Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

by The Insomniac

 

“Everyday robots on our phones…”

That’s how Damon Albarn, better known as the main creative force behind Gorillaz and ex-frontman of Blur, starts off “Everyday Robots”, the first track off his new album of the same name, due out on April 28th. This first lyric sums up Albarn’s intentions on this new release, meant to be a commentary on our tech-centric lives and the implications of living with ever advancing machines. The line evokes images of nobodies sucked into their phones while on a bus or on the street, unaware of the world around them. It’s a chronic illness we all love to hate, but hate to admit we all love.

The music video for this track was done by artist and visual composer Aitor Throup, who also agreed to be the creative director for Albarn’s entire album. The video depicts pieces of a man slowly coming together by the cursor of an unseen user constructing what ends up being a “portrait” of Damon Albarn on a computer model. The quick and deliberate movements of the pieces of skull and muscle match up with the sharp strings from the music and seems to suggest an eerie reality we all want to ignore: the fact that we may have been “biological” robots all along – just robots with complicated building blocks.

This album should prove to be Albarn’s most personal and sincere work yet, so expect a much more mellow, honest sound over the experimental funk that escapes any attempt at genre pigeonholing we’re typically used to from Gorillaz.

Enjoy.

Glass Animals – Gooey

By Doc Vocado

I can’t explain the amount of smooth in this song. I’m talking silky nutella body wash pureed with Bohemian aftershave made from the tree sap of the eldest trunk in the Amazon. If the line “ride my little pooh- bear” isn’t enough to make you want play this on repeat and swan dive into rainbow waterfalls while catching butterflies with a net, then I don’t think you’re reading the right blog.

Anyway, the title “Gooey” really does this track justice. The psychedelic melody and whispery vocals will make you feel like you’re canoeing with Barry Manilow inside the hollowed ebony skin of a ripened Avocado that you bought from Barry White on the side of a back road in California.

So. Much. Barry…

Glass Animals’ discography as a whole sticks to this silky sound pretty loyally without ever sounding repetitive. If you already like mellow tracks, or are looking to soften up the buffet of heavy bass and vulgarity that currently dominates your iPod, then give these 4 gents from the UK a listen because they definitely have what you’re looking for.

Image

 

 

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

by The Insomniac

Top Tracks: Passing Out Pieces, Chamber of Reflection, Blue Boy

The sun-melted glimmering guitar is back in Salad Days, Mac DeMarco’s third solo LP out on Captured Tracks. Fans of his last album will find solace in this logical expansion pack of tracks to accompany the drowsy island tunes on previous releases.

I picture Mac sitting around the fire on some paradise far away singing about his personal guidebook for easy-livin’ – what we’re hearing seems distant and past, maybe a postcard LP which finally arrived at our doorsteps containing DeMarco’s island confessional.

Overall there is a more cheerful tone than before, the atmosphere more comforting and soothing. Notes unsure of themselves waver behind DeMarco’s reflective lyrics. The familiar warp of his clean electric guitar is perfectly subtle to match the slight sun-drunken states of beach-goers who’ve lost track of time on the edge of the sea. Well, it’s usually subtle. Listening to “Goodbye Weekend” can be like looking through a kaleidoscope during the verses.

Though more of the old is always welcome, the strongest points of this album are the tracks that venture off into the sea into a different direction than before – three in particular. “Let My Baby Stay” is a rare departure from the usual tone. Slow, soothing acoustic guitars and faint xylophones replace the auditory landscape… it’s twilight at Mac’s luau on that island, and he’s the singing off the sunset for his girl.

The other two tracks finally invite in the synths as if they were growing impatient of waiting to douse your ears with a taste of euphoria. “Chamber of Reflection” showcases DeMarco’s light touch and features a simple yet addictive melody. There’s a constant yet evolving backdrop of a distant tone which sounds as if 100 brass horns are being played through muffled filters, constantly looping over themselves. There is a higher, more alert synth which splits the soothing consistency, seemingly summoned by DeMarco’s verses.

“Passing Out Pieces”, the main single off the album, is the strongest by far and is also the most immediately arresting. A colorful, lucid, and satisfying psychedelic story full of doubt and Mac’s reflections on his recent life. See my review for the single right below this post.

Ending this short album is “Jonny’s Odyssey” – a song that replaces the vocals with an alien mono-tonal choir accompanying Mac as he waves goodbye to us from his island as we come back to real life. He even has a little message at the end of song thanking you for listening if you sit long enough through the silence.

Enjoy this one guys, it comes out just in time for the warmer weather to come rolling in. Let us know what you think in the comments.