Death Grips to release ‘Government Plates’ on vinyl for Record Store Day Black Friday

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(Written by Marcel)

Later this year, experimental hip-hop outfit Death Grips will release part two of their double album, the powers that b, by releasing jenny death. (The album’s first half, niggas on the moon, came out earlier this year.) But that’s not the only thing they’re releasing soon: The trio will drop a vinyl edition of their 2013 album, Government Plates, for Record Store Day’s Black Friday Event on November 28th via HarvestCoS points out.

Originally released as a free digital download in November 2013, this marks the first time Government Plates will be available on vinyl. Revisit the album below and watch the video for “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”.

Government Plates Tracklist:
01. You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat
02. Anne Bonny
03. Two Heavens
04. This is Violence Now (Dont get me wrong)
05. Birds
06. Feels like a wheel
07. Im Overflow
08. Big House
09. Government Plates
10. Bootleg (Dont need your help)
11. Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching)

R.I.P. John Holt, reggae singer and songwriter

(Written by Marcel)

From Jamaican Observer:

Veteran Jamaican reggae singer John Holt died in a London hospital on Sunday. He was 69.

Copeland Forbes, Holt’s manager since 2006, confirmed the entertainer’s passing.

“John died at 2:40 am English time. His [John’s] nephew informed of his death,” Forbes told OBSERVER ONLINE.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Holt first gained popularity in the 1960s as the lead singer of the Paragons.

Album Review: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

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Faith in Strangers is easily the best release yet from UK producer Andy Stott.

Faith in Strangers is probably Andy Stott's greatest achievement yet. The third LP from the UK-based techno musician follows up his breakthrough 2012 album Luxury Problems. An album I liked quite a bit but felt a little pale in comparison to his past couple EPs, Passed Me By and We Stay Together. However, Stott’s new LP, Faith in Strangers, is arguably his best work to date in terms of production, style, and songwriting and instrumental choices. Once again featuring some vocal chops from singer and Stott’s former piano teacher, Alison Skidmore, this album feels very dark, it’s very moody; yet it also has a sense of embrace and sensibility.

The first two tracks on this album, “Time Away” and “Violence,” are probably the best pair of A-side tracks since ”Ivo” and “Lorelei” from Cocteau Twins’ 1984 album Treasure. These two songs are absolutely flawless and just start the album off beautifully. With “Time Away,” you have this track that feels extremely cold and moody, and is almost entirely captivating in its tugboat-like drones. This song perfectly segues into “Violence,” which is by far Stott’s greatest track yet. I absolutely love the tension and the buildup of this song, which is partially carried by Skidmore’s haunting vocals, which perfectly fit the mood of this track. The instrumental on this thing is really solid; It feels very mysterious, intimidating, and, in a way, kind of catchy.

The six-and-a-half minute cut builds and builds until it finally reaches a noisy and brutal climax that really reminds me of the big finish on Aphex Twin's “Windowlicker.” And thankfully, the album doesn't die down after these two tracks. There's plenty of exciting moments throughout the rest of this LP that seamlessly fuse the genres of art pop, IDM, ambient techno, dub techno, ambient pop, dark ambient, and trip hop.

The track “Science & Industry” has this very bubbly beat that soon transforms into this weird yet oddly appealing electronic instrumental. And I feel like this is something that I feel with a lot of Andy Stott’s songs (not just on this LP but in his general discography as well); they can seem quite odd and unorthodox at first but once you dig deeper into them and start to have a better feel for some of his unusual approaches to techno music, they can be quite captivating and, at times, mind-blowing.

Throughout the rest of this LP, both Stott’s high-energy beats and Skidmore’s soothing vocals give a haunting sense of atmosphere. They seamlessly blend together quite well, and there’s not a single moment on here where either one of them feels like the odd one out. This album’s dark, depressing mood is certainly apparent and is nearly perfect throughout the entire length of this LP.

However, if I had one complaint about this album, it would probably be the song “Damage.” The track has this really repetitive trap-influenced beat that makes it sound like a generic demo you’d come across on some dude’s SoundCloud page. I know that may seem a bit harsh, but the song sort of ruins the great flow of this album. It just doesn’t deliver the same artistic genius as the rest of this LP. It’s a decent track, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to every other song on here.

However, like all great albums, once Faith in Strangers suffers from a noticeable flaw, it gets right back up on its feet and keeps that great flow going. The title-track on this thing is absolutely beautiful. Both Stott’s moving instrumental and Skidmore’s vocals glide gorgeously through an atmosphere that’s just pure ear candy. I absolutely love the bassline on this track, too. Which fits the thematic element of this song perfectly.

The final song on this album, “Missing,” is kind of similar to the opening track, “Time Away.” It’s a very dark and brooding song that has these haunting strings throughout that sound straight out of a classic mystery film. It not only fits the atmosphere and the theme of the first track, but of this entire LP as well. It ends the the album in the right mood and on the right note.

Overall, Faith in Strangers is one of the more unique, consistent, and all-around masterfully produced techno albums you’ll come across this year. Not only is this a crowning achievement for music this year, but it’s also one for Stott’s overall discography. This is easily his best work yet and I’m excited to see where he goes next.

My rating (score): 4/5

Favorite tracks: “Violence,” “Time Away,” “Faith in Strangers,” “Science & Industry,” “Missing.”

Least favorite track: “Damage.”

(All reviews published for Marcel’s Music Journal are written by Marcel)

R.I.P. Mark Bell, LFO producer and Björk collaborator

(Written by Marcel)

From Resident Advisor:

Mark Bell of LFO has died.

Alongside Gez Varley, Bell formed LFO in the late 1980s. After Farley left the group in 1996, Bell continued to produce solo under that name. He was a close collaborator with Björk, producing her 1997 album Homogenic and six other LPs, including 2011’s Biophilia. He also produced Depeche Mode’s 2001 album, Exciter. As LFO, Bell was responsible for some of the most pioneering and visceral electronic music in the Warp Records catalogue, including the 1990 crossover hit “LFO,” 1991’s “What Is House (LFO Remix)” and 2003’s “Freak.”

Death Grips announce completion of final album, reveal artwork

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(Written by Marcel)

Turns out we weren’t so far off after all: Experimental hip-hop outfit Death Grips' final album, the powers that b, comes in two parts: The first half of the album, niggas on the moon, was released in June, and the second half, jenny death, is due out later this year.

According to a Facebook post, the powers that b is now officially completed and will be released in digital and physical formats at a date soon to be announced. They’ve also revealed the artwork for both the powers that b and jenny death, which you can see below.

the powers that b Front Cover:

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the powers that b Back Cover:

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jenny death Artwork:

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Album Review: Flying Lotus - You’re Dead!

With You’re Dead!, Flying Lotus drops one of his most cohesive and lively albums to date.

Spiritual. That’s how I feel when I listen to You’re Dead!.

I feel spiritual.

This is no surprise since the fifth album from experimental multi-genre music producer/electronic musician/rapper Flying Lotus is arguably his most intangible and jazz-fused record yet. You feel a sensation when listening to these often brief yet never completely forgettable tracks. It’s a sensation that you want to feel when listening to an experimental-electronic record such as this one.

It’s the sensation of cohesion. And Flying Lotus, a.k.a. Steven Ellison, manages to pinpoint the magic of cohesion throughout most of this album.

You’re Dead! takes the jazzy sensations of 2010’s Cosmogramma but tones down the scatterbrain remnants of his abstract thoughts and throws some extremely left-field beats into the mix instead. This LP opens up with something that I like to call a “multi-song suite,” beginning with “Theme,” continuing with “Tesla” and “Cold Dead” (the former of which features Herbie Hancock), and then finishing with “Fkn Dead,” which then beautifully segues into the song “Never Catch Me,” which features an incredible lyrical waterfall from Kendrick Lamar.

