Are Death Grips currently the most exciting group in music?

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Ahh Death Grips, the internet’s poster boys. Not a week goes by without me seeing a new MC Ride meme somewhere on the web, or a weird mash-up created by people with way too much time on their hands.

Despite the sometimes tiring meme-orientated fan base (although there are some gems out there i will admit), Death Grips have garnered well deserved attention from music fans all over the world, whether it be because of their powerful, driving studio recordings, their visceral live performances, or the fact that they suddenly ‘break-up’ and cancel tours, only to reform months later. Eh.

It’s their unpredictability and ability to excite fans that sets the internet on fire whenever any new piece of Death Grips-related news slips onto the internet, and I for one bloody love them.

Death Grips formed in 2010 and consists of Stefan Burnett (MC Ride, vocals/shouting), Andy Morin (keyboards and programming) and Zach Hill (drums). They released a mixtape in 2011, their first release, entitled Exmilitary to positive reviews. They quickly followed this up with their debut album, The Money Store, in 2012, which was again met with critical acclaim. This album is personally my favourite of theirs (and i’d probably include it in a list of my favourite albums of all time). With songs such as Get Got and The Fever (Aye Aye), this album introduced us to the harsh electronic hip hop that Death Grips are now renowned for.

Only shortly after the release of The Money Store, Death Grips cancelled a 30-show tour for the album to instead focus on getting into the studio and writing their second album, a move that greatly upset fans and even their own label. It just goes to show how the band keeps the media and fans on their toes; just when people think they finally understand what Death Grips are doing, they’ll then go and do the opposite.

They completed and released their second album, Government Plates, in late 2013, which featured a guest appearance from none other that Robert Pattinson of Twilight, playing guitar on track ‘Birds’. That’s kinda like getting Daniel Radcliffe to play the flute on your new album. Kinda.

With already more drama under their belt than an episode of Corrie (sorry anyone outside the UK), they dropped a bombshell in 2014. In June of that year, they announced a double album titled The Powers That B, making disc 1, Niggas On the Moon, available to download at the time, with disc 2 coming later on in the year. However the following month they announced that they’d in fact be splitting up via their Facebook, posting an image of a napkin with the news wrote on it. Again, absolutely no one saw this coming and all of a sudden the internet was officially in mourning.

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Image posted on the band’s official Facebook page
But, you guessed it, this wasn’t in fact the end. In March of 2015, a mysterious twitter account being run by the band themselves announced that The Powers That B would finally be released properly at the end of March, and that tickets for a tour would be on sale the week before, with the tour starting the same week. And with that, 8 months after announcing their split, they were back together with a new album coming out and a tour. Even if fans were already starting to catch onto Death Grips’ antics by now, the whole thing nonetheless had again sent the internet into meltdown (Kanye take notes) with the hype over the faux ‘reformation’.

Forget about all the drama and fiasco for a second though, and you’re left with one of the most exciting groups around in music. Just check out this amazing footage captured from the front row of one of their gigs last year.

The combination of MC Ride’s ferociously engaging vocals, Andy Morin’s discordant electronic soundscapes and Zach Hill’s monstrous drumming all roll into one to create that signature Death Grips feel and sound that puts nearly all bands around at the moment to shame (I certainly wouldn’t like to be on after them). It’s the reason why time and time again, even after the disappointments of tour cancellations and constant efforts to alienate and confuse their fans, their loyal fanbase returns foaming at the mouth for more. We’re all suckers.

Death Grips will release a new album entitled Bottomless Pit in 2016.

 

Lets Talk About Sunflower Bean

Erupting from the depths of Brooklyn, New York, Sunflower Bean have been throwing their signature lo-fi psychedelic sound at the people of England this past week on their UK tour, and I can say with all honesty it was a treat. I had the pleasure of seeing them in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen Sold Out show on the 16th  and I was pleasantly surprised with their performance, I was also stood right where Julia came into the crowd at one point, which is always an added bonus.

