Track of the Day Tuesday: LIL YACHTY Minnesota Remix

lil-yachty-lil-boat-mixtape-cover-art

Recently I have been starting to consider what albums will make it onto my Albums of the Year, EPs of the Year, and best Rap Albums and Mixtapes of the Year and while evaluating 2016 releases I decided to revisit multiple albums.  Lil Yachty’s 2016 mixtape,”Lil Boat”, was one of the releases that I have revisited recently.  Being one of the first two projects released by the young rapper himself,”Lil Boat” has had a significant impact on the modern trap scene with its use of unique, reverb filled beats and a mix between rap and auto-tune singing vocals.

So far, my favorite track is the remix of the song “Minnesota”, which you can hear below.  This is the best place to start for trap or rap music fans who have yet to check out Lil Yachty.  Even though I still have a lot of rap releases to re-listen to before making a final list of the best Rap Albums and Mixtapes of the Year, I can guarantee that “Lil Boat” will absolutely be a contender for this exclusive list.

Listen the “Minnesota” by Lil Yachty below and let us know what you think and what of the track and what rap albums and mixtapes should be nominated as the best of 2016!

“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” Turns 21 Today

smashing_pumpkins_-_mellon_collie_and_the_infinite_sadness

Exactly 21 years ago today, The Smashing Pumpkins released their third and legendary studio album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”.  “Mellon Collie”, which features instant classics like “1979”, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”, and “Tonight, Tonight”, became one of the best selling The Smashing Pumpkins albums ever, selling over 5,000,000 copies in the United States (certified Diamond by RIAA) alone since 1995, and causing the group to top multiple charts like US Billboard 200 and Australian ARIA Albums Chart.  Along with seeing outstanding record sales, the album itself would also go on to be one of the most influential releases of the 90s, helping establish The Smashing Pumpkins’ place in rock history while also shaping the sound of 90s music all together.  This album and its predecessor, “Siamese Dream”, are usually the first two things you think of when you hear the name, The Smashing Pumpkins, and are widely acclaimed as the group’s two masterpieces.

Personally, The Smashing Pumpkins will always be a band that I look up to and think highly of, and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” is one of the reasons for this admiration.  I encourage everyone reading this to listen to at least one track off “Mellon Collie” and appreciate the significance the album has had on both rock music and individual music fans alike.  I know for a fact that “Tonight, Tonight” will be on repeat in my music library for the rest of the day!

Breaking News: A$AP Ferg Releases Remix To “New Level”

new-level-remix

Late last week, one of my favorite rap artists of all time, A$AP Ferg, released a remix to his track “New Level”, which was originally off his sophomore release, “Always Strive and Prosper”.  The original version of “New Level” featured rap artist Future, and soon after its release, it became one of the most successful and highly praised songs off the project.  Now, 10 months after the single was first released, the remix to this fan favorite is available on all prominent music streaming services and features verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with another verse from Future himself.

Personally I like this remix even better than the original version.  Not to say that the album version of “New Level” is bad, but the added verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with the new, rewritten verses from both A$AP Ferg and Future collectively make this the greater of the two tracks.  Honestly, I would be glad to see yet another remix to this track, especially since artists like Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, and even Danny Brown could fit well on this more aggressive, powerful sounding beat.  Regardless, this new single and “Always Strive and Prosper” are some of the best rap releases of 2016 and “Always Strive and Prosper” could possibly be one of the greatest albums to be released this year as well.

Give this new remix a listen and if you haven’t heard anything by A$AP Ferg before, then listen to anything off his two phenomenal studio albums: “Trap Lord” and “Always Strive and Prosper”!  Be sure to check in to Erik’s Album Reviews often as we get closer to deciding what are the best rap albums and mixtapes of 2016!

Update: Animals As Leaders Release Second Single Off “The Madness Of Many”

img_2948

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of the next Animals As Leaders record and the anticipation could not be any higher.  The upcoming fourth studio album by the instrumental, prog-metal innovators is titled, “The Madness of Many”, and so far we have heard two singles off the soon to be released record.  The latest of these two singles is a track called “Arithmophobia”, and it is the complete polar opposite of the first single, “The Brain Dance”.

“Arithmophobia” is a mix between smooth-flowing riffing in peculiar time signatures and impressively heavy sections that make any listener subconsciously head bang.  From melodic, sitar leads to polyrhythmic, heavy breakdowns, “Arithmophobia” adds to the already extremely high anticipation for this sure to be stellar Animals As Leaders album.  I’m assuming AAL released these two singles to show the extreme ends of the spectrum “The Madness of Many” will feature.

With what I’ve heard so far off this upcoming release, I would not be surprised if “The Madness of Many” finds its way onto the Albums of the Year list for 2016!  Check out this latest single below and be sure to check in for more updates and reviews leading up to the release of “The Madness of Many”!