Whether you like this album or not, you can’t deny the cohesiveness of this record. Each and every song on here segues beautifully into one another, and this is how Flying Lotus wants his albums to be heard: As one long track, rather than a whole album split up into multiple pieces.

However, while I think this cohesion is a big plus for You’re Dead!, I also think it can be a problem for this album at times. There is so much excellence in these segues that this LP doesn’t have much else to offer. Some of the songs themselves aren’t really that interesting, and the only thing saving them is—you guessed it— the cohesiveness. I think that this is a bit of an inconsistent record, despite this thing containing a handful of good tracks.

All of this aside, Flying Lotus manages to create one of the more interesting genre-bending records of the year. Fusing wonky, jazz fusion, nu jazz, experimental hip hop, glitch hop, and spiritual jazz together on this 38-minute LP, when this album shines, it really shines. And it beautifully highlights all of the above genres without appearing too scattered or messy.

The absolute highlight from this album has to be a track I mentioned earlier in this review, “Never Catch Me.” I absolutely love the piano on this track, which beautifully glides into the abstract-IDM beat. Kendrick’s flow and lyrical greatness perfectly match the song, and I feel like he keeps up with the hyper beat pretty well. The song just progresses and progresses until it finally reaches its peak, where one of the most jaw-dropping beats of FlyLo’s career comes in. It beautifully finishes off the track with this very psychedelic and wonky jazz-oriented electronic fusion. It’s truly something you have to hear to believe.

"Never Catch Me," along with another highlight from this LP, "Coronus, the Terminator," are tracks that I didn’t really gravitate toward when they were dropped before this album’s release. However, I find that they are much more enjoyable and make a lot more sense when listening to them in the context of the album. You’re sort of getting the bigger picture, and this is something that I feel works out in the end with a lot of Flying Lotus songs.

Unfortunately, once this album reaches its absolute peak with “Never Catch Me,” it kinda dies down a bit. The track “Dead Man’s Tetris,” which features Snoop Dogg and Flying Lotus’ hip-hop alter-ego Captain Murphy, has this incredibly dry and redundant beat that completely ruins the flow of this album. Not to mention that Snoop Dogg’s verse, which shouldn’t even be on this LP in the first place, is completely forgettable and underwhelming.

From here on out, a lot of the tracks on the second side of this album are very inconsistent. Once you get a couple of really great tracks in a row, such as “Eyes Above” and “Moment of Hesitation,” they’re followed up by a pair of really weak and forgettable tracks like “Descent Into Madness” and “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep.”

However, You’re Dead! does have a nice closer with the psychedelic, piano-driven “The Protest.” A song that not only has some nice, hypnotic background vocals, but also is a track that fully realizes this album’s concept and brings everything full-circle. I feel like this LP couldn’t have ended on a better note even if it tried.

Overall, while there were some songs on here that I really enjoyed and some that I just didn’t really care for, I think that You’re Dead! is one of the most cohesive, eclectic, and genre-bending albums of the year. It may not go down as one of the best for me, but it’s still a record that I’d be happy to listen to anytime, both in the context of FlyLo’s general discography and of records I’ve listened to from this year.

My rating (score): 3.5/5

Favorite tracks: “Never Catch Me,” "Coronus, the Terminator," "Moment of Hesitation," "The Protest."

Least favorite tracks: “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep,” “Dead Man’s Tetris.”

(All reviews published for Marcel’s Music Journal are written by Marcel)

Album Review: Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

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A stunning revelation in sound that is, in turn, the Danish post-punkers’ greatest achievement yet.