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Jacob Faber (Left), Nick Kivlen (Middle), Julia Cumming (Right)

Their debut album Human Ceremony was released earlier this month on Fat Possum and the initial reception was great from what I can tell, I saw Rolling Stone and many other magazines post about them, and they were all over my social media feeds during the run up to when I attended the gig. Personally I think the album was great as a debut and I really enjoyed the contrast between how much louder and heavier the songs were live than on the album (you will understand if you see them live). While on the topic of the gig the amount of songs that turned into elongated instrumentals is something I really liked, we’d be bombarded with sound, feedback and guitar solos and it generally just sounded like the band were having fun and jamming out, it was also during one of these that Julia came into the crowd. I wasn’t a huge fan of their support acts, but I paid to see Sunflower Bean and they didn’t disappoint so who cares, overall they put on a great performance and seemed really grateful to be in England and of the reception they received.

Back to the album though, songs like Easier Said and Wall Watcher are most definitely worth a listen if you haven’t heard them already, you know what scrap that and just go ahead and listen to the whole album, you won’t regret it. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Sunflower Bean and rightly so, their UK tour is over now but hopefully they’ll be back in the near future, so I and everyone else can have the pleasure of seeing them for the first time or again.

 

Glastonbury announces official plans for a David Bowie tribute

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A tribute to David Bowie is set to take place at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, confirmed Michael Eavis whilst speaking to Radio X at the NME awards this Wednesday.

Asked by Radio X if there were any plans to honour David at this year’s festival, Eavis replied with “yes, we’re doing a film of his set from the year 2000”. He went on to add that “It’s going to be shown on one of the screens when the stages are shut down. We’ll show the entire set”.

David Bowie previously headlined the festival on Worthy Farm in 2000, playing a career spanning set with all the songs you’d expect him to pull out for the special occasion, such as ‘Starman’, ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Heroes’.

The news comes following Twitter account @BowieGlasto2016 that was recently set up by a Bowie fan following the musician’s passing, with the hope of organising a ‘mass sing along’ by the Pyramid Stage on the Wednesday evening at this year’s festival to honour the star. Hopefully these mass sing alongs will still take place as well as the official tribute, or even during the showing of the set as well. I’ll be attending the festival myself so it’ll be exciting to see how it all unfolds.

Emily Eavis also confirmed on Twitter yesterday that PJ Harvey will be making a return to Glastonbury this year (her first appearance there since 2004) playing The Other Stage on the Sunday. This follows the news that Coldplay will be the festival’s first headliners, also playing alongside ELO on the Sunday.

Wild Nothing – A Woman’s Wisdom Track Review

Over the past few months Wild Nothing (Jack Tatum) have slowly been releasing singles from their upcoming album, Life of Pause. Taking inspiration from the likes of Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno for the upcoming LP, synths and keyboards dominate proceedings here on their latest single, A Woman’s Wisdom.

Taking the same approach as Kevin Parker does in the studio, writing and composing all the songs, as well as playing the majority of (if not all) the instruments, it’s clear from the get-go that Jack Tatum knows what he wants when he enters the studio, and this time around what he wants is very different from Wild Nothing’s previous outputs. A lazy guitar riff starts things off, entwining with warm synths until the drums, bassline and alternating piano chords kick in, which carry along the verses efficiently and smoothly, all thanks to the enticingly great production. Jack Tatum’s vocals sit nicely in the soundscape he’s conjured up, almost as if the instrumentation is the stream upon which the vocals are slowly drifting down. In  the chorus the guitars wake from their slumber and follow the vocal melody beautifully, creating the sleekly simple but effective melody that i guarantee will be stuck in your head after listening.

A Woman’s Wisdom is a gorgeously crafted pop song that shows off just what Jack Tatum is capable of in the studio (also check out previous singles To Know You and TV Queen) and is a very exciting new direction when it comes to his songwriting. It’s fair to say that this single, and their last before the album is released on February 19th, has only further peaked my already heightened interest in the album. Here’s to hoping that the rest of the album follows the bar set by this and the other singles then.

Listen to ‘A Woman’s Wisdom’ below: