid production, creative and accomplishes what it set out to do. Perfect for a scenic sunset drive (As shown below).

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Mirage, Girl Like You, Labyrinth

RATING: 7.8/10

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[REVIEW] Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

Young Thug is truly one of the leading contemporary creative forces in Hip-Hop’s wave/ evolution of trap-pop sub-genres. ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ isn’t much of a stylistic advancement in terms of his start-stop flow and roaming, stream-of-conscious lyrics – preaching about his extravagant lifestyle. But there’s a difference in tone that reinforces Young Thug’s originality.

Thugger rides the recent wave of organic sounds worked into trap, however there’s no flute instrumentals here. Similar to Post Malone’s 2016 single “Go Flex”, ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ seamlessly fuses R&B vocals, acoustic guitar instrumentals and trap kicks. The 14 track LP gives an insight into the numerous relationships around the 26 year old. Whether it’s with the women in his life, his 8 kids or his self perception. Although I wouldn’t look too deeply into this project’s inner meanings.

It’s stacked with bangers, but it’s not what you’d expect. Stand out tracks like “Daddy’s Birthday” present hooks that are mellow yet punchy -“New coupe, new shoes, ooh” “Red bottoms, I’m kicking shit, yeah I’m flossing on you fools”. “You Said” fully exposes Young Thugs talents as he serenades and flows over fast Spanish guitar work- “Say now, ooh, ooh, ooh”. Young Thug stays true to his original description of the album being a “Singing album”. However, toward the middle of the album, his tracks become more shallow and bland.  “On Fire” takes a minimalist turn compared to the rest of the album. The instrumental plops and bobs, expose Young Thug’s lacklustre repetition of simple, throw away flows. Even his feature with Snoop Dogg and Lil Durk was a slight disappointment. Although his creative lines gave the track some humour – “Roll up some gas, I’m not talkin’ a car”. The album ends on a positive note with “Take Care” followed by “For Ya’ll (feat. Jacquees)”. “For Y’all” is Spanish-trumpet-and-Flamenco-guitar-pop which keeps building on the good vibes. Thugger’s creativity paid off once again, as he produced a menu of tracks that have organic originality and are catchy as hell.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: For Y’all, Relationships, Daddy’s Birthday

RATING: 7.5/10

STREAM: Spotify

 

[NEW MUSIC] No Scrubs – TLC is back

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Your favourite 90’s divas TLC are back and in great shape after 15 years.  It’s been a long road for the trio of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes who created smash hits Waterfalls, No Scrubs, Creep, and Unpretty. The full-length self-titled LP features a total of 17 tracks. Some of the stand-outs include “It’s Sunny” a summer pop track with instrumentals from “Boney-M – Sunny”, “Perfect Girls” a mellow RNB acoustic groove hooks “Perfect girls ain’t real” which could have easily been on their classic debut “FanMail”. “Aye MuthaFucka” pumps a confident club jam that proves there’s still no messing with TLC.

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Steam now on:

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Hey Geronimo – Crashing into the Sun Review

By Rhys Prka

Hey Geronimo are an Australian five piece band from Brisbane and  their debut album is ‘Crashing Into The Sun’, an interesting endeavour that shows a lot of promise.

The band has been around for a while, dropping two EPs since 2012, but they have been quiet for a few years and it shows in the music as a few of the tracks are from different parts of their career and it can sometimes be quite jarring as they change styles. The song ‘Carbon Affair’ is from 2012 and is on this album and the song ‘Lazer Gun Show’ is from 2013. For fans, I can only imagine this is disappointing. When you are hearing old songs on a debut album it must be saddening because, instead of some new material, you get to hear the same song you have been listening to for the past 3 years. This project seems dotted with these older tracks and they stand out.

It seems that Hey Geronimo couldn’t decide on a direction to take the band. Sometimes they go the pop direction like on ‘The Girl Who Likes Me’, and then a rock direction on ‘Boredom’. I don’t understand what they want me to take from this. Perhaps that they can play different genres? Don’t get me wrong, they are perfectly capable of writing good songs in every genre they touch. I personally would have enjoyed the album more if they stayed in one direction; it seems that over the years they have lost direction and an overall sound. For some however this might keep the album fresh and interesting.

These guys know how to write songs however and the album has obviously been taking care of very nicely. The production and mixing is perfect, all the instruments layer correctly and nothing sounds too jarring and it really helps when listening to the album when you get that clean crisp sound. 

Another thing that helps is that the band has multiple singers. It took me a while to pick out their unique voices but the album became a lot more interesting and enjoyable when I did. This obviously keeps the album fresh and more enjoyable as you are able to hear multiple voices all over the tracks. They are quite talented songwriters as well. The hooks are catchy and pretty infectious, the guitars are explosive when they need to be, and the drums add a certain richness to every song. The songs also seem to have a retro 60’s, ‘beachy’ tone, evident on the album cover. It feels like this album should be played on the beach during a hot summer’s day.

Overall, this album shows a lot of promise and definitely has a lot of catchy tracks on it. I just hope that their next project has a more unified sound.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Boredom, Final

RATING: 6.5/10

RELEASE DATE: July 1st

Festivals: Female Artist Phobic?

If you take a look at the photo from this year’s Listen Out Festival that accompanies this article, you’ll notice it’s one of Australian hip hop’s fastest rising stars – Tkay Maidza. Already coined as our own Azealia Banks (although I will argue she’s already surpassed that particular artist if not in talent, definitely in attitude), Maidza was the only female artist to grace the 2014 Listen Out touring lineup. Sure, there were some local acts in each state of the female DJ variety, but for the purpose of this article we’ll just be looking at the headline artists, the ones put on the bill to try and get you to buy a ticket. Continue reading

BADBADNOTGOOD, III

Toronto natives BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG) have released their third studio album, III. Although this is the jazz/hip-hop trio’s third album, in many ways this is an album of firsts for the group. Unlike their previous releases that were littered in covers of artists as varied as James Blake to Gucci Mane, this album comprises completely of the bands original compositions. This could be the reason behind another difference in the album, BBNG have decided to actually charge people money this time, whereas for their previous records they did not. This may present a seeming lack of worth; the band’s name itself suggests a lack of esteem in their ability. However, BBNG in actuality have every reason to be confident, for on III they jump from the shoulders of the musicians they previously covered to their own new heights.

The opening track Triangle is familiar and reminiscent of the best moments of 2012’s release BBNG2 but by the start of the second track Can’t Leave the Night one can begin to feel the band’s transition to an unfamiliar territory. The DJ Shadow-esque keys build behind frantic drums that give way to a throbbing bass line and we begin to see the group’s full potential.

BBNG’s love of the jazz genre comes through on smooth tracks like Differently, Still but the majority of numbers on this release are prone to a more trip-hop oriented sound such as the electronic, brooding and dubby CS60. Guitar riffs reminiscent of Interpol colour Eyes Closed, while Hedron builds a complex soundscape as BBNG meld their jazz capabilities with the sensibilities of their influencers to a pleasing effect.

Admittedly some of these experimentations work better than others with Since You Ask Kindly being unequal to the sum of its parts. However, in the end this is a great album with strong emotion and purpose, an achievement more worthwhile as a band with no vocalist. III should be commended as a first experimentation in an already experimental genre, creating the impression that these talented young men will not return to the safety of covers in the future.

Words by Richard Heftie

Tune In

“Murdoch is changing into something. It’s starting to glue together and we just need that one more thing that says, ‘this is us’.”

That thing, according to Rabee Brian Daya, is a collective outlet that can project the voice of Murdoch University. This outlet will soon be known as Radio Murdoch.

Started by Brian and a handful of other radio and sound students, the idea developed from more than just a shared passion for radio, but to stretch their prowess and grow their knowledge base.

Following a broadcasting stint as part of a Radio Producing and Presenting unit (MCC244), those involved in Radio Murdoch found themselves thirsty for more.

“We built a show, we were broadcasting on community radio, and the unit ended so suddenly we had these skills but no chance to use them,” says Andrew Joseph, one of the founding members.

Essentially, they found themselves without a place to channel their fervour for radio. So they moved to create their own.

Listen up

The idea intensified and has now morphed into more than just the ‘Radio and Sound Club’ that started it off; Radio Murdoch wants to be the voice of the student body and aims to do that by getting everyone involved.

“All good things come with groups of like-minded people getting together,” says Brian, noting that the station is for all students, regardless of faculty.

Currently, plans are being hoisted off the ground so broadcasting can hopefully begin when Orientation Week rolls around. Radio Murdoch intends to infiltrate the airwaves from Mondays to Fridays, 12pm till 6pm.

Expect a medley of contrasting and differing shows, with the boys stating that students will have a high degree of creative freedom.

The programs will cater to all sorts of genres and not just a niche audience says Andrew, using Curtin University’s radio station as an example. Curtin Radio caters mainly to musical tastes that favour the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s according to the station’s website.

Because of this, the boys say they are wide open to working closely with the other clubs on campus. “We want to provide them with a voice,” says Brian. He describes the possibilities of working with the kids from Kulbardi, the Queer Collective and the Music Club with contagious zeal.

According to the boys, Radio Murdoch has already percolated the interests of students who aren’t doing media related courses. Impressively, they’ve already worked out how to effectively integrate their green recruits.

Sophistication and structure 

The club’s Education Manager will guide those who come on board without any prior radio training; a student with advanced radio knowledge that is able to teach them the ropes. This would involve workshops on how to use radio equipment, scripting, speech and even ethics.

Different programs will be run by separate groups of approximately 3 to 5 students, with each group having at least one person who has done MCC244 Radio Presenting and Producing. Apart from making it easier to obtain essential equipment and facilities, this also ensures Radio Murdoch stays within the highest ethical standards.

Every 2 hour program slot will have, at all times, an executive producer monitoring and listening to the broadcast like in a professional radio establishment. “We know better than to defame anyone,” Brian says.

The planning, structure and organization involved in Radio Murdoch is staggering and demonstrates a level of finesse not seen in your typical Murdoch University club or interest group.

“The back end [of radio] is quite a big thing; there are lots of people involved, presenters, producers, and also preparation leading up towards the show,” remarked Andrew.

For the immediate future, the boys have planned a fundraising event in Week 3 of this semester and arrangements are also being made to broadcast over the University’s PA system during lunchtime at the weekly Guild Market Daze.

Long-term, the crew hopes to obtain and maintain a radio frequency. For now Radio Murdoch will be based off an Internet live stream, which is cheaper. In 5 to 6 years, Brian hopes the station would have taken off and become comparable to the strength of once-upon-a-time UWA owned RTRFM.

“We have some big ideas. We are confident,” says Andrew.

Radio Murdoch has a monthly member’s mixer and regular meetings. For more information contact the club at radio.sound@hotmail.com or via Facebook

Music My Way

Kallan Phillips is seemingly just like you and I. He’s a fourth year History and Security and Counter Terrorism student at Murdoch University who’s just doing his thing. What you might not guess as he walks by on campus is that in his spare time he likes to set up shop in his bedroom studio writing and producing his own killer music with an EP in the works that is set to come out sometime later this year.

“I guess it’s always been a thing. I grew up in a really musical family” Kallan explains “I’ve played guitar and piano most of my life so I just started making music that I wanted to hear and writing stuff that I was thinking about at the time.”

When it was time for Kallan to head to uni he decided that he could either go to WAAPA, or, he could study something different that he’s passionate about and make a pact with himself to learn the ins and outs of music production in his spare time.

In particular, Kallan explains that he has drawn a lot of inspiration from rap and hip-hop music production, “listening to hip-hop was big for me because I grew up listening to a lot of blues and rock. I listened to an album called Illmatic by NAS which is like a classic rap album and it’s got this incredible production by DJ Premier and when I heard that it totally blew my mind as far as how music can be made.”

Kallan describes what he is creating as lo-fi soul, “in the early 2000’s there was a movement called the neo-soul movement so it sprang out of soul music mixing with hip-hop production. I take a lot from that but the difference between that and my music production is that neo-soul music was often produced with lots of people collaborating and lots of different musicians working on it whereas my stuff is all really solo oriented.”

The music Kallan is producing not only draws its roots from hip-hop and soul but also from the energetic music of the American south which he experienced during his exchange in the states.

“I was lucky enough to go to the USA so I got to visit cities like New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville and Memphis, all these great musical places. I spent a weekend in New Orleans in a place called Frenchman Street, they have nine or ten different jazz clubs, no cover – you just walk in there – and the music and the atmosphere is incredible,” explains Kallan.

“One of the gigs I went to there was this guy that had come out of rehab the day before and he said ‘this is my first gig in about four months, we just decided to get the and back together’ and he just walked around the bar playing the trombone while the rest of his band grooved out in this tiny little space.”

It hasn’t been an entirely easy progression; Kallan explains “it’s kind of been a long four year process. I can imagine that when I first started I’d get to a point where I thought what I was making was really good but I look back on it now and think that it’s really average.”

“The other thing was actually finding something to write about, to have a decent voice as an artist you’ve got to have something that you need to share. Travelling overseas helped me, it kind of gave me context of what my life was in Australia I suppose – you can see it from a distance and really understand who you are and what it is that you’re passionate about.”

Working entirely as a solo artist Kallan has been writing, producing and promoting his work as a musician “I think that’s probably the hardest part of it all, the self-promotion side of things, ‘cos you kind of have to go up to people and say ‘hey, you should listen to my music or come to my gig, I’m really good.’”

If you’d like to listen to Kallan’s music check him out at http://kallanphillips.bandcamp.com/ or keep an eye on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KallanPhillips for updates on the EP and live performance dates.

Words by Olivia Gardner

Edition#4, 2014

Glass Animals – Zaba

It’s almost as if British four-piece Glass Animals saw the gap in 2012 buzz band Alt-J’s album cycle and thought ‘now’s our time to strike’. And strike they have, with their debut LP, Zaba, filling the gap left by the aforementioned angular outfit as they work towards their new release while also dealing with the exodus of original member, bassist/guitarist Gwil Sainsbury.

It’s a lazy comparison to be sure, but a fair one, with Glass Animals’ trip-hop-meets-R&B/electronica vibes definitely covering some of the same territory, whilst also throwing in some Wild Beasts for good measure. Fortunately, there’s more than enough on Zaba for Glass Animals to cast away into their own realm of busy percussion, breathy, coo-ing vocals, intricate production and indie whimsy. The fact the group have been taken under the wing of super-producer Paul Epworth (Florence & The Machine, Foster The People, Azaelia Banks) should give you some indication of the quality on offer here.

The singles you already know – Pools and Gooey – rather than standing tall above the rest, offer a strong middle point to Zaba, and make a good case for the tag ‘all killer, filler’. Walla Walla offers distinctive tribal beats at moombah-like pace, while Cocoa Hooves offers sparse, slinky vibes into album closer, Jdnt is a sexy way to round out proceedings.

Busy percussion and sparse arrangements is a signature of the bands’ sound no doubt, but it’s the soothing vocal meanderings of Dave Bayley that really set Glass Animals apart. The regular harmonizing present on the straight-up R&B jam Black Mambo only add to the whole affair, and sets Zaba as one of 2014’s most assured debuts, and a great albums on the whole.

Words by Harold Callahan

Life of Riley – Interview with Drapht

You have said the Life of Riley is all about being your own man and answering to yourself – do you believe this can be a reality or is it just another dream along the lines of world peace?

No, totally. Of course it could be a reality. It’s like you choose your own destiny. You can’t choose world peace ‘cause that’s changing everyone else, but you can change yourself. So it’s, you know, you pave your own path and you are the teller of your own destiny for sure. It’s your life of riley it’s not everyone else’s life of riley.

The Life of Riley was released on your own label – The Ayems. What is the meaning of the word ‘ayems’ and why did you choose it for the label?

The Ayems stems from a group of friends that I’ve grown up with that I’d like to carry on to my own label. So it doesn’t actually have any meaning, it’s just a graffiti crew that I’ve grown up with and we’ve just bought it over to the music side as well. Continue reading