Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Retro Album Reviews: Part 1 (Eminem, Deerhunter, Grimes & More)

As part of a new feature at Heavy Metal Mouth, I'll be taking a look back at albums from the past and reviewing them in condensed style. Since I'm always listening to and finding new music I figure I'll make the most of my thoughts even if it's not a brand new release, so I'll be randomly selecting albums to reconnect with or discover every week and uploading a review for each of them right here, every Wednesday. Feel free to get in touch if you've any suggestions for me to write about or alternatively, try out some of the following if you haven't heard them already.

Another change to the website beginning with this post is my rating system, which I've decided to get a little more specific with. Often last year I found myself constricted by giving simple 7's and 8's to records out of ten and as such, I'm going further in depth with all albums now being assigned a rating between 0.0-10.0. Hopefully this will help you and me to gain a better insight into each album and its quality. Anyway, enough talking, let's get to it:

Action Bronson - Dr. Lecter (2011)

Action Bronson makes incredibly enjoyable music, nothing more, nothing less. He's not striving for critical acclaim or any kind of artistic merit; he's simply just indulging himself in his own eccentric personality, and that's what makes Dr. Lecter such a fun listen. While Bronson will probably never make a classic album, his Ghostface like delivery and larger than life persona will provide you with 15 tracks of purely pleasurable rap as the chef spits about food, blunts and bitches.

Best Tracks: Moonstruck/The Madness/Bag Of Money


Eminem - The Eminem Show (2002)

The Eminem Show is home to some of the rap superstars finest tracks (''Sing For The Moment'', ''Superman''), some very good ones (''Business'', ''Without Me''), and some unfortunate duds (''Drips'' being an early example of the lame horrorcore direction Em would take in later releases, paticularly Relapse). It would be easy to look back and deem this a classic due to the fact that everything went so quickly downhill afterwards, but the fact is that The Eminem Show is simply not consistent enough to be considered equal or even close to The Slim Shady LP or The Marshall Mathers LP. There are still brilliant, exceptional moments here but as Eminem's lifestyle began to change so too did his attitude and passion for the game, meaning that there were tiny cracks already beginning to show by Shady's third release.

Best Tracks: Cleanin' Out My Closet/Superman/Sing For The Moment


Deerhunter - Cyrptograms (2007)

The harsh, punk rock sound of Turn It Up Faggot was an all too brief and distorted first glance at Deerhunter but this was the real deal- Cryptograms exposed the world to the dark, fragile mind of Bradford Cox and his unique stream of consciousness lyrical style, while the gifted band behind him blended an ambient, shoegaze sound with noisy experimentation, recalling a slightly funkier My Bloody Valentine. A bold comparison perhaps you may be thinking, but the truth is there are few bands around these days with such a distinctive, original and compelling sound as Deerhunter, and Cryptograms was an extremely loud and stylish arrival.

Best Tracks: Cryptograms/Lake Somerset/Strange Lights


Grimes - Visions (2012)

In a tremendous oversight back in 2012, I never got around to reviewing Grimes' third and most successful LP to date, Visions. A deserved breakthrough for Claire Boucher and her brand of dreamy synth pop, the abstract electronic beauty of Visions is best displayed on smash hit ''Oblivion'', with its wonderously funky yet chilled out ambience and commercial pop appeal. Visions should only be the beginning now for Bouchier, who'll be back in 2014, most likely with another electro indie classic.

Best Tracks: Genesis/Oblivion/Vowels = space and time


The Internet - Purple Naked Ladies/Feel Good (2011/2013)

Odd Future's Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians make up The Internet, a mellow trip hop experiment that stands in stark contrast to their fellow bandmates shock rap stylings, and they are certainly to be admired for their originality even if the final result is somewhat underwhelming. Purple Naked Ladies introduced the soulful chillout beats of the group while featuring appearances from OF affliates like Frank Ocean, Mike G and Left Brain, while last year's Feel Good marked a slightly more developed, consistent approach that noticably lacked input from their more famous friends. If The Internet can condense their overlong trippy wanderings into a more focused, sharper product, then there is a very fine ambient album waiting to happen by this talented production duo.

Best Tracks: They Say/She DGAF/Cocaine  Best Tracks: Sunset/Dontcha/Pupil


 James Vincent McMorrow - Early In The Morning

Irish songwriter James Vincent McMorrow's debut album rightly provoked comparisons to Justin Vernon for its indie-folk inspired tales of despair and lo-fi acoustic sound. There are differences in McMorrow's approach; his is more commercially viable and straightforwardly melodic, while it's nowhere near as passion filled and raw as Bon Iver's debut work. In some ways, despite its well rounded, polished sound (or perhaps because of it), Early In The Morning doesn't exactly inspire reason for you to believe that McMorrow has anything extraordinary or majorly surprising in him, but this years Post Tropical proved the Irishman quite an exceptional, highly developed songwriter. On reflection, and in comparison to new material, this was a careful, quiet and reserved debut that you may not return to quickly, but it's a pleasant experience nontheless.

Best Tracks: Hear That Noise That Moves So Soft And Low/Sparrow And The Wolf/And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop


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