Breaking News: Speak The Truth…Even If Your Voice Shakes Release First Single

ATOZ_7in_JKT

For those who didn’t hear, Buddy Nielson of Senses Fail and the majority of the members of Finch recently joined together to make a post-hardcore band that, in their words, “sounds like 2002”.  All members of this new supergroup come from bands that were groundbreaking groups in the early 2000’s emo and post-hardcore genres.  Because of this, they have decided to unite to help recreate that sound while also adding more modern post-hardcore as well.

The group officially came together earlier this year when, according to Buddy, a tour between Finch and Senses Fail fell through.  Because of this, Finch members reached out to Buddy, and asked if he would want to form a side project group called “Speak The Truth…Even If Your Voice Shakes”.  Neilson himself had never been in a serious, established band besides his own Senses Fail, so due to the interest of actually doing a side project, “Speak The Truth…” was born.

The band have released their first single ever called, “Crash My Car”.  The song is very catchy, but to me lacks the ability to be an instant classic, unlike older Senses Fail and Finch material.  I do believe, however that this band will eventually release material to that caliber, but for now this is a great musical debut.  You can pre-order their first vinyl release, a 7″ featuring “Crash My Car” and another single to be released later, below at the Bad Timing Records pre-order page, however the rarest variant has already sold out.  Also check out their first music video below and get stoked for all that “Speak The Truth…” has to offer in the near future!

7″ Pre-Order:

http://badtimingrecords.limitedrun.com/products/580084-speak-the-truth-even-if-your-voice-shakes-self-titled-7

“Crash My Car” Music Video:

Album Review: AMERICAN FOOTBALL American Football (LP 2)

am-2

Today, legendary emo/indie rock band, American Football, released their sophomore full length record titled, “American Football (LP 2)”.  This second full length album by the group is their first release in 17 years and is one of the most anticipated albums of 2016.  American Football, who got their start in 1997 in an Illinois college town, have become one of the most influential and significant bands in the emo and indie rock genres.  Despite the fact that their career as a band before their 2014 reunion was extremely brief, they were still able to leave their mark on these genres and have inspired numerous artists to write some amazing records in the process.  American Football is a group that I personally think highly of and I have been looking forward to this record since it was announced earlier this year.  Even though the lineup itself hasn’t changed, the near two decades between the monumental “American Football” and the long-awaited “American Football (LP 2)” has caused the members as individuals to change significantly, and this personal change directly shows in this project.

Despite the massive gap between records, “American Football (LP 2)” features numerous similarities to its predecessor.  One of the most obvious examples of this is the visual theme and aesthetic that American Football is known for.  For example, the font and style of text for the band name and title of the record is exactly the same.  The iconic spelling of “americ anfootball” in the top right section of the album artwork in the clean, white font hasn’t changed at all since 1999.  Also, both releases feature 9 individual tracks and on each record the album artworks are pictures of the same house from different parts of the home.  On the 1999 release, the image is of the house at dusk from the outside of the building (which is seen below), is different from the 2016 release, which shows an image of a hallway during midday, leading to what appears to be the front door of the house.  Along with having visual similarities, there are also music related aspects that can be heard on both full length albums.  Things like distinctive and memorable trumpet parts and complex, calm-sounding, familiar peaceful songwriting elements are not absent from either release and are solidified as consistent features in American Football projects.

am1999

On the other hand, there are a ton of prominent differences between these records that an American Football fan would clearly notice.  One of the most obvious changes is how the vocals were mixed.  On the first “American Football”, the vocal tracks were a lot more quiet and were virtually in the background behind instrumental tracks.  Now on LP 2, these vocal sections are mixed at a higher quality and brought to the forefront of the track, which is an extremely common way of recording vocals.  This might negatively affect a fan’s opinion of this record, but personally I believe this ends up strengthening the album as a whole.  Mike Kinsella’s vocal style, and even the pitch in his voice, has seen a drastic change since 1999 as well, and this change in production helps emphasize this.  In fact, the higher pitched vocals heard on “American Football” are now replaced by a more calm, deeper voice that in my opinion is a better fit for the group’s sound.  The more mature, emotion filled vocal melodies truly empower the message behind every song, and the lyricism, which depicts multiple troubling times in Mike’s life, appear to sound more heartfelt than the vocal delivery heard on the band’s first album.  As stated before in the “Track of the Day Tuesday” blog, which appeared on this site earlier this month and is also attached below, this sad yet happy, and somber yet peaceful style of singing is one of the highlights to this new American Football release.  To further describe this change, the lyrical themes have also grown and matured with this latest record by the Illinois group.  The personal, relationship based problems Mike discusses in the 1999 release have now been replaced by what appears to be more pressing issues, like talking to someone who’s close to him out of committing suicide, which is heard on “Give Me The Gun”, and different struggles and problems he and his family have dealt with.  This change and variation in lyrical themes perfectly fits the vocal style and songwriting, and even surpasses what has previously been heard on American Football releases, by including elements that could not have possibly existed in the late 90s, due to the fact that these events and this change in vocal pitch simply did not occur yet.

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/track-of-the-day-tuesday-american-football-ive-been-so-lost-for-so-long/

In addition to vocal changes heard, there are also changes in production that are distinctively heard on “American Football (LP 2)”.  The recordings appear to have less of a near Lo-Fi sound and more of a normal, high quality recording style.  While this might disappoint some fans, I believe it makes the band sound more precise as a unit by showcasing that their playing style is a lot tighter since 1999.  Especially when dealing with polar opposite lead and rhythm sections, that sometimes include weird time signatures, this high quality recording allows American Football to prove how their musicianship both as individuals and as one unit has grown.  In fact, the only complaint I have is that at some points, this unique calm sounding recording style lacks a little emphasis for more prominent parts.  This can be heard on the first self titled record, especially if you focus on percussion parts, and if this aspect found its way onto “American Football (LP 2)”, then the production would be absolutely stellar and far ahead of the first “American Football”.

In summation, this is my favorite, and the greatest, American Football release.  I give it a 9.3/10 and highly suggest any fan of either American Football or Indie rock and emo to give it a listen.  The growth and maturity over the years, despite being nearly two decades of growth, truly paid off and helped create another beautiful American Football album.  Make sure to BUY your copy today and listen to the full stream of “American Football (LP 2)” below!

The Thursday Ten: 10/20/16

img_3024

It’s Thursday which means it’s time for one of my favorite segments to write on Erik’s Album Reveiws: The Thursday Ten.  You guys should know the rules by now; every album is listened to 1-2 times and given a numerical, whole number score out of 10.  This week I chose a bunch of 2016 (and one 2015) releases that I really enjoy, so the ratings might not fluctuate that much and might appear inflated to a new reader.  However, if you read last week’s “The Thursday Ten”, which also happens to be posted below, then you will know that I don’t always give ratings this high.  All albums mentioned can be streamed on any of the major music streaming and distribution sites.  Give them a listen and let us know what you think of the ratings and what albums we should rate next below in the comments!

  1. Show Me A Dinosaur – Show Me A Dinosaur: 9/10
  2. Chance The Rappers – Coloring Book: 8/10
  3. Hotel Books – Run Wild, Stay Alive: 7/10
  4. In Hearts Wake and Northlane – Equinox: 8/10
  5. Little Brother – Cleveland, OH: 8/10
  6. Michael Barr – Back Home EP: 9/10
  7. Darkthrone – Artic Thunder: 8/10
  8. WHENINROME – Half – Hearted: 7/10
  9. Wormed – Krighsu: 8/10
  10. Pity Sex – White Hot Moon: 8/10

Last week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/the-thursday-ten-101316/

Breaking News: Kanye West Extends Saint Pablo Tour By Adding More North American Dates

kanye-west-saint-pablo-tour

Since August, Kanye West has been performing on the Saint Pablo Tour, which is intended to promote his latest album, “The Life of Pablo”.  The tour has recently seen an expansion, which will now be running until his New Year’s Eve show in Brooklyn and features stops in both cities he recently played in for the first wave of the Saint Pablo Tour, and cities he has yet to perform in.

The tour made headlines this year not for the material he was playing, but for how Kanye himself would put on these shows.  On the Saint Pablo Tour, Kanye stands on a “hovering” platform literally above his fans with a grid of stage lights beaming down on him.  This essentially creates a very intimate concert environment with the floor/mosh pit of fans being separated from Kanye by only a few feet.  This idea of a stage setup is absolutely genius and in return causes the Saint Pablo Tour to be a show I cannot miss, and you shouldn’t miss it either for that matter!

The picture above is one of the awe inspiring images that have surfaced online from one of the concerts on the tour.  A list of dates for this second wave of shows is attached below.  Also if the video below filmed by a fan in the crowd at the Dallas date of the Saint Pablo Tour doesn’t give you goosebumps and makes you want to go to this show, then I honestly don’t know what will.  This tour will probably be the greatest tour of 2016, and one of the best shows you will go to ever, and if you don’t believe me, then ask the thousands of people who have attended the tour so far and have said nothing but positive things about this electric performance by Kanye.  All tickets for the second wave of the show go on sale Friday so make sure you pick up your ticket then and get excited for the next stage in the Saint Pablo Tour featuring Kanye West.

10-19 Seattle, WA – KeyArena
10-22 & 23 Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
10-25, 26, & 27 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
10-29 Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
11-01-02 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
11-17 San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San Jose
11-19 Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center
11-22 Fresno, CA – SaveMart Center
11-23 Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
11-26 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
11-28 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
12-01 San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
12-02 Houston, TX – Toyota Center
12-04 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
12-06 Orlando, FL – Amway Center
12-08 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
12-09 Columbia, SC – Colonial Life Arena
12-11 Albany, NY – The Times Union Center
12-13 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
12-15 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
12-16 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
12-18 Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
12-20 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
12-22 Auburn Hills, MI – The Palace of Auburn Hills
12-27 Washington, DC – Verizon Center
12-28 Boston, MA – TD Garden
12-30 & 31 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center