To make the transition from hardcore post-punk band to a bluesy, country-tinged reincarnation of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds is certainly a daring move for any group. But Denmark’s Iceage make this difficult alteration in sound feel totally cohesive and natural. On the band’s third LP, Plowing Into the Field of Love, Iceage bring acoustic guitars, strings, horns, and pianos into the mix— stunning additions that you would never dream of hearing on an Iceage record. With all of this brand new instrumentation scattered across this record, Iceage make a stunning revelation in sound that feels grandiose from beginning to end. The amount of ambition on this record is truly incredible. Yes, this is a new change in sound for the band, but they handle this transition so well that they manage to keep their raw energy intact throughout these gothic-country numbers.

What truly makes this LP come together so well, though, is the lead vocals from frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, who probably delivers some of the best vocal performances I’ve heard on any album this year. The amount of emotion and power he delivers with his singing truly leads these songs down a path of glory. At times he can sound very messy, very raunchy, but he can also bring his voice down to a lower register, making his vocals sound soothing and, at times, haunting. This album opens up perfectly with the track “On My Fingers,” a song that not only has a fantastic melody, but also serves as a golden opener that gives us a preview of what we’re about to experience with the rest of this LP. There is perfect instrumentation throughout this song, with its crunchy guitars and gorgeous piano riffs. This track and many more from this record are probably what would happen if Television and Oasis decided to do an all-night jam session with a Nick Cave-fronted version of the Gun Club.

With the songs “The Lord’s Favorite” and “How Many” we see Iceage building and building upon the cohesiveness and melodic beauty of the first track while simultaneously bringing some new ideas into the picture. I love the country-tinged guitars on “The Lord’s Favorite,” a track that is not only an absolute highlight from this album, but is also a song that’s grown on me with each listen. “How Many” brings in that dirty, hardcore punk edge that I loved so much from the band’s last two LPs, New Brigade and You’re Nothing.

While the two albums I mentioned above are indeed great records, what Iceage deliver on their third full-length is just so boundary-pushing and forward-thinking to the point where this could easily be labeled as an ‘instant classic.’ I also feel like it’s a bit more cohesive than their last two efforts, bringing in a new concept to their sound while still firmly grasping their old one.

The greatness of this LP doesn’t stop anytime soon, with tracks like “Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled,” “Abundant Living,” and “Forever” continuing the fantastic melodic flow of this album. The title-track that closes this album off is such a gorgeous, gorgeous song, both in the sense of its instrumental structure and its lyrical themes. 

I feel like I have so much more to say about some of these tracks yet I can’t help but feel that the sheer magnificence that this record presents makes it easier for me to talk about this album as a whole, rather than a track-by-track breakdown.

My rating (score): 4/5

Favorite tracks: “On My Fingers,” “The Lord’s Favorite,” “How Many,” “Abundant Living,” “Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled.”

(All reviews published for Marcel’s Music Journal are written by Marcel)

David Lynch to revive ‘Twin Peaks’ for nine new episodes in 2016

(Written by Marcel)

David Lynch is resurrecting his influential TV show, Twin Peaks, 25 years after the show aired its final episode. According to Variety, nine brand new episodes written and directed by Lynch will be aired on Showtime in 2016.

“The new [episodes] will be set in the present day and continue storylines established in the second season,” Variety notes. “Sources emphasize that the new episodes will not be a remake or a reboot but will reflect the passage of time since viewers last checked in with key characters.”

Death Grips’ ‘Jenny Death’, the second disc of ‘The Powers That B’, might be released on October 8

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(Written by Marcel)

Following the breakup of famed experimental hip-hop trio Death Grips, many theories have gone around on when Jenny Death, the second disc of the band’s final double-album The Powers That B, will be released. But it looks like we finally have a piece of evidence that turns out to have a legitimate source.

Drummer Zach Hill's Tumblr seems to have been updated with the numbers “100814,” along with the initials “JD” and three smiley faces and three skull and crossbones. “JD” could stand for “Jenny Death,” and the numbers “100814,” when read correctly, are “10/08/14” (October 8).

Update: An audio post has been discovered on Hill’s Tumblr that features a mysterious, robotic voice reporting on the death of a girl named Jenny.

Update 2: Hill’s Tumblr has been updated to a single emoticon: a frowny face, that, when hovered over, reveals the date “10.08.14.”

Update 3: When you click on the frowny face, it leads you to an audio post from a separate Tumblr. The clip features a bunch of people wishing a girl named “Jenny” happy birthday. There is a male voice at the end that sounds eerily alike to that of Zach Hill’s.

What’s even more interesting is that producer Andy Morin’s site was recently updated with a picture of what appears to be a lunar landscape, and October 8 marks the date when the Total Lunar Eclipse happens.

It would also make sense that it would be released on October 8 since the first installment of The Powers That B, niggas on the moon, was released on June 8.

Has the release date of Death Grips’ final album finally been revealed? Or could this all be an elaborate prank that Hill and Morin have decided to pull on their fans?

Album Review: Thom Yorke - Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

Thom Yorke delivers a solid set of glitch-y pop tunes on his surprise second solo effort.

Don’t let it deceive you on first listen: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, the surprise second solo album from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, is actually a solid set of tracks featuring minimalist IDM beats and unorthodox dynamics. It’s definitely one of those records that grows on you with each listen, largely due in part to the odd first impression it may give you. Still, Yorke manages to deliver a balanced effort that is quite enjoyable, despite longtime producer and collaborator Nigel Godrich's lacking production.

While it may not have the cohesive qualities of Radiohead’s last full-length, 2011’s excellent The King of Limbs, or the awe-inspiring, structurally complex melodies of Amok, the LP Yorke dropped last year with his side project/supergroup Atoms for Peace, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes showcases the many highlights when Yorke decides to delve into glitch-pop and electronic-inspired project such as this. It also proves that Yorke still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and that his many talents are far from worn out.

The LP opens up with the track, “A Brain in a Bottle,” a song that is just pure ear candy when listened to with headphones. It has this very dark and alluring beat that Yorke howls over repeatedly, and does so in a way that might seem familiar for some listeners, but never gets old. Despite being one of the shorter tracks on this album, ”Interference” serves as very good connection point for this record to flow seamlessly on to the next song.

Although Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes has a couple highlights early on, I can’t help but feel that the first few tracks are a bit inconsistent, and that this LP really starts to get locked into a groove once the second side of this record begins. That being said, after a mediocre six-minutes with "The Mother Lode" ends, this album quickly gets back up on its feet with the tracks "Truth Ray” and "There Is No Ice (For My Drink)," the latter of which is probably my favorite track on the entire album, and definitely one of Yorke’s best solo tracks to date. The song is seven minutes of weird IDM-pop that is almost chopped and screwed to the point where its catchy. I absolutely love the progression of the instrumental on this track, and both Yorke’s lyrics and vocals are in top-notch shape, as well. It’s smooth, it’s rhythmically layered, and it’s definitely an album highlight for me.

This LP ends on a very strong note with the song "Nose Grows Some," a track that takes all of the best qualities that came early on in this album and puts them into one coherent and eclectic song.

Overall, while Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is no more exciting than Yorke’s first solo effort, The Eraser, and it’s nothing too new sonically, it is, for the most part, quite enjoyable. And I feel like there’s a lot of solid tracks to dive into in an otherwise dull and lifeless atmosphere. I just wish that Yorke tried to be a bit more adventurous and experimental with his sound, and if this album suffers from one notable thing, it’s this. Still, it’s an LP that I can find myself returning to, and as far as Thom Yorke solo albums go, that’s good enough for me.

My rating (score): 3.5/5

Favorite tracks: "There Is No Ice (For My Drink)," "A Brain in a Bottle," "Nose Grows Some," "Interference."

Least favorite track: "The Mother Lode."

(All reviews published for Marcel’s Music Journal are written by Marcel)